With A Little Help From My Friends

When I stop and think about it, I'm a lucky guy. My friends have stood next to me whenever I have needed them.

We've been through good times and bad times, but this has been the toughest time. And they've been there, every second.

Like my friend, Sara Just:

I wish I could find a way to make him laugh.

To those of you who only know Leroy's wit from his writing in this blog, you are missing out on one of the best parts: the great big belly laugh. When we worked together for more than a decade, his laughter filled the newsroom often — breaking up a somber discussion with gallows humor, or just losing it over something silly as sleep deprivation set in. Leroy appreciates a good laugh like no one else I know.

But how do you cheer somebody up who is facing what Leroy is facing? Pain. Limitation. There is little to laugh about here. Whether or not to bring in hospice care is not exactly a knee slapper.

I brought him a set of DVDs recently - a really funny TV series I thought he'd enjoy and knew he had not seen. Last I checked, they remained in their wrapping.

He has asked many times that his friends not dwell on the cancer, and instead distract him from it with anything we can. From the beginning he has said, "Act normal." So I try.

I cover the usual ground of our shared interests. But it often feels wrong or insensitive to talk about things he cannot participate in. The new movie he cannot go to the theater to see. The vacation I'm taking that he cannot — there is no vacation for him now.

I find myself talking about the news, but I hesitate, thinking that these are the very stories that, if things were different, he would be covering. He should be covering. I try to tell him amusing anecdotes about my kids, who adore him, and my work, and our mutual friends. I want him to share the humor in these stories, to offer his advice and complain like he used to if I do not take it.

I offer him my friendship and I listen. And I talk and I try to distract him and I try to "act normal."

But I'd really like to make him laugh. It used to be easy.

—Sara Just

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Leroy --
Leroy --
Your blog is very well-rounded. You are bringing in other voices. As someone once said to me: "I like all the players at the table." But "players" may not be the right word.

Sent by Leslie | 7:37 AM | 8-6-2008

I would like to know the anwser to that question as well. I have been reading this blog for a long time but have never wrote anything. My husband has Stage 4 Lung caner. (non-smoker just lucky) We have been on this ride going into our 5 year. As you can quess it is not getting any better. I like Sara's comments and feel much the same. What do you do? What now? How do you make him laugh? Thanks Karen W. Oldsmar FL

Sent by Karen Watson | 7:41 AM | 8-6-2008

Some days laughter escapes us all. Leroy is lucky to have a friend like Sara. It is so strange to learn about "the other side" of cancer. The side that comes from friends and loved ones who are dealing with this disease. It is easy to forget that they are victims as well.

Tammy Valley

Sent by Tammy Valley | 7:42 AM | 8-6-2008

Sara, I think your post says so many things that us the caregiver or friend would like to be able to do. Knowing that just "being" there is enough is not "enough" for us, that we want to do so much more in a situation that will not allow us to. It was nice to see a post on how just friends standing by feel and how hard it is to just be "normal."

Sent by Ann | 7:43 AM | 8-6-2008

Thank you Sara. The fact that you are there to do what you can is enough! Leroy and Laurie know this. Trying to "act normal" is very awkward at best but this is ok too. Normalcy for a moment or two is a respite from reality and that is good.

Friends like you remind us that it is the good people in our lives that make this journey worth it.

Sent by Al Cato | 7:44 AM | 8-6-2008

Dear Leroy, Laurie and Friends

Friends help define us. Friends give us purpose. I am missing a close friend this year because life has spun her a different road for while, hopefully not forever. I am on a different path, marriage. I am planning my wedding and would love to talk to my friend about it. It seems as though we too busy to connect.

Friends, normalcy, transition all what life brings to us. Keep your friends close, share, allow them to bolster the conversation. Laugh when you can. Be with them in the moment. If the moment because too much, be honest and tell them so.

Sent by Sue Chap | 7:47 AM | 8-6-2008

Leroy,
You are a lucky man. Someone once told me you can count your true friends on one hand. I believe that. Those are the ones that will stop whatever they are doing and help you. You have lots of people in your life, but there are few that you can really count on. When you need them the most, your friends will surround you.
I have been blessed with a handful myself. One of Neil's friends just recently said "thank you" for taking good care of her friend and that meant the world to me. So few have said that to me and until she said it, I had no idea what I was missing. It made me feel so good that I also said thank you to his best friend, again, for being there for him and now for me.
So, Sara and all of Leroy's friends, thank you for being there for him. It gives me comfort to know he has his friends by his side sharing his journey.
God's peace to you, Laurie, your friends and this blogger family!

Sent by Laurie Hirth | 7:49 AM | 8-6-2008

Thank you, Sara Just. You're right, "easy" just is a memory for many with metastatic cancer.

Katie from California

Sent by Kate | 7:51 AM | 8-6-2008

Dear Leroy...

