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

Be good to each other

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." 

6_28_2013 Mom and Dads birthday party (51 of 65).jpg

My little firework...

Today I was looking through my photographs and this one caught my eye. I remember the exact moment, coming back from Akron after Jen's funeral and thinking about how different New York would be without Jen. Looking at the photograph I started to get bummed and thought, "I don't feel like being down today. Despite the snow on the ground, it's still a beautiful day and I'm thankful to be alive."

So, I turned on a song that Jen loved, "Firework," by Katy Perry, hit repeat, turned the volume up and started thinking about my little firework, Jen. She lit up the room...

Crossing GW Bridge after funeral.jpg

One year ago today...

One year ago today we held a memorial service in NYC for friends who couldn't make it to Ohio for Jen's funeral (by "we" I mean our friends put all of this together and I just had to show up). I remember walking into this beautiful spot, located in Chelsea, and thinking, "Jen would love this."

When I look at this photograph today I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have so many people in my life who have been there for me this past year. I also love that so many people are smiling. 

As horrible as losing Jen has been, the moments when I remember Jen's smile and love are the moments that keep me going.

Lesson here...smile.

xo

Jens Memorial NYC.jpg