This is the blog post that inspires me when I’m feeling lost. Through Joe’s journey he rarely worried about himself but worried instead about all of us he’d leave behind. To look back and realize we had hardly been married when he wrote this is amazing because he gave some pretty sound marriage advice. Heck, he gave some pretty insightful life advice we can all use.
“Life builds character. Everyone’s road is different, but all roads lead to the same place. My road is filled with great memories, great conversations, a loving family, and POWERFUL women.” -Joe Clark
Joe wrote this in 2012, shortly after his dad died and about 6 months before his own cancer came back. It’s titled, “Girls, Girls, Girls” .
I could get used to this. Joe’s Guest Blog #2
People don’t usually share this conversation with me, but I know they’ve had it. They don’t usually share their thoughts with me about this issue, but I know they are thinking it.“Why in the world would Amanda have stayed in that relationship?”
The truth is, I ask myself that question all the time. Certainly, people commend Amanda for her strength. She has been the heart of our family for a long time now, and she just keeps on pumping. Maybe people worry that they will offend me. Who knows, maybe they don’t want to make me sad. Amanda had plenty of time to run away, but she didn’t. I am sure she second-guessed the situation in her head. I have told her over and over again, “You don’t have to stay here.” Of course, she is the love of my life and truly is my better half (Keith Urban), so I couldn’t imagine her leaving me. However, there is a part of me that still feels guilty.
Amanda takes care me. She is my motivator. Amanda handled all of the arrangements when dad passed, and took the role of “Project Lead” to get the memorial organized. She is there for me to lean on, and has committed herself to doing whatever makes the situation easier to cope with. While the rest of us might be in a daze, confused, or emotionally unable to move forward, Amanda has been there to pick us right back up. She keeps us laughing when it feels so easy to be sad, she throws a small BEARS party in a hospital room before going into surgery, and made a point to film dad speaking to Boompa (Earl J. 2) just weeks before dad died (Boompa just turned 90!).
Amanda sometimes feels (using my own words), lost in the shuffle. I worry about her. I wonder if she is going to have a break-down at some point, because she rarely shows weakness. She loves my family so much, and loved dad like her own. I know she is hurting too…Here’s one of the most heart-felt notes we received from one of my best friends…
I just wanted to let you know how thankful I am that you are in Joe’s life. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult life has been for that family over the past 8 years, and even more so over the past 1 1/2 years. Many, many people could have looked at Joe’s situation and thought “it’s probably not best to get involved right now”, but knowing you, I’m not sure that ever crossed your mind. I know I definitely don’t speak with Joe as much as I probably should, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t consider him my brother, and in all honesty I’m not sure where he would be without you in his life. It’s actually a scary thought. You have been there for him throughout what may prove to be the hardest parts of his life, and not only that, but you have been the brightest thing in his life through those times. Anyway, I don’t want to get all sentimental, but I do want you to know that as a friend, it is a great feeling to know that the woman he’s with is as strong and kind as you are, and I couldn’t be happier that you chose to marry him. Love you guys!Cancer, disease, and other life-altering circumstances force us into particular emotions. I know Amanda and I feel more ‘in love’ than we ever could have imagined because of our journey. However, we are lucky to know that we were meant for each other, got engaged, and started planning our future before we approached one of the biggest hurdles in our life-time (The C word). I feel the love she has for me. I have the same love for her. When dad died, her entire family drove from Indianapolis to Chicago for support. They are a great bunch too!Women are tough motha’s too! I tell ya! My MA’ is another incredible example!To all of you care-takers out there, my hat is off to you! My mom is Doreen.
Before Amanda, mom was the only recipient of a testosterone filled family’s habits! Since Amanda, I’ve learned women want a few things in life to make them feel complete. They need “date night” at least once a week. Why? Sure, they want to spend time with the men they love…but more importantly, THEY NEED TO DRESS UP! Women need to feel like women. They want to dress up, at least on occasion. They want to be dined, given flowers, come home to a clean house, and watch OWN or House Hunters on REPEAT!
For those of you with a lot of men in your families know that this is not reality. Mom came home to sportscenter on TV, elbow pads that needed to be cleaned in the sink, a wet snow-suit laying in the living room floor, and we just picked up Taco Bell for dinner. Not the ideal life for ANY woman! Yea, we made sure to go out to dinner on her birthday, dad bought her flowers for certain holidays, and mom knew we loved her…but, wow. I can only imagine what my life has in store, because I know I am going to have 4 girls!
Mom has some thick skin. She has been through just as much as dad has. You can see it when you look in her eyes. She took care of our entire family for all those years, and still does today. (She brings Amanda and I fruits/vegetables every week, no matter WHAT). You couldn’t pay her enough to do the job she did taking care of dad, especially closer to the end. Here is a person losing the love of her life. She has slept next to him almost every night for the past 30 years+. Emotionally, she is hurting. Yet, mom has always kept a level-head.
There are certain jobs that need to be handled when taking care of an ailing family member. Most of them aren’t pretty, and I won’t go into detail. MOM DID EVERYTHING. She kept the house in order, made the phone calls to keep their bills straight, moved the oxygen tanks around the house, and cleaned dad if needed. Dad also didn’t leave the house for the past few months, so neither did she. She was almost afraid to. She was always worried that something would happen while she was away. Just to get down the street to the grocery store was an event to be planned in advance. I always went over to their apartment and opened the blinds, just to get some sun in there! (Keeping the blinds shut is a good way to lower your AC bill down here in FL :)). I would sit and talk to dad about sports, the price is right, and how the JJ biz was going.
Mom is a true champion too, and has inspired me by her strength as well. When the going get tough, the tough get going. People are strongest when they have no other choice. These experiences CAN have positive outcomes. If you want them to…and MOM NEEDS A DRESS-UP DAY!
Life builds character. Everyone’s road is different, but all roads lead to the same place. My road is filled with great memories, great conversations, a loving family, and POWERFUL women.
To my mom, THANK YOU for ALL that you have done for our family. I respect you, I love you, and most of all I admire you!
To Amanda, you are my future! I see our successes already and am enjoying this journey with you every day. I am in no rush. I know our life together is going to be an incredible one, and am excited to see where we go. I love you.
“I’d still be driving that old green Nova, I probably woulda never heard of yoga. I’d be a better football fan(maybe)…but, if I was a single man…alone and out there on the loose…I’d be looking for a woman like you!”