Both Sara and Laurie have mentioned your "belly laugh" which they long to hear again...having followed your blog faithfully, and having gotten to know you through your writing, I realize that I barely know the wonderful, humorous, person of strength that you are, and only wish that I too had the opportunity to know you personally. I want to hear your "belly laugh" too!

Sent by Retha | 8:00 AM | 8-6-2008

Sara,
There is noting else you can do. Just be there for Leroy and Laurie. Love them both. Cancer hurts everyone. Hug him and love him that's all we can do.

Sent by Aurella | 8:01 AM | 8-6-2008

Thank you Sara for taking the time to post. Your comment "I wish I could find a way to make him laugh" really hits home for me. My husband has lost his beautiful simle. He has also lost the ability to make others smile. When people used to ask me the secret to a successful 39 year marriage I used to tell them.........."He makes me laugh every day" Cancer has taken that away. It is all so very sad. All that is left now are prayers........lots and lots of prayers through this very rough time.

To my dear Leroy...............I pray that you stay pain free and comfortable. God bless Laurie and your support team.

Sent by sasha | 8:05 AM | 8-6-2008

Leroy,
You are a very lucky man to have good friends. It is a true test in times such as these. As difficult as it is for them to see you in pain and to not be able to be as you once were, it means everything to a person when the friends come around anyway. I am glad you are letting them help you write the blog so that we may see a side of you that we otherwise would not. God bless.

Kathie

Sent by Kathie | 8:08 AM | 8-6-2008

Hello, Sara

The thought occurs to me that Leroy may be past laughing and past distracting. I just don't know.

When we die there is a kind of trajectory and there are many little and some big changes along the way. Sometimes they happen very fast.

To some extent, Leroy is probably "rising to the occasion" when he writes his blog.

If you guys are close and he isn't laughing or able to be distracted, it could mean he is disconnecting and his world is shrinking. It is very normal for this to happen.

I think sometimes just being present to hold a hand and let someone know he isn't alone is very important. I know Laurie will do this, but maybe she could use some help since it becomes a 24/7 kind of thing.

If I'm a little ahead of where Leroy is, I apologize.

Blessings for you, Leroy, Laurie and everyone who is close to him.

Sent by Diana Kitch | 8:09 AM | 8-6-2008

Help make you laugh? I suspect you will get many jokes. And I will not :-( be able to contribute. I find so much funny and love to laugh, but always at what other people say.
However, by the sound of your friend Sara, you have good people around you. Very good. And I am so happy that they are helping you continue now with the blog which keeps us in touch.
It is NOT funny, but true, everyday, this blog gives me a sense of community and love, and that leaves me smiling big time!
Prayers,
Wanda Amorose

Sent by Wanda Amorose | 8:10 AM | 8-6-2008

Thanks Sara for the wonderful post. I have often said that I think it is harder for my family and friends than for myself. I am often overwhelmed with guilt for the pain I cause them.

This is a rocky road but I know we all hope that Leroy can find relief from the pain. Peace

Sent by Dona | 8:11 AM | 8-6-2008

Today this blog really spoke to me. Isn't it what My Cancer is all about. How do individually deal with our loved ones when the end is getting closer. What does Leroy want? For his friends to act normal.

Sent by Jacqueline Roose | 8:24 AM | 8-6-2008

Leroy, I know these times are hard. I can also relate so much to what Sara is saying. I have watched my husband who was always so full of life and always laughing and made others laugh deal with the same issues you are dealing with now. My husband had many wonderful friends like you Leroy that helped him get through the bad times and were always there for him whether by phone calls or visits in person. I think of them as special angels.

Leroy and Laurie, I wish I could wrap my arms around both of you. My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with you both.

Sara, thank you for shareing. I know how you feel. And thank you also for being there for Leroy. It was so good to open the blog today and see posting.

Sent by dorothy in oregon | 8:36 AM | 8-6-2008

I don't know what to say. For me, Leroy is the leader on a journey I don't want to take. I'm with him, behind him, but will follow in his footsteps. I have not thought about my dear friends who can still support me but at some point will want what you want - to make it better for me - even when they cannot. I suspect Leroy is comforted by your mere presence and the love you have for him. What better gift to give than love and understanding. You sound like a great and dear friend.

Sent by kim | 8:46 AM | 8-6-2008

Sarah and Leroy,

Whether we're patients or caregivers, we can all see ourselves in your words, which are sad but beautiful, since they paint the picture of friendship in it's purest form. Thanks so much for sharing these personal thoughts. Thoughts and prayers to all of you at this time!

Sent by Amy in NJ | 8:48 AM | 8-6-2008

You know how many seconds a year has?

Twelve.. HAHAHAHAHA Did you laugh, Leroy? If you didn't, that's okay.. Just so you are back with us today....

