Friday, July 27, 2012

And now he is my guiding light....

Well now... so let me get on with a little back up information on this last year I've had. It's been a rough one for my family and loved ones. My Dad passed away just four months ago. I still feel like it's a dream. It all started in January 2011, when he spent his birthday in the hospital after having a stroke. Albeit a so called mild stroke, it was a shocker to us all. However, he bounced back like a trooper. Then along came April and another one hit. He and my Mom spent my Mother's birthday in the hospital. This time things were much worse. The stroke really did a number on his motor skills and thinking power. My Dad had to relearn so many things. What an amazing person he was during this time (and my Mother too, who practically never left his side!). Through it all, my Dad became the rockstar of the rehab facility where he spent two long weeks. My parents, together, were seen with great admiration, as they remained a TEAM through every step and every challenge. Without getting into too much detail, they made it through with flying colors and my folks went home with hope and determination. Sometimes though, even all the best efforts and intentions, all the love, all the prayers and all the positive energy in the world still isn't enough. My Dad began to have more problems. It seemed like it was one thing after another. One misdiagnosis after another. A scramble to get to doctors here and there. And wow, I must say, my folks were taking it in stride and making the most of each challenge. But you can bet they were getting tired of it all....especially my Dad. You see.... my Dad, he was dying. He didn't have the energy to fight like he used to. The energy we were all used to. The energy that made us The Lyons Family. It was so confusing and heartbreaking to witness all of this. My parents were always so strong and always made it through the tough cards that life dealt. Feeling helpless really sucked. There were good days and there were bad. Then the bad days started coming more often. The doctor's couldn't make him better, nor could we. My Dad, in his infinite wisdom, must have known his time was near, because suddenly my folks got the bug to travel and we were all able to spend quality time together as a complete family. Time that not everyone gets to have when a loved one is close to dying, time that we will cherish forever. It's hard to say what my Dad was so intuitive about. He had been having some mystery health problems ever since he had suffered the strokes. A mass on his lung had been spotted. He had started radiation therapy. But it was not meant to be that he would get well. And just a few short months after their trip west, My Dad spent his very last conscious moment in the best place ever, he was at home with my Mom --the love of his life. I can only imagine that for my Dad and my Mom those moments must have felt like being wide awake in a bad dream. The worst dream ever. I remember hearing my Mom's voice when the plane landed that fateful Sunday. I had been working in Seattle. Time stood still as I listened. Our family was changed forever. All of us kids (and my Dad's closest friends and relatives) made a mad dash for home. We were all so shocked, so sad, and feeling the most unbearable pain in our hearts, but we knew ....we just knew it was his time to let go. He was finally better. He was now a true free spirit. Gone was all the suffering. Gosh...it's been such a long year. Finding light and staying positive has been the main goal for each and every day. And even though I hadn't planned on it, the bicycle has become the light. Riding and racing are like therapy to me. I think any avid cyclist feels this way and I have always said the same. But now I am devoted to pedaling for reasons that go well beyond fitness and stress relief. Truth be known, my Dad is the reason I became any type of athlete at all. I'm old enough that it took a Dad like mine to make sure that his daughter didn't miss out and was allowed to "play on the boys team" at at time when the girl's teams just didn't exist. He gave me wings to believe in myself as an athlete. He bought me my first road bike in the early eighties after I told him I didn't want to race BMX like my brothers. I will never forget how cool I thought I was when I put a "Moto Fox" sticker on that bike. Who would have guessed that it would take nearly twenty years before I ever realized my potential as a cyclist. I have so much to be grateful for. I have had opportunities of a lifetime. I have met people that have changed my life direction. I have met my best friends. I have learned to appreciate life so much more, simply because I ride. How is that possible? It's just a bike, right? I sure don't get it, but I don't really question it either. All I know is that my letter begins like this, "Dear Bicycle, I need you now more than ever...."

3 comments:

Thomas Smith said...

AWESOME Brenda! My day left 14yrs ago unexpectedly, and I started racing bikes that year, so I know what the bike means to you and me...everytime it's time to ride/race he's with me. Thanks for the blog! ;)

melanie larson said...

Beautiful, my beautiful friend!xoxo

Mom said...

I love you Brenda. You know your Dad is so proud of you.