Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tom's Stone at Memorial Park

Tom's Stone has been placed at Memorial Park. Please visit it on your runs.

Love Theresa

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 22, 2007

Three years ago today I was at CCG working very closely with Rick and Craig. We were spending hours each day in meetings. It was a stressful time and I was pretty caught up in the office day-to-day crisis(es).

A few days earlier Tom had been complaining about having some headaches but mostly just being unable to focus. He said emails that should have taken a few minutes to write were taking 15 to 20 minutes. He could not find the letters on the key pad and when he did he forgot what he was trying to write.

Being a born and bred "lift yourself by the bootstraps" kind of person I determined that Tom was succumbing to the pressures at his work in a completely dramatic and inefficient way. If he would just face the problems head on and power through, things would be all right. (I have since completely rejected this philosophy).

Since he was unwilling to accept my advice I told him he might as well just go to see his doctor and get a second opinion. He did.

He called early afternoon to tell me Dr. Reubin had fit him in, examined him and immediately sent him to a neurologist who had performed a CAT scan and determined he had a golf ball-sized tumor on his brain. Back then we did not know what that meant. Ok, we knew it was it was not good but was it bad like "my arm hurts I better get the bone set" or was it bad like "there is no hope for my arm it needs to be amputated"?

In no way did we know that it meant cancer, chemo, radiation, Avastin injections and death in 570 days. We did not know it meant 18 months and a few days to learn, and fight, and love more than we ever had before.

Tom told me he was getting scheduled with a surgeon next week and going home to pick up some drugs. I went back to my meeting. A while later, through emails Craig found out Tom had a brain growth, kicked me out of the meeting, and sent me home. Then I figured out this might be serious.

We spent the weekend getting a will, power of attorney, medical power of attorney and living will. I got on all Tom's banks and investment accounts and verified his life insurance. Tom started his video diary.

I think about going back in the conference room so calmly, and conversations with doctors who would not say it was cancer, and research, and ICUs and all the times we just sat on the couch all cuddled up and I am so grateful for the 570 days we had.

And I would give my arm to do it all over again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Home Remodeling Blues

Tom was born to be a rock n roll player. He was in a band in high school and if I had a dime for every time he said "if I had a dime for every time we played that song we'd be rich", well I'd be rich.

Later in life he and a friend named Darren (I think) even wrote some songs. They were not half bad. By the time Tom and I got together he limited his playing to picking the acoustic and learning Christmas songs. Except once.

Michael, my brother had his first radio show and somehow the topic of a song about remodeling came up. My other brother Tommy wrote the lyrics, and Tom played, sang, and produced the song. The Home Remodeling Blues was born and even got played on the radio once or twice.

As you know, Tom was by no means an extrovert and had a very dry sense of humor. When you hear this though you will imagine an entirely different man. Sitting on the stool in a smokey bar just jammin'. And smilin'

Click here to listen.

(or cut and paste this link into a new browser window )


Monday, June 14, 2010

Big Tom's Trail

Dear Friends and Family,

About 10 months I approached the McDowell Mountain Parks with developing an idea to "Adopt a Trail" similar to roads that are adopted by folks. The park had never done this before, but were very open to the idea. The agreement was written up. I agreed to maintain the trail quarterly by picking up trash, and report any erosion which they would repair. They agreed to pick up the cost of the sign, and erect it.

What you see is the result. A mile of trail on the Sonroan Trail off of the Dixie Mine trail is now officially Big Tom's trail.

I share this with you for two reasons:
1. to share Tom's love.
2. to encourage you to adopt trails in your area. It is free, and a great way to honor someone, or just to help out the parks. If you live near the McDowells, I have a terrific point of contact who was critical in the success of keeping the wheels of government turning. Just let me know, and I'll put you in touch.

Love, Nicole

p.s. From Theresa: This is just the best thing. Tom is honored with care of a trail and I am so proud that his name is out there day and night. Thank you so very much Nic. I love you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Planning, shopping, and eating

Food. I'm not so good with food. Of course I don't like to be without it, and I can cook just fine. And actually I don't mind cooking. But what I don't like, or can't seem to get around to is planning and shopping. The idea of thinking about meals in the future, writing down a list, buying the ingredients and then cooking it all is huge.

I can plan just about anyone under a table with big huge projects involving contractors and large budgets and timelines but can't seem to get around this food thing.

This is not new. It is a characteristic (flaw if you must) that I have had since I left to go to college. Tom was not like that. He was fine planning and shopping and implementing but there was a catch. He wanted me to participate. I did not want to participate.

I did not want to decide on meals, I REALLY hated going to the grocery store. Then getting home in time to cook, EVEN with the love of my life, was not how I wanted to spend my time.

This was an area of conflict. I did not complain when we went to the store. I would not go to the store. Or if I did I would only buy five things (there is this deal I have with the number five I can go into another time).

If one person will not go to the store and her lack of participation is a deal breaker well then no one is cooking.

This all came back to me last night, when just for the fun of it I looked in my pantry: 1 box of stale Cheerios and some granola. Oatmeal & pasta. Broken crackers, a can of beans, and cornbread mix. And trail mix. Oh and pasta sauce.

Well a conservative might just be wondering what I fed my husband, and a liberal may be wondering how I could waste so much money eating out. Somehow though Tom was fed and we did not eat out all that often. I can't really remember what we ate but five nights a week, around 5 or 6 pm Tom would call and say, "Hey babe what are we doing for dinner?" A conversation would ensue an somehow between Tom and I, take out or cereal, smoothies or soup, we would eat.

Not much has changed in my cooking/eating patterns. The funny thing is, almost everyday, just for a millisecond, around 6 or 7 pm, as fast as the blink of an eye, my brain asks, "Why hasn't Tom called about dinner already?"

My shoulders slump, I take a deep breath, and then I decide on my own, take out, cereal, smoothie, or soup? It is not nearly as much fun alone.