Monday, March 9, 2009

Defining Moments

I am sure that our experiences are causing a lot of people to reflect on their lives and try to imagine what this might be like. How incredibly sad and heartbreaking, not only for Dan, but for me & for us. How unfair it is that someone so young who has done nothing but turn a terrible situation into a source of inspiration for others and opportunity to contribute to the betterment of the world will leave way too soon.

I am painfully of aware of these emotions. So much so that I don't need people to repeat them for me, or even acknowledge them. I don't need anyone to go try to imagine it- trust me, it's not worth the trip.

If I stopped to think what has happened over the past year, I may not be able to move- engaged last March...Dan is hospitalized for an infection but non-cancer related...six weeks later- the cancer spreads. Wedding halted. The fall is spent trying a new treatment-it fails. A new treatment is started, and it's brutal. I lose my job. The treatment improves the cancer situation, but robs Dan of a quality of life. Wedding is on. Ascites. Grave concern. Wedding cancelled. New treatment. No response. No options.

I am no saint. Dan comes pretty close. I've lost my temper, sometimes at him & most of those times, unfairly. There is so much loss here... but I have gained so much.

Although sadness is with me daily, there is an overwhelming feeling of joy and peace. How is that possible? I have enjoyed getting to spend so much time over the past week with Dan's brother Bobby who lives in CA. It has been a privelage to watch one brother care for another, and to spend this time together with the both of them. I've learned more about Dan from the letters & posts that people have written- some things I may have never learned. I have better insight into cancer and specifically, young adults with cancer.

Time comes and goes only in beautiful moments now. I am immensely aware of the fragility of life, and how much that makes things so clear. And not just huge things. Like today, I was thinking how much I like wearing jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops. And how perfectly worn in those flip flops are... and it made me happy.

Of course, it helps that Dan guides me through this, as usual. He is at peace with what is happening, and that makes it much easier for me. I am not afraid. I am not burdened. Although tiring, caring for him is effortless for me. He trusts me to get him through it, and I am honored to do so.

This is not to say that the bottom won't fall out for me- I know it will. But not yet- it's not the right time. My job isn't done yet. And even though it's tough to imagine some days, I believe that this story will not be a tragedy. I know it certainly sounds like one (go ahead- explain it to someone- sounds like a Lifetime movie of the week!). At a time when it would be so easy & understandable to be bitter & angry & desolate... I still believe that there will be a happy ending somewhere down the road. And that brings me peace.

Dan is resting right now. I am sitting with him. I can't imagine any other place I'd rather be...

40 comments:

Michael Bergin said...

Good morning Meg -

You mention that you are learning things about Dan through posts that you did not know. Those of us who knew Dan primarily are learning what an incredible woman you are as well. I appreciate and admire your honesty, candor, humility, strength and grace. You and Dan are living in the moment and you are providing a gift that can only be given now.

We will continue to pray for you and Dan. BTW, please tell Dan I hope Duke loses on Friday.

Peace,
Michael

Anonymous said...

Oh Meg, how beautiful. I'm so glad both of you are living in the moment and at peace.
Brooke from NCI

Anonymous said...

Meg -

I am with you in that this story will not be a tragedy. Granted most of the common emotions during this time include sadness, anger and heart break - but Dan would never want his story to be called tragic. I prefer to think of it as one of triumph. I sure hope Dan feels like that too.

During his infamous ESPY speech, Jimmy Valvano said, "Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannnot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever."

The same undoubtedly goes for Dan.

WWW

Sergio

Anonymous said...

Well put Meg. Dan is lucky to have found you and you are lucky to have found Dan.

You are both in my thoughts and prayers.

Becky Arnold

Anonymous said...

Meg- if I wasn't impressed with you in school (and I was), I most certainly am now. Thanks for giving me a road map on how to live a life with humor, courage and grace. I am lucky to have you in my life. Dan hit the jackpot.
Love,
Erika

Anonymous said...

Meg you do not know me, but i got to know how lovely you are,how much you have given Danny ...thanks so much for being the way you are to him, love from all the Moncayo family in Ecuador.God bless you and Danny..

Anonymous said...

Meg and Dan,
I have only most recently come across this blog and in this short amount of time I am amazed at your strength, courage and love you both have for each other. I had the privledge of going to elementary school and high school with Dan...back in the day I referred to him as Danny. I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Love

Ellen Holjes and Holjes Family

Patrice said...

