Days 24 & 25: Seattle, WA

I’m starting to see a pattern here.  I’d never been to Seattle prior to my 29 Days Until 29 journey, but I would like to go back and spend more time there.  Seattle was a non-stop emotional rollar coaster, full of highs and lows, with some really good coffee, great music, and amazing people mixed in between.

My stop in Seattle marked the start of a serious internal audit and an opportunity for me to take inventory of the past month; the people, the events, the memories.  To remember the moments, not the things.  It started my Uncle Bob picking me up from the airport, one of mom’s younger brothers.  I then met up with my old friend from UVA, Ali Marcus.  Ali was there every day of my 1st year when I lost mom to cancer.  Ali, Lo, Alli, Kel, and a whole bunch of other people in Echols dorm, were key emotional supporters during everything that I was going through that Spring.  Many late nights were spent on someone’s floor just talking about random stuff in order to keep my mind off of things.  I’m eternally thankful for them and for those memories.

We talked about all sorts of things: politics, the Pacific Northwest, cancer connections, and old friends.  The whole time it felt as though we were still neighbors in Charlottesville.  That’s what it’s like with good friends; it’s as though you never missed a beat.  It was a GREAT afternoon.  That night I had the chance to catch up with my Aunt and Uncle, Bob and Barbara.  They were amazing hosts and cooked up an awesome meal as we relaxed at their beautiful home.

After dinner we sat down and listened to old records (real records – talk about an amazing sound!) while looking at old pictures of mom and trading stories.  Bob has lost 3 of his siblings to cancer; the Wilson family is no stranger to this indiscriminate killer.  We laughed and we cried as we stayed up way later than we should have creating yet another awesome memory that I’ll always carry with me.

The following morning we embarked on our ‘Touristy Adventure’ but the day started on a somber note: the Seattle Fire Department’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial.  It was a moving ceremony and Seattle has an AMAZING monument to their falled firefighters.  If you’re ever in the city you HAVE to check it out!  After that I was led around on a VIP tour of all that Seattle has to offer; the 1st Starbucks, the Market, the flower stalls, the sky line, The Statue of Liberty; all of it!  The whole time making memories and positive connections.

As I boarded the plane that afternoon and watched the sunset out over the wing of the jet on my way to Long Beach I couldn’t help but smile.  This is what it’s all about.  Cancer can take a lot of things away from us; our friends, loved ones, hair, strength, sometimes even our smiles, but it can’t take away our memories or our positive connections.  Which leads me to ask: what memory did you make today?

If the answer is no, you still have time.

It’s as simple as telling someone you love that you love them.

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11 Responses to Days 24 & 25: Seattle, WA

  1. Linda says:

    Amazing journey. I have a feeling your Mom was with you the whole way! Thanks for sharing!

    • drewlawrence says:

      Thanks Linda! I have NO doubt that mom was there and there were certain times where I could literally feel her presence. It was the most ‘at peace’ that I’ve felt in years.

      • Lisa Ross says:

        I am was so happy to read about the connections you have made. I am a single mother of two – 2 time cancer survivor – going on 2 years cancer free!

        I lost my father to cancer 3 years ago and it seems like yesterday – wow……what a journey…

        Keep it up – you are making a difference!

      • Tim says:

        Drew, I have read up on your journey since I have woke up today, and it has inspired me to the fullest. I’m am a 17 year old from Niagara Falls, NY. My grandfather passed away from cancer before I was born from a rare type that he was the first to get. I cannot go a day without hearing how I would have been the apple of his eye, and how great he was. If he survived his illness, they were going to officially make him a saint. They say ever since the day he passed, there is always a beam of light shown through the window of that hospital room. I have seen it myself. I would like to make a difference with you. I would love nothing more than to travel with you and help out. Email me at bigtimmusic@hotmail.com

    • Mark Gross says:

      Hi Drew – I do not htink that it’s a coincidence that I got home from work tonight, sat down at the computer and there was your story. I lost my wife of 23 years to breast cancer last April at the age of 56 and I have not been the same since. This past weekend, my daughter, son & I walked 60 miles in the Susan G Komen 3Day for the Cure here in San Francisco. What an experience to share the same cause with about 1400 other people. It was amazing, incredible, emotional and uplifting.
      I have been been in the same business for about 25 years and have been talking to friends and family recently about retiring. I seem to have lost a lot of enthusiasm about the industry I’m in and feel the need to help others going through loss and grief. And then I read your story. You are an inspiration to those of us who don’t quite know what to do when we’ve lost a spouse or close family member. I look forward to a new direction and the next phase in my life.

  2. Shelley Mouber says:

    Wow! You are an AH-MAY-ZING GUY! I am so impressed that instead of compartamentalizing the grief, memories and loss…you got outside of your comfort zone and really spoke to average Americans, helping and educating them! What a wonderful man your mother raised-she did a great job! I lost my uncle to Brain Cancer in ’01~only 50 yrs old…my grandmother though a 2x survivor succumbed in ’04….my dad(her son) became ill in ’05 with Pancreatic cancer, he was given 9 months but rallied 13 months-he was a young 61……my nana in’88 at only 59. My family has a monster in our midst-and I thank you for your care and kind words that give the survivors hope for a cure and also a way to talk about without the shame…Thanks so much.

  3. Bec says:

    I am so sorry that you lost your mother to cancer. I have lost two uncles to cancer (both of whom acted like fathers to me since I didn’t grow up with one). I hope your trip brings you the peace you are searching for. Good luck! My thoughts are with you.

  4. Janet Acord says:

    Dear Drew: Sorry that I didnot get to write this email sooner. South Padre Island, Texas has a great beach and this time of the year you can find great cheap motels to stay. It is off Port Isabel, Texas and has great seafood. Next time! We were there last weekend and the water was perfect! Good luck and your mom would be proud of your adventure! Janet

  5. Diane says:

    By divine providence, I happened upon your blog this evening. What an incredible journey! I have a close friend who has been fighting cancer for over a year now. Tonight, I learned he’s in hospice, and his earthly journey will soon be ending. He is another of many family members and friends who have faced this foe. Of course, my heart is heavy, but it’s also light with the hope of every tomorrow I am blessed to receive. I appreciate your reminder that “it can’t take away our memories or our positive connections”…well stated! And to you, Welcome home, Drew! May you continue to enjoy a happy and fulfilling Autumn!

  6. Clare Nolan says:

    Thanks.

  7. Sabrina says:

    i stumbled across an article about your journey tonight, and i’m looking forward to reading through your adventures.

    i have lost two grandparents to cancer, and i live in constant fear that i might wake up one day and lose my mother. she’s only 11 years younger than her mom was when she succumbed to cancer. it terrifies me. knowing that right now, it’s only a possibility–a scary “what if?”–is somewhat comforting.

    what’s also comforting is knowing that you have faced the worst and have been able to make something amazing out of a terrible experience, something that i am sure your mom would be proud of.

    thank you.

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