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Another Anniversary Without Her


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Dear friends

Twenty-four months ago Jane and I were new to NET cancer. We had a diagnosis, had talked to an oncologist, and our first meeting with Dr. Jennifer Chan at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute had been scheduled but was still a week away.

Jane had spent the last week in her classroom at school throwing out the things she would not need--and knew her replacement would have no use for. She had turned in the letter that put her on indefinite medical leave. The cancer had metastasized to her liver, and we both knew that could not be good.

We talked about me taking a leave as well to stay home with her. She had over-ruled that with a single rhetorical question: "What are we going to do, sit here and stare at each other?" We both knew that travel beyond Boston for appointments would not work. We had seen how weak she was when we took our last vacation together in early August.

A couple days before our anniversary we found a simple silver bracelet she had told me she wanted. I had put it on her wrist and she told me no one would take it off but me. I took it and her wedding ring off the day she went into surgery. On the morning of our anniversary I gave her the poem I wrote for her every year. She cried when she read it. We opened our cards and our presents. I brought her breakfast in bed.

For lunch we went to a little, out-of-the-way restaurant we liked in New Bedford. That night we curled up on the couch together and had our annual toast--though with sparkling cider instead of champagne. We tried to pretend for each other that there would be more anniversaries together. I think we even believed it.

A year later I faced our anniversary alone. I wrote her a poem and placed it and a card and flowers on her grave. I sat there for a long time. Then I came and punched the buttons that brought walkingwithjane.org into the world. I had been working on it with two former students for weeks beforehand and we had finalized the design just a day earlier. I spent much of our anniversary writing content, editing, and putting things into a "final" shape.

It kept my mind occupied.

Sunday will be our 23rd anniversary. I look back across this year and I know we have done a lot. The website has had close to 12,000 views. We have raised awareness about NET cancer. We have raised some money, met some researchers, seen some real progress toward making patients' lives better.

I feel good about all of that.

But my heart has not healed. Oh, I can laugh, eat a bowl of ice cream without crying, have a glass of wine with dinner without worrying about climbing into the bottle. But the ache is still there. I avoid going to bed and there are physical locations I am not ready to confront. Half my soul is gone--and it isn't coming back.

I will write Jane another poem and put it on her grave this weekend. I will write her a card and buy her some flowers as well. And I will remember.

A number of my former students got married this summer. Others celebrated anniversaries or had babies. My wish for them--and for all of you--is the love Jane and I shared for 21 years, three months, and eight days in the physical world--and that I still feel for her almost 21 months after NET cancer took her from me.

Peace,

Harry

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Thank you, Harry for sharing your anniversary post with us. I lost my husband of forty years to ALZ disease 3 months ago this month and I want to thank you for your post: Looking for the positives. This site has helped me to wake up each morning with the thought that before the day is over I'll focus on just one positive. I don't know if that will happen each day but it's a good way to get through this fog. You are in our thoughts as you make it through another anniversary. enna

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Hi Harry,

My heart goes out to you on this anniversary. I so understand the pain of these anniversaries. I have lived through 3 of them now including our Silver anniversary. You two had great love. That is so obvious. Bill and i did also. WE were blessed and gifted with something most people never experience. That is what makes the losses so difficult. You have to have some pride about how you have walked this trek. Your love and loyalty to Jane is so obvious to all of us. I honor that.

I just returned from a drive through our hills, something Bill and I enjoyed. These holiday weekends just put me away and seem to start on Friday early...it is just in the air. That coupled with the leg of my journey I am on...leaves me crying and driving...not new, I fear. Bentley in the back seat squealing when I turned onto a road he had never been on before. How he knows, I will never know but it was the smile of my day.

I will be thinking of you on Sunday as you once again honor your love and your anniversary.

Peace to your heart, Mary

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Thank you, Harry for sharing your anniversary post with us. I lost my husband of forty years to ALZ disease 3 months ago this month and I want to thank you for your post: Looking for the positives. This site has helped me to wake up each morning with the thought that before the day is over I'll focus on just one positive. I don't know if that will happen each day but it's a good way to get through this fog. You are in our thoughts as you make it through another anniversary. enna

Enna, I think I missed you when you first posted. I am catching up with some folks. I know I did post to you since then. I just wanted you to know that I walked through ALZ disease with my husband also and do understand how horrific that journey is. One day at a time...Mary

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Dear Harry, Thought of you today, your 23rd anniversary. I know these days are tough. Just to let you know you are not alone.

Peace to your heart,

Mary

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Harry, I haven't been on line the last three days so I'm sorry I missed your anv., but you're in my thoughts.

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My Dear Friend Harry,

As you spent your second anniversary on September 3 without your soul mate Jane. I spent my second anniversary on September 5 without my soul mate, best friend, love of my life, Pauline.

I spent the day in school teaching new CNA student, it is there first week of class, and I have been asked to help the L.P.N. Nicole teach the CNA skills. I have done that all last week. I will do it Monday and Tuesday of next week. After that I have pick up a Hospice client I will work for. I will be working over 50 hours a week. But I am the right fit for the job. I know Pauline is very proud of what I have archived with my life. At times it is hard. I only look forwards never backwards, I took a Medical Assistance Pharmacology course and had a final grade of 95.8, the highest in the class. I even joined the class late. Think positive, study hard, I feel a person can do just about anything they want to.

We will have to get together on the phone someday,

God Bless, all of you, I pray you all find some peace in this sea of grief.

Dwayne

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