Sent by Patsy Elmore | 9:02 AM | 8-6-2008

AS I continue to regress or progress in this disease, the one thing I hate the most is being asked numerous times daily how Im doing. I know everyone is concerned and wants to know but it would sure be nice if somehow I didnt have to explain everything a dozen times a day. This didease has stripped me of a lot of things but the one thing Ive tried to hang on to is my sense of humor.I still enjoy a good laugh or an oppertunity to spend time with friends or family when we speak of things other than my cancer and how its affecting my life. I hate getting depressed about it knowing that the time will come when I will no longer enjoy the quality of life that I have had in the past and to a degree now. I admire everything you have done with this blog by trying to keep it on the bright side.I read it daily. God has blessed my life in so many ways that I cant begin to count, everything from bringing my family closer to waking up emotions and learning how to be sensitive to other peoples feelings.You have been an inspiration to me for the past 16 months and I know you will continue to be in the future. May God richly bless you and your family. I continue to pray for you daily.

Sent by Sam Cason | 9:04 AM | 8-6-2008

Dude, there are two things in the world that a person can never have too much of - love and friends. And as you know, you're one blessed guy in both areas.

We can empathsize with how you feel, Sara.

I wish you peace.

Sent by Joyce in FL | 9:15 AM | 8-6-2008

Leroy, You know, you are so so fortunate in having people who love you so much. Those of us out here who cry for you, who pray for you, who send good thoughts and wishes every day do it because of the persona we know through this blog. Sara Just is YOUR FRIEND and she is trying her best and she is giving you her love; Laurie is the other half of you and she is hurting for you and with you and giving you her love - you are some special person to have us out here who you are sharing your life with and those who know you and adore and love you. G-d bless you and give you strength and I do hope that he watches over you.
Love, Jan

Sent by Janice Goldberg White | 9:18 AM | 8-6-2008

Hey there Leroy. I know the feeling of thinking to yourself "I am sick of feeling sick". I truly believe with all my heart life continues and goes on forever. Rest my friend. Let the world go by. You have a much deeper sense of importance. Hugs.

Sent by Carolyn | 9:19 AM | 8-6-2008

It seems 11 months after my son's passing that what to say is coming easier now. Except he is not here. Besides talking about how much I loved him or asking what can I do to make him feel more comfortable I wish I would have talked about fond memories I had with him, about how he changed my life, helped me loosen up, to goof around, to laugh at myself. In 26 days it will be a whole year since he has passed. Memories of his final month of life are pouring back like they were yesterday and the pain is sometimes too much to bear. But we move forward. Acting like everything is ok. Trying to be "normal" like everyone else. Trying to absorb the complaints some folks have about things that are really not important. Some days I have all I can do not to scream and say IT DOESN'T MATTER!!! Really.

My advice to you Sara is just be yourself. Sit quietly with Leroy. Hold his hand. Look him in the eyes. Tell him you love him. Talk to him about memories you have of him, good or sad. Just let him rest with your presence.

What I wouldn't give for one more day...

God bless you Leroy, Laurie and Sara.

Judy

Sent by Judy Voller | 9:25 AM | 8-6-2008

Dear Leroy...the note from your friend: what a great accolade. The words from an old song echo in my mind...How lovely to be loved by you.

You are so loved, even by folks who have never heard the laugh or shared
"in person" time with you.

Peggy

Sent by Peggy | 9:33 AM | 8-6-2008

Dear Leroy,

You have a wonderful friend in Sara. It was a joy to read what she wrote about you. I know you have made me laugh and cry with your blog.

Sending you and Laurie lots of prayers and good thoughts.

Sent by barbara j | 9:37 AM | 8-6-2008

I can't think of a thing to add to your beautiful entry on the blog today.
What do you say when there is nothing that can be said? Somethings, like Leroy's illness,take goodness away-- damage the spirit as much as the body. Being there is all we can do, even though it doesn't feel nearly enough. When my mother was ill, I would have a dream that I kidnapped her, and took her away from cancer. I loved that dream.

Sent by townie | 9:39 AM | 8-6-2008

Thank God for friends!

Sent by Bettty O'Connor | 9:39 AM | 8-6-2008

Good morning Leroy, Laurie & Sara.
Thank you for being right here.

In peace...

Sent by Joan S. | 9:44 AM | 8-6-2008

Thank God for friends. You sound like a good one..

Sent by DiAnn | 9:46 AM | 8-6-2008

As a person in the cancer club, we do find ourselves caretaking our family and friends. Telling them to act normal so we don't add the stress and fear we are feeling. The brave face on the outside and the fear and tears hiding behind the fascade. I think at least for myself, it is the only way we can control a small fraction of our lives where the cancer has taken over so much of it. The cancer robs of us of the simple things and yet through our pain and fear we the cancer club will do anything to spare pain on our family who will love so much.
I am sure Leroy really would love to laugh, watch the DVD's and just feel normal for a while. Yet putting on the happy face and caretaking our love ones takes so much energy. Do you remember the old Smokey Robinson song "tears of a clown'? I think it is our anthem.

