How I Am

08.27.2009 | 8:42 am

200908270620.jpgA Note About the “Fight Like Susan” T-Shirt: The stock of the “Fight Like Susan” T-shirt sold out very quickly, so the Twin Six guys have made it a pre-order item, just like everything else in the 2010 Fat Cyclist pre-order shindig.

This means you can order one now along with anything else from the Fat Cyclist clothing line (or by itself, of course) and it will arrive in November, along with the rest of the pre-ordered clothes.

Also, like the rest of the big pre-order, this will only be on sale until Tuesday, September 1.

Pre-orderable in all men’s and women’s sizes. $22.00

“How Are You Doing?”

I’ve kept myself busy in the three weeks since Susan died. The funeral. The race. Giving away a bike. Getting the kids ready and off to school. A trip to Philly. A speech. A big ride. New jerseys.

And several bike rides, in spite of a big ol’ swollen knee.

Being that busy was hardly an accident. I am a busy person by nature, so busy feels normal. And normal feels good.

I can tell I’m giving people an answer they don’t expect or want when they stop by my house and ask, “How are you doing?” and I answer, “Pretty well.”

Some of them, in fact, demand a recount: “No, tell me how you’re really doing.” And for those people, I say, “You know, I am hanging in there.” But I don’t go deeper. I can’t. I don’t have the time for it. And I’m resistant to the idea of getting emotional on demand.

And the truth is, often I really am really good. Especially when I’m around my kids. I feel like we’ve pulled a little tighter since Susan died. They don’t tease as often, and they tend to stay around me and each other.

And I’m finding that I have the capacity to take up some of the slack left by Susan: I’m consciously a little more patient, knowing that if I’m “bad cop,” there’s no “good cop” for afterward. Knowing that one of the things all the kids loved doing best with Susan was reading aloud, I am deep into the first Harry Potter book with the girls, and equally deep into Watership Down with the boys.

And I find that I look forward to the kids getting home from school more than I ever have before.

When It’s Bad

I did a lot of grieving in the month before Susan died. More than I talked about here, it was clear she was slipping away. She was sleeping almost always, and only rarely did she remember what had happened the last time she had been awake.

It was genuinely more painful to have her present, but be in terrible pain and not lucid, than it is to finally have her be released from what cancer did to her.

But there are definitely times when things get bad for me. Like going into the now-half-empty closet. Or when phone solicitors call, asking for Susan.

Those kinds of things I expected.

What has caught me off-guard, though, is that a lot of the time it’s when something funny or good or interesting happens that I get spun around. Something interesting will happen and my twenty-plus-year-old habit of thinking, “I need to remember to tell Susan about that” will fire, immediately followed by the thought, “I can’t tell Susan about that.”

And that hurts. Bad.

Worst, though, is when I accidentally start thinking about the future. Not the near future; I have an idea what that will be like: school, work, bike rides.

It’s the distant future that gives me what feels like a panic attack. The future was something I thought I had figured out, at least generally, and I was really happy with that future. Now, though, I have no idea what the future looks like.

It’s like when I’ve written something I’m happy with, and then I lose the document without saving.

But those moments are just that: moments. And then they pass and I’ve got plenty to do, and a lot of really great friends, family, and readers to help me get through this.

And that makes a big difference.


  1. Comment by geraldatwork | 08.27.2009 | 8:48 am

    You are fortunate you had time to say good bye to Susan as often the case there isn’t that opportunity. You have wonderful kids who have a full lifetime ahead of them. You are a good person and father and your kids are very lucky for that.

  2. Comment by mom2bjm | 08.27.2009 | 8:49 am

    When my mom passed away 3 years ago, one day at work I realized she wasn’t going to call me to ask where milk was on sale – that was a tough one… there are little things to be missed – but in the end, we go on. *hugs* to you Fatty… You are involved in a good work with your family.

  3. Comment by Chris | 08.27.2009 | 8:52 am

    You’re brave, and smart, and honest. Glad you’re doing “Pretty well,” and fielding the difficult moments the best that you can. You and the kids remain in our thoughts and prayers. Chris [the other one], and Family

  4. Comment by Lowrydr | 08.27.2009 | 8:53 am

    You don’t have to remember to tell Susan. She already knows. You are a strong man and have great kids to team up with to stay strong.

    People say it gets better, it’s more like it gets easier to deal with as the hurt is still there even after 30 years since I lost my Mom to the big C.

    Fight Like Susan!!!

  5. Comment by Becky | 08.27.2009 | 8:54 am

    Good for you…keep going. It’s pretty much all we can do.

  6. Comment by Kathy McElhaney | 08.27.2009 | 8:55 am

    You are absolutely normal in the situation. I lost my brother 15 years ago and my mom 11 years ago – both to long, devastating illnesses, so I understand grieving before the person is actually gone.

    There are days when you will be “really good” and days you wish you didn’t have to face anyone, but you continue on. Even now, it can be just a smell, a change in the weather, or a song that will bring back a memory, and sometimes the hurt seems unbearable, but I’m glad for the years I had with both of them.

    Thinking about you and the kids often, and when I do you’re in my prayers.

  7. Comment by GenghisKhan | 08.27.2009 | 8:59 am

    It’s like when I’ve written something I’m happy with, and then I lose the document without saving.

    Perfectly captured with that statement. Stay strong!

  8. Comment by Bill | 08.27.2009 | 9:01 am

    Prayers for you and the children. Stay strong Fatty!

  9. Comment by Brandy | 08.27.2009 | 9:08 am

    You are quite awesome Fatty. Stay strong, keep up the good fight.

    Thinking good thoughts for you & the kids.


    p.s. the new jerseys look freaking great…so great I had to order both colors!! =)

  10. Comment by Patty Guinta | 08.27.2009 | 9:12 am

    It never gets “easier”, you just get used to the changes loosing someone causes. It also sharpens your focus on what’s really important in life. Hug your kids for us!

  11. Comment by Mark Kynaston | 08.27.2009 | 9:12 am

    A very simple and honest answer to a very diffciult question. Done in your usual humble and understated way and all the more powerful a piece for it. So very sad and yet so very heartwarming and uplifting at the same time.

    My very best wishes to you and your kids at this time. Whilst never forgetting Susan, the love and happiness she clearly brought to you,your children, your family and your friends, may the future bring you and your kids the good things in life that you so clearly deserve.

  12. Comment by MattC | 08.27.2009 | 9:16 am

    It’s posts like todays that bring us all to you. Sharing the good and the bad. I can’t fathom what you are going thru as I’ve nothing like it to compare with. However your family and core team (AND thousands of us in internet-land) are all here for you and your family….ready to help whereever/whenever possible. Thanks for sharing, and know that you and the family are in my thoughts. LiveSrong, like Susan!

  13. Comment by @peckishcyclist | 08.27.2009 | 9:18 am

    So beautifully explained, Fatty. I do end-of-life cancer research, and what I’ve learned (including from personal experience) is that the “hole” in your heart doesn’t go away, but that, through the love of/for family and friends and the blessing of memories, your heart gets much bigger.

  14. Comment by Linda | 08.27.2009 | 9:19 am

    I’ve been down this road you’re on and it’s always the little things, like that split second you think, “Wait til I tell…” and then you remember. Mail, holidays, phone calls, smells, songs…hang in there. It gets better with time. It will never be back to normal but you will become a new you.

    Hugs to you and the kids…

  15. Comment by BuzzLiteBoy | 08.27.2009 | 9:19 am


    Thanks for writing, again! Your humanity in all of these moments is what has inspired so many of us to Fight Like Susan.

    Your willingness to share, and as a result, allowing us to share with our friends and families, brings all of us into together.


  16. Comment by Vince C | 08.27.2009 | 9:23 am

    I can’t begin to imagine how it feels, the closest person I’ve lost was my father 2 years ago and it still saddens me. I think you and your friends have the willpower to fight, fight like Susan, but I can’t help wonder how your kids are taking things. I hope they’re okay as well.

