Sunday, September 28, 2008


I have been told by some that I am lucky...That I am young and will be fine. I’m always bewildered by this statement. As if somehow, being young makes you more resilient to the pain of loss. They say I have my whole life ahead of me and I’ll be ok. But these words offer little comfort. For now, the long life ahead of me doesn’t hold the warmth it once did. My hopes and dreams for the future are gone. Growing old with my husband, sipping tea on the porch. Those are now wistful and unrealized dreams. I am now faced with an uncertain future and the length seems a mockery. For me, a long life gives no comfort because it seems like a sentence. Too many years filled with loneliness and sadness. Missing my love. This may not be the case forever, but for now that is how it feels. I may be young…but right now my soul feels old. So old and tired.

I’m tired. Tired of being strong. I feel like a lone warrior standing on the battlefield. Head bowed. Seeing the loss of life. The loss of hope. In many ways it feels as if the war was lost. My beloved is gone. And many days it is hard to muster the energy to get up and fight once again. Fight to move forward. Battling against the warring emotions in my heart and mind. We fought for life, for dreams and for hope. We fought this battle so bravely together. But that is the key term. Together. Now, it is so hard to continue this battle alone. And it is a battle. Getting up. Making it through the day. Sometimes just making it through the hour. My comrade in arms is gone and now I must continue on this journey alone. Hope seems intangible.

But those people aren’t completely mistaken…I am lucky. But being young isn’t why. I am lucky to have had David in my life. I wouldn’t have traded a single moment in the past 16 have not had him in my life. Yes, there were dark times during the last 2 and half years. But there were spectacular ones too. And even the Cancer doesn't diminish all the precious moments we shared. Although he was taken way too damn young, I know we did more in our 16 years that some do in a lifetime. I know that our love was pure and strong and will continue to live on. Shining brightly among the stars. And I know that some never experience the love and passion we shared. So maybe…just maybe…that is what I am fighting for? Keeping that spark for life that David and I cherished so very much...alive in myself.

Right now I am beaten and broken. My heart is torn and I don’t know if I will ever be able to step on the battlefield again without my brave warrior beside me. So for now I will rest. And maybe someday I’ll find peace. Find the spark buried deep within me that threatens to go dim. And maybe someday I will begin to find hope and dreams again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I wonder...

David was such an inspiration to me and will continue to be…
I often wonder if I would have had such dignity and strength facing death? David always said my road was the much harder road to travel. Because he knew he would be a peace at some point in the near future, and I would be left trying to pull the pieces of our life back together…mourning the loss of my beautiful husband and lover. But his road was a tough road as well. And yet he took it with such dignity. Yes, he was scared sometimes. I don’t think he would have been human if he weren’t. But honestly…most days he was more concerned for Alec and I, and how we would be able to traverse life without him. Death scared him….but not as much as you would have thought. He was calm. He knew his time was coming and he told me that he would be watching over us for the rest of our years until we would be once again reunited.

But he did worry about his final moments…and what they would be like. But not for him. For me. He didn’t want me to see him die. He was afraid of how he might go…and he didn’t want me to remember him that way. We had many discussions on this topic, seeing as we were both so damn stubborn. But I told him that there was no way in hell I would be anywhere but by his side when he went. He was my lover and I would be there to comfort and care for him. Helping him to find peace and love in his final moments in life. Soothing him and talking him through it. Knowing he was never alone. And I knew…he always found peace by my presence in a room. And be damned if his final moments would be that of fear, loneliness or pain. There weren’t many things I could control in this hellish situation…but that was one of them!

We always found peace in each other’s presence. Maybe that is why now…without his presence in a room, my life feels so empty. I have not found peace and don’t expect to for some time. Maybe never. But it reminded me also about when he told me about how much he just loved me being in the room with him.

It started one of his first hospital stays. He would have a constant stream of visitors in the hospital...and he would be chatty and engaged. And then the moment I arrived, he would go to sleep. It used to drive me nuts. And then one day I finally asked him why he conked out the moment I stepped in the room. And he told me, “because he felt so safe and secure when I was there…he felt he could finally sleep.” So, I used to spend hours upon hours watching him sleep…comforted knowing that I was bringing him peace. He would look up periodically to make sure I was still there, watching over him. And smile…

And in his final days, he would ask me to wake him up to let him know I was in the room with him. And I would, and he would smile and go into deep, restful slumbers. It wasn’t much, but it was one of the few things I could do for him. Letting him know he wasn’t alone and just be there for him. Love him.