Sent by Miriam | 9:54 AM | 8-6-2008

Dear Judy Voller,
This will be the month from hell, for you, but, G-d willing, life will become more normal in time. A friend of mine who lost her daughter told me that one day she discovered that she WOULD survive, she WOULD laugh, she WOULD experience joy again; her life would be changed forevermore and there DEFINITELY would be moments; - but life does go on. Take care and G-d bless you.

Jan

Sent by Janice Goldberg White | 10:14 AM | 8-6-2008

I am so glad to see everyone here again this morning. Sara - your words resonate with me and comfort me, just as our blog family does, because you know and understand the precipice on which we walk. A faithful, loving friend is worth more than any treasure.

Sent by Tina from Alton, IL | 10:22 AM | 8-6-2008

Dear Sara (and Leroy and Laurie), Thank
you for writing about the real reality of
experiencing life when someone is suffering. When my own mother was in the
last stages of copd and dying, I had the
best gift of talking to her as I could see she was on her journey. I could not go with her or stop the journey. I told her the good things about her (and after her death, I realize everyday there were more good and great ways that she had, that I did no know prior to her death. What a journey life is, and my heart and love extend to all of you and Leroy as the journey continues. Peace, Diane

Sent by Diane | 10:24 AM | 8-6-2008

Hi Leroy:
I think it's easy to understand why someone like you (exactly like you!) inspires such loyalty and respect from his friends. Sara is not only sensitive and articulate but she seems to be doing what she can in a tough, tough situation. I've seen lots of cases where 'friends' stop coming around just because they "don't know what to say" or the visits are depressing or they afraid they will be reminded of the fragility of life and their own mortality. Thank God that people like Sarah (and Laurie) and I'll bet lots of other friends have risen above that awkwardness to give you their full support. Indeed, we all need somebody to lean on (gee, I hope you like music!) Thinking of you with great compassion and admiration...

Nancy from Canada

Sent by Nancy from Canada | 10:37 AM | 8-6-2008

Thank you Sara for taking time to write those wonderful comments. Leroy is lucky to have you as his friend. You and Laurie are a blessing to him. Just take as good a care of him as you both can and leave the rest in God's hands. Love and Peace

Sent by Teresa in WV | 10:40 AM | 8-6-2008

Sara, Thank you for articulating the difficulty of "acting normal" in the presence of someone you love who is not able to live the life he lived before. It is so hard. The abiding, the being there counts more than the specifics, at least it has for me in my hardest times.

Sent by Victoria Hendricks | 10:43 AM | 8-6-2008

Dear Sara,
Though Leroy may not be able to laugh in the way you wish, maybe you can still bring a smile occasionally by reminiscing about some of the events that produced those belly laughs in the past? He's right -- he is so very lucky to have a friend like you. And you are probably doing all you can now by sitting by his side, listening when he wants to talk, maybe holding a hand, and letting the love shine out of your eyes. I wouldn't worry much about "acting Normal" -- it's the love that counts.

Leroy - We missed you yesterday! I hope today is a restful, pain free day for you.I'm holding you in my heart today and always.

Sent by Doris | 10:52 AM | 8-6-2008

So beautiful! That's what friends are for. I lost my best friend and next door neighbor to cancer in April. I miss her. I'm so pleased that I could introduce her to your blog in the early days. She received great comfort in knowing that someone felt the same way she did about the day to day challenges with cancer. Thank you Leroy. You have been such an encouragement and help to so many.

Sent by Sue Feemster | 11:00 AM | 8-6-2008

Sara you are doing all the right things..Iehave had CC for 5 years and tried to think of anything else you could do for leroy...but I couldnt. You're a good friend...just be there...sue....maybe you could read him some jokes from a good joke book...just a thought.

Sent by sue | 11:00 AM | 8-6-2008

I am trying to think of a good joke, but all the ones I know probably won't get past the editors. Maybe this one...

Why did the chicken cross the road?

to get to the other slide!!!

They do say laughter is the best medicine. I am sure it is the cheapest anyway (especially nowadays).

Sent by Sandra from Ohio | 11:09 AM | 8-6-2008

Dear Leroy's blog friends,

Let's see if we can make Leroy laugh! Here's a start:
Wish I could think so quickly...
A man boarded a plane with 6 kids. After they got settled in their seats a woman sitting across the aisle from him leaned over to him and asked, "ARE ALL OF THOSE KIDS YOURS?" He replied, "No, I work for a condom company. These are customer complaints." :)

Have a good day! Karin Currie

Sent by Karin Currie | 11:10 AM | 8-6-2008

Leroy and Sara, Ah! To laugh, seems a simple thing, but in this world it only comes and goes. Sometimes it goes away for a very long time. People tell me I laugh like the dog in "Boris and Natascha", and I guess I do, or did. Cancer takes from you the things that make you normal, so how can you be normal? How do your friends overlook the 800 pound Gorilla in the room. This is difficult for everyone, most for the patient. Sara, you are a treasure. Keep trying to make him laugh; there are not as many good belly laughs left. It hurts so deeply to see these things, keep trying.

