A few weeks ago, in a brief email to the family, Jon mentioned that it had been a year since his diagnosis and surgery. I knew this because I had gone back and looked up the things I had written on my other blog at that time, and I took a brief moment to remember how terrifying it was to wait for news, and then how devastating the news was when it came.
The estimate, back then, was that Jon might have about a year and a half to live. It has been over a year, and he is going strong, with no new tumor growth since that which occurred shortly after the surgery. He was told back then that he would probably never be able to ride a motorcycle again, and he sold his Harley. A few weeks ago, he bought a new bike and has been riding on the weekends when he can. I asked him if, the next time I am in Tennessee, he would take me for a ride. I've never been on a bike, and I thought I might lose him without ever getting to share that with him. Now I will, and I can't wait.
My dad just wrote about a conversation he had with Jon recently, where they discussed Dad's aging and how it has affected him, and Dad assured Jon he would experience it all for himself when he reaches his eighties.
It's moments like that where I feel like a terrible sister, a bad person, because my first reaction is to say, "He won't make it that far, Dad, and you're kidding yourself if you think so." I am not the sort of person who can reach for miracles, who can let myself believe that things completely beyond statistical probability are possible. That doesn't mean I want him to die. I want him to live into and past his eighties. I want him to see his boys grow up and to bounce grandbabies on his knee. But I don't want to be sucker punched when that doesn't happen. And I don't want to ever be lulled into complacency again. If I truly believe he will live forever, I might not take the opportunities I can to be with him, thinking that there will be plenty of time.
It has been just over a year since I sat with him on a bench on a little street in Tennessee, telling him everything I needed to say, spilling my tears and love into his hands and seeing us both buoyed up by the telling of it. He is still my idol, still the man I look up to as the embodiment of kindness and strength. When I get on the back of that bike with him, I will know that I am in good hands, and I will throw my head back and scream for joy.