It gives me so much joy and peace myself to know that I was able to care for him to the very end. And give him the peace he needed. That I was able to stroke him arm and tell him I love him and that it was all going to be ok…as he took his last breath. That is a moment I will cherish forever. Because I know he could hear me and I was able to be there for him, love and comfort him in his final moments in life. No one should ever be alone as they die.

But I wonder so often now, how would I have faced this? Would I have embraced life as he did and not dwell on the tragedy of it all? Would I have looked death in the face and laughed…and then went out for ice cream? I don’t know. I know that through David’s example…I was able to embrace life with him. Enjoy his final days here and wring every last precious moment out of each day. And I know I will forever be changed by this. Not only the loss of my beloved. But how he chose to live his life as well. Despite the Cancer. And I know that I look at death differently now. It still is difficult to imagine. And I still don’t know how I will handle it when I am faced with my own mortality….But I don’t fear dying as much as I used to. Because David showed me that when faced with it. You can fight it…and you can also choose how you want to go. And he did. And it isn’t as scary for me because I know when my time does finally come, David will be there waiting for me…and we’ll begin a new journey together. And knowing David…by that time he’ll have worked out all of the idiosyncrasies and he’ll have already planned out our next adventure.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hopefully that will be enough...

How do you tell your son that his daddy is dying. Or even worse, how do you tell him the unimaginable...that he died? These and many other questions used to haunt me at night...Keeping me up until all hours...trying to figure out what to say. And unfortunately, I had to decide. Because I knew the day was coming. It was unavoidable and I had to be prepared. No matter that I just wanted to crawl in a hole and hide from the pain and the incomprehensible future of life without David. But now I was going to have to explain it to our son.

But I did it. Unsure how, but I did. It was such a difficult and painful thing to do. But hell, nothing about this has been easy or painless. So, why would this be any different?

We had always been very honest about David’s illness. We didn’t say he was "sick" anymore as the Cancer progressed. We began to call it what it was. Cancer. Sick began to have too many negative connotations and the faintest sign of a "cold" and being sick would send Alec into a tailspin. So we ended up changing our terminology, so there was no concern about when one of us got sick with a common cold. He couldn’t differentiate between the two. So we began calling it what it was and being as honest as possible with him...trying to distill what was happening and the treatments into terms he could understand.

As things progressed and David had his stroke, we explained that the tumor had hurt daddy's head. We explained that Daddy’s body didn’t work as well as it used to because of the cancer. And as the tumor began to affect David's motor functions and he became weaker, we had to explain what was happening as well. That his body was failing and would stop soon. It broke my heart to tell Alec this and to see the concern in his eyes. And Alec would resolutely say, "Daddy is fine. He's going to be fine." But you could see the worry...

That dreadful morning after David was gone, I had to tell Alec. I took him into the room where David had been. To the empty hospital bed and told him that David had passed away. I explained to him that daddy's body had stopped working and that he would no longer be here. And that although we couldn’t see him, Daddy would be watching over us as David had said to both Alec and I so many times before. And that Daddy always said that if you ever wanted to talk, he would always be listening. He just might not always be able to respond. And that his he loved him very much and that he wanted to stay. He fought long and hard to stay, but unfortunately they just couldn't ’t get all of the Cancer out.

Alec understood all too well what happened. He knew his daddy was gone and you could see the utter fear and panic on his face. But as they said might happen, he turned his head away and wanted out of the room. He won't talk about David yet. And they say he might not for awhile. But he's processing all that has happened and coping as best as his little body can. And once he's ready...he'll begin to talk about him once again. And I'll have to somehow help him come to terms with the grief of losing his father at such a very young age.

David absolutely adored Alec. From the moment he was born 3 1/2 years ago...David spent every waking moment with him. And when David was diagnosed when Alec was only a year and a half that never changed. Despite the treatments and everything David's body went through. He made sure he always had time for Alec and gave him all the love in his heart. And I have 3 1/2 years of photos, videos and stories to prove it. So, Alec will always know how very much his daddy loved him and how very hard he fought to stay with him. He fought so hard. And hopefully that will be enough.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The nights…

We slept like we lived. Completely intertwined. So the nights…they’re difficult. Our bed is so big now. Like this huge empty expanse.