Thoughts, Stan

Sent by Stan Wozniak | 11:15 AM | 8-6-2008

Thank you Leroy for your blog. I think the most important part of life are the relationships we have with our friends and family. I am glad you have such good friends.

Karen

Sent by Karen | 11:15 AM | 8-6-2008

Sara, from your description I could almost here Leroy's laugh - the type of laugh that is infectious and gets everybody laughing even harder. I'm sure his friends miss that laugh and would do anything to bring it back.
You are fortunate in your friends, Leroy.

Sent by Marcia | 11:17 AM | 8-6-2008

First...To Judy Voller,
Your response moved me. I feel the pain in your words. October will make it 2 years that my partner Melody died. I went through that. Melody and I talked about everything. We didn't leave any stone unturned. The thing we kept to ourselves (or tried to shelter each other from) was how the cancer was affecting us mentally. We would let it out every now and then but it wasn't a constant source of conversation. My first year after her death was the hardest and it was this blog that made me go through the gambit of emotions that I'm going through now and that has produced healing and peace. It gets easier...but its ok to loose it every now and again. Melody's birthday is 8 days away...I'll be loosing it! Probably go golfing with the clubs she bought me!

Thank you Sara for sharing. As the road becomes more difficult for Laurie and Leroy to sustain emotional strength and stability, more friends and family like you will be needed. It is in this time Leroy discovers the true character of the people he holds dear. Melody and I found out that her family didn't have much character and really couldn't be bothered. It was the support of her co-workers, her friends, and my wonderful family that saw her and I through the time she had cancer. I think that was her one great sadness. That her family hardly did anything and that it was outsiders that did the most. Me?...I was just glad to have help from people who wanted to help. I am still grateful to those people.

Leroy...I love you my friend. Thank you for your selflessness for the last 2+ years. You have helped me in so many ways. Peace and well wishes abound all around you. Soak in their presence!

Sent by Michael (Lifegiver Survivor) Chicago | 11:17 AM | 8-6-2008

"I offer him my friendship and I listen" - that is enough!!!! Beautiful words.

Sent by Deb from Michigan | 11:20 AM | 8-6-2008

Bless you, Sara.... you are giving Leroy the best that any of us has to offer... ourselves. You are there for him, and that is what really matters. Thank you for sharing some of Leroy with us (although I think I have always had the perception of Leroy as one humerous guy, with a BIG belly laugh) and thank you for being there for him.

Sent by Betty Obst | 11:20 AM | 8-6-2008

Good morning Leroy, Laurie and Sara,
It's a well known fact that the only patient you can make laugh is the one who has just had major stomach surgery. But, in the case of a dear friend of mine, we all knew that she had an excellent chance to recover and resume a modicum of her previous life. She could still giggle. But humor fades when there's not a good prognosis. I guess we need to content ourselves with a smile and the intimacy of good conversation. PS. I should add we were not intentionally trying to make her laugh. I wish you all peace and a day without pain.

Sent by Sharon | 11:29 AM | 8-6-2008

Leroy--my friends have been a saving grace. I could not do this without them. It sounds like you are surrounded by wonderful friends.

At the beginning of this year, you blogged about the chance to 'run away.' That post kept swirling in my head, and I wanted to share the results of that inspiration with you. It's been years since I wrote poetry for any eyes but my own--but I wanted to share this part of my voice with you:
---------------------
MY TIME
6:00 a.m. to 6:05--
five minutes, just for me.
Five minutes to run away, drift away--
be any place in the world but here.
Five minutes
before Madison kisses me awake,
before Casey brings me the tennis ball.
My time, alone in my head and my heart,
gathering myself to face another treatment
and another day.
Five minutes
without work,
without pressure,
without Xeloda or Kytril or radiation.
Five minutes between the first alarm
and the snooze button--my time.
At 6:06 a.m.
I will still have cancer,
but 6:00 a.m. to 6:05 a.m. are all mine.
---------------
May your friends and family continue to surround you, Leroy.

Sent by Pat Steer | 12:04 PM | 8-6-2008

Dear Leroy~

My father passed away from the big "C" several years ago and despite the unavoidable sad times, the humor still found it's way into the picture.

Like the time he was meeting two of his night shift nurses...Ella and Sam. So, they came in and said something like, "Hi Tom", I'm Ella...bla bla bla...and this is Sam. Without missing a beat, my Dad replied, "Samonella? that doesn't sound too good."
Ha, ha...get it? sam and ella? Corny, but a true story...and I still laugh about it.

