I have never felt so loved. You have no idea how big of a deal it is for me to say that. I truly FEEL loved. I have lived guarded and wary all of my life. As my sister, Karen, puts it, “We have experienced a lifetime of living on high alert.” But God has been storming the gates of my heart, insistent that I experience this great gift of love before I die. And I am – I truly am!
I’d like to introduce you to some of my family from whom this gift of love is flowing into my heart – like water out of a firehose!
It’s one thing to like me from afar. It’s another to have lived with me, fed me, fought with me, and done my laundry for the last 34 years. There is only one person in the world who has done this and has lived to talk about it (don’t ask about the others!). I wonder what stories she will tell when I’m gone? Maybe she’ll be the one to write the book!
My wife, Betsy, is a saint. A very attractive saint, but a saint, nonetheless. From the day all this craziness started, she has been with me in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and infusion rooms. In hotel rooms in strange cities, we have clung together, praying and waiting to hear test results. She has absorbed much too large a dose of my anger, fear, and depression, all the while insisting that I stay in this game until the buzzer sounds.
In sickness and health, she promised me a long time ago. She has kept that vow and then some. I don’t do “sick” well, you see. Fortunately, she does “love” incredibly well. Recent studies have shown that men with prostate cancer who are married to amazing women actually live longer. I think I’m going to be around for a long time!
They say that cancer is a family disease. I wish it weren’t, but it’s true. But this clan? Well, they are all rockstars in their own ways. Everyone processes grief differently. While they are in the midst of doing this hard work, they have each related to me individually and collectively in ways that have brought deep healing and love to my soul. Remarkable children, sons-in-laws, and grandchildren. A dear friend recently said, “I think many people secretly wish they were a Hague.” This makes me weep.
These five women support and sustain me. They hold me up in the midst of this great battle. In the past, my sisters and I haven’t always been close (family crap), but now we are bolted together. Even my older sister (off of my right shoulder above), who tried to kill me when I was a child, seems to have reformed herself. I still watch her carefully, though. I love these women deeply. They’re smiling in this picture, but if you come after me you are going to have to deal with them. They love me fiercely. We are family – at last. It’s a really big deal.
Finally, this is my sister, Mary, who gets a special mention. If you have been following my story for a while, you will remember that she saved my life by connecting me to an experimental radioactive drug called Zofigo a little while back. For the details, click the link below:
Mary is one of those people who loves you well by putting feet to her faith. To this day, I don’t know what all she did to get me into the clinical trial at Moffitt Cancer Center. I just know that when you get out of your car there, they don’t usually roll out a red carpet! Mary is a caring and problem solving Ninja. If you have a problem, you want her beside you. She’ll take care of it. How? You don’t need to know the details. She’s on it. Your life just got better. Mary was here.
“We are horribly afraid – but we are coming with you; or following you like the hounds.”
Thanks for letting me introduce you to my amazing family. I am a wealthy man. And deeply loved. Rich beyond measure, actually. Anyone who has family in their life who will “follow you like the hounds” through this sort of trouble can be nothing less.