Tuesday, March 13, 2012
3rd Annual Marla's Ride
Not so far from here, a really cool guy named Chuck owns this place. Design Entities Studio sits on a gorgeous stretch of land in Trinity. Chuck likes to go out there to make some fabulous art, to hang out with his buddies. And once a year for the past three years, Chuck lends his property for Marla's Ride.
Marla's Ride is about a lady named Marla. Marla was caring, kind, impulsive, feisty, loud, hysterical, and never met a stranger. She loved her family dearly. Sometimes she could drive you crazy! That's why, when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer almost a decade ago, we didn't worry. If Marla set herself to beat cancer, she would, dammit and I dare you to tell her otherwise! She braved treatment, a mastectomy, and came out on the other side good as new--less one boob, of course. But she didn't let that stop her. No life was just beginning! She and her husband watched their children fly the nest. They built a new house. They welcomed a grandchild. They traveled and enjoyed the company of good friends. They lived.
That is until the cancer came back. And boy did it. But if cancer thought Marla was just going to lie down and take it, they had another thing coming. She lost her hair. She went to radiation. She did chemo. She showed her grandson the zipper on her head where the tumor had been removed. She never let it slow her down, even when she was in a wheelchair. Eventually that wheelchair turned to the recliner in her living room. And that eventually gave way to a hospital bed that the nurse had brought in.
There in that hospital bed, Marla held court. We all knew Marla had never met a stranger, but this was ridiculous! They came in droves, people from her work, people she knew from all over, just wanting to come by and have a moment to tell her how special she was. They waited in line to hold her hand, to see her smile just one last time. Ever Marla till the end, she did not disappoint her guests. Only after the crowds had all gone did she slip off peacefully. Flipping cancer the bird the whole way, I'm sure.
The day of her funeral--the funeral she had planned herself weeks before--there were so many people that some had to stand outside the church since all the pews were full.
Marla's Ride is also about Marla's husband, Keith. Keith is my absolute favorite father-in-law. He also happens to be a pretty fantastic PawPaw as well. Don't let his calm, quiet demeanor fool you...Keith is a do-er. Up before some of us have even gone to bed to get in a day's work, then home to work in the yard, work in the shop, tinker with motorcycles or cars or other random things that need tinkering with. He rides, he travels, he put a whole house together from parts for Pete's sake! For a while, Marla's illness had put that go-go-go to a halt. He had been there every step of the way for her. And once she had passed, he needed to go. He needed to do. He needed to find a way to honor the woman he loved. And what better way than to do all the things they enjoyed doing together--riding, listening to good music, and hanging out with friends. So he came up with an idea. And he, along with Chuck and some other good friends, got to work organizing trails, contacting bands, and spreading the word. Marla's Ride was born.
Marla's Ride is also about Hospice. Hopefully, you've never needed Hospice. But I'm here to tell you, they are angels. Watching a loved one die is hard. It sucks. It's difficult. It's overwhelming. It's exhausting. And it's perhaps one of the most intimate, most honorable, most sacred experiences a person can have. Hospice understands all this. All of those decisions you are too overwhelmed to think about? They help. All of those questions you have about what to do next? They help. Need some time away, to think, to breathe, to eat or shower? They help. And never too intrusive or in a way that bombards the sacred act of seeing a loved one off. I saw them help Keith. And by helping Keith, they helped me and the rest of my family. And so now, each year, we in turn come out to help Keith. Help Keith help Hospice, by raising money at Marla's Ride.
It is amazing to watch how every year this event continues to grow and do so much good. Thank you Keith, thank you Chuck, and thank you to everyone who came out. We hope to see you next year!