I miss him, but I know he's out there somewhere. a few nights after my father passed away, my husband dreamed he saw my dad sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon smiling. When I told my Mom about it, she cried happy tears because, (though my husband nor myself ever knew it) I guess one of the things my Dad wished he had done before he died was to see the grand canyon. I like to think he's seen it now...walked along it's very edges and soared over it like a free bird.

I'm not religious, but I believe our love and energy goes on. Hope you and yours are filled with the deepest sense of comfort and faith in the process of life and spirit.

Sent by Tammy | 12:17 PM | 8-6-2008

Dear Leroy,

As your dear friend Sara shares so eloquently, you inspire love, loyalty, devotion, friendship, affection, courage, humor, thoughtfulness, intuition, perspective, intelligence, and more love-Love-LOVE. What a GIFT you are to those who are blessed in knowing you; whether having enjoyed a long, close relationship with you through "real life" and belly laughter; or in our case, on this blog, through your committment to your daily writing and infusions of wit and wisdom and depths of perception. Oh, how we do love you, Leroy ~ Our hearts are ever-present with you and Laurie and your close friends and family... You enrich and enlighten us through your sharing.

To those in Leory's community who are also walking a heartbreaking path of their own ~ May you/we ALL stumble upon peace and love, today and always.

In friendship and love and with ever-expanding awe and appreciation,

Kim Forester

Sent by Kim Forester | 12:20 PM | 8-6-2008

Sara you are a true friend. Your words, what a loving tribute.In sickness and in death, there are no easy answers except to be your authentic self with the ones you love. Love to Leroy and Laurie from Sherri in Texas.

Sent by Sherri Eggleston | 12:31 PM | 8-6-2008

There is laughter in the soul right along with the love. Leroy has it, feels it, maybe just won't express it the same way sometimes. Keep on being the person you always were with him. Just be there. He knows you (and your history with him) and feels your full "persona". Love to all of Leroy's family and friends, both paper and virtual.

Sent by Lucy Groh | 12:37 PM | 8-6-2008

Thanks to all of our friends!

Where does a polar bear keep his money?

In a snow bank!

Sent by Kristin | 12:45 PM | 8-6-2008

Thank God for family and friends. Just your presence is enough at this time. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
Special hugs, Carol

Sent by carol | 12:52 PM | 8-6-2008

BEAUTIFULLY SAID and I can't help but think how very lucky Sara and the others were to have worked with you Leroy, during those years. You give us a small hint of what a great guy and human being you are in this journey of ours with cancer, but oh, to have worked with you and known you in your Prime! How wonderful!
Now that I look back, my working years, productive, healthy, fun loving years were my happiest! Do or DID we possibly realize that when we all used to say at the end of each work week, "TGIF"? We let so many precious memories pass us by.

Sent by J C R | 12:53 PM | 8-6-2008

Dude:

I have to agree with Joyce from Florida, and not just because she uses "dude" as her salutation too. I would add one thing to the list: pizza.

You can never have too much love, too many friends or too much pizza.

Hope your day is easier than the hard ones.

Peggy C.

Sent by Peggy Carey | 1:01 PM | 8-6-2008

Micheal, Lifegiver Survivor from Chicago, I can't think of a thing to add to your observations. Poor Judy Voller is going to have a very bad month. My heart goes out to her. The same to you with your Melody's birthday coming up.

My husband has been gone 3 years now. Day to day living definitely gets easier but it's the anniversaries and the birthdays that are still very hard. Yes, Judy, life goes on but it will never be the same. This morning I was reading the paper with my coffee, sitting on my deck over my beautiful lake and said to Pat (I still talk to him) that it's just not as wonderful, as picture perfect, as serene as it used to be. Life is just not as fun.

Sara, thank you for sharing today. It is our friends who help us get through all of this; I hope your good friends with Laurie too.

Leroy, I'm sure you already know what a blessed, lucky man you are. You're surrounded by some incredible people. That's very telling--you are an incredible man yourself.

Hugs and prayers.

Sent by Kathy B. from Michigan | 1:03 PM | 8-6-2008

Dear Sara and Leroy,

Hey you two. Thanks so much! Sara you are the best!

