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. 

 

Angelo Merendino (1 of 1).jpg

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.

Frank restuarant (1 of 1).jpg

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.

Jensblogwemet.jpg

The Love You Share

Exciting news! A few days before Jen passed I asked her if it was ok for me to start a non-profit in her honor to help other women with breast cancer. Jen smiled and said, "Yes." It has been a long and challenging road but last week the law firm that is helping me with this process submitted my application to the IRS. Now I will wait to hear back. Please send positive thoughts that the application is approved!

Biori strips on New Years.jpg

Mom and Dad's 62nd Anniversary

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.