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Dear friends,

You just never know when something is going to jump up and hit you in the head.

This morning I started clearing out my wife's craft room so that I can clean the walls and paint them. I have been using the room for storage as I cleared the other rooms for they same treatment, so this would be a major undertaking even with the potential emotional land mines the room contains. Taken together...well there is a reason I left this room for last and have been finding excuses not to start it for the last week and a half.

One of the things Jane and I did on our honeymoon was take a short boat trip on the lake we were staying near. The boat was an old side-wheeler that ran on a steam boiler. I have a picture of her standing on the pier next to the boat when we got back.

That boat was long gone by the time we returned there the summer before Jane's death. We both knew our lives were going to be deeply changed in the months ahead and that this might be our last vacation together. Every moment of that trip was emotionally charged. We knew we were saying good-bye to each other and to the places we loved.

The last day we went back to the town we had honey-mooned in. There was a new boat owned by the same hotel making the same tour. We bought tickets, boarded the boat, and were amazed at the amount of development that had happened in the nearly 21 years since we had last been there.

When we got home, I put my ticket in the box I keep those kinds of things in. Usually Jane's ticket would have joined it--but for some reason it did not this time. The box is filled with movie tickets, golf scorecards--those kinds of things.

This afternoon, a little after 2 p.m. I found her ticket from that trip. It was sitting on her craft cabinet waiting for me. And it reduced me to tears. Half an hour later I found an unfinished Christmas ornament she had been working on some years ago that had not worked out. It, too, left me emotionally drained. Then I found the poem I had written her for our nineteenth anniversary.

Finally, I stopped. I went for a walk in the beautiful late afternoon sun. I thought about the summer before our honeymoon, about the long days we spent together picking out furniture together, about the painting and the wall-papering--about all the things we did together to make that first apartment home. I remembered coming home from a trip to Pittsburgh after a 12 hour drive and finding a newly finished cross-stitched pillow sitting on my chair.

And I remembered our last summer--the walks, the doctor's visits, the hospital stay , the biopsy--and that last vacation trip.

People ask why I do what I do--why I don't just curl up in a ball and let the world take care of itself--let someone else push for research and education and everything else.

The answer is as simple as a ticket on a cabinet or the pillow that is still on a chair in the bedroom--and just as unexplainable.

Peace,

Harry

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Harry

A day filled with memories....bittersweet for sure...mostly sweet. Like you I am walking through memories these days. My heart reaches out to your heart. Mary

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Harry,

A beautiful story of your lives together...sad, sweet and full of what life is made of. It hit a nerve within myself. You are in my prayers and your sadness is felt by myself and many other out there.

KImberly

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Harry,

I'm sure it was hard running across those things, all of the memories it evoked. I still run across things all these years later. Some areas I wasn't ready to tackle at the time, so I ignored them...eventually we do get around to those places, it's hard.

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