I have this dear friend who has had AIDS and Hepatitis C for 26 years now. It is now or never for her to try and get rid of the Hep C. so 5 months ago she started Interferon therapy. Except for going to the grocery store and other minor shopping she is basically homebound for a year. This is simply because she is repressing her immune system on top of a disease that destroys her immune system. So she must avoid as much contact with germs/infection as possible. She is doing so, so well. I call and stop by for long visits on a regular basis. She loves to hear about all the things I do in my life (and which she can not do now) because it helps her feel better by getting joy from what hearing what I and her other friends are doing with our lives. So I am just myself with her letting her know what's going on in the outside world and what I'm doing for fun and with whom. I ask her a bit about how she is feeling and what's new with her treatment and the problems she is having with health insurance etc...But I can see by looking at her how she is doing. So I don't ask much and when she wants to talk about her health she let's me know. I trust she can take care of herself and will share with me about that when she needs to or wants help. The important thing we both know is she doesn't want any sympathy, pity or dwelling on the "woe is me stuff". She wants to talk about life. It helps to keep fresh in her mind what might still be out there for her and besides, talking about someones' normal life gets her thinking about lots of other things. She tries to focus on acceptance for all she has. Once, early on, when I was bitching about the problems in my life I started feeling guilty because my "problems" are nothing compared to hers. I shared this with her and started to apologize...she interupted me and said " there was no need to apologize, and not to compare my problems to her problems because everyones' problems are equally significant for where they are in space and time. We all need help with life no matter what our problems are." she also said: "besides, your sharing lets me help you with your problems and that makes me feel even more useful, and makes me feel better than you can imagine." WOW, what a person she is. Our friendship has grown immensely because she is teaching and helping me! I treasure every moment with this courageous person and hope so much she lives through this. But if she doesn't we have given each other the gift of ourselves when we had the opportunity. She will live in my heart forever.

We used to have lots of deep belly laughs too - fewer now - though. I knew Leroy that you had a big belly laugh and laughed much because your Bloggs are so fuuny and enjoyable. With Love -Graham from Sag Harbor.

Hey Peggy C. How's that? We just need to keep being ourselves. -Graham.

Sent by Graham G. Hawks | 1:04 PM | 8-6-2008

Dear Leroy, and Sara, Laurie and All,

This post brought a lump to my throat and reinforced what I always knew: Leroy, you are SPECIAL, always have been, and always will be. What so many of us have gleaned through your writing and watching you on the documentary is true. You have simply been a wonderful friend, a funny lover of life, a talented producer and reporter, a wonderful partner to Laurie, and a outstanding human being. I only wish more of us could have known you better, and through a different channel than the one that has been opened by this horrible illness. Having said that, you have come into all our lives for a reason, and I know I am so grateful to have just been privy to a smidgen of your experiences and your wonderful insights. That someone so wonderful has had as much pain and such an unfair blow from cancer is almost too much to bear, but there is injustice everywhere, and someday, maybe we all will understand. Right now, I don't, but we're all hanging on with you, wishing you only the best, as many moments of joy and peace and enjoyment as you can find, and love on top of love on top of love. Peace to you and all those who love you.

Sent by Connie | 1:51 PM | 8-6-2008

I remember having my really bad days during treatment when I could barely get out of bed. I felt so lonely, even when surrounded by loved ones. And yet, sometimes when it was just one person sitting bedside, even if they were quiet and staring off into space, it felt really good. I guess it's the steady, quiet presence of a special person that makes all the difference. I give thanks to those folks!

Sent by Beth S | 2:18 PM | 8-6-2008

Leroy,
You are a brave man surrounded by wonderful friends and family. They are there for you, but they know and you know that being there is just not enough.
This is a solitary journey we travel despite the presence of family and friends. I know this because I travel just behind you on this journey.
I compare it to my first childbirth. Everyone surrounded me with love and encouragement but in the end I had to endure the pain and do the work by myself. That was the day I grew up.
I'm sorry you couldn't have had the childbirth experience. Your body has a mind of its own and presents you with the most difficult, painful, challenge of your life.
Now we enter another unchartered territory. Difficult decisions must be made. We have lost control of our destiny and need assistance. Losing personal independence is a tough one.
You're a bit ahead of me but I know that my current situation can change at any moment.
Yes, this is a lonely journey but we have each other. Those of us with metastatic cancer do "get it" and share your experience, impatience, frustration, and fear.
One day at a time, my friend.
Sue Mersic

Sent by Sue Mersic | 2:25 PM | 8-6-2008

Thinking of you, Leroy and Laurie.

Sent by Jen | 2:43 PM | 8-6-2008

Dear Leroy, Laurie and Sara,

What wonderful posts today. I'm so glad you have such good friends, Leroy.

Karin Currie, I loved your joke.

Pat Steer. . . you should write poetry for more eyes than your own. . . that was touching!

Have a good night everyone.

~ Margo

Sent by Margo Gerber | 2:55 PM | 8-6-2008

As all of you caregivers and family and friends of cancer patients know, the hardest part is not being able to take away your loved one's suffering. My mom wanted us to act normal and cheerful, so that is what we tried to do. We were fortunate in that she also tried so hard to remain upbeat, and I know she was doing that for us (her family). I'm afraid that I will be more like the people who are angry and depressed. I don't understand how you could not be. But we knew how sad my Mom was on the inside to be leaving all of us, and it was just so crushing to not be able to take that sadness away from her. She hated the way she eventually couldn't do anything without assistance, when she was used to being the giver. We were happy to do everything we could for her, but like Sara wrote, what I really wanted to do was just make her feel like laughing again, the way she did before she had terminal cancer.

