A year ago this past Saturday was our “30 Years, 1 Wish” party. And Jake is no longer here.
I’ve been thinking about his absence a lot the past month or so, and I still am unable to really articulate my emotions.
- Do I feel sad? Yes.
- Do I feel angry? Yes.
- Do I wish I had done more? Of course.
Simply put, it’s almost impossible to explain what it feels like to have thrown a party, honoring Jake and his amazing courage and strength battling cancer and a year later, he’s not on this earth anymore. To have seen him stand up in front of almost 200 guests and say that we all were his reason for staying so strong, and now he’s not here to say anything at all. To know that the moment he stood up and accepted the microphone was one of his last chances to say hello and goodbye.
There just are no words to understand why we’re still here and why he had to go.
Today, Timmy and Jake’s family and friends celebrated Jake’s life by holding a golf tournament in Atlanta. The Jake Lyons Memorial “Cancer Sucks” Golf Classic. It would’ve been an annual event but Jake got so sick that they were only able to hold it once. Hopefully, this will truly be a yearly event to come together, remember Jake, and think of him in heaven laughing at everyone’s poor golf skills (and by everyone, I mainly mean Timmy because he’s no bueno).
Unfortunately, I seem to be the one who carries the memories of our party since Timmy’s memory was so fogged by the medications he was on last year. And that just makes me sadder. He remembers the general high of the night, but details really escape him. I remember everyone’s faces, everyone’s smiles and tears, and most of all, I remember the overwhelming feeling of gratitude I felt all night long.
We are still so incredibly, deeply, and intensely moved by the showing of love and financial support that our friends and family gave us and our charities that night. The support you all showed Jake, even if you didn’t know him, will never be forgotten. I know the Lyons family agrees wholeheartedly.
I’ve been busy with life lately in the best ways possible, and I’ve also begun the fun task of trying to expertly plan our upcoming trip to Italy (here’s the back story in case you forgot). With every stop I pin on the map, every restaurant or winery I note, every historical monument we must stop at, I feel a twinge of sadness. Because this is the trip of a lifetime and our friend’s lifetime is already over.
His absence won’t stop us from having the greatest time ever, though, because Jake would KICK OUR ASSES if we attempted to temper our fun even slightly because of his loss. He may be gone, but I still hear his voice in my head urging us to enjoy each other and our lives no matter what.
I credit Jake for a lot of things, maybe overly so for things that had nothing to do with him because he was such a great guy. But I know I credit him for being a part of saving Timmy and my relationship. Even during the worst year of our relationship, during the days, weeks, and months when we couldn’t find a reason to stick it out, we stayed together because we knew that’s what Jake wanted. Sounds crazy, but man, when you have a fatal cancer diagnosis, your opinion really holds some weight. :)
Because we made it through last year with a lot of Jake’s help, we came out the other side of that dark tunnel stronger, healthier, and more in love than ever. For that, thank you Jake, for always deflecting and focusing on others instead of yourself. You truly made a difference in our lives.
So a year after “30 Years, 1 Wish” all I hope is that our message is still with you. “We can always take time to give back, no matter what our lives are like, how busy we are, how broke we are, how sad we are — there’s always someone who is doing worse and who needs your help.” And after a year of perspective, take stock of the riches in your life and be thankful. The only thing you can control is how you respond to life’s many ups and downs, so react wisely and with love.
We miss you Jake.