Hello, everybody. I’m writing for a few reasons today but as much as anything, I’m writing to try and find a way to say thank you in a way that will really mean something to all of you who’ve been so incredibly kind to me over the past few months.
It was four months ago Thursday that I suffered a near-death experience. The number of family, friends, readers, viewers and listeners that have reached out with calls, emails, letters and visits has been unimaginable. I don’t know that I could have made it without the kindness and generosity of each and every one of you.
I can’t possibly thank you enough, but I will never stop trying.
Fortunately the details aren’t important now, but the experts weren’t really sure if I was going to make it or not for the first four weeks or so after I became ill. If it wasn’t for all of you and the incredible team of doctors, therapists and nurses that have cared for me 24/7 over the past four months, I can’t imagine I would have made it.
How do you say thanks for that?
Until you’ve been through a life-and-death experience there is no way to understand or prepare for it. To know how to respond or react. To realize how hard it is on so many people and so many levels. And how important it is to find a way to react and care for the people who are doing so much to care for you.
My wife, Candace; our children, Billy, Arthur, Josie, Kevin and Taylor; and grandchildren, Blake, Spencer, Myla, Vera and Theo; are the toughest, strongest and most loving people in the world. I could never have made it without them.
While I hope nothing like this ever happens to a single one of you, unfortunately I know it will, and there is something critical I have to share. This has been much harder on my family and friends than it has on me, and I don’t know how I will ever be able to say thank you to each and every one of you for being there to support and take care of them while they have been taking care of and saving me.
Just a few more things, guys, and then I promise I’ll get back to work.
It was 45 years ago that I began covering the National Football League. I’ve loved everything about it, every single team, every single second. I can’t wait to get back at it and couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.
But during that time I’ve also had a very special and very personal relationship with the Chicago Bears, and the support, outreach and kindness I’ve received over these past few months from ownership, front office, coaches, therapists, trainers, scouts and literally hundreds of players brings me to tears of gratitude and thanks.
If any of you have ever doubted that the Bears are one of the greatest, kindest and most caring teams in the history of professional sports, please trust me when I tell you from firsthand experience they absolutely are.
The support and kindness I’ve received from every single person at Shaw Media is impossible to explain and something I’ll cherish for he rest of my life.
Lastly, but absolutely no less, there is one more group I have to thank. I have worked with every writer, TV reporter and radio reporter that has covered the Bears these past 45 years. They are the most talented, kindest and caring people I have ever met. And they are my friends. I hope every Bears fan everywhere knows how blessed we are to have them working for us.
I still have a way to go to get back to 100%, but the plan is for early February. I’m confident I’ll make it, and I promise I’ll do everything humanly possible to get there. For me, life without covering the NFL isn’t worth living. Having been as lucky as I’ve been these past months for the chance to get back – and blessed by the opportunity to do so – nothing is going to stop me.
This experience has taught me so much. With life always providing challenges, it can be easy to overlook how special and caring the overwhelming majority of people we spend every day of our lives with. There is no way I will ever be able to say thank you enough for what you all have done for me.
I can’t wait to write a football story for you next week, hopefully one you’ll all truly enjoy.
• Hub Arkush is the senior Bears analyst for Shaw Media and ShawLocal.com.