  17. Comment by AngieG | 08.27.2009 | 9:23 am

    I am glad you are doing “pretty well”. I think most people just want to make sure your not telling them that your ok because you think thats what they want to hear.
    Change brings uncertainty, which can be scarey. Consider this though, our future is never certain. Even had Susan not died, nothing is for sure. Now things are a little more uncertain than before. As I have said before its all about perspective.
    I am confident you will make the future amazing. Just keep taking it one day at a time.
    Hugs for you and the kids.:-)

  18. Comment by JAT in Seattle | 08.27.2009 | 9:23 am

    Yet another perfect post, Fatty. You capture the disorientation of loss so well, and I find myself all teary eyed at my computer at work (shhhh!…)yet again.

    Stay busy, don’t worry about the non-near future, it’ll get here when it does and it will be okay.

    And I agree with Genghis above: the simile of losing a document without saving really took me by surprise – well done!

    Hang in there.

  19. Comment by Teri | 08.27.2009 | 9:23 am

    I don’t comment much here, but love to read your posts in my google reader. I have cried many times as I have read your accounts of Susan and your family. I just wanted to tell you about a friend of mine who lost here husband in a truck accident (she was 6 months pregnant with their first child). A counselor told her that there would be many things she wanted to tell husband and encouraged her to start a “Bob Journal” to record those things. So every night she wrote in that journal all of the daily going-ons that she wanted to tell Bob (funny, good, bad). She said it helped immensely……just wanted to share that with you. God Bless.

  20. Comment by Paul | 08.27.2009 | 9:25 am

    My Mum died just after Susan. Like you I had some time beforehand with her to mourn (in my case a week in hospital), and that’s when I did most of my crying. One thing I’ve learned is that it’s OK to feel however you feel, even if you’re feeling pretty good. I’ve lost count of the number of people asking how I’m bearing up, and I love them all for it, but the truth is most of the time I’m about the same as I ‘normally’ am. And that’s OK.

  21. Comment by T-odd | 08.27.2009 | 9:33 am

    What a great post. Glad to hear you are “doing OK” and “hanging in there.” When my dad died of cancer my mom reacted very similarly to how you are now. You know best what you need. Those kids of yours are lucky to have parents like you and Susan.

    Keep riding. Take care.

  22. Comment by bobbieh | 08.27.2009 | 9:37 am

    {{{{{{{Elden & Family}}}}}}

  23. Comment by Patrick - San Francisco, CA | 08.27.2009 | 9:45 am

    Family keeps you together, and family always has an emotional couch for you to crash out on. I only hope that the thought of the thousands of your “online family” somehow help you to feel slightly less lost in the tough times.

  24. Comment by Madelyn | 08.27.2009 | 9:51 am

    Death is just a normal part of life.
    And grieving is a part of that.
    I am pleased to see you are grieving in a healthy manner – so many of us did not have good role models in that context or came to healthy grieving late.
    Your children are so fortunate in having you to emulate.
    God love,
    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

  25. Comment by Andy | 08.27.2009 | 9:54 am

    Fatty, been there my friend and you couldn’t have explained it better. The emotions run in waves…..and it’s the future that is the hardest to deal with. Keep on keeping on my friend

  26. Comment by Marilyn | 08.27.2009 | 9:57 am

    After losing my 12 year old son to an awful disease you know what is REALLY important in life!!!!! Give your children a big hug. I know after meeting with you and riding with team fatty this weekend it just wants me to get out there and be a better person and help as many as I can. I would love to go to Austin, TX but being a single mother of 2 it is just not in the budget but I am ready to do massive fund raising for next years livestrong ride. Take care of yourself!!!!

  27. Comment by Dan O | 08.27.2009 | 9:58 am


    Life is good

  28. Comment by chiggins | 08.27.2009 | 10:03 am

    “I need to remember to tell Susan about that” will fire, immediately followed by the thought, “I can’t tell Susan about that.”

    Yes, you can, and you should.

    I think the folks we love most deeply, with whom our lives are intertwined, are the ones who live as much within us as they do outside of us. We keep them in our hearts, but talking to them there takes some getting used to.

    Regards and best wishes to you and your family, and thanks again for joining us on Sunday.


  29. Comment by plum | 08.27.2009 | 10:08 am

    I’m trying not to cry at work and barely succeeding. Our futures are not up to us, and that is the hardest thing to come to terms with. We’re here for a ride, wherever it may take us. We do our little part to steer, and sometimes it matters and sometimes it doesn’t. You’re a part of our lives now; that’s what you and Susan were meant to do. You have both given us all the simplest advice to follow in every affair – WIN. Even in loss, there is a win. It is so painful to see that.

  30. Comment by Heather | 08.27.2009 | 10:17 am

    You always have such a way of summarizing what is so perfect and normal. The hardest part of losing someone are those moments when you realize you can’t share something with them.

    “It’s like when I’ve written something I’m happy with, and then I lose the document without saving.” That is it exactly! So glad that you are doing pretty well…and thanks for including us in your journey!

  31. Comment by Robin | 08.27.2009 | 10:23 am

    You are amazing and there is no doubt that Susan is with you, guiding you to be the “good cop” after the “bad cop”. You knew her so well and knew what she would do and what a gift that is for your children. I only know you through this blog and i pray that you are finding comfort in your online friends.
    I lost my mom from cancer when i was 22 and the hardest part was wanting to pick up the phone and call her to tell her great things or ask for advice. i still talked to her and in my heart i always got the answer I needed. I pray that you have that guidance. Your children are extremely lucky to have you and you equally lucky to have them…they were created from yours and Susan’s love! May your day be blessed!

  32. Comment by Ian P | 08.27.2009 | 10:25 am

    Curse you, Fatty. Once again, I am trying to work with tears in my eyes and having to blame hayfever for sniffing and snivelling at my desk. Thinking of you and your family, full of admiration and best wishes.

  33. Comment by Susan Tomlinson | 08.27.2009 | 10:26 am

    My father died earlier this year from Alzheimers, and what you’ve written almost perfectly describes what I feel. Thank you.

  34. Comment by Clydesteve | 08.27.2009 | 10:28 am

    In the 1st comment, geraldatwork said: “You are fortunate you had time to say good bye to Susan as often the case there isn’t that opportunity.

    Very true, but I would add, You were very wise to do so. I am glad for you that you had the wisdom to reject the temptation to go into denial during that time. Makes it better now, I think.

    Best wishes. Thanks for being real.


  35. Comment by Brian Sherry | 08.27.2009 | 10:31 am


    It seems that I just joined the sitting at my desk with tears in my eyes while I read your blog at work group. I think your family will grow stronger and closer through this experience. I say tell Susan anyway as she will hear you and most definitely wants to know. You are a bright lite – keep on shining. Philly turned out to be the highlight of my summer – next to marrying my beautiful wife of course. We are both looking forward to Team Fatty breaking their own records next year. Ride on.

  36. Comment by Barbara | 08.27.2009 | 10:37 am

    Fatty, thank you for this post… and all the others. You have such a gift for expressing yourself in writing. I have been through some tough losses, and here’s what I know – those “sock you in the gut” moments of grief and loss do become farther apart and less intense, and that’s OK. I was afraid when I saw it happening that I was losing the connection to my brother, and later my mother, but they’re still a part of me and always will be. I still want to tell my mother things (after 6 years) and I still want to ask my brother what he thinks of things (11 years). The diminishing of the “moments” is just healthy healing.

    Hugs and blessings to you and the kids. I’m so sorry I missed you in Philly! (Next year…) I did see you on the news and I was SO mad that they cut off your story about “Fight like Susan”!

  37. Comment by MTRinCO | 08.27.2009 | 10:38 am

    And if I go,
    while you’re still here…
    Know that I live on,
    vibrating to a different measure
    –behind a thin veil you cannot see through.
    You will not see me,
    so you must have faith.
    I wait for the time when we can soar together again,
    –both aware of each other.
    Until then, live your life to its fullest.
    And when you need me,
    Just whisper my name in your heart,
    …I will be there.

