Life's Journey

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Bucket List - Dave Matthews - Check

Posted by Sarah Tompkins on July 30, 2013 at 9:50 PM

I had a fantastic bucket list weekend with friends! I must admit that I am now completely exhausted and dreading facing the reality of everything to come these next few weeks but I have some great memories from the weekend to keep my spirits high.


The flight to DC was probably good for me - it kept me sitting and rested for 4.5hrs. Although I realized as I was boarding the plane that I was basically ripping away my safety net by traveling so far from all my doctors. I texted Michele (aka supernurse, aka other mom) and told her just that, she quickly replied and said "nope, I'm right here anytime". I'm so lucky to have such fantastic support. I met a few people on the plane that were heading home and had tickets to the Dave Matthews concert as well. They told me he has always given his best performances at this venue because it's "home" for him. I was already excited for the show and this just upped the stakes. At this point I was so glad I took the leap and decided to go ahead with this trip. My friend picked me up and the airport and we went straight to dinner. She made reservations at a great little french bistro in a super hip part of town. We had a great time just catching up and enjoying dinner. The next day we met another friend for brunch and then the adventure began. A couple of other friends picked us up and we caravanned out to Manassas to our hotel. We decided to stay near the concert venue so we didn't have to worry about anyone driving. I took a nap and the girls went to a local bar to get ready for the show. :) We caught a cab - scratch that we kind of stole a cab - to get to the venue. There were a bunch of people waiting for cabs to get to the venue outside the hotel. We attempted to call a cab ourselves but at this point that was kind of a lost cause. A cab pulled up and asked for "Kim", no one claimed it so my friend (whose name by the way is not Kim) jumped up and said "That's me, I'm Kim" and jumped in the back of the cab refusing to get out. While the rest of us laughed, none of us wanted to "steal" this cab which apparently belonged to someone else. Finally we realized "Kim" was not going to exit the cab so we all jumped in and off we went. On the ride I told everyone they had to give one random act of kindness at some point during the night to get our karma back in balance. :) Apparently that worked because I met a few random angels that night… more to come.


Our seats were awesome and thankfully under cover (aka, not in the lawn) because it stormed that night. And when I say "stormed" what I really mean is downpour! It was awesome, for me at least. :) The set list was incredible. He kicked it off with one of my favorites - Ants Marching. (For those of you who don't know this song, I've included the lyrics at the end of this post - it will make my next sentence make more sense for you.) Not only was this a great way to kick off the night, but the lyrics hit close to home for me. Here I was with 2 of my bestest friends, at an awesome Dave Matthews Band concert, in the rain, checking this off my bucket list, having the time of my life, and I started crying. It was a good cry not a bad one. It all just… hit me! All at once. I am so grateful to my friends for making this happen for me and we always share so many laughs and make amazing memories together - these lyrics just brought it all home. And I realized just how bittersweet it is to check these things off my bucket list. I get so excited planning these bucket list experiences, I anticipate their arrival, I have something to actually look forward to in the chaos that is my life now, and I'm so happy in the moment… but I recognize the reality of it all. The bucket list is representative of the things I want to do before I die… and checking them off is almost a little crushing at the same time. As I near the end of the list I wonder, "what next?". Sometimes it just makes it all too real and too close.


Ok, so back to the night of awesomeness. :) We were standing out in a beer line and I have to say that I love Dave fans. They are some of the best people on earth - I've never met a mean spirited Dave fan. So, in true form, I was making new friends in line. There was one group in particular that I really connected with and my friends were quick to tell people that this was a bucket list trip so of course this is a topic of conversation. I'm not one to beat around the bush so I talk openly about my situation. One guy honed in and said "how would you like to sit in the second row?" I mean, really? No one says no to that. Although I must admit that my mom's voice was in the back of my head saying "be safe", "don't make bad decisions", "don't go with strangers". But as I looked at this fairly small man with a green t-shirt that had a shadow of a leprechaun drinking beers and then puking rainbows into his pot of gold I thought "this guy can't be all that bad". :) I was right. I told him the section and row we were sitting in and after about 3 songs here comes my little leprechaun friend to take me to the second row. No joke, the SECOND ROW! It was so awesome! I stayed there with the group of Dave fans for awhile before leaving to go back and dance with my friends. It's amazing the good I have found in strangers/angels out there. Thank you my leprechaun angel for enhancing my amazing bucket list experience!



On the way out of the concert it was a complete downpour. Thankfully we had $1 ponchos on that really helped keep us somewhat dry. We got to the cab line and there was little to no organization in place, it was kind of a mad house line of over 100 people waiting for cabs. It was a long wait in the rain and no where to sit. I saw a couple of cops off to the side on quads and went over, told them my story and asked if I could sit on the back of the quad while we wait. They were kind enough to oblige. After awhile though it was just too much. And, I must add, I was very well behaved and only had 2 beers all night while my friends enjoyed many more :) One of my friends went to the front of the cab line, told people my story and asked if they would let me hop in their cab to be dropped off at my hotel. After some coaxing they agreed - although they didn't seem to pleased about the idea - I have fantastic friends that pushed me in the cab. They remained behind in the rainy cab line. I'm so grateful for this happening. I was at my limit for sure. My legs were shaking, the pain was pretty bad, and I was exhausted. I got to the room showered and climbed into bed right when they got home. While I enjoyed dancing in the rain that night, they were not as happy to stand in it. LOL It was a little rocky for everyone there at the end, but nothing could spoil the fun of the night.


The rest of the weekend I spent with my friend and her family. She has an amazing little girl that I was so happy to get to know better. Hopefully I can get them all out to the desert for a visit some day. :) It was a great weekend and one that I will never forget. I will hold it in my heart always. Thank you angels for making this possible.


Now that I'm back to reality I'm doing ok. I'm tired. I hurt. And I still have this stent in my kidney/bladder. But, this is my life now, so I deal with it. I had a follow up with the urologist today and we scheduled a procedure for mid-october to replace the stent. All looks good for now. But we all know this is a temporary solution, we need to figure out what is pressing against the ureter. So, I have a PET scan scheduled for Thursday which will hopefully give us some answers. I'll keep everyone posted. For now, I live in the moment. Enjoy the now!


Hugs and Smiles!


Ants Marching Lyrics


He wakes up in the morning

Does his teeth bite to eat and he's rolling

Never changes a thing

The week ends the week begins

She thinks, we look at each other

Wondering what the other is thinking

But we never say a thing

These crimes between us grow deeper

Goes to visit his mommy

She feeds him well his concerns

He forgets them

And remembers being small

Playing under the table and dreaming

Take these chances

Place them in a box until a quieter time

Lights down, you up and die

Driving in on this highway

All these cars and upon the sidewalk

People in every direction

No words exchanged

No time to exchange

And all the little ants are marching

Red and black antennas waving

They all do it the same

They all do it the same way

Candyman tempting the thoughts of a

Sweet tooth tortured by the weight loss

Program cutting the corners

Loose end, loose end, cut, cut

On the fence, could not to offend

Cut, cut, cut, cut

Take these chances

Place them in a box until a quieter time

Lights down, you up and die


Categories: Bucket List Stories

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Reply Naomi
7:42 PM on July 31, 2013 
I'm so glad you saw Dave! I'm praying for your scan tomorrow. I'll watch for your update.
Lots of love,
Reply Linda Burkert
12:03 PM on August 2, 2013 
Your trip sounds fantastic. So glad you had a ball. Best of luck with your scan. You are in my prayers.
Reply Anita Spano
12:57 PM on August 5, 2013 
The only thing that lasts forever is now!