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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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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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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Empty

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.

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Yoga

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. 

 

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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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Mom and Dad

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.  

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No judging, just loving

I remember coming home with my first mohawk...Jen loved it. One of the coolest things about Jen was that she didn't judge - what mattered was who you are. 

The way we saw our relationship was like this - You walk out the door in the morning with your helmet on and life tries to break you down. When you get home there is no reason to need a helmet. We wanted to make life easier and happier for each other.

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The SS Love-It-All, May 2013

Last week I bought a bicycle, my first one since I was a teenager. Today I took the SS Love-It-All out for its maiden voyage. When I got home I thought about Jen and the day she started using a walker. I remember a few months prior to that day when the pain from Jen's cancer put an end to Jen's jogging, which she loved to do. 

Nothing is too small to take for granted. 

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