    Copyright ©1987, Colleen Corah Hitchcock

    Keep LivingStrong fatty – you are an inspiration…

  38. Comment by Hilary | 08.27.2009 | 10:39 am

    This is all so familiar; I lost my mother to metastasized brain cancer in 2001 when I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, Katie. In the weeks leading up to her death I kept trying to come to terms with the idea of my world without her. By the time she died, there was some relief that she was out of pain and that it was over. People were kind, and kept wanting to know how I was REALLY doing, too. I think it must have been difficult for others to understand the level of relief and numbness I was feeling. But it was often the very small things that threw me for a loop. I remember a few months after her death I got a renewal notice for Vanity Fair magazine and I immediately started to call her to tell her (she always got me a subscription for my birthday). It was like all the air sucked out of my lungs when I realized she wouldn’t be doing that for me any longer. No more of the little family traditions and customs that she initiated. That was an awful, unexpected moment. But it does get better. Promise.
    Her love is still with you.

  39. Comment by Andy | 08.27.2009 | 10:41 am

    Give yourself time, Elden. Lots of it….

  40. Comment by Erik | 08.27.2009 | 10:48 am

    I met you in Leadville, I was the one running the LIVESTRONG Booth. My dad died June 24 from lung cancer after a 3 year fight. I have the same sort of feelings that you do, as he was my best friend. When I stay busy I’m generally OK, when I stop and think about Dad not being here, it hurts. I can’t sleep, I’m out of Ambien…you don’t want to hear all this.

    I’m focused on my ride in the Austin Livestrong Challenge. Your efforts have inspired me, and nothing’s gonna stop me.

    All the best–Erik

  41. Comment by MOCougFan | 08.27.2009 | 10:53 am

    I’m glad we don’t go to church together. I wouldn’t want to have to speak after you. You always say things so very well.

    Best to you and your family brother. I’m very impressed by your determination and strength. I’d be a mess.

  42. Comment by kat | 08.27.2009 | 10:57 am

    Not much can be added to what others have said. Just wanted you to know another person out there is thinking of you and is so inspired by your writings.
    Take care Fatty.

  43. Comment by Fuzzy | 08.27.2009 | 11:04 am


    I’m glad you can say that at the worst, in most cases you are ‘hanging in there’. I belive you. When you say you take the hit of sudden relaisation though, because you can’t tell Susan about soemthing funny or interesting or for whatever reason you need to remember it to tell her, why not remember it and tell her? A TV programme in the UK called ‘New Tricks’ is about a Police unit consisting of a female boss Polcie Officer and 3 retired blokes (all ex Cops) who investigate ‘Cold Cases’. One of the guys lost his wife in a hit and run. A continuing theme in the story line is this guy, sitting in his garden, sometimes having a glass of whisky and talking his day through with his wife. No reason you and Susan can’t have a few moments every now and then. Just because she isn’t here, doesn’t mean she isn’t ‘here’. I think I’m waffling a bit Fatty, but hope you know what I mean.

    Luv ‘n Stuff.
    Fuzzy from the UK.

  44. Comment by JET | 08.27.2009 | 11:10 am

    You continue to restore a little bit of faith in humanity for me whenever I read your words. Thank you for sharing. My family’s thoughts are with yours during this trying time.

  45. Comment by Scott | 08.27.2009 | 11:16 am

    You may not have wanted to write this post, but thanks for doing so. Great job in Philly!

  46. Comment by Pat1236 | 08.27.2009 | 11:22 am

    Fatty, your writting inspires me so much. You have a debth that most of us will never have. Youare right about the little things that sre so hard. After 3 years I still think that Terri would like to hear this or would enjoy something. The tears are less often now and I can remember her with all the great memories and less tears. So hang in there Fatty, it does get easier but remember it’s only been a very short time since you lost Susan. You are doing the right thing by staying close to your children and staying busy. Keep the faith and remember you have a lot of people wishing you well.

  47. Comment by Pammap | 08.27.2009 | 11:26 am

    First, I didn’t comment the last couple of days but have loved the Philly reports. You are not only a good writer, you gave a very good speech. Very nicely done. Also, I loved the photo of the “devil” – he’s a friend of mine (the guy in the photo not the prince of darkness), he’s a super nice guy.

    Shifting gears…when I lost my mother-in-law (who was also my dear friend) to cancer, like you I found it to be the unexpected moments that punched me in the gut. She and I always cleaned up the dishes together after a Sunday meal and talked like girlfriends as we did so. That was the moment I missed her the most, when I was left with just dishes and my friend was not there.

    Prayers and blessings for you and your kids.

  48. Comment by Edu | 08.27.2009 | 11:28 am

    Just wanted you to know another person out there is thinking of you.
    Best wishes.

  49. Comment by Bo | 08.27.2009 | 11:28 am

    As much as I cannot imagine what it would like to deal with the pain you’re having to overcome, it’s even harder to imagine that I could deal with it with the same amount of grace, honesty, and perspective as you are doing. You and Susan are true inspirations, and I’m sure that she’s smiling now that she is free. As always, my heart goes out to you and the kids, and I hope “pretty well” gets better. WIN!

  50. Comment by Tex | 08.27.2009 | 11:33 am

    My dad died 6 years ago and I still to this day start to reach for the phone to call him when something good or funny happens. The urge never goes away I guess, but the pain it causes gets easier to bear over time.

    Thanks for continuing to write about this kind of stuff Fatty…you really do have a gift for it and it seems I learn something new about the human spirit every time I come here.

  51. Comment by Angela | 08.27.2009 | 11:39 am

    Great post. You express yourself so well. My thoughts and prayers continue for you and your sweet family.

  52. Comment by KanyonKris | 08.27.2009 | 11:56 am

    Elden, thanks for this post, even though it was probably not what you’d like to write about. I want to know how you’re doing but don’t want to ask. I try to imagine what you’re going through, but sure I’m off. With this post I feel I understand a bit more and I appreciate that. Thanks for thinking of us.

  53. Comment by lara | 08.27.2009 | 11:56 am

    thinking of you, elden.

  54. Comment by Heather | 08.27.2009 | 11:57 am

    Just now catching up with the blog after a long absence. Reading through the posts I missed actually had me in tears. I also bought a WIN shirt, for you and Susan, and the grandmother I never met because breast cancer took her away in 1978. She, too, had a young family left behind.

    I admire your courage and openness about this struggle, and I’m cheering you on!

  55. Comment by Kylie | 08.27.2009 | 11:59 am

    That’s it! I’m going to call and book my mammogram! I’ve put it off far too long.

    Kia kaha Fatty

  56. Comment by lesterhead | 08.27.2009 | 12:02 pm

    A friend just sent me your blog link so I could check out the LiveStrong Challenge and was struck by this post and “how you’re doing.” I lost my mom three years ago after a long battle with cancer, and I was shocked at how often in the early days I’d think, “Oh, I have to call mom and tell her about…” And then I’d remember. That and wanting to just stop time for a few minutes were the most difficult things about the early days of mourning. I, too, did a lot of mourning before she passed, and while it was horrid at the time, I am grateful now that I was able to start preparing and making peace. Thank you for sharing.

  57. Comment by elisabeth | 08.27.2009 | 12:03 pm

    You continue to amaze me on a daily basis and I always look forward to reading your blog! Tell Susan! She’s listening! Thank you again for sharing your life with us and glad we can be some comfort to you!

  58. Comment by RachelGio | 08.27.2009 | 12:13 pm

    Your doing great, Fatty. Grief is as personal a process as love is so do it how it feels like it should be done. Love them kids and always love Susan. Best to you always. See you in Austin?!?!?!!

  59. Comment by Kathy | 08.27.2009 | 12:22 pm

    I agree with Brian and Fuzzy. You can still talk to Susan.

    I married a widower with children who lost his first wife to cancer. I know he has talked to his late wife, telling her about the children, remembering family times and just letting her know how he is doing. It was and is a great comfort to him.

    Thank you for sharing what you are going through with all of us here. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  60. Comment by sarah | 08.27.2009 | 12:24 pm

    trying not to cry at work and sending internet hugs from san francisco.

