This weekend there was a lot of activity on Facebook from Because Brothers! Saturday, on a cold and rainy day outside Asheville, the Rogers, Canfields, and Daughtrys all hiked up to Sam Knob, where in 2007 we all gathered for Wade’s memorial service. But the Duke Rogers family, who are in Raleigh 5+ hours away, decided to stay home that weekend since it would have been a hard trip to make for a weekend trip. So we kept in touch via Facebook and text, since there is no cell service up there.
We had an exciting weekend here in Raleigh– the first swim of the summer (Summer?!?! The water was in the 60s!!!!) was Saturday morning, and so Duke and the girls headed out to Jordan Lake and I donned my new wetsuit for the first time. Still cold! For the first 200-300 yards, my chest spasmed. Imagine shivering and holding your breath and running at the same time. Woo! Brisk!! Taking my head out of the water helped, but then I couldn’t swim– obviously. So I toughed it out, and adjusted to the cold (did I mention I HATE COLD? Terribly? It’s May and I have a blanket up to my chin and wrapped around my feet as I type this). And as I usually do around 300 yards (lap 10-15 in the pool), I started to get in the groove. I had a song from Radio Disney stuck in my head, and so I hit a rhythm. Great breathing, good pacing, awesome. Then after the first turn, things got rough.
The Jordan Lake Vista Point Course
Literally– I guess the wind or boats or both stirred up some chop, like swimming to the pier in Duck. But I made it to the end of the first loop, and I started the second. I hadn’t been lapped by too many 1.2 milers (they start 10 minutes later), so I felt good. I’d made it through the hard part.
But that wasn’t the hard part– I had to do the same loop again, and more boats. A SPEED boat, too! Oh good lord. It was hard to keep going, but the rescue kayakers stayed with me, and this cut down some on the chop. This was hard, but if I kept moving I would eventually get to shore. But in the last 1/3 mile, I swear I thought I was getting farther from the buoy I zigzagged the from halfway to the last sight buoy (between 3/6 & 2/3 of the loop), and pushed myself to finish. I can do this– even if I’m the slowest person out there. So I finished– 55 out of 58, at 1 hour 38 minutes and 6 seconds. A pace of 40:50 per mile. My 2 mile swim last summer was 38.5 minutes. I should feel discouraged, but I don’t. I am very active on social media, and although I didn’t post my time on Facebook, I did admit how hard it was. But I felt encouraged by friends. They helped me feel better about it. It was cold, but I had my wetsuit. I was discouraged, but the kayakers helped me keep going. As waves lapped in my nose, in my mouth, as I felt like vomiting from lake water, they were there. And as soon as I got to knee depth water, Duke and the girls came running to greet me. I was finished!
My in-laws, their cousins, and Chip’s girlfriend’s children were there in Sam Knob, because they had picked this weekend to spread Cricket’s ashes were they had spread Wade’s. Wade loved that dog so much, and when we told our girls Cricket had died last fall, we were sad to lose her, as she was a connection to him. But F&J were happy for her– she could go to see Wade and our dog Moon (but Cricket was not great friends with Moon– she was a people’s dog). They were right– She was stoic and kind, but you could see in that
Wade & Cricket
dog’s eyes, that she was worried sometimes. I don’t blame her; she went through a fierce loss. Cricket was attached to Wade in a way you don’t often see in a dog. She was HIS dog, no one else’s. Since Wade’s death, she has lived with Happy, Wade’s mother, but she is shared by his family. We cling to her because we were not ready for Wade to go, this wasn’t fair and we needed more time, it was too early. It was too soon. But we had Cricket, we have Wade’s memo pads with his IT company’s name on it and we write notes on them to each other, the girls use them to color, and just remember Wade. Wade’s jacket, Cricket, his tools, his little foam frogs for arts & crafts (we found these on his computers, and he put them there to label his computers and differentiate from client computers. Wade was fun, cute, wildly creative and a little bit eccentric. We don’t want to forget that, or forget how he could work computers, his love of hiking, and especially Cricket. We need her—Duke says to just remember Wade, not cling to things and a dog, because it was time for her to go, but we want to. We need it because we fear he might fade from our lives, he might be just a faint memory. That is a scary thought, because we loved him, and we can handle the grief if he’s not all gone. But Cricket is not Wade, and she was dying, and we love her because Wade loved her. But now they are together and we are coming to grips with the loss. “I miss my brother,” sometimes Duke will say. We do. We really do. We miss you, Wade. And we are happy Cricket is back with you, but we miss her too. I’m glad her pain is over and you guys can be together again. I posted the picture of Wade and Cricket that we love, and all sorts of friends and family responded. It’s hard, but with the support of our friends, we’re getting through it, and it’s so surprising how much support we are getting really helps. Thanks so much for everything, friends.
We have fought hard through all of this, in honor of Chip with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We really really have taken on the mission. It’s important to us to fight this disease because we cannot lose another brother, sister, mother, aunt, child, uncle– and we are determined to confront this challenge. And I want to be part of that. It’s going to take a lot– but the Rogers don’t mess around here. We want to fight for Chip, Jessica, and all of our friends and family, and other people’s friends and family. And my swimming around a lake is not enough. So as I see it, this is the least I could do– even though the swim was REALLY tough (2.4 miles, uphill, in the snow, both ways… no, not really, but very cold and very long). I have the rest of the summer to get to 3 miles. One swim down, then June 1st, July 21st, and one in August, then the big dance. I am excited! I never have felt so excited about something like this– I just came in almost last place, and I can’t wait to do it again! And part of that is because of the wonderful support I get. How do we always come together more, when it seems so difficult? There must be something about humanity where we just *know,* in our souls, when someone else needs our strength. You know how some people say, God doesn’t deal you out more than you can take? Well, maybe he doesn’t hand it out like that; maybe it’s just when your bucket is getting really low, someone comes along and gives you something to fill up your pail.
Cricket was something that helped fill our pail. Like I said earlier, we were just borrowing her, while we needed it. Our pails were pretty low when Chip was diagnosed, and when Wade died. Jessica’s pail is pretty low right now, too… so as her friend, I hope the efforts of all her friends (Team Machuga!) are helping fill that bucket.
Since I never seem to know when to quit talking, I’m just going to share some
photos here, and then go to bed. Good night!
Chip and Drake
Louise, Happy and Harriet
Vista Point Swim