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Six parties and another chance to seize the day

Faced with the specter of diminishing memory, my brother in-law John, together with his wife Carol, stepped up their lifelong passion for creating beautiful new ones.

This year, to mark his 60th birthday, they hosted six separate parties, which allowed them to reconnect with friends and relatives from all over the globe.

“You have to enjoy your family and friends,” John said. “And try every day to look for new adventures.”

An avid athlete, John has biked the 637 miles from Portland to San Francisco, twice. He participated in Ragbrai, a bike ride across Iowa, and traced a path through Idaho, along the Salmon River.

A recent Alzheimer’s diagnosis has led him to make adjustments in the routes he bikes, but not the zest with which he rides them. In fact, while they’re actively seeking all available treatments for this scary disease, neither John nor Carol is allowing it to constrict the big, full lives they lead.

He and Carol, who lived in Germany for a time several years ago, recently returned from a carefully planned, three-week trek through Europe. They spent their time exploring new sites, visiting familiar ones, connecting with old friends and toasting life in general. They enjoyed the trip so much, they plan to go back next summer.

The handiest of men in our large family, John used to relax after driving cross-country from Portland to Illinois by doing fix-it jobs around the houses he visited. He’s bringing that sort of energy to this next phase of his life.

Thankfully, his symptoms – mostly short-term memory loss – seem to have stabilized and he’s been able to turn his attention to the real task at hand – squeezing every moment out of today.

We’d like to take this opportunity to say Happy Birthday to John, the Outlaws’ fearless leader. We’re lucky to know you.

Carol and John

John and Carol recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.

Carol and John 1

They celebrated with an epic tour through Europe.

Knight family

They also raised three of our favorite people, our niece Mari and nephews Robert and Phil.

FullSizeRender

John celebrated the last of his six birthday parties with his family. This is his sister Mary Kay, who also gave him that awesome T-shirt.

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Posted on December 7, 2015, in Family, Family Stories, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Laura,

    I am John’s sister, Joan. My family truly appreciates this tribute to John and Carol. Even though we have never met, I have enjoyed the wonderful blogs you have written about your extended family. They are beautifully written and have such a warmth about them. I told Carol this weekend that you should compile them into a book and she commented it could be like chicken soup for the soul.

    Your sister is such a special person. She is handling this diagnosis with patience, great love and deep caring. During our beach party ( party #6) she and John could tease each other and laugh with the family about those forgetful moments, however with 5 of us 60-70 years old, you could hardly tell who had the diagnosis. Carol and our sister Beth that is still a youngster at 53, keeps us all on track.

    Thank you once again for your tribute to this wonderful couple who are showing their world what true, committed love is all about. An example that teaches us all to seize the day.

    Joan Kosderka

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