Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Home

Home isn’t simply bricks and mortar, or where you keep your possessions, or a civic address. Home is much more than where you sleep.

Home is where you come from, where you belong. Home is connection. Yesterday in a sense, I was home. I returned to my roots. Today, I am also home, truly home. I am with my family, my friends, and my professional colleagues with whom I have shared over half of my life. Home feels good.

Six weeks ago I dipped my foot in the Atlantic Ocean and started to pedal eastward. It has been an extraordinary experience which will always remain with me. We pedalled in the sun and we pedalled in the rain, on good routes and in mud. There were days filled with joyful travel, great beauty, the sun on our faces and the wind at our back, and quite frankly there were days of discouragement, when it seemed as if the rain and wind,  and the hills and mud, would never end, when all I wanted to do was rest. I cannot however recall a day which didn’t have great meaning and purpose.

This journey has been many things to me. It has been a voyage of discovery, with wonders and beauty appearing almost around every corner, it has been a physical challenge, and it has been a wonderful occasion to spend time with the doctors who saved me, with friends and with my wife with whom I have shared a wonderful life. We have enjoyed joy and laughs and great food and drink together. Most of all, however, this journey has been a tribute to the triumph of science over sickness, the triumph of hope over despair, the triumph of faith and most of all the triumph of life over death. Life is everything, its fragility demands that we make the best of it, that we take every opportunity to live meaningful lives, to do what is right and important and to make a difference. I ask all of you to take time today to appreciate the majesty of life, and to do something, no matter how small, to make someone’s life better.

I would like to leave you with three last pictures. This photo is my grandmother Margaret with me (yes that really is me on the right) and Maryse at our wedding, which was the year before her death. Her memory remains alive within me, and even twenty years after her death, my grandmother remains an important part of who I am. I was very surprised how emotional my arrival in Hungary was. I never really reflected on my Hungarian roots, but clearly roots run deep.


This photo is me and Julianne, several weeks before I was diagnosed with leukemia in September 2004. If things had turned out differently, this is the father Julianne would remember, and if memories exist in the beyond, this would be my memory of Julianne.








Finally, this is home today. The fact that I took this picture this evening is the miracle of survival.



This is the end of my blog, but it is not the end of my journey. I will go on and try to celebrate every day and embrace the miracle of life. I hope I can help others survive and give others hope.

Thank you for reading this blog, thank you for supporting my cause, thank you for being my friends and colleagues and companions. May the goodness and miracle of life continue to shine on all of us.

7 comments:

  1. B R A V I S S I M O!

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  2. B R A V I S S I M O!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. CONGRATULATIONS BILL - this was quite an undertaking and challenge and you triumphed over it, despite its harder moments, which are the ones you will more readily forget - all the good times and happier experiences and encounters during this trip will remain with you forever, throughout your life. It will always be a reminder of your equal triumph over your own leukemia - something to be real proud of - I am very impressed and happy to know you. Continue your good work Bill- Rachel

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  5. Hello Bill, we've never met, but having followed you across Europe in the past weeks,I know we share the same incredible great feelings of joy and appreciation for being alive and loved, surrounded by friends and family, and able to dream again. All thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and devoted Doctors and staff, in my case at the Royal Vic.
    Thanks for letting us share your experiences and challenges, it has allowed me to ride virtually along side, imagining doing something similar in a not to distant future if all goes well, remembering my own touring en velo in the early '80s, and knowing I will make it happen again.
    I too have roots in Europe (mom and dad are German)and can attest that even though born here in Montreal, every visit to "the old country" tugs hard at a deep emotional part of my soul.
    In the meanwhile, my doc allowed (after a few doses of G) that I could accompany my daughter on her cross country drive the last two weeks to work in the National Park in Lake Louise - what a country! Did a few nice hikes but lots of snow! I too kayak and definitively need to head back to paddle on the coast of Lake Superior or Georgian Bay eventually.
    Life is good and we are a lucky lot!!
    PS would be great to meet you for a good german beer one of these days
    Peter Welsch
    peter.welsch@videotron.ca

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  6. Congratulations, finally you did it, what a chalenge for you!
    Many thanks for letting us follow you amount all these wonderful landscapes, your focus was hard, but you were so motivated..

    Now just keep enjoying life, celebrate it every day with your lovely family, your friends...

    Take care, and who knows maybe life will allow us to meet you soon.. :)

    Kind regards from Marie and Lorène, two receptionnists from Hotel Holiday Inn Express in Saint-Nazaire...

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