Gordon Eric Aldrich was born on July 31st, 1960, in a small town in Michigan to Gordon and Charlotte Aldrich. Several years after he was born, the family moved to Statesville, North Carolina. Gordon’s childhood was that of any healthy boy raised in the South.
After graduating from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, Gordon’s first job was selling office equipment. Soon Gordon found his true “calling” when he went to work for Altec Industries selling bucket trucks and digger derricks to the utilities industry. He just loved playing with trucks!
Gordon and I met in 1984 and were married on March 22, 1986. We made our home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Like most men, Gordon enjoyed his “toys.” We originally bought a boat, but we soon changed to motor homes. He loved to travel across our country as much as he loved to call on his customers.
On May 13, 2004, Gordon was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer. Despite the fact that he was young, strong, and determined to beat the odds, his cancer was more aggressive than his treatments. Gordon died on May 13, 2006, two years to the day after he was diagnosed—right after our 20th wedding anniversary. There was a bucket truck arch at his visitation and funeral. People from across the country came to say good-bye to a kind man with a booming voice and an easy laugh.
Throughout Gordon’s battle with cancer, I fought to find the best approach to his treatment, much of which took place 800 miles from our home. Today, through my books, websites, seminars, and other resources, I hope to be part of the support system for others who are fighting for life.
In the days, months, and years following Gordon’s death, I’ve personally found great solace in the ocean. I’m not into meditation or channeling (I rarely stay still long enough to do either!), but having been raised close to the ocean, I seem to have an open connection with God and my creativity while I’m looking out over the waves. Somehow the sea air gets into my mind, and thoughts and emotions merge like the soaring seagulls overhead.
It is through long walks on the beach that all of my books came to life. The beach was the birthplace of “The Job Description of a Cancer Caregiver” in The Saving of Gordon: Lifelines to W-I-N Against Cancer and the inspiration for the “If Only” chapter, which appears in both The Saving of Gordon and in my second book, The Losing of Gordon: A Beacon Through the Storm Called “Grief.” That special chapter offers hope to overcome life’s “if only” regrets. The beach is also where I wrote the following passage for The Losing of Gordon:
“The beach was swept away by the twin forces of violent wind and waves. Days later, piles of broken shells were deposited onto the shore. Nature had begun the rebuilding process. This is much the same as the process we undergo when rebuilding our lives after suffering the catastrophic loss of someone we love…”
There are many more beach walks in my future. Stay tuned…
~Joni James Aldrich
That’s Joni and Gordon’s story. What’s yours? Help others by sharing about your or your loved one’s fight against cancer.
Learn more about Joni and her books on her other web sites!