Leroy and Laurie, I wish I could take away your pain and suffering as well. You are in my thoughts and prayers as always.

Sent by Teresa from Missouri | 3:54 PM | 8-6-2008

To Leroy and Sara and Laurie and all:
First, I wish you all a little space to enjoy a moment of your day. Whether it is a few minutes to chat with an old friend, an hour to lose yourself in a good book, or just a few seconds to glance out a window and see the blur of bird wings passing through the trees.
These moments, large and small, get us through, and the smallest moments are most often the largest, when we look back on them.
Leroy, we've never met, but I know you, and I count you as a friend. Those who have actually spent physical time in your presence have - obviously - like Sara, been blessed by knowing you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting the rest of us get to know you, too.
Peace.

Sent by Susan Crawford | 4:47 PM | 8-6-2008

I wish everyone could read your words. Perhaps then cancer research would be moved up the chain of budget priorities!

Too many people are being lost to this disease; good people, productive people, people with many more good years ahead of them.

A huge investment in money and the dedication to get this disease beaten once and for all.

Sent by Scott S. | 5:26 PM | 8-6-2008

Sara,
Good friends are hard to find. You sound like a gem. Smile on.
Thinking of you all today,
Debra

Sent by Debra from New Hampshire | 5:30 PM | 8-6-2008

Leroy - your post today made me think of Khalil Gibran's words: "Friends are your needs answered."

So true. Love to you and all your family and friends.

Sent by Michelle | 5:32 PM | 8-6-2008

hey Leroy,you mean so much to all of us, these posts inspire us caregivers just as much as you brave souls in the real battle. Without putting to to much pressure on you, take care of yourself and family first, we will be ok, for a little while think of yourselves, we love hearing from you but understand if you have days you need to just worry about your own life and family. always , kenny williams

Sent by kenny williams | 6:21 PM | 8-6-2008

Just a word to the group: thanks for your kind words about today's blog entry - and more importantly, thank you for your support for Leroy and Laurie and for each other. I have been a 'lurker' to this group for quite some time and am just so moved by the compassion shared here. I've learned a lot from you. Thank you.

Sent by Sara Just | 6:23 PM | 8-6-2008

In tge end, my wife's smile while listening to beautiful music was all that mattered. It is the memory that is alive. It is the memory that fills a tremendous void-that hints at making me complete again.

Sent by Ned Lemon | 8:15 PM | 8-6-2008

Sara,
Thanks for being there for Leroy--may we all consider you as standing in for us also?
Kathy B., You sound so like me--My husband has been gone 16 months and, yes, I still talk to him also. It does get easier, at least making others believe I'm OK now. Most days I don't cry now...It won't bring him back and I know that it will upset the kids and grand-kids. So I am OK.
Judy Voller, You also hit home with your comment about "It doesn't matter".
I have co-workers who complain about their husband's snoring, etc. I also want to SCREAM--if they only knew what it is like to lay in a big bed, tossing and turning, with so much SILENCE around you.
Sasha, I wish I lived close enough to come and see you and just hug you. There is not much anyone can do to make it better, but I'm here, wishing I could.
Jane

Sent by Jane in AR | 8:17 PM | 8-6-2008

Dear Leroy, I have only been reading your blog for a few months,and it has been very helpful. My husband had rectal cancer with the first surgery June26th. There will be more. I guess what I really would like to know is....was all that you have been through made the extra time worth while? I am certain you will understand ny concern, as for my part,I would put him through just about anything to keep him, but you know the cost of extra time. With great admiration for all you have shared...Peggy

Sent by Peggy Vastine | 8:49 PM | 8-6-2008

Dear Leroy & Laurie,
I am unable to put into words how much both of you have helped me and my family
handle the ongoing battle of multiple
cancers within myself and my 4 year old
grand-daughter, except to say "THANK YOU" and "GOD BLESS".

Sent by DAN & KATIE with "BALLONS" from Frederick, Md. | 9:09 PM | 8-6-2008

I cried when I read Sara's letter. I lost my wife nine months ago after two and a half years of her suffering from this horrible disease. I wrote letters of this sort to myself while she was sick and I still do.

Sent by Stacey in Florida | 9:23 PM | 8-6-2008

Great poetry, great jokes, great friends. What would we do without our friends. Thanks Sara for taking care of Leroy and Laurie.

To Judy: Thoughts for you in this month.

Nikki

Sent by Nikki in Kansas | 10:13 PM | 8-6-2008

To Jill and Linda Warner - I've just caught up with your respective comments from earlier this week and wanted to say that I am holding each of you close, wishing you ease, as we sleep tonight and face the new day.

You are held in the love of this place.

Sent by Joan S. | 1:16 AM | 8-7-2008

About

Support comes from: