Having one of those moments when I would give anything to have a conversation with Jen. Jen had a way of understanding; she would listen and never dismiss my problems as being unimportant. No matter what was going on in my life I always knew there was one person who understood. Right now the emptiness of Jen being gone feels like the weight of the world.
In October of 2006 I moved to New York to be with Jen. On the night I arrived I had an engagement ring in my pocket and I proposed. I remember riding back to our apartment that night - we were holding each other close and staring at the ring on Jen's finger.
The next summer my sister Mary Ann sent this cover to us.
F/Stop was all about Jen. When I would leave the apartment he would strut over to where ever Jen was and jump up next to her. He was my right hand man.
Exciting news - I will be releasing my book in digital format so it is more accessible for everyone. The launch date is September 1st, 2013 - our wedding anniversary. I will post updates so please check back!
I woke up this morning feeling grateful. We were blessed with amazing friends and I will always be thankful for their love and support.
I've been dreaming about Jen a lot lately. Not sure what it is but I've been feeling like Jen is here with me more often now than ever since she passed. This whole mourning/widower thing is a roller-coaster
This morning I woke up feeling calm. I'm starting to accept that life will have ups and downs and that I just have to focus on staying in the middle.
If you know someone who has lost a loved one don't be afraid to ask how he or she is doing. You may get an answer that is tough to hear, but it helps us.
Our favorite movie to watch together was Talladega Nights, we laughed so much. Will Ferrell's character was named Ricky Bobby. My middle name is Robert so Jen started calling me Angie Robbie.
What is your favorite couple movie??
Last night Jen was in my dreams. When I woke up it took a few minutes to realize that Jen wasn't here with me..that it was only a dream. I try my best to stay positive and to remember all of the good times but some days it just feels like rain.
There are times when it hits me that Jen died. It comes from nowhere and without warning, and it leaves me stunned. People say that time heals but there are moments when it hurts just the same as it did the moment Jen passed.
Last night after celebrating their birthdays my mom was looking at photographs from my parent's trip to Italy in 1991. She asked my dad if he remembered the names of the people in one of the photos. Dad responded with names, paused, then said, "They were good to us." Mom agreed.
I felt like they were passing on 86 & 85 years worth of how to live - "Be good to each other."
The summer before Jen passed our family and friends held a benefit in our hometown of Akron, Ohio, to raise funds to help cover our medical costs. Jen and I were in Manhattan so my brother Dave set up a wireless connection so we could "be" there. This is one of my favorite memories from that night.
My mom, dad and I celebrated their 62nd anniversary yesterday. My pops is old school so I had to put my foot down (funny, right?) to convince him to let me take them to lunch. I guess when you raise 11 kids you get used to taking care of things.
After lunch we played cards with my brother Dan. I ended up owing the bank a.k.a. dad. Mom loves draw poker and when she would call "sevens" as wild cards I kept thinking it was because I am the seventh boy in my family and no matter what I am her baby.
Later in the day mom showed me photographs from their trip to Italy in 1988. I remember that time well...It was my freshman year of high school and I threw a "small" party. Long story short - I got sick, passed out and had a lot to clean up the next day.
Since Jennifer passed I have watched my parents with different eyes. I see how they take care of and understand each other, how they laugh together and how they love each other. I am amazed every time.
Today is my parent's 62nd anniversary. I have mentioned before that I am the last of their 11 children. My parents joke that the reason their marriage has lasted so long is the agreement they made - Who ever leaves first has to take the kids.
It's wonderful to see the love they still have for each other. I'm thankful to have had such a great example of what it really means to say "I do."
Editing photographs for my book
Listening to Elvis
Thinking about the fun times
This is a good moment
From the beginning of our relationship Jennifer told me I should try yoga. "I promise you'll love it," she would tell me. It took a few years but I finally gave it a try. We were at a yoga retreat and Jen was right, it was incredible.
For the next few months our friend Kendra, a yoga instructor, would come to our apartment and we would have a private session. Some days Kendra would put us in restorative positions. Jen and I would hold hands while our body and mind slowed down. I still can feel Jen's hand in mine.
Yesterday my sister Mary Ann signed the two of us up for a yoga class. It was very emotional, Jen was with me the entire time. At the end of the practice I felt a calm that has been missing since Jen passed.
Another gift from Jennifer.
In 2010, not long after her cancer metastasized, Jen walked across the stage and received her diploma. Jen worked so hard to finish school - Marriage, full-time job and oh yeah, cancer. I was so proud of her.
When I start to get overwhelmed I think about this and I reach deeper inside to find the strength to keep going.
Jen NEVER gave up.
Exciting news - I will be showing a selection of my photographs at The Cleveland Print Room this fall!! Opening night will be Friday, September 13th. More details soon - mark the date!!
Yesterday I spent the afternoon visiting my parents in the house I grew up in. This house has also been the only home my mom has ever lived in, save for a few months after she was born. This month mom will be 86.
As I pulled out of the driveway I kept wondering (like I always do when I say goodbye) if I told them everything I am feeling. Did I tell them I love them enough? Have I thanked them for putting up with and raising me...I know I was difficult.
Maybe it's the point in life I am at and the thoughts that come after watching a loved one pass, I don't know for sure. I do know that I cherish every second I spend with my them.
Sunday I was photographing a concert when a young woman who recognized the tatto that runs along my collarbone introduced herself. She told me she knew about Jen and me and has been folllowing our story. She then shared a challenge she is facing and that our story inspires her to not give up.
This is one of the biggest reasons why I keep posting to this page. I always admired how Jen turned difficult experiences into something positive that helped others. That's how I want to live my life.
Another lesson from Jen.