Summer lovin, had me a blast…
As expected, the summer season has come with a force. Almost as quickly as the temperature increased, so have my memories of last summer.
I kind of anticipated this re flood of tears and memories around this time of year; Christmas wasn’t Chad’s favorite time of year, so that was ok and spring last year was spent helping/watching/witnessing his recovery from Transplant #2, so that was ok too. Now summer. Summer was ‘our’ season.
It was right around this time last year that things really started picking up. After returning from our Europe trip in June of last year (2009), Chad and I went to Texas for one of his best friend’s, Brennan and Amanda’s wedding. It was awesome.
All Chad’s hard work throughout the spring was really starting to pay off. Traveling was a big one, but now more improvements were starting to be seen. Not just little bits of improvement, but leaps and bounds.
He was walking full pace up Centinal Hill with his Dad, (which I distinctly remember daily updates months earlier, “I will eventually be able to keep up with him. Slow and steady.”) Then, he started going back to the gym. This was huge.
Throughout the spring, Chad had been doing moderate workouts at home trying to get himself healthy enough to get to the gym for a workout he could actually feel good about – and not feel as he described, “a pussy.”
He would come back glowing. Not from sweat, but from accomplishment. I was so pumped. He knew and I knew this was one of the many victories that began rolling his way.
Starting in July, we’d be able to wake up every morning with the sun shining into our apartment, and I’d ask – “How do you feel?” And every day, he’d say, “I feel good!”
His blood tests showed no trace of the cancer proteins – and his energy showed the same. We’d wake up early, I’d go to the gym, and he’d work on his stocks. I’d leave for work, he’d lay out and soak up the sun. I’d text him to see how his day was going and his replies were always something like, ‘at the gym, playing tennis with his doubles partner JJ, cruising around in his Audi, at parents house for lunch or walking with his Dad’. Perfect summer days for someone who has seen the bleakest days of winter.
We spent our evenings hitting a tennis ball, driving around, going to see my parents for dinner or having people over. We’d sit out on the couch on our deck and talk about what has happened these past few months, how this was the best he felt in eight years, how he never thought he would feel like himself again – and if this was the recovery and ‘cure’ we had been waiting for, what were we going to do.
We watched our friends at the local tennis tournaments while discussing, “I’d like to think next year I could compete with JJ again – next year, we’ll play the 35 Provincials together.” (JJ won the 35’s this year with another friend, making Chad inexpressibly proud, Im sure).
I remember walking around the Stanley Park Open feeling like I had grown 2 inches, (reaching my ideal height 5”7), had my hair done, looked like Gisele Bundchen and was decked out in the latest Prada collection.
No, I didnt have the model good looks nor did I have the Prada collection, but the feeling was the same. I was so proud and so happy to be walking around with him; I wanted to show him off. Look at what he did! See! Energy! Spunk! Chad is back!
While on a gorgeous bike ride last night, I was thinking to myself how Chad wanted to get a bike so he could ride beside me while I ran. I felt sad knowing we never got to do that. One memory lead to another, and I had this flash of the first time I actually saw him run. Not after transplant, but ever. Of course I had seen him run on the tennis court, but we had never really been able to run together; except this one hot evening last July.
We decided to race, speed walking to his parents house. With about 4 blocks to go, this guy starts running! Im not sure how to react. 1) He’s breaking the rules of the race 2) HE’S RUNNING!?!? 3) Im not going to lose.
He took off on me. It almost looked like Forest Gump breaking out of his casts. A few quick steps, followed by a bit more momentum until he gets to a full on stride. What the?
Not knowing whether to stop and yell, “Run Chad, Run!” or, “You’re breaking the rules you big cheater!” – I take off after him. (Im sure anyone who might have seen us were curious what was going on, as Im sprinting to keep up with him while giggling and trying to talk shit all at the same time.)
I pull it together just enough to beat him in the last block, run up to his parents door and throw my hands in the air Rocky style and yell, “Ha! I Win!”
It might have taken him about 20 minutes for his heart rate to recover and he might have to stretch for half an hour afterwards, but at the end of the night, he did it. He ran, he raced and he was ok. For the rest of the evening, I evenly gloated and praised how awesome that was. This was incredible.
The rest of July was incredible. The rest of August was incredible too. Even if Chad and I were spending this summer together as well, last summer was one I will never forget.
Dont get me wrong, this summer season is shaping up to be fantastic as well. However, that doesn’t mean my eyes have stopped leaking, or I don’t think of “this time last year” every single day.
I look at my screensaver and see the photo of us on a boat and him with is head back, laughing. Everyday I see that photo, I can hear him laugh and am reminded of how much can change in a year.
I never thought during our discussions of, ‘Now that you’re healthy, next summer we can…’ – that we would never have another summer together again.
‘Cause after that Summer lovin…it happened so fast.