A shifting of my priorities…

I’ve been mostly silent for the past three weeks, and absent from community events. I’ve disconnected as much as possible from the routine, and shifted focus to my family. Here’s why…

Four years ago, my 30-year-old sister Hilliary died after a courageous battle with a rare and insidious cancer. It was the first time in my life that I completely checked out of work, business building and my various projects, and took a few months to be with my Mom and the two beautiful young girls my sister left behind. The past four years have been difficult for the family, but life goes on, and the memories of my sister light the way. During her illness, no one was stronger, more loving or supportive than my Mom, and she remains the steady rock tethering my young nieces as they grow.

Three weeks ago, my Mom suddenly fell ill, and has been diagnosed with an advanced stage lung cancer. That terrible disease that ripped through the heart of our family has returned. Once again, I’m curtailing many activities and centering with my Mom and my nieces.

We responded quickly, and headed to Houston to the MD Anderson Cancer Center to start treatment right away. The past two weeks are a blur of activity, doctors and treatments, though at the same time it seems an eternity since this began. There are many weeks and months ahead, with much more of the same.

I will remain engaged with work, much of which can still be done while I’m away. There is plenty of quiet time where I’m able to think, especially about the bigger and more important initiatives on my agenda, and I’m oddly more productive with some distance and perspective. Some exciting stuff has been underway for TechNexus and Chicago Tech Academy, and good work continues at ITA and various projects where I’m playing a role. I’m lucky to work with many great people on all my projects, and they have stepped up to fill the gaps quite well. I’m also now surrounded by family and close friends who provide incredible support.

My Mom is the most amazing person I’ve ever known… truly the materfamilias… she’s faced adversity and challenge at nearly every turn in her life: divorced, single mom, widowed, loss of a child, raising grandkids – yet she taught us all to take adversity in stride and grow from it. Somehow, my Mom always emerged as a more whole person after each little piece of her was taken by one of life’s challenges.

The care and compassion she showed though my sister’s illness rivaled the care of angels, and the courage she gave to the kids and our family during that time came straight from Heaven. Now it is our turn to help my Mom wage and win a battle that threatens to take her from us far too soon. We intend to win that battle, and I can think of no greater warrior to have on point than Mom.

I may occasionally blog or post about the progress and treatments (some experimental and cutting edge stuff from these doctors). Or, I might not. I may post about some of my various work initiatives, or even simple or mundane topics, often just for distraction. I may occasionally be silent and absent from the community altogether. It’s sad when things like this come along and remind you of the perspective you once gained, but slowly let slip away, the last time life through a curveball.


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