A Chance to Talk

10.29.2008 | 10:01 am

By the end of Monday, I didn’t really think I’d ever get a chance to talk with Susan — my real Susan — again. And that, more than any of the other fifty things that have me messed up, left me on the verge of panic.

And then, yesterday afternoon, Susan became herself again. It sounds odd, maybe, but others noted it too: you could tell even before talking to her. Just looking at her eyes was enough.

And so she and I (with the help of my Mom, who is doing a wonderful job of taking care of us) went about having an ordinary day: helping the kids with homework, planning Halloween costumes, going on a walk in what must be the best Fall weather the world has ever had.

Until yesterday, I really had no idea how wonderful an ordinary day is. But as I watched Susan help one of the twins with her reading homework, I thought to myself that I would rather be right there than on a trip to Hawaii or Italy or anywhere.

Then, after the kids went to bed, I talked with Susan about our hospice nurse and how we’re focusing our efforts right now on helping her keep her mental clarity — though I really had no idea we’d have such great success.

It was such a relief to have the conversation with Susan, to have her be a full partner in this, instead of it being a decision I was having to make mostly on my own and imposing on her. Now I can feel right about it.

More important than the talk about our shift in focus — from fighting the cancer in her body to fighting the symptoms coming from the cancer in her brain — I got an opportunity I expect billions and billions of people have wished for: Having thought I had missed my last opportunity to tell Susan all the things I want to, I suddenly had a new opportunity drop into my lap.

A second chance.

And you can bet I did not pass it up.

Susan’s still herself today. She got up with me and helped get the kids ready for school, just like any ordinary day.

But ordinary now feels so amazingly extraordinary.

Now, I don’t consider this a “call to action” blog (though, honestly, could fatcyclist.com now be any further from its original purpose of being a cycling lifestyle / comedy / weight-loss blog?).

But I’m going to make an exception today. I’m going to tell you to put yourself in my shoes.

Think for a moment about the person you care most about. Now think about what you’d wish you could have said if that person were taken away from you. Now think about how glad you would be if you were given a second chance to say those things.

And then go say them.


  1. Comment by Tyler | 10.29.2008 | 10:04 am

    Thank you.

  2. Comment by Madelyn | 10.29.2008 | 10:05 am

    Nothing to say, but – OH WOW!
    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

  3. Comment by eclecticdeb | 10.29.2008 | 10:07 am

    This brought tears to my eyes. I lost my Mom to breast cancer Dec 2, 2007. Before she died, we talked quite a bit — about her life, our relationship, the things we both did wrong — (let’s just say that we didn’t have a great mother/daughter experience). Even though I know we said everything we could say, I always wished I had one more chance.

  4. Comment by UpNorth | 10.29.2008 | 10:10 am

    I’m truly glad that today (and yesterday) were better than the days before.

  5. Comment by RachelGio | 10.29.2008 | 10:11 am

    I think we all *THINK* we do that–try and be good to our best people. Thank you for reminding us to REALLY do this. You are doing good things for the world, even if it sucks that you have to go through this to do it. Best to you and Susan and your family.

  6. Comment by Fritz | 10.29.2008 | 10:11 am

    Curse you, Fatty;p I’m sobbing as I sit here at my desk reading this and I have a meeting in 15 minutes.

    Seriously, thanks for reminding us of the important things in our lives.

  7. Comment by Little1 | 10.29.2008 | 10:12 am


    and ay ay captain i shall do just as you command!

  8. Comment by Trail Dog Craigers | 10.29.2008 | 10:14 am

    All I can manage to think to say is Thanks

  9. Comment by Tez | 10.29.2008 | 10:15 am

    You are right Elden. We tend to live our lives in the fast lane and not say things to the ones we love.
    Live life and keep the ones you love close and then them know how you feel. Stay strong you two! More prayers heading your way

  10. Comment by Sprite's Keeper | 10.29.2008 | 10:15 am

    Thank you and I’m so happy you have your second chance.

  11. Comment by KTBee | 10.29.2008 | 10:17 am

    You are amazing…even in your most down moments you manage to send light across the rest of the world. Thanks for challenging us to be better people by serving as such a wonderful role model.

    My prayers and thoughts are still flowing your way. My best to you, Susan, and your family for a peaceful, love-filled day.

  12. Comment by tyler | 10.29.2008 | 10:20 am

    you are blessing others through susan’s and your trials. that is a very noble thing. you guys are in my prayers.

  13. Comment by Lifesgreat | 10.29.2008 | 10:22 am

    What a tender, sweet post.

    Can’t find my Kleenex because of the tears.

    I promise to follow your call to action.

  14. Comment by Jon | 10.29.2008 | 10:22 am


    I don’t even know what to say. After your last post, I immediately e-mailed my wife and let her know how much she means to me.

    Thank you for reminding us that we need to tell our loved ones what they mean to us.

    I am so sorry that you have to go through this, but know that we’re all praying for you and your family, and even when Susan isn’t herself, God is with her and you.

    I truly wish you and your family the best.

  15. Comment by gadrock | 10.29.2008 | 10:24 am

    Thanks is about all I can say right now.
    so thanks Fatty and the whole Fatty family.

  16. Comment by Onan the Barbarian | 10.29.2008 | 10:24 am

    Sage advice.

    Oddly enough, I just went through this very same disease with my dad almost a year ago. I know my experience and yours are different, yours involving your wife, mine my dad, but as I read your posts, I am taken back about a year and am seeing the same sort of symptoms my father had just before he went to hospice what with the confusion and short-term memory issues. I know it’s very difficult to watch.

    I’m so sorry that you and your family are going through this.

    My thoughts are with you and yours.

  17. Comment by Roo | 10.29.2008 | 10:26 am

    Thanks for the amazing post!

  18. Comment by TCR Dave (formerly dave) | 10.29.2008 | 10:27 am

    Thank you Elden. Thank you.

  19. Comment by Andrea | 10.29.2008 | 10:29 am

    Thank you! Thank you! Beautiful post and I will be taking your advice today.

  20. Comment by Bill Martin | 10.29.2008 | 10:30 am

    Thanks Fatty and I am so glad you got an opportunity. I would like to take this chance to tell you that we all appreciate you for your insight into what is so important in life which seems to be so fragile.

