Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Wedding, the heist, Jesse's gift and Johnny C

Oh, so you are all DYING to know the story. I just can feel it in my bones!

We wake up to gray skies on Saturday morning, the day Sean Busby is about to marry Mollie Shambeau in Waupaca, Wisconsin. No worries, we know Jesse will be there to help out on his 15th birthday to keep the rain away. We all expected an amazing sign from Jesse, counted on it really.

You see a week before my beloved bike - Johnny C - was stolen out of my garage. Not just any bike, mind you. This bike has been ridden in Jesse's honor for years, endured Death Valley 5 times in fact. No, I wanted Johnny C to come home. I wasn't all that hopeful, after all you rarely hear about bikes recovered. I posted a note on Craigslist letting everyone know what my bike looked like and that if anyone saw it, would they please call me. I filed my insurance claim begrudgingly and carried on.

As I sat at the Shambeau garden with many friends watching my office spouse marry a man I love like a brother, I was choking up. I could hear owls hooting in happiness. Geese flew over. The sign? No way. As the vows were exchanged I again cried while Sean and Mollie publicly recognized Jesse bringing them together - after all, they would never have met if he hadn't died and I knew more than anything Jesse was smiling down on them. I could FEEL it.

During the ceremony my phone rings and rings (on vibrate of course, I'm not that rude, but always having my phone on me is a habit left over from mom is ever away from her type 1 son, no way.) I get on the bus to travel back to the Indian Crossing Casino (which is not a casino, nor native american looking) and listen to my voicemail. A complete stranger is telling me that a thief has posted my bike for sale.

In somewhat of an excited and swift moment I call Charles back home and ask him to work with this guy to set up a meeting, and to bring the police. It's within a short amount of time that Charles is meeting with a wonderful officer named Steph...she's leery we are going to get this...but then Charles lets her know of Jesse, of the wedding and the meaning of Johnny C. She calls my friend Sarah MacKesey who is also a police officer and they are ready to roll. At the same time my friend Vicki G is letting me know that she also is trying to call the guy and knows it's my bike (her partner is also a police officer). My phone is ringing. A wedding is happenings. Toasts are made. And as Sean Busby stood to toast my Jesse Alswager, I get a call. A simple sentence from Charles, "We have your bike." And a mass of people who never met me, but know of Jesse, roar.

Did he get arrested? No. Was Johnny C lying sadly on a dirty floor in a seedy neighborhood? Yes. But nothing was removed from my biked - not even my trail pass with my name! No doubt it was my bike.

All I wanted was my bike back. And Jesse, well, he sure gave us a sign. A big one. There is no doubt that he wanted to be part of the day...and he was.

Congrats to Mollie & Sean and happy to "me" for having my the HOUSE...he's no longer living in my garage.

And that my friends is a happily ever after. Oh and by the way the gift they are opening symbolizes Jesse, and their marriage. As Dave Matthews so wonderfully said, "You and me together, we can do anything, baby....all the way to the end of the world...."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Til We Reach The End of the World

Tomorrow would have been Jesse's 15th birthday. I could stare at that sentence for hours and probably cry and feel sorry for myself. I'm sure I will spend at least 3 minutes tomorrow feeling sorry for myself.

But I get the pleasure of celebrating Jesse's birthday in a way not many others could do in my situation. Let me tell you a story.

When Jesse died a good friend of mine called and wanted to be sure he could fly in for the funeral. You see, Sean Busby was a good friend to Jesse. Jesse looked up to Sean in those early years because Sean was a professional snowboarder with type 1 diabetes who was about to embark on putting together a snowboard camp in Wisconsin with me. Over the years they became more like brothers, calling each other up with stupid one liners or talking about girls.


I asked Sean to deliver the eulogy for Jesse along with Jesse's sister, Samantha. While he stood talking about Jesse in heartfelt words a friend and coworker, Mollie Shambeau, was listening in a church pew and wondering who Sean was.

Over that week Sean and Mollie got to know one another. So much so that Mollie ended up quitting her job and moving to Utah to live with Sean. I can flash forward through this, but let it be known there have been many symbols that Jesse approves of this as songs that remind us of Jesse keep popping at important moments for Sean and Mollie, including the day Sean proposed to Mollie in Iceland. "You and Me" by Dave Matthews Band, a song that Jesse asked me to download just days before he died.

So Sean & Mollie decided to get married - and what date did they pick? The only date available of course in the small town of Waupaca, Wisconsin - September 24, 2011. Jesse's 15th birthday.

I'm looking forward to spending the day not thinking so much about what I've lost, but for what Sean and Mollie gained out of that loss and friendship. I had struggled so hard to come up with a gift for these two after all I certainly can't give them a Pottery Barn gift certificate. I had decided to let Jesse guide me.

One night while sitting on my deck just staring at stars and listening to music alone, it came to me, and with the help of a mom who also has a child with diabetes (of course!) I created what I think is the perfect gift. More to come on that after I hand deliver it tomorrow at their wedding, but I'm pretty sure Jesse picked it out, if you believe in that kind of thing like I do.

The song below reminds me of Jesse in so many ways, and yet is fitting for their wedding also. I hope you all have a good day remembering your time with Jesse. I hope you'll also post some fun memories on his memorial page or my wall.

Congrats Mollie & Sean, and Happy Birthday Eggyolkio...we miss you....

You & Me - Dave Matthews Band
Want to pack your bags something small
Take what you need and we disappear
Without a trace we'll be gone, gone
Moon and the stars will follow the car

And then when we get to the ocean
Gonna take a boat to the end of the world
All the way to the end of the world

Oh and when the kids are old enough, we're gonna teach them to fly

you and me together
We could do anything baby
You and me together yes, yes
You and me together
We could do anything baby
You and me together yes yes

You and I were not tied to the ground
Not falling but rising like rolling around
Eyes closed above the rooftops
Eyes closed we're gonna spin through the stars

Our arms wide as the sky, we're gonna ride the blue

All the way to the end of the world
To the end of the world

Oh and when the kids are old enough, we're gonna teach them to fly


We can always look back at what we did
Always remembering how you and me did
Right now it's you and me forever girl
And you know, we could do better than
anything that we did
You know that you and me
We could do anything

You and me together
We could do anything, baby
You and me together yeah, yeah
Two of us together, we could do anything baby
You and me together yeah, yeah
Two of us together yeah, yeah
two of us together, we could do anything baby

It's so small
Till we reach the end of the world