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August 13, 2011

On July 14th I was told I had stage 4 Mesothelioma, an incurable form of cancer that -as far as anyone knows- is caused only by asbestos exposure.

This journal will not be a daily diary, nor a documentation of the progress of my cancer and what I am doing about it, so much as it will be a collection of thoughts about birth, death, and everything in between. I see my current illness as only another path on my journey through life, and in that sense should be experienced and learned from just like any other adventure.

Don’t ask me why, but I am not afraid of death. I aways knew I was going to die someday and I still don’t know exactly when, so very little has actually changed in my life other than that my body isn’t what it used to be. I am still concerned with living in the present moment, and letting go of anger, worry, anxiety, fear, and doubt. I am still searching for the deepest meaning of love, and working to remove the barriers to living in that. I still get excited at an approaching storm, and marvel at the awesome beauty of nature. I still look forward to the many meaningful connections I experience with my friends and family, and find joy in what each of us have to teach each other. I still have no idea what exists beyond this physical life, but I have an unfaltering trust that the transition will be as natural as birth. So these are the themes that will encompass the bulk of my journal: love, truth, beauty, and spirit.

I won’t make any promises, but I will try to keep my entries fairly short and succinct because I know very few of us have much time for extracurricular reading assignments. And, of course, I will not be hurt or upset should you decide not to follow this journal.  I am doing this project primarily for my own sake: I love to write when I have time; and I feel a strong desire to document this journey … my journey back home to essence … as an exercise to help me remain focused on what is truly happening beneath the surface of my life right now.

During the last few weeks I have received many caring and heartfelt suggestions as to how I can deal with my cancer, or heal it even. I am sincerely moved by all the concern. I just want you to know that I will remain open to suggestions, but I am not going to be all that interested in spending much of my remaining days focused on this. I am at peace with my destiny, whatever this may turn out to be. I will continue to take good care of myself, as I always have, for the sake of my quality of life. But there is so much more I want to do with the rest of my days than spend countless hours trying to extend them.

So, welcome to my blog … feel free to peruse, or not. Your comments are not necessary, nor can I promise to respond to any you do post; but they will all be appreciated, I assure you.


20 Comments leave one →
  1. Matthew Schliesman permalink
    August 27, 2011 2:36 pm

    Dear Rick– I am seeing your blog and hearing this news for the first time today (8/27/11). I”m unsure what to say at this point, other than your extended family of cousins cares, and will offer support and good wishes as we are able to do.

    I have always admired your depth and sense of humor. I am certain these will serve you well in the challenges to come.

    All my best. –Matt

  2. Jodean Rousey Murdock permalink
    August 21, 2011 12:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing all of this with us. I don’t know what we will see when we leave this life, but if there is any goodness to this existence, Dancer will be anxiously awaiting your arrival to show you around. The world will be less without you. As my mother would say, you’re one of the good ones.


  3. Anna Rodriguez permalink
    August 20, 2011 10:50 pm

    Life is awesome as it unfolds each day! Thanks for sharing. It is fun to be a part of someone else’s deep thinking for a moment.

  4. Joseph LaMartina permalink
    August 17, 2011 7:44 am

    It sounds as if Mom may be channelin’ through you bro’. . .but that would lead me away from the depth of your own understanding!!

    You are going to make it quite difficult for me to ‘live’ with myself, whence the time may unfold for one Joseph Theodore, for if i decide to take the path of ‘fret’, and i Love You even more for that!! “Fret Not Thyself”.

    You are truly an Inspiration Rick.

  5. Diane Banner permalink
    August 14, 2011 4:47 pm

    Hey Rick, I wrote to your email instead of here on this blog site. Now I see how to do it here. Thank you for sharing your musings. What a gift you are to all of us who know you! You are lighting the way. With deep love and gratitude, Diane

  6. Judith permalink
    August 14, 2011 2:41 pm

    I absolutely cannot “back away from the computer and pretend I never received this blog notice”. Not when it has your name attached- your photo at the top- your thoughts and feelings. What a gift!
    Thanks, dear friend, for your awareness, your generosity, your willingness to invest in what you love. I will not only be supported, but nourished to do the same by connection with you.
    Onward, noble blogger!

