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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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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Gifts from loved ones...

Twenty years ago my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. I was 19 years old and did not yet realize how little I knew about life. Ten years ago my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was starting to realize how little I knew about Everything but I still didn't have a clue about how precious life and Love are. Five and a half years ago Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now I know.  

Along with Jennifer's Love, watching my parents take care of each other is the greatest gift ever given to me.  

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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!

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Role models

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."

 

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College graduate

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.

 

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