  61. Comment by c3 | 08.27.2009 | 12:30 pm

    Thank you for writing this post. Although very personal to your situation, it also lays out a roadmap to dealing with grief and getting through it.

    Again, thank you.

  62. Comment by Nina | 08.27.2009 | 12:49 pm

    I started reading your blog 3+ years ago but I never really commented. I just wanted to say how inspiring you and your family have been. What you’ve done for the Livestrong foundation is just incredible. Cancer has unfortunately been a part of my life with my grandfather passing away from it and my mother-in-law having been diagnosed with it. I wonder, it there a Team Fatty in Atlanta? There may have to be one if not. Thank you for sharing your personal story with us. I’m so sorry you are going through this.

  63. Comment by Andrea | 08.27.2009 | 12:51 pm

    So wonderfully written Fatty. After my Mom died I had a hard time stopping myself from wanting to call her. Something funny would happen or my kids would say something cute and I would want to tell her. I went as far as picking up the phone once.
    Thank you for sharing this with us.

  64. Comment by Ryan | 08.27.2009 | 12:52 pm

    Stay strong Fatty! You don’t understand how much of an inspiration you and Susan have been!

  65. Comment by Gary | 08.27.2009 | 12:56 pm

    Elden, Im pretty choked up read that post, You are showing such strength , keep going, for Susan and always LIVESTRONG

    Gaz (The Amazing Shrinking Gaz)

  66. Comment by Don | 08.27.2009 | 12:58 pm

    To reiterate: There is nothing God will give you that with his help you cannot handle.I know, it’s cliche… but it’s true. I can appreciate wanting to see the pain go away, it was the same for my father’s suffering.

    You are loved, thought about, and prayed for Elden. God Bless you and the family! Continued prayers from CLE.


  67. Comment by Sharon | 08.27.2009 | 1:04 pm

    Once again, you’ve moved and impressed a ton of strangers with your honesty, clarity of thought, and great writing.

    thank you.

  68. Comment by Tarah | 08.27.2009 | 1:13 pm

    Thanks Fatty. My mama died from breast cancer 5 years ago and I’m still paralized to do anything within the cancer community that involves being around others – their hope, their tears, their love…I just have not been able to face that much strong emotion about something I hate so much.

    I give money to everyone who asks and to some who don’t. I registered for a walk, raised money, got up that morning, got dressed, then just could not go.

    Your blog have been helping me heal and gently nudging that part of me that wants to get out there and do something to kick cancer’s butt!

    Lance inspires me too but then he’s LANCE ARMSTRONG, he doesn’t live a normal life like you and me. So thanks again, man. Your sharing is important.

  69. Comment by E-Jayjo | 08.27.2009 | 1:29 pm

    The line that really stood out to me and that I really appreciate is this one: “And I’m resistant to the idea of getting emotional on demand.” What I like about your writing is you are able to put things into words that really hit the nail on the head and I can totally identify with that feeling and love the way you expressed it.

  70. Comment by Onan the Barbarian | 08.27.2009 | 1:34 pm

    Glad to see you are keeping busy and are “pretty good.”

    Like you, I did the major part of my grieving prior to my father passing away of brain cancer.

    I have MY LiveSTRONG challenge on September 19th (Chequamegon Fat Tire 40) and the next day i leave for Europe to scatter his ashes at an undisclosed location in Paris. I’m thinking that bit may be gut-wrenching for me.

    Stay strong but don’t be afraid to lean on others if need be. As you found out in Philly, we’re a cool bunch of folks here.

    Win. Fight. Ride.

  71. Comment by FatMass | 08.27.2009 | 1:34 pm


    I agree with Tarah. Lance is Superman and he does amazing things, but it’s difficult to relate to him.

    You are going through this and helping others as “Everyman” and that makes you super. Sorry for the corny pun, but you are far more effective in motivating me to make a difference as well as helping me reconciling my feelings after the loss of my Step-Dad. Thank you for sharing such a private fight.

  72. Comment by mike | 08.27.2009 | 1:35 pm

    Saw the video of the speech in Philly. i don’t know many that would have had the courage to muscle through that. Nice job! It’s good to hear that your getting thru these first few weeks. as I said before-Give the kids lots of hugs, it will help cure you both. Let your freinds help when they can for the same reason.

  73. Comment by NaysWay | 08.27.2009 | 1:36 pm

    I am praying for your family, Fatty. And you don’t have to remember to tell Susan something. She already hears you.

  74. Comment by Samantha Lee | 08.27.2009 | 1:49 pm

    Thinking of you and your children and praying for continued peace and progress. One day at a time Fatty!

  75. Comment by the inadvertent farmer | 08.27.2009 | 1:52 pm

    The loss of the future you had planned is the worst. I have not lost a spouse but have lost identical twin girls. It is the loss of the future with them that hurts the most…the what might have been…the what should have been.

    You and your sweet children remain in my thoughts and prayers. Kim

  76. Comment by Isela | 08.27.2009 | 2:04 pm

    You are a great example and I am so glad to be one of your readers. Susan is there my friend, she is there all the time with you.

  77. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 08.27.2009 | 2:31 pm

    I echo KanyonKris – thank you Fatty for letting us know how you are.

    My dad used to say, “time wounds all heels” – pretty sure he borrowed that from Monty Python but it always made me laugh when I was hurting.

    Big hug.

  78. Comment by Powerful Pete | 08.27.2009 | 2:35 pm

    Forza e coraggio (strength and courage – it is the only thing that comes to my mind reading your entry today).

    You have lived through the worst possible thing that could happen to any husband and father. And have turned your suffering into something good. For many.

    You have touched people half a world away like me.

    Thank you.

    And yes, you will be fine.

  79. Comment by Jeff | 08.27.2009 | 2:52 pm

    Fatty, I went through so many of the same things when my wife died from metastatic cancer at 30 years of age. It’s hard to put into words what it feels like when the person you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with is no longer around. Lou Reed has an album called “Magic and Loss” on which all the songs describe what he went through watching a close friend go through cancer treatment and ultimately succumbing. One song goes like this: “Life’s like a mayonnaise soda, life’s like space without room, life’s like bacon and ice cream, that’s what life’s like without you… What’s good? Life’s good, but not fair at all.” It’ll always hurt, but the grief will slowly fade, the good memories will last forever, and Susan will always be at your side and in your heart. Even though your future won’t be what you planned or envisioned, you can take some comfort in knowing that Susan’s cancer reshaped your future in good ways too–everything you write, everything you do, and everyone you touch and inspire on her behalf in the fight against cancer would have otherwise never been possible. That is her legacy and her gift to all of us. Even the most terrible things that happen to us in life have a purpose, we usually just can’t see it clearly while we’re looking at it up close. I think you see more clearly than most. You are doing better than “pretty well” and there is no shame in that. I wish I could have handled things half as well as you have. Hope you and your family continue to be strong and stay well.


  80. Comment by Haven (used to be Kt) | 08.27.2009 | 3:09 pm

    There will be good days and there will be bad days, and it sounds like you are navigating these dark waters ok.

    Those people demanding a recount on your answer need a swift kick in the rear. It’s almost as if they WANT you to be in pain, sorrowing, unable to go on. Or, they don’t believe you or trust you to know yourself and to grieve in your own way.

    I’m glad that you are doing ok, and staying busy. Don’t let the busy take you away from some quiet time with your own mind, though. Take a few minutes of You time.

    I LOVE Watership Down!! That’s one of the greatest books ever. I like the HP series, too, but they get quite dark and deal with some big issues in the last 3 books or so. I’m confident you can handle the questions from your kids, though.

  81. Comment by Erine | 08.27.2009 | 3:51 pm

    You are amazing, and inspire us all just as Susan continues to inspire us.

    God bless you.

  82. Comment by Gillian | 08.27.2009 | 3:54 pm

    I’m glad. All we readers wish for you is to be well, in whatever form that takes from day to day.

    The future . . . sans wisdom on that. Harry Potter and Watership Down, for today, and today’s enough!

