Everyone has tried this simple, yet oh so complex little game some time in their lives. Setting up at line of dominos and watching them cascade one after the other down a perfect line until the last one drops. Of course, unless you are a master at the precise placement and spacing of each domino you will end up with heap of dominoes that has stopped in mid stream. What then?
Our domino effect began November 21, 2008. Once Steve realized he had Stage 4 Gliomablastoma Multi forma he began placing his first row of dominos. Steve, thinking his time was very limited began stacking multiple rows of dominos in lines. You’ve seen these displays, the dominos spiral round in a huge circle, they go up and down levels...it’s amazing to watch row after row of dominos fall in syncopation.
Steve was striving to master his domino effect of life. He began by first putting all his finances in order. Each placement of every domino was strategically placed. He spent hours making sure everyone would be well taken care of and there would be no hitches at the end of this domino line. Lynn and I are still marveling at how completely Steve’s proficiency was in this area, as each domino has fallen smoothly and perfectly into place. Steve so wanted this to be an effortless task for all of us, what a gift.
Steve’s second line of dominos has many unexpected twists and turns. It’s the area that would cause bystanders to laugh and applaud his foresight and his humor. This domino effect would be called, “The More the Better Effect”.
Steve always felt it was important to have extras on hand, in case production of an item stopped or models changed. As Steve realized his time here had been extended a bit, he was able to take great care in buying all the necessary items needed to form these twists and turns.
Like what? Well, I’ll start with an extra kitchen faucet. Brand new still in the box labeled in his handwriting “Extra Kitchen Faucet”. Then there is the extra master bath toilet seat and flush handle...just in case. I found an extra complete hardware kit for our front door (deadbolt, handle and all the stuff that comes with needing a new door knob), extra rolls of wallpaper, carpet, fabric for sofas, chairs...just in case. Being the master domino placer that Steve was each item has been discovered in rather obscure places and labeled for their purpose. Such as the extra television lamp I found for a TV that we no longer own. I now have the light when that television stops working. Masterful, complex, always planning for the next unexpected twist...Steve Boswell, I love you!
Then there are the fascinating spiral domino tumbles. Where you have circles inside of circles and they seem never ending yet suddenly they fall back into their straight line and continue on until the last domino drops.
Steve’s spiral effect was our gift of time. Steve was given time to go over and over with me issues that concerned him. Things that would help make my life easier, explanations of why he had all these “extras” and what I was to do with them. He had instructions on finances, instructions on equipment I had no idea how to use, comments on where things were. I’ll admit, I hated hearing him start a sentence, “Janet, when I’m gone you need to know…” I would cringe. I would try to listen because I knew it was what he needed to feel his dominos were in a row, but the thought that someday I would be needing to face all these dominos alone was too frightening, too lonely, too overwhelming...so I listened halfheartedly. Shame on me. I wish I could have every one of those instructional moments back. I would take meticulous notes that I could refer to now. Instead, I have cloudy memories and recollections of, “Oh yeah, I remember something Steve said about…”
The core of that spiral of dominos, right before it becomes a straight line to the finish, I will never forget. I’ve often wondered if it is harder to lose a spouse suddenly or have years of knowing your spouse was terminal? Neither is good, but in this one scenario Steve and I and our family were given a gift.
Steve’s 4 ½ years of knowing his time was limited gave us time to set up many dominos together. Dominos that came together in the core, the very heart of that spiral. Time to say all the things he wanted to each child and grandchild. Time to talk to his mom and his sisters, his cousins telling them how much he loved them. Time to have long visits with good friends and say those things that most men might never have the courage to say to one another.
Time for the two of us to say how we were the luckiest people in the world to have found this love we have for one another. Time to talk every night over dinner about our life together and how amazing every day of it had been. This is when knowing you are going to die is a bestowal.
This is why Steve mastered his domino fall to perfection. No one can stop the Domino Effect, it can’t be avoided. All that can be done is to choose which pattern to arrange, the rest, I believe, is up to God. Steve used the last of his life, his time, energy, knowledge and wisdom to put everything into place. When his domino line grew from it’s complicated maze of a masterpiece into a straight line of the simplicity that signified the end was near, one day his very last domino fell, just as it should have...timing perfect, task complete, job well done.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6