One year


Here’s the last picture of Shannon I could find before her initial hospitalization nearly two years ago. I may have posted it here before. It was taken January 19, 2013 at Longwood Gardens, about one week before we left Langhorne and moved to our home here in Las Vegas. She was perfectly healthy, in excellent spirits, and excited to embark on our new post-retirement life together. A month and a day after this picture was taken, she was diagnosed with leukemia and she began to concentrate nearly all her efforts on trying to stay alive. One year ago this morning, she died.

But she didn’t concentrate 100% of her efforts on cancer; she spent a great deal of them on me and on our family. She loved and cared for me right up until the end. There were a lot of things her doctors told her she shouldn’t do. She avoided nearly all of them. But she did choose to kind of ignore advice that she felt wouldn’t be consistent with her desire to take care of me. Those things she did, and I felt loved and cared for right up until the end. I still feel her love and influence every day. I still love her deeply and think of her every day. I don’t talk about her as much as I used to, but I think of her and miss her and yearn for her. Sometimes I still cry.

Shannon was kind. She gave away her entire life to service, not just to our children and me, but to her large and ever-expanding circle of friends. It seemed like everybody loved her, and I know she loved everybody.

I find it very difficult to believe it’s already been a year. So many things have happened in that short time. She has missed so much. Birthdays, holidays, engagements, happiness, fun, heartbreaks, love, sorrow, daily life. On the other hand, like the cliché goes, it seems like forever. The seasons have all passed, my heart has found room for a new love, I’ve made wonderful new friends, I’ve traveled to some places I’ve never been as well as to several old familiar places, my mother has been diagnosed with cancer and died, I’ve worked some and actually made some sales, I’ve grieved over and over again, and I’ve learned to be happy.

I’ve talked about choosing to live happily here on the blog several times. I’m still trying and I think that’s going well. I don’t think I’m the kind of person who has to make that decision every morning when I get up. I’ve just convinced myself that it’s what I want to do, and I’m doing it. Life is good, life is sweet, life is so, so worth living. Life is continuing without slowing down. I’m doing my best to keep facing forward.

But I miss Shannon. I will never forget her. I will always love her profoundly, deeply, passionately. We went through everything together. She walked by my side for 35 years and she began to love me four years before that. She was my life from the time I was 17 until 56. That’s a long time and a lot of mileage. She remained steadfastly devoted to me every second. She was my advisor, my confidant, my best friend, my sounding board, my lover, my partner, my everything, my wife.

I miss you, Shannon. I will never forget you. I love you.

One Response to “One year”

  1. Paul Says:

    This is a beautifully written post. I have had nearly all the same feelings. I miss Mom so much and will never forget her. Her love for all of us is still something that I feel every day. I continue to grieve, I continue to learn, and I continue to try to live happily.

    Sadly, I have to make the decision and try so very hard to live happily many times a day. This is, of course, due to my health and not mourning. It brings me immense sadness that Mom has missed out on so many things in just a year, and that there is so much more she won’t be able to celebrate with us. It may seem a bit silly or trivial, but I am heartbroken that I was not able to celebrate quitting smoking with her. It was such an achievement for me and I am overjoyed to share the celebration with everyone who is around, but celebrating my victories, both large and small, with Mom was always something that I found very comforting.

    The year has been so fast, but so slow. I look forward to what the future holds. I wish I could share the future with Mom, but I have so many friends and family members who love me and who I love to share things with. I certainly like to think that great things are ahead, and it will be great to discover what they are.

    I love you, Mom. I miss you desperately.

    I love you, friends and family. You make living, even with unpredictable disabilities, worth doing. You make it fun, memorable, and provide the love, comfort, and listening ears that I so desperately need. You all know who you are, and I thank you.

    I love you, Dad! You and Mom provided incredibly great parenting and you continue to provide wisdom, experience, and comfort. I’m excited for what the future holds for our family. Thank you so much!

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