Those eyes...

Over the last few days I've found myself thinking about Jen in a different way. I think at times everything that is happening with our story forms a protective shield around me, a type of barrier. Some times reality gets through and it stops me in my tracks. Last night I thought about the look Jen used to give me when she wanted to melt my heart...this look. I miss Jen's big brown eyes. 

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Dragon boat

After her mastectomy in 2008 Jennifer was diagnosed with Lymphedema. Jen heard about dragon boat racing from my sister-in-law and found out that this was great exercise to combat her condition. So, Jen co-founded a dragon boat team consisting of all women cancer survivors. 

 Jen always looked for the good in even the darkest of times.
 

Best friend

Before I met Jen I didn't believe in myself and I was struggling to figure out my purpose in life. Jen changed all of this...she encouraged me to follow my dreams and to trust my gut. Jen believed in me, even when I didn't. We were best friends and Jen taught me so much about life, Love, and happiness. 

I still remember the way the air felt when I made this photograph. 

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Laughter

My dad is a 20 year lung cancer survivor. And he's a joker. At my parent's 60th wedding anniversary he told Jen to get her wigs and they posed for this portrait. He wore the wig so well that my mom, who was standing about 40 feet away told one of my sisters, "I'm not sure who that woman is over there but she keeps smiling at me." 

Laughter, indeed, is a wonderful medicine. 

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Let go...

The summer before Jen died we vacationed on Topsail Island with her family. Jen relied on a walker or a cane for the prior 3 months, as her legs were getting weaker. Jennifer loved being in the ocean and she was sad at the thought of not being strong enough to swim on her own. For the first few days of our trip Jen would sit by the edge of the ocean and the waves would roll in over her feet. Near the middle of the week Jen decided she would go in the ocean if her sister Laura and I held her hands. I’ll never forget the sound of Jen’s voice when she said, “Let go.”

I hid my tears of joy behind my camera and watched Jen floating in the ocean, overcoming her fears and not letting cancer keep her from living life. 

 

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Our Italian restaurant...

Listening to The Stranger by Billy Joel. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant is playing...

"A bottle of red, a bottle of white

It all depends on your appetite

I'll meet you any time you want

In our Italian Restaurant."

Makes me think of Frank, the restaurant where I proposed to Jen.  The best thing about this memory is that it brings happiness. Every day gets a little brighter.

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Book release

Tomorrow, September 1st, I will celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary by releasing our story in digital book format. Downloadable as a PDF file, our story will be available in English, Italian, Spanish, French, German and Russian. 

Please check back tomorrow for details on how you can purchase and download a copy.

 

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Eight years ago today

Jennifer and I met on this day, eight years ago...I knew the first second I saw her that she was the one. Jen was so beautiful and strong; she was full of life.

I understand I have to heal and that Jen didn't want me to spend the rest of my life feeling sad, but she knew what this road would be like for me - Jen had been a widow for 10 years by the time we were married.

These days are often the toughest...anniversaries can put things in perspective. We've all lost someone we love. Let's go easy on each other and try to be more understanding on these special days.

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Brighter every day

I remember flying to Manhattan on October 3rd, 2006, with an engagement ring in my pocket. Jen said "yes," and then we hailed a cab and  headed to - our - new home.  

Now I look at this nearly finished book and it sinks in that Jen passed, that this is real, and that I have to keep moving forward.  

Some days I feel strong; some days I fear the wind will blow me away. But, those windy days come less and less while my memories of Jen grow stronger and brighter. 

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Book release

September 1st is coming fast...I'm excited and nervous about the release of our book. 

The book will be available in digital format on iTunes and as a PDF through my website.

50% of the profits of all book sales will be donated to The Love You Share, a non-profit organization I am starting in honor of Jennifer. The mission of The Love You Share is to provide financial assistance to cancer patients in need while they are receiving treatment for cancer. The hope is that by sending a gift card from Fresh Direct (a local grocery delivery service) and reimbursing patients for transportation costs to and from hospital and doctor appointments, The Love You Share will be able to make life easier, even if only for a short time, for someone who is fighting for her life.

The Love You Share has applied to the Internal Revenue Service for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.  Donations to The Love You Share are not currently tax-deductible while its application is pending.  If The Love You Share receives tax-exempt status, donations received while its application was pending may be treated as tax-deductible contributions retroactive to the date of its formation. 

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