Spending 9 unplugged days with Liv was not only much needed, it was everything I had hoped it would be. Well, sans the teenage boys everywhere with their heads on a 24/7 swivel. Oy vey.
I was thankful she had the opportunity to visit places she’s never seen, meet people she’s never known, and witness the world from a totally different perspective – her mother included. Give me some sun, and outdoor café with amazing Cuban food, foreign beer, and a little live guitar music and my kid might actually admit I’m not so bad. We shared lots of laughs, lots of experiences, and created lots of memories.
So there, leukemia.
Yet even while all that vacationing was going on, it wasn’t long forgotten. I sat outside one day and just took it all in – the entire campaign, the people involved, the people fighting this disease now and before – I soaked up every last stinking emotion until the sunscreen burned my eyes.
Prior to that, about an hour after we embarked the cruise ship in fact, the mandatory “Here’s what you do in case of a Titanic-like incident or if pirates climb aboard” meeting took place in the designated areas. A nice Canadian family sat down next to Liv and me at the dining room table where we were pretending to pay attention to the instructions. Small talk ensued, but really we were just all waiting to hear the horn blast and race to the pool.
It wasn’t until the very last day when we would see them again for a much more in-depth conversation. We spoke to John, Susan, and Morgan for well over an hour inside the never-ending Marketplace Cafeteria as we watched the clouds through the floor to ceiling windows next to our table. Suzie is SUPER FULL OF LIFE! A total spitfire, that one. They run a few B&B’s in Alberta and know all about things which I can barely pronounce. Super cool people.
Turns out, she and her family are right smack dab in the middle of dealing with lymphoma – her Mom has it. We talked at length about that, shared more stories, teared up at times, and laughed a lot in between.
Additionally, they told us of a young man in their church congregation who lost his battle with leukemia at the age of 24 – after it had recurred for the fourth time in ten years. You know what he did in between those recurrences? Graduated from high school, fell in love, got married, and oh…rode his bike across Canada to raise awareness about blood cancers and collect money for R&D so he could help other people avoid the same fate he met shortly thereafter.
What a cruise indeed.
Thank you, John, Susan, and Morgan for passing along so much inspiration in such a small window of time. And thank you, life, for giving us experiences which we cannot deny and will never forget. It’s amazing what we can all choose to do in the very short amount of time we are each given. Even on vacation.