  83. Comment by BikecopVT | 08.27.2009 | 3:58 pm


    As always with strength, dignity, courage, and a lot of hope. Take care of yourself and your kids.

    Fight Like Susan!

  84. Comment by justrun | 08.27.2009 | 4:10 pm

    I so appreciate your honesty here. Not that you’d be any other way but it’s a hard thing to deal with when people want a “real” answer and you feel you’ve given them as real an answer as there is. You’re finding a new normal, and that is not something that has a standard explanation. Again, I’m learning a lot from you sharing how you handle your life and live it on your terms. Pretty graceful for a guy that flew 4o ft off a mountain.
    Thanks, Elden.


  85. Comment by Barbara | 08.27.2009 | 4:29 pm

    Fatty, you’re one of the good guys

  86. Comment by dug | 08.27.2009 | 4:57 pm

    yeah, but seriously, how are you REALLY?

  87. Comment by Pink | 08.27.2009 | 5:13 pm

    What you are doing is so hard. I have bookmarked that picture of you and Susan when she was well and you both are so happy. You are so lucky to have known that love.

    I lost my only sibling when she was 31 — she left two young children and I was out of the country. I came back briefly, stayed a week longer and got into huge trouble with my husband.

    Then my husband died with two good friends in an accident. Friends said I was grieving too much and told me of all his infidelities (I’m very naive).

    Then I lost my dad and mom to cancer (I will say I am REALLY old).

    You and Susan adored each other and had four gorgeous children. This is not a good thing, it is a great thing and you were smart enough to take advantage of your love and time together.

    God bless. It will be easier even if the ache never goes away. And I cry every time I read your personal comments.

  88. Comment by Spokane Al | 08.27.2009 | 5:19 pm

    A number of years ago, towards the end of his racing career and his life as he was loosing his battle with prostate cancer the late, great Dr. George Sheehan kept racing and his times got slower and slower. He moved from the front of the pack to the middle and finally in his last race; a five miler, he finished dead last. As he struggled through the course a bystander called out, “How are you doing?” “The best I can” he answered.

    I suspect that you be your answer as well.

    Take care.

  89. Comment by Claudia | 08.27.2009 | 6:14 pm

    Losing someone who knows you best is so tough. One less person who really understands an inside joke, a decades old reference and the real you. It’s a huge loss that goes beyond our traditional ideas of grieving. I lost a lifelong best friend two years ago. I so miss his humor and his unique way, and I miss having that touchstone person in my life. But just going on, and setting goals, and achieving and living honors his spirit for me. I know from what you write that you and and your family will keep going, and even thrive. And that you will never forget Susan and will honor her with your care and love for your children. Best of everything to you.

  90. Comment by Mary in NC | 08.27.2009 | 6:35 pm

    Interesting that many of us grieved more when our loved one was dying vs. after (I thought I was weird when I broke down prior to my Dad dying but not so much after). I created a “sad song” play list on my ipod that helped me grieve. Not so much the words in the songs, but the melodies…. Mad World, Lost Cause (Beck), Human Wheels (John Mellencamp), Cold Feet (Tracy Chapman). I put one song on it that didn’t seem to fit at the time- Dead Man’s Party (Oingo Boingo) but now I understand why I did. I listened to it for weeks, I still sometimes listen to it.
    Losing a parent is not like losing a life partner and I am sorry you lost Susan and face a future without her physically being present- but emotionally she is there in your heart and in your kids smiles, mannerisms and love.

  91. Comment by MerlinRob (was RobB) | 08.27.2009 | 6:46 pm

    One more person in awe of your ability to handle the outrageous slings and arrows of future with focus, creativity, outrageous endurance and kindness (and shedding a tear while reading). You, and Susan, have inspired so many with your ability to share the hard stuff, the important stuff in life. As Tarah said, your ability to inspire is even greater because you are such a “normal, nice guy.”

    You helped me deal with the loss of a mentor, friend and colleague a little more than a year ago. I still find myself thinking about talking to Ed and sometimes ask myself how he would do something. I can’t even begin to imagine how much harder it would be to have these thoughts about my wife and best friend. But I do think that she is listening and wants to hear what you want to tell her.

    While you have lost one future, you are already beginning to create another one day at a time, and it will be good.

    Thank you for your ability to bring out the good in so many.

    Fight Like Susan and WIN!

  92. Comment by Max in ACK | 08.27.2009 | 7:08 pm

    I wish you the best. Nothing but healing through God’s own grace. (f*$%ing) breast cancer murdered by wife about 18 months ago. I have a real good idea what you’ve been through. It totally sucks. Some days are like wandering through life with your eye closed just wondering when the next, inevitable kick in the crotch is coming.
    Stay close to your friends and love the kids. Hang in there homs. (& gtf out of the house) Grieving is a terrible, terribly crushing thing at times. I think I lost track of ‘faith’ a while ago. It’s the 2% of the genuine article. Trust. I’ve no idea why you and the kids have got to do this. I trust God will give you the strength and love to get through it all.
    Oh. I uncovered the Schwinn Cont I bought when I was 14. Frankenbike. I keep patching it up with new parts and ride on. A metaphor for me-vs-life.
    Love to you and the kids. Ride on Knut. Ride on.

  93. Comment by TimMom | 08.27.2009 | 7:17 pm

    Stay strong?! BA-LONE-Y!! do what you can…as you are doing. Funny things to remember to tell her? I keep telling God to tell my loved ones who don’t live on earth anymore. Thanks for sharing with us. Good books you’ve chosen to share with those kids.

  94. Comment by Frank F | 08.27.2009 | 7:22 pm

    I just came home from a funeral an hour ago for a friend who died of cancer on Tuesday. I had to get away awhile and I turned to your blog for the distraction. How can you express my thoughts so beautifully? Keep strong like Susan.

  95. Comment by Susie | 08.27.2009 | 8:01 pm

    you are hanging in there beautifully, elden, and thats a lot!

  96. Comment by Marc | 08.27.2009 | 9:01 pm


    Lache pas Elden nous sommes tous derriere toi

    Translation: Don’t stop Elden we are all behind you!

    Ton Ami de Montreal


  97. Comment by Gmoney | 08.27.2009 | 9:03 pm

    when you said that when a situation comes up and you “need to remember to tell Susan about that”… Go ahead and tell her… I’m sure she is listening.
    Thanks for telling everyone how I felt when I lost my Grandmother and Father to cancer. You write many of the words that I couldn’t find.

  98. Comment by Born 4Lycra | 08.27.2009 | 9:06 pm

    Over the past few days I have excitedly related the stories of Leadville and Philly to my wife and she simply said yesterday – - yeah but how is he and the kids doing. So now we know and i can tell her. Thanks

    When you decide to write your book and you should because writing is clearly another of your callings in fact it may have already developed into a super power alongside quad development and team leadership make sure you include pictures. Especially the one that better be taken of you and Lance in Austin. He owes you one. Take care have fun livestrong and FLS

  99. Comment by Stephonbike | 08.27.2009 | 9:07 pm

    (((((((Elden and Family)))))

  100. Comment by Joel P. | 08.27.2009 | 9:19 pm

    As per usual, a perfect and beautiful post. Hang in there, stay strong and busy. You and yours are in my thoughts. Luckily I read your posts after work so only my dogs see me cry.


  101. Comment by T. | 08.27.2009 | 9:38 pm

    Hi Elden, I’ve been following your blog for a few years now and all of these comments today have moved me to make my first comment here. Mainly, I guess I just want to thank you for sharing your feelings and experiences online. Every single person in the world will someday know the death of someone they love – but not everybody has the gift of being able to speak about it in a way that helps others find their own words. And not everybody who’s capable of sharing that deeply, is willing to do it. I’m grateful for your writing, and I thank you for your generosity. Blessings to you and your loved ones as you travel onward into the rest of your lives.

  102. Comment by LauraB | 08.27.2009 | 9:41 pm


    Have read for quite a while, but rarely post. Have been thinking of (and praying for) you and your family.