  21. Comment by patty | 10.29.2008 | 10:32 am

    Thanks for the reminder, Fatty. And continued prayers for you and your family. Thank you, mahalo, domo arigato…

  22. Comment by Jeff | 10.29.2008 | 10:33 am

    Wow, what an awesome post. I’m not exactly the sentimental type – but your last few posts have sucked me in.

  23. Comment by Trialsdude | 10.29.2008 | 10:35 am


    You are a truly great man, and I wish that there was more than all of us could do to help. We all wish that here at Pink Racing.

    I want to thank you for reminding me to say those things I don’t say to my loved ones. And thank you for being a shining light to us all.

    This is hard, as everyone knows, and I know in some way what you are going through. My father passed away in 2004 after a relatively short battle with lung cancer, and all I can say is to cherish those moments you have with your wife and kids. Record everything you can, take as many pictures as you can, and do everything you can so that you will always have the good memories.

    I wish you luck in your oncoming struggles, and have faith that it will all turn out in the end.

    Good luck, and love to all of you,

    J Todd.

  24. Comment by Dave Criswell | 10.29.2008 | 10:36 am

    Great to hear you received a gift of normalcy. You and your family certainly deserve it, and thanks for the inspiring words.

  25. Comment by Sara | 10.29.2008 | 10:37 am

    You really are amazing. Thank you.

  26. Comment by montanapat | 10.29.2008 | 10:41 am

    Wow. I always want to say something but never really know what to say. I lost my mom to cancer 12 years ago. She had a long stay in the hospital, everyday for 54 days I went to see her in the morning before the rest of my family would trickle in. It was ‘my-time’ or more like ‘our time’. To this very day I feel so lucky to have understood how important that time was.
    Wishing You, Susan and your Family the best.

  27. Comment by Sarah | 10.29.2008 | 10:42 am

    I just want to say how happy I am that Susan has come back. Your posts about her, your happiness together the past many years, your relationship, and her illness almost always bring tears to my eyes. I keep you and your family in my thoughts often, and I like believe the positive thinking, prayers, and whatever else you can call the many people keeping you in their hearts and minds, has made a difference this week.

    I will continue to keep you all in my thoughts through the days and weeks ahead. Please continue to update us. LiveStrong!

  28. Comment by Susie | 10.29.2008 | 10:44 am

    Elden, You are doing this so right…I’m so humbled and inspired by your handling of your life right now. You are embracing every moment you’re given, and turning what could be sorrow, instead into joy. You are a blessing to so many in a time when you could, and rightfully so, become completely internalized.

    This sounds confusing even to me, but I think you know our hearts are completely with you…

  29. Comment by XCTiger | 10.29.2008 | 10:44 am

    From your post, I believe a lot of prayers have been answered.

    All of us need to remember that one thought, “how extraordinary the ordinary really is”. Thanks for reminding us to enjoy the simple pleasure that is life with ones we Love.

    The prayers and thoughts will continue for you, and your family from snowy and cold central NY.

  30. Comment by Canadian Roadie (posing as a mtn biker) | 10.29.2008 | 10:45 am

    Thank you Elden.

  31. Comment by monkeywebb | 10.29.2008 | 10:48 am

    Thanks for the reminder. It sounded easy enough, but it turns out that there are an awful lot of people to say things to and quite a bit to say. I’m getting to work.

  32. Comment by rexinsea | 10.29.2008 | 10:48 am

    Duly noted Fatty – I’ll have the conversation tonight when I get home. I’m so glad you are finding some peace. This is the best outcome and a treat to read. You weave your life and cycling together so well – Keep up the great writing if it soothes you during this tough time in your life.

    Prayers still going your way.

  33. Comment by Jaime O. | 10.29.2008 | 10:52 am

    Oh Fatty, what a gift. What a fabulous, precious gift – not just for you, but for your children. I’ve got some people to call just now. :)

  34. Comment by Kt | 10.29.2008 | 10:53 am

    Wow, Fatty, that’s an amazing post.

    You may not think your blog is ever a call to action, but it is. Think about it: we donate money to Livestrong at your least whim. We enter contests because you tell us to, thereby raising more money and awareness for cancer research. We go ride our bikes because you keep telling us about all the cool rides you’re doing with your friends, and we want to do cool rides with our friends so we have stuff to talk about.

    We purchase awesome T6 jerseys because of you.

    And now, because of you and Susan, I feel like I can finally say things to my loved ones that I have been reticent of saying… because I’m a shy person, you know, and have trouble talking about my feelings.

    Thank you, Elden, and thank you, Susan, for being you and for sharing.

    Thoughts and prayers heading your way from Oregon…

  35. Comment by printenv | 10.29.2008 | 10:53 am

    I am sorry you, your wife, and your family have to go through this.

    A guy at my work had his wife pass from cancer this past year. He knew she would pass, the cancer came, it was rare, and it came with a vengeance. She lived two years but I can hear him in the way you talk about Susan, your family, and the struggles with it all.

    I am mildly socially retarded (I am a software engineer, kinda not a surprise) so I never know what to say or do. I don’t know now either other than to say you and your family are in my prayers.

  36. Comment by Yvette Z. | 10.29.2008 | 10:54 am

    I’m so moved, I’m speechless. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  37. Comment by FliesOnly | 10.29.2008 | 10:57 am


    Before reading your blog today (as a matter of fact, it was last night, while I was in bed with my wife), I had the exact same thought. I thought to myself how lucky I am to not be going through the emotional strain that you and your family have to endure on a daily basis. I took comfort in knowing that come morning, my life would be relatively normal (…and I must confess to also felt a bit of guilt).

    It certainly puts things into perspective.

  38. Comment by KeepYerBag | 10.29.2008 | 10:59 am

    I shall heed your call, Elden. Advice well taken.

    My wife and I had a beautiful lunch on our patio yesterday; you’re right, this is the best autumn ever.

    I think we’ll do it again today and let her know how much I love her and what she means to me. I’ll do the same with my son if I can get him to stop talking about Legos and machines for a few minutes.

    Bless you. Bless you and Susan, your wonderful family and everyone who is helping you through this. You really are a shining example to us all.

  39. Comment by JEnn | 10.29.2008 | 11:01 am

    You’ve given all of your friends here a second chance. You are too generous to think of us when you have so much to deal with in your own life with your family right now.

    Thank you.