  7. Marie LaMartina permalink
    August 14, 2011 12:49 pm

    I am looking forward to your blogs, Rick. You have always been an inspiration to me, my brother. It was your photos of flowers that caused me to look more closely at nature and feel it’s soothing power those many years ago when my “serious” adult life was just starting and my head was full of obligations and worries. Your home has always been a peaceful place for me to visit when I needed to get out of the rat race, and you sense of humor and accepting personality a comfort and a joy to me. I’ve learned so much from you growing up, and know that I will continue to learn from you as we all begin our journeys home. Love ya…Rie

  8. Jo Stothard permalink
    August 14, 2011 10:29 am

    Rick- I am so glad you decided to do this! Thank you for including me. I always look forward to hearing what you have to say or reading something that you have written……… are a very kind, insightful and gifted person!

  9. Susan permalink
    August 14, 2011 6:03 am

    “Of course I am happy here. Especially when I have no choice.” -Lama Tupchuk
    Isn’t life amazing?

    Check out this for some beauty in your day:


  10. Deb permalink
    August 13, 2011 9:23 pm

    I love you Rickla. You continue to be my teacher. Deb

  11. Loma permalink
    August 13, 2011 6:44 pm

    Thank you, Rick. Your openness and care help make me more vividly aware of my own precious life, right now, and what I “want to do with the rest of my days,” as you put it. Each of us is here for a limited span of time — some shorter, some longer, but everyone dies. It’s all too easy to ignore that fact, to distract myself from it, often with pretty meaningless time-fillers. How delicious and important to be aware of being here now, with these people, on this beloved planet.
    Thank you for the gift of your writing, your sensitivity, your caring, your presence. I’m happy and grateful to be able to share this journey with you.

  12. Joe Schwarte permalink
    August 13, 2011 5:25 pm

    Hey Rick,
    I can only hope that, faced with a tight spot such as you find yourself in, I can field it with such grace as you’re showing. You are a beacon to all, and an example of a thoughtful response to bad news. I hope this blog has a long run. Break a leg.
    p.s. driving through South Dakota, picked up a book about Sitting Bull; just getting started but it’s a good reminder of a way of life thoroughly tuned in to the rythyms of life and the good/bad that is a part of everything and personal integrity is sine qua non. You are it.

  13. Therese permalink
    August 13, 2011 3:05 pm

    Thank you for your willingness to share this journey with others. You will touch and teach many along the way. You are a beautiful soul Rick.

  14. Prudence permalink
    August 13, 2011 1:15 pm

    Thank you, Rick, for sharing your thoughts with a broad audience. Your writing has always been thoughtful and insightful, and I’ve always wanted more, more, more! Love to you on this journey, as always.

  15. Michael permalink
    August 13, 2011 12:00 pm

    Pre-diagnosis or post-diagnosis…. it is always a joy to share life’s journey with you. See you on the Road….Michael V-E

  16. Willow permalink
    August 13, 2011 11:09 am

    I would be honored if you would consider me as one of your “journey witnesses” or a Rick “roadie” if you prefer. Lisa (heretofore on this blog to be known as Willow – my trail name).

  17. Patti permalink
    August 13, 2011 10:10 am

    Thank you for sharing your journey, Rick. I am blown away by your honesty and insights and look forward to reading more. Much love to you and your family on this journey! I hope to be a part of your life as friend and neighbor.

  18. Mike laMartina permalink*
    August 13, 2011 9:57 am

    What more can I say about what you said and how you said it, brother Rick, except that you are truly my hero. Your gifts of art, music, love and humor will live far beyond you or me. In our relatively short span of existence what more can anyone ask?

  19. Lauren Hunt permalink
    August 13, 2011 9:42 am

    wonderful! I am honored to get a chance to share in your life this way. Thank you.

  20. Jane permalink
    August 13, 2011 9:40 am

    This is wonderful Rick, I will follow with you on your journey for good days and bad and I will love and hold you close to my heart. I so agree with you, about spending our days trying to extend them… We need to focus on enjoying them,like we do the soft rain this morning. I keep hearing people talk about ” the fear of death” and like you, see it much differently. None of us will get out of here alive. Rejoicing in each and everyday seems a better thought process. So Rick, I honor and appreciate your new blog and your willingness to allow us to follow your journey STRAIGHT ON for better or worse! I love you much, Jane

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