WOW Meg--I am speechless...your writing is so moving. The Waeger/Urban family cannot THANK YOU enough for all you do for Danny.

Love,
Patrice

Cara Murren said...

Meg,

I haven't had the privilege of meeting you, but Dan is incredibly lucky to have you. Thank you again for sharing so much about your lives, and know that I'm praying for both of you. Waeger has already won.

- Cara

Anonymous said...

Meghan

Your strength and courage are absolutely amazing. You and Dan are in my thoughts every day. You are both so incredibly lucky to have found one another.
Love,
Holly

Anonymous said...

Meg, I am happy to hear that you have peace and I can imagine you feeling that as you are sitting with Dan. I think alot about the highs and lows of the past year for you guys and I always decide to go back to that very exciting phone call when you announced your engagement with all the special details. I hope Dan is comfortable and you guys are enjoying some quiet moments together. You are both in my thoughts and prayers! Katie

Nik said...

I graduated from Trinity with Dan. I didn't know him as well as some of my other classmates did but, the one thing I did know about him is he was one of the nice ones. He was popular and funny and people just seemed to be drawn to him. He was always smiling when I would see him. When I found out about Dan's illness a few years back, I was so upset. I exchanged an email or 2 with him asking about his progress and he told me he was doing well. I prayed for him everyday. I just got word on his condition recently and I will keep him in my prayers as well as the rest of the Waeger family. I believe that anything is possible! I'm not giving up hope! God bless.
Nikki Gallucci

Anonymous said...

Oh, Meghan and Dan,

Thank you for the last three blog posts. Thank you for keeping your blog family informed about Dan's physical state and about how Dan is feeling now, and how you, Meghan, are fairing. I mean, letting us know that "Dan is at peace with what is happening," well, thank you for letting us know that piece of news, it is soothing to know that and comforting.

And Thank you for the list--that wonderful fun list of your likes and dislikes, your similarities, your differences, your idiosyncrasies. It is so honest and humorous, revealing a snippet more of who you and Dan are individually and how you are as a couple--that very special, delightful and inspiring couple. That post was truly fun to read; it made me smile and laugh while at the same time creating a solace effect within me.

And then thank you, Meg, for that personal reflection about this journey that you and Dan are traveling--describing some of your innermost feelings, your thoughts, your insights. Thank you for sharing with such forthright sincerity, letting us look through your window to see and to learn an abridged version about what life with cancer is like--we're still learning and you're still inspiring us.

You've been a most wonderful partner to Dan, and you have taken care of us--your blog family--keeping us informed, offering us comfort. You have shown us what truly remarkable individuals you both are.

I wish you both peace--comforting peace,
and love--healing love,
and miraculous blessings,
cousin Paula

Erin said...

You both are so deserving of the joy that continues to emerge, despite every obstacle. May each quiet moment today be another testament to the joy and love you've found in each other.

Erin & Brendon

Anonymous said...

Meg,

Your story is amazing and so beautiful. I admire your courage and appreciate your strength. A quote I came across during a very painful time in my life losing a loved one to cancer touched me and I wanted to share with you. "It is not how long the flower bloomed, but how beautiful it was while it bloomed…"

What a hero Dan is, an angel on earth...wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Maggen and Dan, i am Judy Weiner's sister and i live in Israel. I read your blog and have learned a lot about your personality. So much love, friendship, understanding, honour and courage you both have. You are so special and are deeply in my thoughts. I pray for you and i feel very close to you because i know very well your parents, Pat and Jack.Your love is so true and strong and we have to believe and fight. I love and admire you. Chagit Ravid.

Allison in NY said...

Meghan,
Your grace and strength are both beautiful and admirable. I am praying (along with a contingent in Lynbrook) for both you and Dan.
Love,
Allison

Cicily said...

Dear Danny and Meg, You are both a personifacation of the biblical words "the peace that passes all understanding." May each of us take strength from your example. Thank you both for all the writings you have done for the public and the family this past year. Thank you for sharing yourselves to us who are so blessed to have you in our lives. I want to take this opportunity to also thank all the bloggers who have mentioned that they are praying for all our families as well. We feel those prayers and they help. May the Lord continue to bless you both with peace, joy, and love. Mom Cicily Waeger

hughesd2000 said...

