From Lisa: Happy Birthday, Rich!!

Hope it's okay if the wife of the candidate does the post today... I wanted to give Rich a little shout-out to celebrate his 50th. 😀  As I sat down just now to type it out, I remembered a tribute I had written about him a few years back (to a group of friends and family who had been praying me through cancer treatments).  The best way I found to get through chemo was to dedicate each round of it to different groups of people who were an important part of my life (high school friends, college friends, neighbors, Air Force friends, sports' friends, church friends, parents, kids, etc...).  I knew I was taking the chemo to stay alive for them.  This round had been dedicated to Rich, and these were my thoughts on my best friend (copy and pasted from that June 2017 email):     

So, I'm positive that there may be a missing Beatitude (or perhaps a lost Proverb?) that states, "Blessed is the woman who marries Richie Dujmovic."  I'm guessing a Biblical scholar or some famous archaeologist will turn up with it someday.  Chemo #15 is for that guy (My guy!).  I know everyone who knows him well knows that he goes "above and beyond" constantly.  No exception here in this cancer circumstance.  A bunch of people volunteered to go to chemos with me (thank you, wonderful friends!), but Richie ended up being at every last one.  We just got in a groove, and it all worked out.  He ends up making the bed for the nurses ("It's okay, I know where everything is"), times it out exactly when to leave during the pre-med drip to grab me a milkshake at McD's so my mouth stays cold during the Taxol, puts on my socks, straps the ice to my feet and hands, puts the 2nd half of the headphones in my ear, the first half in his own, and we begin our routine of watching "Mad About You" reruns on the laptop my brother gave me to pass the time and enjoy a couple laughs even as poison enters my veins.  He sits guard over me while I sleep and smiles when my eyes open.    

He's hugged away my tears while his own are falling down his cheeks, urged me to keep going during the times I've wondered if I should quit, taken the brunt of my pain complaints, helped clean the house, make meals, and give the boys counsel as they make life decisions.  He's done a thousand and one projects at this house, the Hamline rental house, and the lake house (sometimes all within one week), has a non-stop workday as he goes to bed with Japan and wakes up with America, juggling Boston and Cali and all the places in between.  He's the shoulder I can rest on when the side effects of chemo get the best of me at ballgames (and I'm the elbow in his gut when he yells too loudly at the umpire's bad calls).  Jake's friends have decided he's the smartest person they've met 'cuz he always "knows something about everything."  He's our family's spiritual leader, constantly digging into books and devotionals and extra sermons from various and sundry pastors to help him grow in his faith.  When we finally have a chance to relax together and watch a movie, he's usually conked out within a few minutes, but at least I know he's there and I can snuggle into him...
Richie Dujmovic has meant the world to me since we first started dating in high school.  One of my first reactions when I realized I had to deal with the fact that I might be going to Heaven earlier than I thought was that it would be really hard to go without Rich, because we always do everything together.  We love being side by side through all life's adventures.  Even as he was shushing me about it, I told him it's okay if he remarries if I go away early, but then a couple days later I burst into tears when I realized I didn't want our gravestones to be apart (he promised they'd be together).  There really is a lot you need to deal with when cancer hits, a lot of thoughts you never thought you'd need to think.  Rich often squeezes me and says I can't die because he has no idea how he'd live without me.  I feel the same.  Hopefully chemo #15 will be the strongest one yet as it mixes with the love I have inside me for my husband and conquers anything that would try to tear us apart.       

Second to the last one!  Tomorrow at 11:30am!  Thanks for all your support!!  

Love, Lisa

P.S. Last week as we were driving to Chemo, I played this song by Steven Curtis Chapman (one of our wedding songs).  While my dad was walking me down the aisle that July day all those years ago, I looked ahead to Rich, who had tears streaming down his face.  Last week as I looked across at him in the car, he once again had tears streaming down his face (to match mine).  
Here are the lyrics to: 

I Will Be Here

Tomorrow morning if you wake up and the sun does not appear, I...I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love, hold my hand and have no fear, 'cause I...I will be here.
I will be here when you feel like being quiet, when you need to speak your mind, I will listen.
And I will be here when the laughter turns to crying.  Through the winning, losing, and trying,
We'll be together, 'cause I will be here.

Tomorrow morning if you wake up and the future is unclear, I...I will be here.
Just as sure as seasons are made for change, our lifetimes are made for years, so 
I...I will be here.  I will be here, and you can cry on my shoulder.  
When the mirror tells us we're older, I will hold you, and I will be here to watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me.  I will be here.

I will be true to the promise I have made, to you and to the One who gave you to me.  
We'll be together.  I will be here.  


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