• Birthdays and the fallout

    by Cathy Speck

    Often while I’m writing “family emails,” I wish that I’d kept them all, to transform them into a book. And then I think, um, no, not yet.

    Well, “yet” has come, and I won’t be sharing our family challenges or triumphs. But I am offering you a teaser of a recent email, with some names removed:

    “Oh my goodness,” I just said out loud to myself — seriously. Not “OMG,” or “What the flock,” or “Holy sheeeyat.”

    “Oh my goodness” is not my usual phrase of surprise. I must’ve been channeling brother Larry.

    I’d just sunk myself snuggly into my “working recliner” where my laptop and I become one. I looked up toward my imaginary calendar to determine today’s date. Saturday, October 8, is highlighted, because for some reason I was being inducted into the Davis High School Hall of Fame. So, logic follows that tomorrow (Friday) is the 7th, and today is Thursday, October 6. October 6. Oh my goodness, it’s Larry’s birthday.

    Happy birthday, Larry.

    Larry died of ALS on June 22, 2008. He was diagnosed on May 6, 2008.

    On a happier note, I was really excited to see all of my family members who would be joining in the big celebration. There were so many newspaper articles and photos building up to this that it was kind of embarrassing.

    Of course some of those articles were about our ALS Walk Team: The Specktaculars, and the ALSWalk-a-Thong on Oct. 1. We’re #1! We’re # 1!!

    Anyway, it’s a good thing I’m not shy, and that I love public speaking. For me it’s the same thing as singing/performing on stage, only I’m just standing there. What I’m babbling about is that I was preparing for my “acceptance/thank you” speech.

    I don’t usually plan ahead or memorize speeches, talks, etc. But I’d been rolling many thoughts around in my head (usually — sometimes they roll in my belly), but I keep coming back to the same theme: loving, supportive family and community. I am nothing without you.

    And even though to some of you I can come across as an egotistical boar/bore, competitive, self-centered rabble-rowser, you’re only seeing half of me. The rest is humble, apologetic, grateful, understanding and forgiving. And for almost 20 years, I had been trying to overcome the shame and hatred I had for myself. In my eyes, I’d failed to live up to “the Speck” reputation, and I’d be better off dead.

    I am finally at peace with myself, and am far more humble than you might ever understand. This is true, in spite of writing about being inducted to the Hall of Fame.



    • I find your honesty so wonderful. And I think you deserve all your awards.



    • I think both sides of you is/are coming through loud and clear and you belong in the Hall of Fame. You’re in my hall of fame too.



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