    On a TwinSix note… Wanted to let you know that I have, by virtue of ordering a pink jersey, made a commitment to bike with team fatty next year (as i’m graduating from grad school, I don’t know where I’ll be, and thus don’t know which team yet). Thanks for putting the motivating apparel out there.

    -laura in NYC
    (another tearful reader)

  103. Pingback by How I Am [ Fat Cyclist ] | 08.27.2009 | 9:42 pm

    [...] How I Am Found 12 hours, 36 minutes ago A Note About the “Fight Like Susan” T-Shirt: The stock of the “Fight Like Susan” T-shirt sold out very quickly, so the Twin Six guys have made it a pre-order item, just like everything else in the 2010 Fat Cyclist pre-order shindig. This means you can order one now along with anything else from the [...] From: [...]

  104. Comment by Weiland | 08.27.2009 | 9:45 pm

    For your document problem the mantra you need to adopt is save early and save often.

  105. Comment by Jennifer | 08.27.2009 | 9:56 pm

    Thank you for your openness and honesty. Tomorrow is not a promise for any of us. Today is all we really have. Now is a great place to focus on. Hang in there.

  106. Comment by Mary Eileen | 08.27.2009 | 10:01 pm

    Hey Fatty,

    I think you and your family are amazing, for your honesty, your faith, and your perserverance. I am sure your wife is with you, watching and listening, and I am sure her spirit is joyous when you think to share with her.

    Many thanks to you and your family, and for sharing your courage…


  107. Comment by ricky | 08.27.2009 | 10:23 pm

    your family and friends are blessed to have you in our lives. stay strong.

  108. Comment by Margaret | 08.27.2009 | 10:37 pm

    While I haven’t actually experienced this as closely, my husband lost his father nearly 11 years ago to lung cancer. While he was sick, I think they probably did a lot of their grieving, just as others have said. A neighbour died after a long battle with cancer, and when we saw her daughter one day and expressed our condolences, her comment was “we lost Mum two years ago” or words to that effect. It doesn’t mean you stop grieving afterwards, but I’m sure you’ve already done a lot of it beforehand.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us, and know that there are a lot of people all over the globe thinking of you and your family.

  109. Comment by Jamieson | 08.27.2009 | 10:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing this – I think that your understanding of the situation and being able to say your peace with Susan has certainly helped.

    My father’s picture is on my refrigerator so he’s the last person I see as I leave the house every day. 7 years have gone by and there isn’t a one where something comes up that reminds me of him and something we did together, where I want to be able to tell him about it.


  110. Comment by Sasha | 08.28.2009 | 12:44 am

    Thank you for the post. I think watching someone go through what you watched Susan go through is almost worse than having them die suddenly. My aunt died 5 years ago from a heart attack (she survived lung cancer and a stupid heart attack killed her – what the heck!) and I still talk to her. I miss her terribly, but I know she’s there, just not physically anymore. So you can still remember those things that happen and tell Susan. She’s listening. It’s super cool that you’re doing okay and that you and your kids are closer. I never met her, but I think Susan would be really proud of the way you have handled yourself and how good the kids are being to one another. Thanks for being a beacon of inspiration to the world! You are a rockstar!

  111. Comment by Mtnboy | 08.28.2009 | 12:58 am


    Bru i can relate. Lost my grandad to brain cancer. Still hurts. God bless you for the encouragement and honesty you pour into your writing on life. Dude you rock!

    God Bless!

  112. Comment by Paul F | 08.28.2009 | 1:02 am

    I did a lot of grieving before my wife passed away from Cancer in 2004. I was so relieved that she wasn’t suffering any more, but it’s still hard. 5 years later and I still have dreams with her in it from time to time. Makes me think of this song by Mark Heard:

    I see you now and then in dreams.
    Your voice sounds just like it used to.
    I know you better than I knew you then.
    All I can say is I love you.

    I thought our days were commonplace.
    Thought they’d number in millions.
    Now there’s only the aftertaste.
    Of circumstance that can’t pass this way again.

    - Treasure of the Broken Land.

  113. Comment by Claire | 08.28.2009 | 3:19 am

    Keep on keeping on, Fatty. We’re all thinking of you.

  114. Comment by Lizzylou | 08.28.2009 | 4:15 am

    It is odd, how as a society, our usual greeting upon seeing a friend is, “Hey, how are you?” Even when we aren’t particularly interested in stopping and hearing the answer. EVERYONE asks, the checkout clerks, the telemarketers, the waitress, it’s almost become slang for ‘hello.’

    I remember when a good friend of mine was going through a really hard time, it was a conscious effort of mine NOT to say ‘how are you,’ whenever we were on the phone or meeting up. I knew the answer, and she knew I knew the answer, but even so, asking is just so habitual.

    As a librarian, I have always been so happy to hear about how much your family loves books. It’s great that you are still reading with all of your kids, not just the girls.

  115. Comment by jan | 08.28.2009 | 5:41 am

    Your remarks about, “I have to remember to tell Susan about this” brought back that memory from when my husband passed away. We just had that same sense of humor and view of the world that life partners share. It’s irreplaceable. It’s been almost nine years and I still miss that so. I have often said that when Tom passed away, I lost my dreams. No one can replace that.

    When I hear people say, “well, you have your friends and kids….”, I know they mean well but obviously have not experienced the loss of a beloved spouse.

    I am so sorry for your loss — Susan sounded like someone I would have loved to have as a friend.

    After Tom’s passing, I said I replaced him with a patchwork of friends. No one person could replace what we had but I was able to cobble together some of what I lost through my various friendships.

    I, too, stayed maniacally busy after his death and, then when I was ready, I was able to slow down and slowly catch my breath.

    Do whatever feels right for you. There is no magic formula.

    Fight like Susan.

  116. Comment by judith | 08.28.2009 | 6:25 am

    When you want to “tell” Susan, you have, she knows. She will always be with you, she knows.


  117. Comment by Philly Jen | 08.28.2009 | 6:41 am

    {big Fat hug}

    = FLS =

  118. Comment by Trapperdan | 08.28.2009 | 6:45 am


    The future is just another days tomorrow. Take them one at a time and make the most of all of them


    Jax, FL

  119. Comment by Anonymous | 08.28.2009 | 7:15 am

    When I lost a family member and the loss was devastating to me, I found it helpful to go continue “talking to them”. I didn’t do it in a journal, I actually when to their gravesite, but it was very cathartic and helped me work through my emotions.

    Lot’s of love and prayers still being sent your direction.

  120. Comment by Barbara | 08.28.2009 | 7:21 am

    Parable of Immortality ( A ship leaves . . . )
    by Henry Van Dyke – 1852 – 1933

    I am standing by the seashore.
    A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
    and starts for the blue ocean.
    She is an object of beauty and strength,
    and I stand and watch
    until at last she hangs like a peck of white cloud
    just where the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.

    Then someone at my side says, ‘There she goes!
    Gone where? Gone from my sight – that is all.

    She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
    as she was when she left my side
    and just as able to bear her load of living freight
    to the places of destination.
    Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

    And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
    ‘There she goes!’,
    there are other eyes watching her coming,
    and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
    ‘Here she comes!’

  121. Comment by FliesOnly | 08.28.2009 | 8:39 am

    My father died almost 20 years ago and I still miss him every day. It does, however, get easier.

  122. Comment by MVSC | 08.28.2009 | 8:43 am

    keep up the eloquence…

  123. Comment by Heidi | 08.28.2009 | 9:24 am

    Sending you good wishes today and everyday. (Geez, that sounded just like a Hallmark card, didn’t it? It was meant sincerely, though.)

  124. Comment by Maria | 08.28.2009 | 9:34 am

    What would they do. I know in our family my husband’s father died relatively young, even today with his grandchildren who never meant him, we try to actively keep his memory, his soul in our lives. So we play a game, and sometimes its fun and makes us laugh but sometimes it makes my kids cry even they didn’t know him – but they remember him and the live like he would have lived.