  40. Comment by Nina in Ohio | 10.29.2008 | 11:04 am

    Elden -

    Thanks for the reminder we all need from time to time to cheris the “ordinary” – because it isn’t always so.
    I’m so glad you’ve had some good time with Susan and your family.

  41. Comment by Kingfisher412 | 10.29.2008 | 11:04 am

    i’d like to think that the sheer concentrated power of this beam of love, hope, strength, faith, comfort and good wishes sent by your friends, family and your blog readers throughout the world enveloped susan and brought her back to you so that she, you and your children could have this magical time together…bless you for sharing your love and insights with us…

  42. Comment by Kev | 10.29.2008 | 11:04 am

    Aw Fatty. You’re making me cry, at my desk, at work. We’re here with you and Susan, brother: remember you’re never alone.

    Now excuse me while I go tell someone I love them.

  43. Comment by Chris & Debby | 10.29.2008 | 11:05 am

    The simplest, most profound advice ever – advice made all the stronger and more touching considering what you’re going through now. Thanks for the reminder Fatty. And all the best possible for you and Susan during the time you have together.

  44. Comment by Faye | 10.29.2008 | 11:06 am

    Excellent, excellent advice, Elden.
    My dad died unexpectedly and too young, and even though he was in a coma, I was still grateful for the last chance to tell him those things that were almost left unsaid. That memory has inspired me over the years, to embarrass my kids constantly with affection, to never end the day without expressing my love to my husband, to take a deep mental breath and dissolve the temptation to raise my voice. One never knows how many opportunities there are left to show our love, it’s a shame to let them go to waste.

  45. Comment by Clint | 10.29.2008 | 11:09 am

    For the first time ever in my life, I’m glad I work in a cube. Noone can see me crying this way.

    I’m calling my mom the minute I get off work. Thanks for the reminder, Bro. =)

  46. Comment by Bikerchick_Barb | 10.29.2008 | 11:09 am

    Just when I think you can’t possibly be any more real or extraordinary. Thanks– dialing the phone when I hit send. Much love to you all, again.

  47. Comment by jumbly | 10.29.2008 | 11:14 am

    What’s happening to you and your family and the courage you’re all showing is humbling. It does take things like this to make us all realise we sometimes take our loved ones for granted. I’m off now to give my husband an extra hug and tell him how much I love him. Stay strong Fatty and family.

  48. Comment by Big Boned | 10.29.2008 | 11:14 am

    I am so glad that today is an ordinary extraordinary day. You know, I had the thought to do just what you suggested after reading your post yesterday. And I did last night. My wife is my reason for joy – and I tell her that often. I made her stop and listen to me when I said it last night, that it isn’t just something I say, that it’s something I mean. We take so few of the opportunities we are given to express our true feelings. I’m glad you have this time.
    Prayer works.

  49. Comment by NW | 10.29.2008 | 11:17 am

    I am so happy for you for this opportunity to do what you did. Thank you for sharing. Your outlook is inspiring.

  50. Comment by Lizzylou | 10.29.2008 | 11:18 am

    When I read your blog, I always have 1 of 2 reactions. Either laughing so hard I nearly pee my pants, or crying (in either sadness or happiness). You really have a special way with words.

    Today, I had tears of happiness welling up in my eyes. You have a lot on your plate, and I thank you for taking the time to share with us.

  51. Comment by juan | 10.29.2008 | 11:19 am

    Thanks for writing this, Elden. That’s an opportunity I didn’t get once before, and I hurt thinking about it still. I hope not to let it slip away again. You have thoughtful and perceptive children, and I’m sure they’ll understand. All the best to you and your family.

  52. Comment by bikemike | 10.29.2008 | 11:20 am

    Thanks Elden,

    tell our families we love them more than once a day,
    every day. hug it out when you can. hold hands.

    if you lived in ancient greece, they’d write a play about the god Elden. probably be a statue to go along with it.

  53. Comment by Al Maviva | 10.29.2008 | 11:24 am

    I’m sitting here in my office trying to get ready for a meeting with some opposing parties in some litigation. I hope the tears have stopped by then; weeping during a negotiation usually hurts your position, unless you’re six years old and asking for cookies. After that I’m going to go home and take your advice, and tell my wife how much I appreciate her. I’m going to do this because I do and because you’re right. A friend of mine died quite unexpectedly recently and the opportunity to offer thanks for the friendship passed me by.

    I’ll probably get in trouble here when I do it though – my wife will probably think I’ve been cheating or am feeling guilty about something. No doubt she’ll kick me out of the house and tell me to go for a bike ride.

  54. Comment by Ned | 10.29.2008 | 11:28 am

    Thanks for helping us all to rember the important stuff -

  55. Comment by Steve | 10.29.2008 | 11:29 am

    Will do – best advice I’ve been given this decade.

  56. Comment by Slowracer | 10.29.2008 | 11:30 am

    Hey Fatty, wise words well written.
    My boys and wife will be home in 15 minutes and I will do as You say and tell them the truth.
    I am SO glad you got the chance to be normal for a while.
    Peace to you


  57. Comment by Emy | 10.29.2008 | 11:30 am

    An extraordinary post in so many ways. I can’t tell if I’m crying tears of joy or tears of sadness.

    I lost my father without ever having a chance to say those last words. It haunts me Every. Single. Day. I praise God that he gave you and Susan a day of peace and clarity in which to share those words together. And I thank you, Elden, for reminding us how important those words are. My prayers continue to be with you and Susan and your entire family.

  58. Comment by Adventure Nell | 10.29.2008 | 11:33 am

    Thank you Elden…I give thanks for my family and friends everyday. I feel truly blessed and I hope there are many more days of clarity for you and your family.

    WIN Nelson Family

  59. Comment by Mtbnomore | 10.29.2008 | 11:34 am

    I’m so glad you guys got a second chance at this. Stay strong, stay positive.

  60. Comment by MikeonhisBike | 10.29.2008 | 11:35 am

    I’m so glad that you got this second chance with Susan. What a blessing. Thanks for the advice. I’ll put it to good use.


  61. Comment by Bluenoser | 10.29.2008 | 11:36 am

    Thanks for that Elden.


  62. Comment by JDogg | 10.29.2008 | 11:39 am

    So happy that you had this moment and captured it.

    Your call to action has been carried out.

  63. Comment by victoria | 10.29.2008 | 11:39 am

    Thank you for being you.

