We are nearing the two year mark of Sam’s cancer diagnosis. It has taken a serious toll on both of us, most of all Sam of course. As I’ve stated many times before, he has a positive attitude that I am sure helps keep him going. It is an attitude of gratitude. We were talking at breakfast yesterday about how he tries to keep in mind that he is dying and there by enjoying each day to its fullest. Not grouse about what he doesn’t have, but what he has been given. What some would think little things, but to him very important things. The fact that we are home, able to enjoy our precious grandchildren, finding that home on a lake at a great price, the ability to enjoy the rest of our life at a place we could only dream about before. He is still employed for a company that can be best described as his “family”. Still being valued both as an employee and a person, he takes that very seriously not wanting to let them down.
It is a miracle in its self that he is still with us. He has beaten the Mayo prognosis of three to six months, the Bronson ER docs of six months from October of last year, and he amazes his cancer doc every time she sees him. His biggest setback was the motorcycle accident in October. When that happened, a decision was made that he would sell the bike. It shocked Dr. Liepman when she found out Sam was Harley guy. “Where’s your pony tail and tattoos?” she asked. He definitely does not fit the stereo type. Never smoked or drank. (So why did he develop head and neck cancer?) Another mystery.
Sam has had a motorcycle since he was fourteen years old. He loves the feeling of freedom it gives him. The wind (and bugs) in his face, the thrill of speed with nothing around you, the overall sensation. When we met he had a Honda, when we married he bought a Yamaha and then after working the strike at James River, he bought a Harley Davidson with his extra money in 1986. Only three years into our marriage, I quickly learned about his love affair with Harleys. The pecking order was 1. Motorcycle 2. Theresa. When walking by the motorcycle, you had to clear it by at least three feet. You weren’t allowed to sit on or touch it either. And so it went, a Harley Soft Tail, Road King and Fat Bob over the 29 years of marriage we have shared.
When we had to move out to the Pacific Northwest in 2004, he made sure that his motorcycle was shipped out for him. While he was there for three months by himself, that Harley was his main source of joy. He would go out after work and look at neighborhoods, houses and best of all, ride through the Columbia River Gorge, the Coastal Mountains to the Pacific shore in Oregon. By the time I got out there he had a great site seeing trip for me. He has a collection of Harley T shirts that fills a whole dresser and two boxes and has managed to collect around fifty die cast models. When you thought of Sam Bond, you automatically thought about Harley Davidson. He always had custom pipes, so the neighbors knew when he left for work in the morning and I would always listen for the bike when it was time for him to come home.
Giving up the motorcycle is another transition that this hideous disease has brought into his life and the one that most troubles him. Who ever buys this bike will get a nice one, cared for by tender, loving hands and appreciated for the great piece of machinery that it is.
Live to ride and ride to live. Amen