    Its not the best that they won’t be in the future with us, but they really are in the places that matter, our heart and our brain :)

  125. Comment by Walt | 08.28.2009 | 10:59 am

    “Or when phone solicitors call …” – Well, the Do Not Call list can take care of that problem :-)

    Glad to hear you’re getting to enjoy time with the kids. Take them out of school, one at a time or all together, if you need to spend more time with them. It’s easy to catch up and quality time with you is more important. Have the girls gotten to go on any rides with you lately?

  126. Comment by Kellie | 08.28.2009 | 11:05 am

    Dear Eldon –

    You made such a profound statement – “And I’m resistant to the idea of getting emotional on demand.” You just hit it on the nose…Yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of my husband’s passing. People are truly wonderful, but some people kind of catch you by surprise. I don’t think they realize it, but they ask you crazy stuff, or want details about if you have been upset or sad. I think it is their way of checking on you, but it’s a little intrusive, and I feel like they are expecting a little waterworks or dramatics from me. Your sentence said it, though. If I can offer some advice – don’t expect anything from yourself. Just go with the flow. I think everyone handles things differently and on different time tables. For instance, I feel like I am doing really well. I have three kids (or young adults) who are in different phases of their lives, from college to early marriage. We keep busy, and yes, we grew even closer together even though I always thought we were a close family who spoke openly. But even though I feel like I am doing well, I had a really rough week last week – out of the blue. One of those weeks that I thought I just might need to talk to someone (a “professional”). But I worked through the thoughts and emotions, and was unexpectedly and surprisingly at peace yesterday. I think people were thinking that “the day” would come and I would have a hard time, but it didn’t happen. But again, I was relaxed and at peace – that’s the only way I can describe it, and I embraced that emotion for the day. Keep the communication lines open with your kids, and don’t feel bad if you laugh and joke around. Life does go on, and it sounds like your wife would want you to keep on living life to the fullest. You will figure it out. God Bless.

  127. Comment by laguna guy | 08.28.2009 | 11:49 am

    Just discovered your blog. You’re a brave man. I have a sense of what you are going through. I lost my Mom to colon cancer 6 months ago — my dad lost his wife and best friend of 47 years. I have three kids in school and am undergoing treatment for metastatic colon cancer myself. Trying to squeeze bike rides in on the “good” weekends. Surgery took me away from riding for 6 weeks and it’s been hard getting back into the groove. Love the Team Fatty Fight Like Susan gear — just ordered some. From a cancer survivor and cancer fighter, thank you for all that you have done and are doing to fight the good fight.

  128. Comment by KC | 08.28.2009 | 2:44 pm

    Again, you express my thoughts to perfection. While I am thinking of all of the plans that my beautiful husband Bill and I made and will never get to experience, I am most grateful for our wonderful 8 1/2 years together. Today would have been our 10th anniversary. Cancer stinks.
    Fight like Susan (and Bill)
    Hugs to you and the kids,

  129. Comment by mckeenie | 08.28.2009 | 3:16 pm

    It’s OK to feel OK. The ebb and flow of emotions is healthy – like breathing. Change is how we know we’re still here.

    Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
    up to where you’re bravely working.
    Expecting the worst, you look, and instead
    here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
    Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
    If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
    you’d be paralyzed.
    Your deepest presence is in every small contracting
    and expanding,
    the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
    as bird wings.


  130. Comment by jenjen | 08.28.2009 | 3:18 pm

    Thinking of you every day Elden.


  131. Comment by allison | 08.28.2009 | 3:52 pm


    This post spoke to me in two ways:

    First, the comment about it being more painful to have her physically present in the month preceding her passing, but in pain. This makes so much sense for anyone witnessing the battle that cancer forces.

    Secondly, I had a thought: how many times am I NOT present for my beloved…because I’m preoccupied with the laptop or cell phone or other “thing.” I shall change this behavior to be more present for those I love.

    Blessings to your family,

    From the chick to rides a Townie in second gear,


  132. Comment by Sandy (like the beach) | 08.28.2009 | 4:28 pm

    Hi Elden,

    It’s my first time writing and hopefully not my last. I sit here and read your blog during my quiet time. Though there are thousands that also read this, I feel a bit shy about sharing my own feelings after I’ve read your thoughts for the day.

    I wouldn’t stop telling Susan about your day just because she’s physically not with you. I would still share the good days and the bad days with her. She’s always going to be a part of you, and the kids. My father’s been gone for 4 years and I still share my day with him.

    See you in Austin. :)



  133. Comment by Spanky | 08.28.2009 | 6:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings, Elden. You are, without a doubt, a very good person and a heck of a role model. We’re all here for you.



  134. Comment by Nancy | 08.28.2009 | 10:32 pm

    When my brother, my only sibling, died. I too had the moments when I forgot I couldn’t share things with him any more. But like you it was the future I grieved for. I would never see him grow up (he was 15), he would never marry, never have kids, I lost my best friend for life.
    It was like a large hole had been punched through my heart.
    It does get better, the moments get farther and farther apart but the lose is always there.
    But, you start remembering the good times and you are so thankful for the time you did have with them.

  135. Comment by PennyPue | 08.29.2009 | 12:21 am

    I’ve thought a bit on this. First off, I really do believe that the grieving is different for everyone. There is no proper way. Forgive those of us who are asking how you’re holding up. We have absolutely no idea what else to say. Grieve your way. See the third point, but read the second first, it’s the proper way to do things.

    Second, you blog. Apparently you enjoy writing. Write to Susan. Personal private stuff is perfectly fine. Or make it a book if you’d like. Have the kids contribute. Call it “Letters to Susan”. I have found it to be cathartic, might work for you too.

    Third. Find Joy in your life, in your world. Create it. Revel in it. Roll around and get it all over you.

    Finally, make plans. Just don’t be surprised when they get revised. Actually, don’t ever say you changed your mind, or changed your plans. It’s just a Revision. They’ll be plenty of those.

    Now, go find some Joy.

  136. Comment by Janneke | 08.29.2009 | 3:11 am

    Hey Fatty, good to read you are holding up quite well. Keep on hanging in there!!

    LiveStrong, Fight Like Susan.

  137. Comment by Jen B | 08.29.2009 | 6:07 am

    Thank you for verbalizing my feelings – almost exactly. My dad just died from Acute Myeloid Lukemia (after a long and amazing fight). It’s amazing how some folks are disappointed that I’m not falling apart – life is really good, but it’s the little things that sucker punch me. The phone call that I started to make after my 6 yr old got home from her 1st day of 1st grade, etc.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  138. Comment by Esther | 08.29.2009 | 8:43 am

    I’m glad you’re okay. :)

    For me, when dying takes time, it lets me process my grief ahead of time. I am so grateful they are no longer suffering when they die, that quickly I begin to heal. I miss them, I am sad, but I’m healing because I know they are at peace and I am so grateful for that.

    A suddent death – when I have no time to adjust – to grieve ahead of time – is an entirely different story. Ripped my heart out and knocked me right down on my knees. Until I had time to scream and rant and grieve. And then begin to heal.

    With cancer, my heart got ripped out long before they died. And what was left after dying was healing.

    There will always be moments where you have to catch your breath – but they become fewer, they became softer. Eventually, I became grateful for them.

    Prayers, blessings to you and yours.

  139. Comment by Flahute | 08.29.2009 | 9:19 am

    You can always tell Susan what’s going on, because she will be always be with you … maybe not physically present, but she is a part of you, and a part of your children.

    And if you’re open to it, she will answer you … again, you won’t see her or hear her, but you’ll know what her response is.

  140. Comment by Karen S | 08.29.2009 | 4:28 pm

    Hi – My husband and I checked in on your blog, and we were so so sorry to read about Susan’s death. Lots of love to you and your kids from New York City!!

  141. Comment by Heather | 08.29.2009 | 11:48 pm

    Elden, this post is healing to us all. We all want so much for you and your children to be well. Susan’s legacy now lives on in your internet family too.

  142. Comment by Bill Martin | 08.30.2009 | 9:15 am

    One ride at a time …o/o

  143. Comment by Spruce Hill | 08.30.2009 | 11:24 am

    Just want to let you know you are amazing! It is OK to be OK. The one thing I used to hate after being diagnosed was when people asked me how I was doing. I always thought they really didn’t want to know the real answer. So I would just smile and say “great!”