Going to sleep without your lover beside you is just wrong. It’s just not how it is supposed to be. And I find that sleep only finds me when I hit total exhaustion. So I wait and often don’t lie down until it is really late. When exhaustion can overtake me and the empty space beside me doesn’t hurt quite as much.

I miss a lot of things lately. But at night…I miss the incredible warmth and love of having him close. Having David beside me just felt right. We wrapped ourselves up like pretzels and despite my 10 minutes of getting comfy every damn night…and David razzing me for said 10 minutes. Once we found our niche. It was perfect. And I felt a peace and contentment like no other. It was like I was “home.”

So here I am again. It’s midnight and I’m here. Awake. Wishing with all of my being that David was here beside me now. And knowing he isn’t. And just trying to imagine how I will get through the night without him once again.

I miss him so.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Speech...

I've gotten a few emails about the speech ...
Although we had quite the crowd, there were many that were unable to make it as well. It was a holiday weekend and people had committements. But a close friend said that I should post my speech, so those who were unable to attend could read it.

It's strange. I wasn't worried about the actual speech, I was worried what to say...How do you write something that conveys how very much you loved someone? How they inspired you and became a part of you. How the world will forever be a better place for having them in it. How do you capture it in words?

I hope all the passion comes across in the words...I think my own emotions were conveyed to everyone there by how I spoke it as well. I don't know if I was able to capture everything I had originally intended...Hell, this wasn't even what I had envisioned when I began writing it. But this is what came out and here it is:

I spent a lot of time trying to think of what to say to everyone here tonight. I thought about talking about David and the phenomenal person he was. But I don’t have to tell you who he was, you all knew him. And then I tried to write something wise or profound. But in the end, I decided to just talk about David, what we learned and how he inspired me…

David and I learned a lot on this crazy journey. We learned that Cancer is a malicious beast that takes many things. Most poignantly of all…life. But there are things it can never take. Like Memories. Our love. Our Strength. And our Dreams. David taught me that…

David also taught me that Life is really all about choices. People say, “I had no choice.” But really, you always have a choice. You may not like the options, but you always have a choice. We didn’t have to like that that he had Cancer or what the treatments did to his body. But we did have a choice. We could stop enjoying and exploring life together. Stop laughing. Stop loving. Stop living. Or we could continue to move forward. Play. Laugh. Go on walks. Make art and Live.

And David chose to live. He chose to live his life as he always had. On his own terms. Enjoying the moment and creating beautiful memories. Not letting the Cancer overtake him, dictating his future. And he taught me you can’t let these things beat you. Let it define you and control your life. You must rise above it like a phoenix.

I think we have all learned a lot on this journey. I think we learned not only about David’s strength, his sheer determination and strength of will, his total unwavering optimism at the face of such adversity, and his pure love of life…but we also learned a lot about ourselves and each other as well. David taught us many things over the last couple years and I hope to carry his love of life, his compassion and his warrior spirit with me always.

I used to tell David how amazing and strong he was, and he would always say it was because of me. That I gave him his strength and that I was his warrior woman. I always thought this was so absurd. But over time…he helped me see the real me. The strength within me. I’ve learned that you have a choice of whether or not you will let events break you. And I’ve learned that I am one hell of a fighter. So, thank you David. Thank you for all of your love, support and wisdom. And although I can’t see you right now, I know you are here watching over us and I have your words and your inspiration. Because you my love, will always be MY warrior.

And David will continue to be my inspiration. And I hope in the coming years to always keep that with me. To remember that we can all do anything we set our minds to. And life is really all about what you make it. That strength lies within us and we have the power to unlock it. Because we all carry it within us always. Thank you my love.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Here it is...

Many people wanted to see the completed piece...

It's an absolutely breathtaking testament to the love, compassion and support surrounding us. A completely original concept of a "guest book." But we've come to expect nothing less from David…

I know that although it's a bit different than he originally intended, I think it far surpassed his expectations and it will be a beautiful reminder of the all the amazing people in our lives who came together to honor an amazing man.