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Easter Day 2013

Michael and I had a wonderful relationship and I took such good care of him in his last year of life that I surprised even me. Florence Nightingale I am not. I have a weak stomach and most of the things required of me were not good for a person with a weak stomach. I also broke my foot and my hand while he was ill and it wasn’t easy to care for him many days but he received the best care possible. He was always comfortable, dry, well-fed and cared for. He was not the type to complain even if he wasn’t but I made sure he had the very best of everything. I watched over him like a mother hen or a mama bear. I argued on his behalf and advocated for his care and was there every single second for him as I am sure he would have done for me. I could count our serious arguments on one hand over all those years and I only actually remember two or three that were really really serious. Other than that he made me happy and I made him happy and I had no regrets except this one Easter I’m going to talk about.
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It may not seem like it, but this is the short version of “Til Death Do Us Part” written in 2011 and re-posted in support of gay marriage.


My husband had a brain tumor.

He had a seizure on September 16, 2008. On that day, my life changed completely. I knew that something had been wrong, but I didn’t know what. He had 3 anaplastic astrocytomas, they were inoperable and he had a life expectancy of 3-6 months.

There is never a time when I recall that conversation that I don’t break down in tears. That was the day my life changed. People in my mother’s generation divided their time into before WWII and before JFK’s assassination. For the past 10 years, people divide their lives into before Sept 11 and after Sept 11. I divide my life between before Michael got sick and after. Even on the anniversary of 9/11, when people were talking about where they were and what was said, I thought of Michael waking me up (we lived in California) to tell me about the first plane.

When Michael took ill, I could not fathom being without him. When I met him and throughout our marriage I was strong, independent, and secure. But knowing he was there, letting me be me and him being him, was just one of the greatest gifts of my life. All my life, I had been alone and never felt truly loved or cared for until met Michael DiCarlo. He was the only person in my entire life, including my parents, who ever took care of me in that way. He gave me gentle, tender, loving devotion. He simply adored me and had a calming effect on me like no one I ever knew. It wasn’t just that he was a calming presence, I had done enough work in my life that I had learned calmness and wasn’t completely off the wall anymore, but he could, with few words, just say, “It will be okay.” and I would believe him.

In all of years of marriage he never made me cry…but now the news of his survival chances rendered me hysterical. I couldn’t stop crying. I sobbed openly and without control. How could you take this person from me?? HOW? He was the only one who ever truly cared about me. EVER. He was the only person in my entire life who was consistently there for me. He was my rock, my support, my wonderful wonderful partner through thick and thin, through good times and bad…

I didn’t meet him until I was in my 30s. How could he leave so soon? HOW?
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This beautiful song by Jon Regan was written during his dad’s fight with cancer (which he beat). I know there are a lot of readers here who have loved ones who are battling and I hope they win. I meet people every year at our Walks whose loved ones are winning. Even though Brain Cancer is a killer there are people at every single event who have beaten it. There are people who beat cancer when the odds are they would not. I feel a pang of jealousy and then I cheer for them. I do not want anyone to know the heartache we have known.

My winter has been quiet. I broke my hand in October and have been trying to write a book with a broken arm. The holidays were quiet.

When I heard this song, I cried. Played it again, and then cried again.

It’s a wonderful song by a genius artist and if you have been affected by this horrible disease, it will touch you.  I am truly truly grateful his father made it to the other side of this horrible disease.

Music has given me a connection to my grief over the past few years and yet there are only a few that really speak to me and this was one. Thank you Jon and thank you Jeff Kazee (brilliant musician himself) for sharing it on Twitter.

This blog has been here since I received those words.  Inoperable. Brain cancer.  About Michael.  Losing the person that I loved most in this world.  Who was the only person ever there for me from beginning to end. Who had an intuition about things when they were going wrong in my life and how to fix it.  Even if just by being thr

My story is different but my thoughts are with Valerie and her family, wishing them peace of mind and peace of heart.

And thank you for the joy and laugher your acting brought me over the years.

There are few words to say…but thank you for all you have given

and

please know that so many out here are thinking of you and sending loving thoughts your way so you may find the peace and strength to get through this.  We are all pulling for you.