  64. Comment by neca | 10.29.2008 | 11:42 am

    I will do it, but I don’t know that I can possibly really imagine what your shoes are like just now.

    I’m so glad you have Susan back.

  65. Comment by TomE | 10.29.2008 | 11:43 am


    In this time of pain for you, thank you for reminding us what is important! I do remember a post awhile back where you and Susan were taping “interviews” about your lives together. Those will mean more and more as time goes on.

    Stay Strong!!!

  66. Comment by mamajenny | 10.29.2008 | 11:46 am

    Eldon…My dad died of cancer 11 years ago. The day before we called Hospice, was his last lucid day, and I spent the whole day with him. By myself. Just me and my dad. It was so wonderful. He told me things about his childhood, that I never knew. He really opened his heart to me. He was always and open, sweet, loving person, but this last day was extraordinary.

    I have had those talks with my husband over the last 11 years. I never want to regret not telling him what I want him to know.

    May these days be doubly blessed for you, Susan, and your kids.

  67. Comment by Robb | 10.29.2008 | 11:48 am

    Thank you.

  68. Comment by Jouni | 10.29.2008 | 11:52 am

    You ALWAYS make me cry at work! :)
    Thanks, Elden. Carpe diem.

  69. Comment by Linda | 10.29.2008 | 12:03 pm

    Fatty…thank you so much. You and Susan and your family have been in our thoughts and prayers. We have prayed so hard just for what you have received…the gift of another moment.
    God bless you

  70. Comment by Julie Morris | 10.29.2008 | 12:04 pm

    Just had to thank you for the update. After reading your blog for over a year now, and you’ve inspired both my husband and I to take up cycling, we’ve been following your story… thank you for giving us all this good news of today. Praying for you all.

  71. Comment by James | 10.29.2008 | 12:13 pm

    So true Elden. Life is fleeting, although we frequently take its opportunities for granted in this world of urgencies. Be strong man.

    BTW – Not to get too clinical with you but, as somebody with several relatives going through brain issues right now, I can tell you definitively that there can be tremendous volatility from one day to the next. Regression is frequently followed by strong progression and vice-versa. I have found it easier to cope when I can internally acknoledge that just because we are having a bad day today, doesn’t mean that tomorrow won’t be as good as today was bad. Brain injury can be incredibly random in its affect.

    But enough of that… You are admirably taking care of your family during a tough time. Hang in there. We are all pulling for you and your family.

  72. Comment by Woody | 10.29.2008 | 12:17 pm

    Thank you, my friend. It is all too easy to get caught up in the daily rush and forget to tell those important people just how special they are to you.

    Sending prayers in your direction!!

  73. Comment by kevin | 10.29.2008 | 12:17 pm

    thanks.. in the craziness of being a spouse and parent, i don’t tell them enough how much i love them and how much they mean to me, they know it but today i’ll look them in the eyes and tell them, again.

    thoughts are with you and your family

  74. Comment by Don | 10.29.2008 | 12:19 pm

    You’re a great man Charlie Brown, er, Elden Nelson!

    THAT was amazing!

    Stay strong!

  75. Comment by fremont mike | 10.29.2008 | 12:21 pm


    Between you and Susan, a friend who is beating breast cancer, and another friend whose 7 year old daughter who had two surgeries to remove a brain tumor, my wife and I realized how truly blessed we are.

    Because of you and the others mentioned, we have stopped quarreling about the little things. We appreciate each other a lot more, make sure we tell each other that we love them, and pray for and help other people whenever possible. This is quite a legacy.

    I don’t have to tell you to treasure it, but thanks for helping us to.

    God bless,

    mike jones

  76. Comment by Rocky | 10.29.2008 | 12:26 pm

    He’s gone, though I have said those things that I would have liked to say in person, to the wind a hundred times in the frantic hope that there might be a reply. Ironically, today, even this very hour, marks his passing now by seven years. If only…

  77. Comment by mary | 10.29.2008 | 12:28 pm

    oh wow and thank you. what else is there to say?

  78. Comment by JB | 10.29.2008 | 12:29 pm

    You are a wise man…..I will follow your advice with my family today.
    Thank you Eldon

  79. Comment by Lisa B | 10.29.2008 | 12:30 pm

    Thank you FC. This may seem odd, but in one respect Susan is a very lucky woman. She has you, she has four lovely children, and she is able to love and enjoy all of you. No matter what else happens, that is an amazing accomplishment. Now I’m going to call my mom.

  80. Comment by Dana | 10.29.2008 | 12:31 pm

    Thanks to you.

  81. Comment by Franky and Mer | 10.29.2008 | 12:32 pm

    After reading your post last night I did just that. Thanks Elden.

  82. Comment by isela | 10.29.2008 | 12:33 pm

    Elden, thank you for sharing and for encouraging all of us to be the best we can be. Hugs to you and to Susan.

  83. Comment by Susan (another one) | 10.29.2008 | 12:35 pm

    This is such a lovely post and we are all so pleased you got this chance.

  84. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.29.2008 | 12:45 pm

    Beautiful. I already wrote my wife a little note, but will talk more in person soon.

    Listen, Elden, could you tell Susan that I wish I had had a chance to come to the Triath-A-lon this summer & talk to her about Firefly / Serenity. Not very deep, but perhaps a happy thought for her from a stranger / virtual friend.


  85. Comment by Sarah G | 10.29.2008 | 12:46 pm

    It’s not the first time you’ve inspired me to appreciate the ordinary. We’re thinking of you and praying for you every day. I’m so glad the clouds broke for you.

  86. Comment by Jeff | 10.29.2008 | 12:46 pm

    “Laus Deo!” (Praise be to God)
    We will continue to lift Susan and your family in prayer.

  87. Comment by AZ XC | 10.29.2008 | 12:48 pm

    Thank you Fatty for helping us see what is truly important in this life-family and those you love. I feel like a putz that I had an argument w/ my wife about getting another bike which left her in tears and I have yet to say sorry or apologize. Thank you for helping me and everyone else in the bloging arena see the beauty that is around us and especially that found in our homes.

    Thanks for the update and you & your family are in our prayers.

    AZ XC

  88. Comment by buckythedonkey | 10.29.2008 | 12:55 pm

    You’ve reduced me to tears, my unknown friend, because:

    > you can bet I did not pass it up.

    Nobody deserves that more than you and Susan.

