As you all know by now, Chris has embarked on a remarkable journey. We are all fortunate to be along for the ride. Deirdre has asked me to write a guest blog for the penultimate day on his cross country bike ride. My name is Don Coughlan and I have been a friend of Chris for the last ten years. We share a lot of the same interests and I hope this admission cannot be used against me in a court of law! We met on a golf course and connected shortly thereafter. We have shared a great many enjoyable experiences with mutual friends and Deirdre and Michelle have only been able to avoid us for so long!
Chris’ journey is not a lot different than the rest of ours. They all start out pretty much the same. 12-15 hours of labour, delivery, a quick wash up, a spank or two on the ass, and a loud scream—followed by utterings such as ‘isn’t he/she cute’ or ‘isn’t he/she adorable’. I know it’s a stretch but I have delivered a few babies in my training and that’s pretty much it. Tough to imagine saying those things about Chris now, but, trust me, they probably did.
We all know the ending and it’s pretty much the same. A few close friends and relatives get together for a ‘celebration of life’, accompanied by the oft heard utterances ‘wasn’t he/she the best’ or ‘he/she will be missed’.
I never quite got that ‘celebration of life’ thing. Isn’t that what we do when we live? That part of our life between the start and end is our incredible journey. Chris has always got that and that is why his life has been a full and rich one and has added so much to the lives of those around him.
There are a lot of miles and days left in our journey with Chris. He will kick cancer’s butt and it will soon know that it picked the wrong fight. How can I be so sure? I am a surgical oncologist and a Stage 4D cancer survivor of over 35 years. I’ve seen a lot if these battles and I have a little insight into who generally wins. It’s a no brainer, Chris has this covered.
I get Chris. We are a lot alike. (Again, some legal advice here would be appreciated. Is this statement admissible?). Our journeys have never been straight, sometimes due to external forces such as illness and the such, but more often because the crooked road and the one less travelled is the one we chose to follow. How we journey alone or together through life is, for the most part, a matter of our own choosing.
We always have choices. The grassy road or the paved road. Lawrence Park Dinor (no spell check required!) or McDonald’s. The guy on the park bench by himself or the person behind a microphone with several listening. Chris has always got it. In an interesting life and journey those choices are simple ones. If you haven’t had a chance to sit and talk with Chris about his life (sounds like an impossible reality!), you cannot begin to fathom just how much he has enjoyed every up and down, every travel, every friend and everyone in his extended family.
That is an incredible journey and one I have had the privilege of being a part of for the last ten years. I am so thankful. I’ve got your back brother. You are a beauty and definitely an original and so has your journey across America and through life. Once you are out of that ******* saddle in another day, life and your journey continues. Your friends, family and I cannot wait. I’ll catch you on the corner at the end of the town square, dressed in pink (inside joke). Don’t go straight through or you’ll miss me.
To you, Deirdre, family, and friends, I’ll see you soon. Let’s enjoy the ride together.