    Courage does not always roar.Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ” I will try again tomorrow”

  144. Comment by Lisa | 08.30.2009 | 4:09 pm

    Even though there aren’t as many comments, we still think of you often.

  145. Comment by Jouni | 08.30.2009 | 6:00 pm

    Know that we are here.

  146. Comment by Nina in Ohio | 08.30.2009 | 6:14 pm

    One of my good friend passed away from the same disease Susan had. And by the time she had slipped away, those of us closest to her had already grieved and were so relieved to know that she was not in pain anymore.

    Until they’ve been in your shoes, no one else can tell you how to grieve. And the best thing you can do is to do your best for your kids AND take care of yourself – to remember to be happy and appreciate living – I’m sure that’s what Susan would want for all of you.

    Your kids are lucky to have you as a dad, and I’m sure they’re among some of the best kids around, due to both your and Susan’s influence. You can be proud of what you accomplished together.

  147. Comment by Marc Mandeville | 08.30.2009 | 8:04 pm

    Dear Elden,

    Congratulations on rocking the LiveSTRONG century and on Team Fatty’s success! This was my first LiveSTRONG event as a participant, having watched from the sidelines following a liver resection last year to remove some of my metastatic cancer. I wholeheartedly agree on your account of the race, and found myself congratulating many members of Team Fatty as we met along the course.

    I also attended the Donor’s Dinner the night before with my wife and brother; and was moved to tears over your story, which WAY TOO EERILY echoed my own. We moved to Delaware, switched a job, bought/sold a home, and was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer in 2008. Oh and did I mention that I have three kids myself, including twin two year old girls?

    Your account of your living bravely, and your story of dealing with such hardship in the weeks leading up to Philly was both courageous and admirable. My family and I have also committed to “fighting like Susan” when we began this ordeal, although we did not know it had a name at that point :-).

    Having crossed the finish line as a survivor for the first time, I have been moved beyond words and will continue to both fight myself and train for next year so that we can possibly meet up out in those Pennsylvania hills and pull our OWN fists away from the devil of Oysterdale Hill.

    Your team captured the spirit of LiveSTRONG perfectly, and I hope and trust that you feel as much pride as I did in accomplishing your goals. We’ll see you out on the course next year.


    Marc Mandeville
    Team Wheelman Warriors

    PS: Any chance you have a chain bracelet or two left around?

  148. Comment by Polly | 08.30.2009 | 11:34 pm

    My husband has been sharing your website with me. We are trying to get into biking. Scheduling is the most difficult challenge.

    I think about your family frequently and pray for you. Time makes things easier and the gospel gives us an eternal perspective that is such a blessing. Kids can be the greatest strength…they are the reason to get up some mornings, the reason we smile on days we don’t feel like it and the joy that seeps into all corners of our life. Enjoy your reading with them.


  149. Comment by nono | 08.31.2009 | 10:14 am

    Not sure if you’ll read down this far, but I wanted to say that when my husband died (it was sudden of a massive heart attack when we were both 38) I was so lost…and it was mainly that I felt I was suddenly standing alone and all our future plans just vanished (we had a beautiful home, 6 acres of land, had just built a barn for our 2 horses and 2 donkeys, were both successful in our careers, had not yet had children but had been trying…etc.)

    I had completely lost my bearings, had no direction, nothing to “look forward” to, all future plans had vaporized, short term and long term. The thought of being 38 and losing my chance to have children and a family, and all those traditions that go along with it. It was one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome…the fear of that loss. And one that I could only vocalize to a few of my closest friends.

    I also experienced the normal need to share things with him, and the sudden, regular and re-occurring realization that he was no longer there to hear it. I have to say that “loss” probably healed itself the quickest out of all the others, simply because I began to feel he was “with me” at certain times, so I talked to him (sometimes aloud, sometimes in my head.)

    I forced myself to keep moving forward, but that first year was the hardest. Trying to get through all the “firsts” without him, doing it by yourself, not sharing the preparation, laughter, sentimental traditions that you naturally do with your partner. My first Halloween (he died Sept 26), first Thanksgiving, first snow, first Christmas, first NYE, first Valentine’s, spring gardening, summer vacations, etc.

    After the first year, the second year is a bit easier because you know you can make it through on your own. It’s still not easy, but it’s not as raw and empty as the first time.

    It’s now almost 9 years later…and I was blessed to have gotten a second chance at having another loving relationship. I have also been blessed to have been able to become a mom at this late age to two sons.

    So I continue on my journey, never sure what is awaiting me (my dad died two years after my late husband did, finally succumbing to nonhodgkins lymphoma after an 8 year fight)…always scared deep down inside, because I don’t want to experience the loss again, but I’m know it will always be a part of my path.

    It’s a part of all of our paths sooner or later.

    Sending you thoughts of strength, warmth and love to help you on your journey. So sorry for the length of this…I got caught up in my thoughts.

    Allez Fatty, Allez.

  150. Comment by Petrea Kelly | 08.31.2009 | 10:42 am

    Dear Elden,

    I continue to think of you and Susan and your family and hope and pray for you all. You have such wonderful ways of saying things–your comparisons and little thoughts–It’s been years, but I still long to pick up the phone to call and tell my Mom about something. I guess that never goes away. Best wishes for each day!

  151. Comment by Matt H. | 08.31.2009 | 11:44 am

    You brought tears to my eyes with that entry. Susan’s fight continues for others, stay strong and keep doing what you do!

  152. Comment by Aweesan | 08.31.2009 | 12:12 pm

    For most people, it’s hard to understand what happens when you’ve had your family member pass after a long illness. You’re doing your routine and taking on more to help them but in the same breath still mourning them. It was the same with dad. I know that he is infinitely better now without pain or meds to take to control it. Sure, I think about things that I’d normally go talk to him about or laugh because he’s still wearing his khakis in the front yard to do yard work after not having been in the navy for over 20 years. With family or friends with long illnesses, you kinda mourn as you go and it takes it’s toll on you as well. I think it took over 2 months for the “excitement” to fade when mom started to really notice– or actually have the time to take notice. For me, not being in the midst of daily life for dad, it comes in strange waves when I least expect it; and it’s been over 3 yrs this last March.

    It’s comforting though that you have such an extended and strong support system to help you through. As you said, the fight’s not over so all you can do is pull on your jersey and keep pushing one foot in front of the other :)

  153. Comment by Eloise | 08.31.2009 | 3:54 pm

    What a lovely post. Your love for Susan and commitment to the things that were important to her really shine through. You are a remarkable man.

  154. Comment by Beth H | 08.31.2009 | 10:43 pm

    I suspect that with a progressive illness, a lot of the grieving process does begin before the moment of death, and that in a lot of ways, that moment is a relief (from pain for the one passing on, for the family hanging in there, from the stress of maintenance in the latter stages of illness.) I’m glad that you’re having good days, and that the kids have tied in tight to the family. I’ll keep praying for you all.

  155. Comment by Beth | 09.8.2009 | 4:38 pm


    Thanks for the note on how you are doing. I could see in your writing some weeks ago that you were really hurting for yourself and for Susan.

    I think you are a fantastic person and Susan was very lucky to have you and your children have a super dad who cares very much for them.

    Hang in there. God bless and keep you, your children and Susan.

  156. Comment by Holy | 10.1.2009 | 7:54 pm

    I thought of you and Susan and your incredible journey together, as I just finished reading and weeping through Ken Wilber’s memoir, Grace & Grit about his wife, Treya, and her cancer battle. She didn’t cheat death, but nor did she allow it to defeat her. Her living example was as inspirational as Susan’s – similar brave, artistic and spiritual women….I suspect they’ve hooked up in the hereafter and are co-create beatiful cloud formations for the rest of us to look gaze up, dream and aspire to such greatness.

  157. Comment by Ross L | 10.15.2009 | 11:26 am

    I’m praying for you and your family each and every day.



Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.