    I’ve never brought this up here before, but I loved my father-in-law dearly and, before died from bowel cancer, I got to spend a couple of hours with him. A~s a matter of fact, he made time for us all one by one. I don’t think the two of us left anything out and I’m so glad that he gave me the opportunity.

    You’re a hell of a man, Fatty. Thank you and WIN!

  89. Comment by Shannon | 10.29.2008 | 1:12 pm

    Just simply awesome!

    Just when you get wrapped up in the stupid things of life, you stop and remember that every single moment is precious. Thanks for the reminder in the midst of your suffering. :)


  90. Comment by Chris Brewer | 10.29.2008 | 1:14 pm

    Elden – as someone who has walked maybe not a mile in your shoes, but at least 1km with my brother in his last days, I regrettably know exactly how you feel. It’s so cathartic to be helpful, but at the same time you know the rug will soon be pulled out from under you and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. People try to comfort you with words and deeds, and yet all you want is the normalcy you once had that is now so clearly unattainable. It sucks. And it will get worse before it gets better. But it will get better and time does indeed heal most, if not all wounds. If or my colleagues can do anything whatsoever, please let me know – Cb…

  91. Comment by Kathleen | 10.29.2008 | 1:21 pm

    Fabulous. And I will go do that thing this very moment.

    Hugs and continued good wishes…

  92. Comment by Emily | 10.29.2008 | 1:21 pm

    Elden, what a wonderful, important post. My father was taken from our family three years ago yesterday, and how I wish I had had that last chance to tell him how much I loved and admired him. You are exactly, one million percent right. I am so glad you are getting that chance with Susan.

  93. Comment by Alexia | 10.29.2008 | 1:22 pm

    Texted and called my husband and kids (I’m halfway around world from them right now.) And Saturday, when I’m back home, will hold them in my arms again and tell them how very much I love them.

    Glad you had this chance. Prayers with you.

  94. Comment by HP | 10.29.2008 | 1:26 pm

    We are all with you in this. My best to you and your family.

  95. Comment by James B. | 10.29.2008 | 1:28 pm

    Consider yourself a lucky man. My wife went to Brazil, my father in law was finally dying from the cancer in his brain. She waited until the next day because the plane fair was about 400 dollars less. He died while she was on the plane the next night.

  96. Comment by srobb54 | 10.29.2008 | 1:31 pm

    Yesterday….tears of utter sadness, today…tears of relief and happiness, that you got Susan back for that second chance to say and do the things you thought you might have messed.

    You are so so right.

    God Bless you and your family.


  97. Comment by Brewinman | 10.29.2008 | 1:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing-
    Please know that you and your (amazingly lucky) family are in my thoughts and prayers-
    Stay strong and keep turnin’ those cranks brother


  98. Comment by Blorgh | 10.29.2008 | 1:53 pm

    Thank you Elden!
    I’m so glad you’re getting a chance to find a little bit of peace in all the chaos.

  99. Comment by Jay | 10.29.2008 | 2:09 pm

    Thank God. Thank you. This is the most amazing, horrible and wonderful thing I can even imagine. You have my deepest sympathy, my profound respect and my sincere thanks.

  100. Comment by Tracy (Oklahoma) | 10.29.2008 | 2:10 pm

    I lost someone very, very dear to me from breast cancer that had metastasized to her brain and liver, a few years ago. Your posts are exactly what my life was like then. Although she was my mother-in-law and not my spouse, I can relate in so many ways to what you are going through as I was her primary caretaker until she passed on her birthday at the age of 54. My children were 7 and 9 at the time that she lived with us. What I would give to have any of that time back. We, too, relished every “ordinary” moment. As the years have gone by, one tends to get caught up in day to day stuff and some of those memories have faded. Thanks for reminding me again to cherish each and every moment. Thanks for putting your heart out there and for sharing your life’s moments with us…the happy and the sad. My heart goes out to you and your family and I will continue to pray for each of you. May God Bless you.

  101. Comment by Rob Churchill | 10.29.2008 | 2:25 pm

    Every day is a win now, Elden. I know from the most painful experience that some of us get no warning at all that the person we most care about is about to be taken from us – so I’d urge everyone reading your post to listen to your call to action and just go do it.

    One day tomorrow will be too late.

  102. Comment by AlicesYellowPorsche | 10.29.2008 | 2:26 pm

    Thank you for everything you’ve shared with us, and thank you for inspiring us to live & love better.

    Gods all bless

  103. Comment by Heatherann | 10.29.2008 | 2:31 pm

    God Bless you.
    All my love to you and yours. You still have my prayers.

  104. Comment by joe | 10.29.2008 | 2:32 pm

    As a fat cyclist (who’s down to not super fat anymore, much of which I owe to that day I unwittingly stumbled across your blog after Googling “fat cyclist”) I’ve been following your blog for a long time.

    I’ve never replied to anything on your website before, but I just wanted to tell you that you’ve got a lot of people out here whose lives you’ve touched that you may never know of who are pulling for you and your family. I’m just one of them.

    My best wishes and good vibes being sent your way.


  105. Comment by 6 | 10.29.2008 | 2:34 pm

    thanks for the reminder. leaving work…now.

  106. Comment by Christy K | 10.29.2008 | 2:40 pm

    you’re inspiring – even while your heart is breaking. I hope you feel the arms of all those you’ve touched wrapped around you – because I know it’s taking every ounce of strength you have to be your wife’s rock. I hope you and your wife feel a “peace which passes all understanding.”

  107. Comment by Anonymous | 10.29.2008 | 2:44 pm

    Prayers from a stranger my friend.

  108. Comment by Andy | 10.29.2008 | 2:47 pm

    You’re a good man. My heart goes out to you and your family. Thank you for putting things in perspective. I don’t even know you, but your story changes the way I think about my relationships.

  109. Comment by Richard | 10.29.2008 | 2:49 pm

    thanks for the reminder……

    Win Susan

  110. Comment by neilro51 | 10.29.2008 | 2:52 pm

    Isiah 46:4 and Romans5:1-5 Thank you Fatty.

  111. Comment by leroy | 10.29.2008 | 2:55 pm

    Thank you for the post.

    We are all enriched by knowing you and your family, even if it is “only” over the internet.

  112. Comment by judi | 10.29.2008 | 2:57 pm

    Fatty – that is awesome you have Susan back. I can imagine how many things you want to say to her. You have an oppurtunity. My best to you and Susan and your family.

  113. Comment by bobbieh | 10.29.2008 | 3:02 pm

    Perfect ~

  114. Comment by Stevo | 10.29.2008 | 3:07 pm

    Elden –

    Thanks for inspiring us again. As I sit and read these comments, I’m amazed at just how many people you’ve touched.

    I’ll keep praying for you, Susan, and your family.


  115. Comment by Glenna | 10.29.2008 | 3:10 pm

    What a sweet blessing…for you and your family, et al.

    I share this day with Rocky (another post)…the passing of our father was 7 years ago today. I spoke to Dad on the day he passed and he told me he loves me and I said the same.

    I hold on to that for the time I will see him again. We thank God for His tender mercies, both here and hereafter.

    Our prayers continue with you all.

  116. Comment by Carla | 10.29.2008 | 3:25 pm

    Elden – thank you for sharing your life. As you know I am a cancer survivor myself, lost both parents to cancer. While my mother still had her thoughts she shared something very wise: Even though she will lose her battle with pancreatic cancer – she will win the war when she enters the gates of heaven. It is so difficult to watch the person you love, shared your life with and gave life to your children suffer.

    Prayers for the strength to continue this winding road.

  117. Comment by Anonymous | 10.29.2008 | 3:32 pm

    Thank you, I’ll do that!

  118. Comment by KC | 10.29.2008 | 3:53 pm

    Dearest Eldon,
    I have walked in your shoes but my steps were not as graceful as your steps, my words not as eloquent as your words.
    You are in my thoughts.
    God bless you and your family.


  119. Comment by Jill | 10.29.2008 | 4:04 pm

    Something to be thankful for, and something to think about.

  120. Comment by ricky | 10.29.2008 | 4:15 pm

    thank you, elden. i will do this.
    so happy susan, you, and the kids had a good day. praying for many more.

  121. Comment by Mocougfan | 10.29.2008 | 4:32 pm

    Well said Brother. Good advice. Will do. I seriously hope you have many more opportunities with your special lady.

  122. Comment by A | 10.29.2008 | 4:35 pm

    Just about made me cry. I’m going to talk to that someone right now

  123. Comment by bidivadbob | 10.29.2008 | 4:48 pm

    I’m so glad that you got your Susan back, even if only for a little while. Yesterday’s post was so sad that I couldn’t bear to comment as all words seemed too trite. You’re doing a fantastic job for your wife and children. I wish you all many more ordinary days.

  124. Comment by Leigh | 10.29.2008 | 4:49 pm


  125. Comment by Katie | 10.29.2008 | 5:09 pm

    I cannot emphasize enough how truly blessed your children are to have you. In situations like yours, it would be so easy (and justifiable) for someone to fall apart and focus on all the gloom in the world. Your strength and your willingness to put so much energy into what good you find in every day will help your children get through this and help them grow and develop into higher emotionally functioning individuals in the long run. You are an inspiration, and I am sure Susan takes great comfort in seeing how strong you are in dealing with this exceptional ordeal.

    Strength isn’t not crying– it’s crying while you step forward. You are leading your kids on the steps forward on a very difficult path, and I applaud you immensely for all that you do.

  126. Comment by Sabine | 10.29.2008 | 5:14 pm

    This is beautiful. Thank you for giving us this gift.

  127. Comment by lyne | 10.29.2008 | 5:21 pm

    Thank you.

  128. Comment by Jeff | 10.29.2008 | 5:49 pm

    Well said. Gonna go do it right now.

  129. Comment by Lerjoy | 10.29.2008 | 5:52 pm

    Tears are flowing and thoughts are of you.

  130. Comment by Goose | 10.29.2008 | 6:10 pm

    This situation is living proof that there are no ordinary moments. Thanks for the reminder.

  131. Comment by Erin | 10.29.2008 | 6:24 pm

    Goddamnit, Fatty, I don’t come here to cry.

    Thinkingofyouthinkingofyouthinkingofyou – it’s all I’ve got, and you can have it all.

  132. Comment by Scrod | 10.29.2008 | 6:31 pm

    Frickin’ awesome! What a gift.

    My 16yo and I are going to see Trans Siberian Orchestra this weekend, one of his wishes before he finally loses his hearing over the next few months to neuromuscular disease. It so totally pales in comparison to what you are doing, but gives me a little taste of what you must be feeling.

  133. Comment by M2 | 10.29.2008 | 6:31 pm

    Thanks, dude!

  134. Comment by ann | 10.29.2008 | 6:41 pm

    OK – Now, I’m crying – made it through all the other days, this one did it. Without a methaphor, I might add.

  135. Comment by Mike Roadie | 10.29.2008 | 6:47 pm

    I have been trying to deal with this for the last 30 hours, so I, too, will take the good news. You have hit the proverbial nail on the head, my friend. Take the time to do and say what is most important now, while you can. Most of us will not get that kind of chance. You were given that as a gift, because of who you are.

    As you know by now, I have told several of our mutual “friends” about the situation (I saw cb’s comment above). I hope I did not overstep my bounds; but I was profoundly struck by yesterday’s news.

    When my dad died 3+ years ago, I got to spend some time with him as he was going in and out of lucidity. But I could always tell by his eyes that he knew and understood everything I was talking about. A night or two before he died, he was lying in a hospice bed and was completely unresponsive. I touched his hand and told him “I am here, dad.” I saw a smile on his face, and 30 hours later, he was gone. So began my journey to help others through the LAF (http://bayarea08.livestrong.org/mike) I miss him everyday, and I think about him and my stepmom—but I do not have any regrets for things unsaid.

    Use your time wisely……and thanks for sharing that with us all.

    With love,

  136. Comment by Rufus | 10.29.2008 | 7:08 pm

    Fatty, I know both you and Suan (and my husband!) will take this the right way when I say that I love you.

    I love the simple honesty you share with all of us – strangers near and far.

    I love your wisdom and clarity, evident even when you don’t feel particulary wise or clear.

    I love the profound and practical love you surround your family with.

    I love your joy and gratitude in the simple blessings.

    And I love your reminder to cherish those you hold dearest…which I’m going to do right after this.

    May God bless you and keep you, and grant you,Susan, and the kids His Peace in all you do.

  137. Comment by Katie | 10.29.2008 | 7:24 pm

    Thank you.