And there you go, helping us all to find peace and happiness through all this. You too will never cease to amaze me in your courage, strength and determination to live every moment as it comes. I love you both and will continue to pray for peace and joy for us all, but most especially for you two and your families. Motto for the week: find joy in a well-worn pair of flip flops!!!!

bob said...

Meg and Danny,
Awesome Post! I had an amazing time this past week, spending time with both of you. Meg, I sincerely appreciate all your love and support through these challenging times. Danny found an amazing woman, and It was evident of your love for each other on my visit.

A shout out to all the other people who post on the blog: Meg, Danny, and all of our families appreciate your support and love show in this blog. all the kind words, wisdom and support mean the world to all of us.
WWW

Love,
Bobby

Kris Lowther said...

Meg and Danny...thinking about you guys daily and praying for continued Peace.

Love,
Kris

Mary said...

Dear Meg,
You communicate your thoughts so eloquently. I can’t explain how selfless I think it is of you and Dan for sharing a piece of your world with this extended network you have. I think your story and the love you and Dan share offers strength to those around you. It amazes me, but does not surprise me. I am lucky enough to know what an incredible person Dan is, so it does not surprise me that he would fall in love with an incredible person like you obviously are. As you mentioned so perfectly, I wish you only beautiful moments now. My prayers for you, Dan, and your families have not stopped.
~Mary Kelliher

PS…Danny – for some unknown reason, I have an IM conversation saved on my computer that you and I had in freshman or sophomore yr of college. In the middle of the conversation I called you Alf and you responded “Alf is the chief deity – he is the ruler u wish you had.” When I read Meg’s post the other day, I couldn’t help laughing. Good old Dan. Love you Danny boy.

Anonymous said...

Meg and Dan,

I don't post a lot of comments, I'm mostly just a reader. I've been meaning to post something in this last week but haven't been able to articulate what to say. It should have been as easy as "my thoughts and prayers" but I wanted it to be something more. I'm not sure that I have much more than that now, but I can't stop thinking that I just need to post something. Dan, you're fantastic. I can't recall so many of the important or just everyday events of high school or being home on breaks from the beginning of college without seeing your face in each memory. Meg, we haven't met, but I, like most "posters," begin to feel that I know you and am so thankful you and Dan found each other. Your love speaks through your posts and you have an amazing strength.
I take comfort in your peace and joy and pray this continues for you both.
And of course, my thoughts and prayers are with you both and each of your families.

Megan Beauduy
[And just for Dan- Booty is nudey :) ]

HN Cancer said...

Hi,

I wish both of you peace. I don't know you Meg, but you seem like an incredible person. Thank you for sharing your lives with me. My best wishes are with you and Dan.

Ed Steger

Anonymous said...

Meg and Waeger,

I am so proud of you both and consider it an honor to be able to call you both my friend. Your inspiration has, and will always touch the lives of others. We all will continue the fight you started 4 year ago. I want to second Serge's comments - the spirit and principals of what you both stand for will never fade.

Waeger Will Win - I can't think of a better mantra for us all!

Love you both -

Lowy

George said...

Meg,

You have been a great help to me this morning. I had prostate surgery in January as the early stages of cancer were detected. I was second guessing my decision when I read your blog. Now I realize I made the right choice. I also realize how fortunate I am. I have been praying for you and Dan.

I am an old friend of Dan's mom from high school days.


George Lauderbaugh

Anonymous said...

Dear Meg;

Your comments show pure love, filtered to its essence by an experience others cannot begin to share. We are each dealing with this reality in our own way, but with a peace that has been exemplified by you and Dan. Your peace and devotion give special meaning to the statement "Waeger will win".

I send my prayers and hope that these moments that you spend with one another continue to bring that unique peace and great comfort.
Love,
Marie

Anonymous said...

Meg—
Your words are touching and poignant. Thank you for sharing such personal emotions and letting us be a part of your thoughts—your posts make me laugh and make me cry. I’ll always remember the spring of 2003 when I took a semester off from college and was home working three jobs. I got an IM from Waeger one day and somehow in casual conversation why I was taking the semester off came up. I said that I was just confused because I didn't know what I wanted to major in, that I wanted to do something that made a difference but couldn't pinpoint what it was. I remember Dan saying that you don't need to feel like you have to change the world, you can make a difference in your own family and that would make the world a better place. I hadn't looked at things that way before and he's right—that was so wise. That was two years before being diagnosed with cancer. It shows the type of outlook he has always had. Serge pointed it out well from Dan’s speech: cancer never will touch his mind, heart, or soul. His approach to life has guided him to make such a positive difference in the lives of not only his family and friends, but so many others that he has met along the way. The world is a better place, thank you Waeger!

Waeger Will Win,
LFord

Anonymous said...

Meg and Dan

Waeger has won.

Dad (aka Mr. Rodgers)

Anonymous said...

Great posts, Serge and Laura - I can't imagine what our lives would be like now if we had never met and became friends with DWaegs.

Anyway, great time at Time Out in the Monster last night. Thanks to Tom and his Mom. I can't believe how much money we raised. Cullison donated back the 50/50 money! And Sarah brought out the check book for that Ovechkin stick! You're a lucky guy Serge

-TDub

Anonymous said...

Meg,

There is a wonderful song - "Grace" by Kate Havnevik - it has been a mantra of mine at times in my life. It came into my mind as I read this. May your grace give you peace, your dignity give you comfort, and your love give you hope.
Give Dan a hug for me - he's still one of the best hires I ever made. :)
My love to you both
Stacia Grosso

Anonymous said...

Meg and Dan,

Thank you, thank you, thank you both. For being who you are, for finding one another, for sharing your story and yourselves so selflessly, for giving so much. Your love for each other and your strength are gifts to us all.

Love, Mom/Mrs.Rodgers

PS Thank you too to all the members of this blog family - your posts and your thoughts and your prayers are very much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Meg -
Thinking of you and as everyone else has said, am so moved and inspired by your blog. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I will continue to read, and hope to learn even more through both of you...living by example, with grace and humor and truth. My heart is with you.
Cathi Breza

Sarah said...

Dear Meg and Dan,

The unconditional love that you and danny share is amazing..and i believe that it's in the unconditional love that we show others each day that truly gives us a glimpse of what eternity is like while we are still here on this Earth..
Today, I read the words of Sufi mystic, Rumi, and immediately thought of the two of you...

“There's no cure, except the retreat into love,
For the suffering of subtly afflicted hearts.
See the friend directly, or burn in longing for Him-
What does the world matter, apart from that?
To arrive, at last, at the vision of the Friend,
Keep your soul prostrate before the image you have of Him.
Stay standing before Him like the foot of a lamp;
A thousand graces are poured out to the noble.
In this contingent universe, you are powerless;
When will you find the origin of time?
When physical vision has transcended space,
Another sky opens to the eyes of the soul.
Your body is a saucepan, the soul its food.
Place this pan on the fire of divine passion
So its flames make you boil the truth within you.
Then you won't need anyone else's poems or teachings-
You yourself will know the value of your state of soul.” -Rumi

I have a picture of Dan from our Millenium New Year's Eve party with a huge smile on his face sitting on my desk...it brings me strength and courage in and encourages me to have unconditional love in all my relationships.

Live Love,
Sarah Staub

P.S.--I've been dating Dan's neighbor from Allendale, John Lewis (its a small world..his parents live one door down from danny) for the past 8 months....we are often in the area...so please don't hesitate to ask if you need anything at all....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this Meg....Thinking of you both and appreciate your words and insights and inspiration.
TLC

Anonymous said...

You both bring us all so much strength! Our prayers are always with you!
Peace,
Brian G.

Anonymous said...

Meg and Dan, reading through this page has really become an inspiration for me. I realize how unselfish and unconditional love should be. You are both so strong! I don't know if I would have the strength and perseverance that you both have. I don't know if most people would. The love you both share is so special. You are both amazing and so lucky to have one another. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers. Lots of love and hugs!!!

Anonymous said...

Last comment from,
Nikki Gallucci

Anonymous said...

Meg, I read this entry Wednesday but didn't comment 'till today because I didn't really know what to say. I find a lot of comfort in reading this blog and your entries and am grateful that both of you have been so dedicated to it. I feel like you address exactly what is appropriate and do it in a way that is very relate-able and honest. You, Dan, and your families are both in my thoughts all the time.

-TD

Michelle said...

Dan and Meg,

You each are incredibly lucky to have each other. You have been in my thoughts and prayers since the beginning and continue to be daily.

Thinking of you often.

With love,
Michelle Pollak