If he poured his heart into a glass And offered it like wine
She could drink and be back in time for the morning papers
They could take a walk down the ocean side Make a wish on every wave
They could find a carousel And ride or kiss in every cave
They could contemplate the entire universe
Or just one star
Or just how far was the walk for the morning papers
There was a pre-wedding playlist that until the wedding day I didn't share with anyone and the entirety of it will never be shared with anyone other than the person I married later that day. But the songs varied from songs that were meaningful in our story, songs that were meaningful in my story. They were mostly romantic songs but not entirely as some were fun like The Final Countdown. The song In Late August showed how much I feared the weather our wedding might have too much heat in the wrong direction (it ended up being reasonable so we saved some of the heat for after we ran out of there and got to the hotel room). There was even a couple of hymns in there. I'm not a guy who prays much in the actual meaning of the word which is to request something but there were a couple of hymns in there because if nothing else I want to express thanks because I'm not quite sure how so many blessings flow my way.
But the very last song added was one that I had no personal connection and came on just shuffle, it's the one quoted as I start these thoughts, Prince's The Morning Papers. Like too many romantic songs around wedding time it made me sappy but reflective. I was marrying a girl who was romantic but practical. Our wedding registry we wondered who would if anyone buy us certain gifts because well they were and I quote 'boring' but even the elaborate start line from the wedding wasn't kept (it was recycled for a classroom) because we're practical people. This is the girl who I've been to multiple countries with and tomorrow we head to Greece (because if you meet a girl training for a marathon and propose at a Spartan and neither of you has ever there, where else would you go for a honeymoon... and while we're on train of thought another song on the playlist was honey and the moon). But despite being to all those countries, we don't have much physical stuff to show for it, mostly a heart and a faulty brain full of memories. We've had philosophical conversations and practical obnoxious ones, big picture and little details.
But less than a handful of people had the courage to bring up to me how the brain cancer diagnosis relates to us in all this. Well, anyone who thinks we didn't have a conversation about it is naive at best but we're not. Before we were ever boyfriend and girlfriend, I heard her talk about someone in her family with health problems and recognized a maturity about it. She heard me talk about mine in a public speech at Livestrong in which the theme was 'my first time' and I talked about how bad my first kiss went but that while the second one wasn't much better, I was more teachable. I tried to share some ideas about how sometimes life, things like cancer gives you second chances at life and that can be more valuable if you're more teachable. But I ended with a joke that the real reason I was here was if they knew any girls who were into guys that were bad kissers to give them my number. Not long after that, she asked me out... I'm just saying.
But we've talked about it. I updated my will to include her in it (Kiana's still the primary beneficiary instead of the sole one but there's no way I'm marrying someone and not sharing somethings in both life and death). But she also got fully informed of things like that I have a do not resuscitate clause, how I have a clause that I won't be seeking any more treatment again and that those who have power of attorney, which now includes her, can't over ride those. If the time comes to die, it comes. A friend in the legal profession has and is encouraging me to change those now that I'm married but my wife knows that's not going to be the story and at least conceptually she agreed with it or else well... I wouldn't have asked her to be my wife. It's that concept why we can talk about the breadth of the universe or how far the walk is to the morning papers.
The fact that I liked that song may have demonstrated my age but oddly enough a little over a week after the wedding, a picture and an article came out in the local paper. I've come out in many papers for race wins etc but this is one of my biggest wins and it was the biggest picture there's ever been with me picking up a really hot girl in a wedding dress (take hot whichever way you want but I gotta tell you if hang out with me and we'll have an awesome where I'll literally pick you up... if that's not a good pick up line, I don't know what is). The article was by someone whose written about me more than once on the day she took the buyout from the Statesman. By that change it became that without exception all of the reporters who I've stayed in regular contact with from the Beaumont win are no longer at their jobs; change continues to be life's constant.
Why is age more than a number when it comes to love?
Should we ask the ones who speculate
When they don't know what it's made of?
Should we ask the moonlight on your face
Or the raindrops in your hair
Or should we ask the man who wrote it there in the morning papers?
Many people, mostly older but a few closer to my age and one close to Elaine's age reached out to me to let me know they'd seen it or they sent me screen captures etc. There was actually a preview of it on the front page, that huge picture on the front of the lifestyle section and the article finished on the very back of the paper. It seemed fitting that marriage would be from front to back with a huge section on lifestyle. But if anyone else noticed it, they didn't mention that on that same front page, there was talk of Sen McCain's death. When he passed, a few people asked me about it. The truth is that like any public figure, I could only gleam from what was reported about him but I admired him way back when and till his death and no matter what he passed away from I think it would have been a loss to our government. But he died from a higher grade of the same cancer I have... For something that's supposed to be so rare, 7 per 100K people, I don't quite know how to grasp that we've had 2 Senators in a body of 100 pass from it in less than a decade... I've met many people in the events that I am a part of the cause so that seems a little more 'logical' but there are other random things. Another ARC board member got it in the 4 years I've been there as President, my old boss's child got it and passed away from it since I've gotten it. The privilege of survivorship is never lost on me. It's one of the reasons there is a Livestrong bracelet on me and reminders of hope are visible in almost all areas of the house.
I don't know why I'm still alive. I made no mention of my cancer in the wedding ceremony but I said to the groomsman as I thanked them for the many positive and negative things that they'd been there for in over a decade that I was shocked to be here not just getting married but alive. But my fiancee, now wife, knew the importance of it because we revolved that honeymoon around getting back to the Brainpower 5k, the only race that I've done every year of its existence. It's its 8th year and assuming all international travel goes well, I'll be getting in really late the night before to run it on next to no sleep. She's actually never missed it since she started doing it and on her first one at a party afterwards is my first memory of her, when I threw her in a pool. The Scarecrows will be out there again so if you want to donate or join... here's the place. It's not too late and if you want I can make sure you get thrown in a pool though it's too late for it to turn into marriage, at least to me or Elaine anyway. Brain cancer and good times don't have to be mutually exclusive.
But speaking of pool, several people have noticed, I've lost weight. Since this blog is full of inadequate confessions, I wasn't on a diet but I did step up my running and eat less quantities as my birthday and wedding were coming up so that I could look good in my wedding and birthday suit. We didn't go our honeymoon right away which frankly getting thank you cards and clean up done may be more fun than immediately traveling and coming back to all that but the main reason was to get Kiana situated right as she started Jr. High. We also purposely revolved it so that due to the new custody schedule I only have to miss two days while I'm gone for 10. The only thing that I'll think about or miss is something that I didn't know the schedule until she joined less than 48 hours ago which Kiana's first cross country meet but Ms. Independent will be fine for that and you better believe I'll make the rest. We had mariachi at the wedding but we changed while they were on and left before they were done so we went and caught some at a hillside theater last weekend but before that we went swimming in cold Barton Springs cause this Texas heat is not relenting (Greece is going to be so tough to bear the cooler temperature, just kidding. We were swimming there and I wondered what the water would be like in Santorini and remembering that the ancient Olympics were done in the nude but then again that's probably not the way I want to be in any papers even if Europeans are more liberal). But as I sat there and swam with my wife and my daughter and thought about Senator McCain and our return to the Brainpower 5k, all I could do to cope and hope with the privilege and guilt of still being alive was remember the joke I usually close speeches with “I still have brain cancer which has a 10 year survival rate of 12% so statistically speaking I’m not supposed to make 40. But when I think of that I remember what an old college profesor used to say ‘statistics are like bikinis: what they reveal is interesting but what they conceal is vital.’ But I’m going to keep running hoping to defy statistics plus I want to look good in a bikini."