  138. Comment by bubbaseadog | 10.29.2008 | 7:26 pm

    just when you think all is lost it isnt and to be able to discuss your feelings together thats an extra special blessing. be strong and win fatty for susan.

  139. Comment by Chris | 10.29.2008 | 7:53 pm

    These words you share, are a gift. I’ve had friends articulate to me that, although indescribably painful, a terminal disease in their lives, has provided… gifts. You and Susan are sharing that.

    Abundant blessings and prayers,
    The Ross’

  140. Comment by Alister | 10.29.2008 | 8:05 pm

    I’ve just done that with my parents.

    Now for the girl.

  141. Comment by Vito | 10.29.2008 | 8:13 pm

    Thank you Sheldon so much for your advice. I will certainly take it to heart.

    Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with You, Susan, and your family.

    I wish you all Peace.

  142. Comment by BD | 10.29.2008 | 8:16 pm

    Fatty, you really are amazing! You have outdone yourself again, this time by causing people around the world to communicate their love to the people that matter the most.. I am truly sorry for you and your family, but I am thankful that you are able to find meaning in the suffering.. You have made us all aware of the things that matter most…

  143. Comment by Jewel | 10.29.2008 | 8:23 pm

    My sister-in-law died a year ago November, my brother never got his chance to talk, because she never did admit that she might not make it, by the end she was on so many pain meds that no one was able to say goodbye or ask her questions about important things, I wish she had written write letters to her young boys and my brother. Anyway I’m pryaing foryou and your family.

  144. Comment by simon zappia | 10.29.2008 | 8:36 pm

    attaboy, almost as if you read my comment!

    with ya man

  145. Comment by Rider34 | 10.29.2008 | 8:44 pm

    You give and you give and you give…….Exquisite.

    Love and prayers from FLA.

  146. Comment by Alex Esplin | 10.29.2008 | 9:04 pm

    Glad to hear it. Hope it continues for a while.

  147. Comment by Jenn | 10.29.2008 | 9:04 pm

    Thank-you for reminding me of what I already knew. I am so happy that you got to talk to Susan, the real Susan, again. Love to you both.

  148. Comment by Jenni | 10.29.2008 | 9:14 pm

    Yes. Will do.
    LOVE to you all.

  149. Comment by Reverb | 10.29.2008 | 9:16 pm

    Grace and peace be on all around you. I posted a contest on my blog today asking readers what their favorite blogs are…an overwhelming number of them have listed yours. I can “feel” what you are going through…not intensely…not fully, for that would be ridiculous. But, I can feel your heart and I again say Grace and peace be on you.

    I’ll be praying.

  150. Comment by Whitney | 10.29.2008 | 9:26 pm

    Namaste Fatty. Thank you for this window into the truth of joy and love. Here’s to all the ordinary moments you and Susan have together.

  151. Comment by Melisa | 10.29.2008 | 9:40 pm

    Thank you. My prayers are with you and your family and especially Susan.

  152. Comment by pammap | 10.29.2008 | 9:40 pm

    Fatty, you are a beautiful human being. Blessings to you and Susan: may you have many more amazing-ordinary days. Much love.

  153. Comment by Sarah | 10.29.2008 | 10:01 pm

    What an answer to prayer! Thank you for taking the time to share your extraordinary day. I hope for many more of them for you, Susan and the kids. I will keep praying.

  154. Comment by Philly Jen | 10.29.2008 | 10:07 pm

    Thank you, Fatty. I’m so glad that you and Susan have this time together. (And my parents were happy for the surprise call.)

    Who knew on Monday that today could be so full of miracles and joy? Not you, not me, and certain not all the folks here in Mudville. But we’re elated to be elated tonight…and deeply, deeply grateful.

  155. Comment by the greg | 10.29.2008 | 10:36 pm

    fatty, i’m so glad you were given this opportunity and even more glad u took it. again, not good with this stuff, but any joy in the face of this is awesome. and its also awesome that you could focus on the positive. theres alot of people rooting for you. all of you. may you be filled with joy and hope.

  156. Comment by Jen | 10.29.2008 | 10:50 pm

    My family was able to get the ending as right as one can. We are not a religious family but once my dad found out he was riddled with cancer he sought some counciling with an episicpal minister. When he was at the end of the fight, we called the minister and we had a family prayer and then my dad said something special to each person in the family. We also said our last thoughts to him. His lucidity wained after that. A chance to say important things to a loved one is a blessing. Blessings to you.

  157. Comment by Jeff&Jenn | 10.29.2008 | 11:03 pm

    So glad you had an ordinary day today. Hoping and praying for more ordinary days to come. So glad that Susan is doing better. We’re praying for you all.

    WIN Nelsons!

  158. Comment by bbnaz | 10.29.2008 | 11:17 pm

    My daddy died last Wednesday (10/22). He had not been sick but had a dissecting aortic aneurysm. 86yo and blessedly had not been ill. We thought we were dealing with an upcoming pacemaker operation so we were in high spirits in his hospital room. All of my sibs were there and whilst we didn’t speak of life ending things, we did have the opportunity to laugh and kiss and tell each other that we loved each other. What a blessing. He was gone in an eye blink. Love each and every minute and know that I will include Susan in my prayers……..

  159. Comment by Accident Prone | 10.29.2008 | 11:40 pm

    We are all hurting with you. Thank you again for continuing to share.

  160. Comment by Mom of Fatty | 10.30.2008 | 12:25 am

    Grab fast. Camelot was only for one brief shining moment.

  161. Comment by SleeplessInKL | 10.30.2008 | 12:46 am


  162. Comment by Mat | 10.30.2008 | 1:35 am

    Thank you Fatty and Susan. My prayers are with you and your family.

  163. Comment by Redbull (Perth, Australia) | 10.30.2008 | 2:58 am

    About 18 months ago I stumbled across your site as I was was looking for my follow brethren (Fat Cyclists).

    I’ve been a regular reader and follower of your’s and Susan progress during this difficult period.

    Mate you have been inspiring with your eloquence, sharing, determination and sense of humour. There is very little I can add that hasn’t been already expressed better by the friends above, but if a man’s riches are measured by his family and friends you are wealthy beyond measure.

    Chock on.

