I figure I should start this post out with two PSA's to everyone. First off, I would like to clarify one thing. Josh is considered terminal. I know, it's hard to hear, and because of that it is a subject that we tend to shy away from. From the get go we have always said he is just inoperable, often to just soften the blow. Most people don't know how to react when they hear the word terminal. It has even taken us months and months to be able to say it and we still hate it. We prefer inoperable; it's easier to say and it's straight to the point. The truth is his tumor will never be operated on and it will never be removed. The word inoperable doesn't carry the weight terminal does. I strongly apologize to those who have just found this out. We were not trying to keep it a secret, it was just our way of working through the emotions attached to that awful word. Second PSA is a piggy back to the first one. As many of you know, Josh was granted his dream day wish yesterday. This however, has nothing (and I truly mean, nothing) to do with his current health situation. Josh is as healthy as he can be with cancer. So just because his wish day was granted, doesn't mean things are bad. I consider this blog a viable way to connect with family on a personal level, so yes, if things were bad, I would have written about it. Now that that is out of the way, I'll tell you about the day my husband was truly treated like a rockstar.
After their performance, Josh and I had some time to kill so we walked around and went to the different vendors. We stopped by Fuck Cancers booth and bought some merchandise and we went to the FYE tent and picked up Avenged Sevenfold's vinyl album in hopes we could get them to sign it. We walked back to the VIP area and anxiously waited for our meet time at 8:30. The minutes ticked by so incredibly slow. Finally around 8:20, we walked over to the dressing room area to get ready to meet Avenged. Josh and I were both pacing back and forth and I was trying to calm my anxiety! When they gave us the go ahead to walk in, I pushed Josh in front of me, half because it was his dream and the other half because I was SO nervous! We walked into the room and Zacky Vengeance (guitarist and backing vocals) was sitting on the sofa. I immediately recognized him (I had a HUGE crush on him when we saw them back in 2011 and a girl doesn't forget her first rockstar crush, haha!) Josh sat next to him and we talked about everything. He wanted to know about Josh's diagnosis, how we had met, where we were from, and everything in between. A few minutes into it the rest of the group came in and introduced themselves. We all sat around talking about Josh's time in Iraq/Afghanistan, how their music helped him get through some dark times, how their music inspired him to make it through each day and then they started talking about fish and food, Josh's two loves besides me and Archie! We then decided to do some photos together where they let us hold their guitars! We then brought out the merch we wanted them to sign and they gave us a signed set list and a handful of guitar picks. We then said our goodbyes and were escorted back to the stage area to wait for them to come out. We were issued our VIP passes and were told that we had our own special area on the stage that only Josh and I will be standing at. HOLY CRAP!
They came out and did their pre show prep, jumping around and amping each other up. Before they went on stage, every single member gave Josh and I a good luck fist bump. When they took the stage, I got goose bumps! We watched the entire show right next to Synyster Gates (Brian, lead guitar and back vocals) and the entire time they were shooting us funny faces and giving us thumbs up. It was truly amazing to be in between the power of the musicians and the screaming crowd. It really is a different experience! Half way through the show the lead singer Matt, started talking about 9/11 and how we should honor those lost and those fighting for our freedom. He then looked over in our direction and asked for Josh to join him on the stage! I think Josh's heart hit his stomach when that happened! Matt introduced him to the entire stadium (I have no idea how many people were there, but it was a football stadium and the entire floor was full of people) and thanked him for his service. I started balling! My husband was on stage with Avenged freakin' Sevenfold! Josh walked back to me and I think he needed a moment to compose himself, haha. We finished the concert and said our goodbyes to everyone that made this day possible. Josh walked away and said "That was hands down one of the best days of my life...well besides our wedding day, but it's pretty damn close!"
Words cannot express how grateful I am to Scott, Kacie, and the entire Living the Dream foundation. I'll be honest, a month prior I had no idea who they were. I had no clue how much they would impact our lives. I knew that I wasn't able to give my husband a day he deserves, but I am so grateful for fate that lead me to this wonderful foundation. I really can't say it enough how amazing they are. I am also so thankful to Pierce the Veil and Avenged Sevenfold who took time out of their day to make his. The memories we made that day will be used on the bad days to remind us that we are not alone in this fight and will keep pressing on.