Four years ago, a pair of angels disguised as my clients paid for three years of massage so that Charles and I could go the World Air Guitar Championships in Oulu, Finland. This was a dream for me and something Charles had never imagined we would do.
Otherwise, he might have thought twice before agreeing to compete when I said to him, “Come on, if we EVER get to Oulu, you HAVE to compete...You would, wouldn’t you?” Ha! Sometimes I can be quite diabolical, which I think he forgot, momentarily.
2015 turned out to be the start of five years of harrowing challenges. These included the prognosis of Cheryl Muir, Charles's mom. Shortly before our trip to Finland, she was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. Western doctors had no viable options for her.
And even if they'd offered her one, she had no fight left in her after going through several bouts with cancer, surviving a car crash that killed her husband, losing a beloved nephew to cancer, serving as her grown daughter's long-term caregiver, getting a colostomy due to intestinal damage caused by radiation, putting her dog down because of cancer...no fight left in her, and the onset of dementia.
When her general physician told her, “You have a few months to two years,” Cheryl replied, “Two months.” We tried to correct her, but she just smile-hummed in a weird way as if she knew a secret, like a little kid would do.
Cheryl and I were more than in-laws. We were close friends and former co-workers. She once told me that when it was time for her to die, she wanted to be left alone. I am pragmatic and got that she was asking for space when she felt ready to go.
I told her: “We are going to Oulu regardless, but you are not going to die when we are over there.” She replied with that weird, knowing smile...“Mmmmm hmmmmm.” She was actually doing pretty decently at this time--but as it turned out, she had a different time table for her last go-round with cancer.
Pretty soon, after we got to the mecca of the World Air Guitar Championships, the concerning updates started coming from her daughter. Cheryl was sliding downwards fast. I can’t help but think this was part of her plan. It dampened an otherwise really amazing trip full of new friendships and Finnish fairy magic.
We got back home in time to get her to the hospital, bring her back to her house and help her die days after our feet hit the ground.
THIS is reason number one why I would like to have someone sponsor a redo trip for the 2020 World Air Guitar Championships. As of now, I have cancer, and who knows how long that will be for or when I will be able to work again. As it is, I cannot work to the point where I can afford the trip myself.
What a sponsor would get from me would be an excellent spokesperson for world peace and air guitar. I would (hopefully, you never know...pragmatic right?) show in a big way that cancer as well as a colostomy does not have to full-stop your life. I will also be turning 50 years old in June and aim to prove that a middle-aged woman can have fun, perform and be silly in the most unexpected ways.
This is my first pitch. I can only hope it turns into a home run.