  164. Comment by deepersouth | 10.30.2008 | 3:05 am

    I’ve not commented in ages, partly because both my mother, and my wife’s mother died much too young in very similar circumstances, and the words all felt hollow, or self-serving or irrelevant.
    All I want to say now is that the hospice process, although it can be tough, and can come with unexpected feelings of anger, or guilt at “giving up”, is absolutely the right way, probably the only way, to handle this. You should know, even in the worst of the bewilderment, that in this strange and awful process of leave taking, you are doing the best possible thing for Susan, for your family, and even for yourself.

  165. Comment by Fee | 10.30.2008 | 4:11 am

    You Earth Angel, You!

  166. Comment by vodkamom | 10.30.2008 | 5:03 am

    Wpw. My heart just stopped. I am hoping, and praying for more ordinary days for you. I will have to go back and read your earlier posts.

    hang in.

  167. Comment by CeeCee | 10.30.2008 | 5:57 am

    Great advice! I took it.
    I’m so glad you had a chance to get Susan’s imput on her care. I hope it relieves some of your worries.
    Here’s to an ordinary day with the ones you love!

  168. Comment by canknitian | 10.30.2008 | 6:32 am

    I’m glad you had a normal day and a second chance to say everything you needed and wanted.

    BIG HUG,

  169. Comment by Pam | 10.30.2008 | 6:34 am

    Here’s for more extraordinarily ordinary days.

  170. Comment by DCD | 10.30.2008 | 6:38 am

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

    Sending thoughts of peace and courage, and hopes for lots more ordinary days.

  171. Comment by Jules | 10.30.2008 | 6:51 am

    I linked here from Carolyn Online and promise to come back to check on you and Susan. It is so huge to appreciate the love and people when they are within your reach. I try to do it every day but distractions intervene and your post will make me redouble my efforts. Meantime, I will keep good thoughts for your family.

  172. Comment by carey | 10.30.2008 | 7:05 am

    Thank you so much for putting it so eloquently and reminding us all of whats really important. Although my son has a life-shortening genetic disease, I sometimes forget to do what you’re reminding us to do and I thank you so much.

    God bless.

  173. Pingback by fatcyclist « CCFB Blog - Joe C. Hays | 10.30.2008 | 7:34 am

    [...] as possible. So go on over to http://www.fatcyclist.com and start reading. (If nothing else, at least read this post.) And when you read, [...]

  174. Comment by Donald | 10.30.2008 | 8:28 am


  175. Comment by X | 10.30.2008 | 9:25 am

    Carolyn Online sent me over. Glad she did. On my way to tell everyone I love just that.

  176. Comment by Carrie | 10.30.2008 | 12:22 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your soul with us. This post is amazing and certainly will not be taken for granted.

  177. Comment by Mary | 10.30.2008 | 1:10 pm

    While I can add nothing to the all of the sentiments already expressed, if there is any truth that you can find strength in numbers, I want to be a part of that. Oh how my heart is breaking for what your family is going through. We love you.

  178. Comment by Alice Gold | 10.30.2008 | 3:37 pm

    Thank you for such a great reminder to love the ordinary. I pray that you will have as many good days left as the good Lord sees fit and that He will carry you and the rest or your family the rest of the way.

  179. Comment by Anita Doberman | 10.30.2008 | 4:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing this difficult journey. Thank you. Thank you. My prayers are with you.

  180. Comment by Sharon Lyn | 10.30.2008 | 5:25 pm

    Your wonderful words about passing on the love before it’s too late prompted our son to do so for us and we were “blown away”. My Dad died of bone cancer and complications so I feel your pain. Tell Sarah you love here every day…I will keep you, Sarah and family in my prayers. Be strong Elden…God watch over you.

  181. Comment by ms picket to you | 10.30.2008 | 6:07 pm

    for the first time ever, i read someone’s words OUT LOUD to my husband. in so many ways, this moved me and us both and i thank you so very much for having the willingness and ability to share it. profound and purely… love.

  182. Comment by Twenty-Something | 10.31.2008 | 8:11 am

    Seriously, truly, amazing. Your words came at a really crucial time for me, Thank You.

    Wishing you amazing things for the future and more “ordinary” days to come!

  183. Comment by ann | 10.31.2008 | 9:09 am

    “I laid beside Susan . . . as she pressed her hand to my chest to stop the flow of blood from the knife wound she was certain she had just given me.”

    I woke mid-sleep to pray, and realized how very deep this metaphor is – and how she is expressing, through the haze that is her reality, how dear you are to her. Blessings to you all, and to Susan as she works so hard to express her love.

  184. Comment by roadrash | 10.31.2008 | 9:14 am


    Just arrived home from a long business trip to L.A. I woke my wife up to let her know just how much I love her and appreciate everything she does for our family. And I will tell her every chance I get – - especially when she is awake :-)

    Continued prayers for strength and grace.

  185. Comment by Brian | 11.1.2008 | 4:54 am

    Elden – a message everyone needs to hear. Thank you. The bustle of life you can easily take the time you have with loved ones for granted, and that is just a waste.

  186. Comment by Pink | 11.1.2008 | 7:36 am

    My Mom died of lung cancer and I never knew she was going to die. I wrote a letter about her for her memorial and said that she didn’t just get my goat, she kept it tethered in her back yard. Like many mothers and daughters, we were too much alike.

    I am so sorry for the pain you’re going through. But thank God that you had those hours with her to say what you needed to say.

    You’re a good man and a good father and you will survive.

  187. Comment by S | 11.1.2008 | 9:58 am

    Fatty, I drop by for the bike stuff, the quirky humour even.

    This personal stuff is downright scary…

    If I am half the man you are when the time comes; then I’ll be content.

  188. Comment by Mark B. | 11.11.2008 | 4:56 pm

    I tell my daughter every night at bedtime that I love her, and I’ve had nothing but kind words for my sister & her family every night, as well. It’s what I practice, after losing my dad to heart failure in ‘95.

    When my mom passed (in hospice, 2-2003), the last thing I said to her (don’t know if it registered, she was at least semi-comatose) was, “Goodbye, Mom…I love you.” Slightly past midnight that night, my brother called to tell me she’d passed.

    My family is all I really have of value; the house is home, but I’ve had several. The bike is precious, but it will only last a short while in comparison, before another one takes its place.

    I feel you, and I agree.

  189. Pingback by The Fragility of Life « Be The Change | 05.3.2009 | 1:46 pm

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