Chapter 2

Continued Prayers

Saturday, February 12, 2011 8:03 AM

Hey Everyone,
Well- here’s the deal… the Dr. called Paul and told him he thinks it’s cancer. Bottom line.
He said that there are other lesions and spots deeper within his neck and throat and they want to do a biopsy and more tests on Feb 22nd. We have to go to Ann Arbor for these tests and this procedure.

I am not sure how I am feeling… but my thoughts keep stopping at fear. I have no doubt that I’ll be okay- whatever happens… I am okay. But I am scared as hell and don’t like it.

Paul got the call yesterday morning- but didn’t tell me until late afternoon- he is still processing it too. We had a good cry last night- hugged- and talked… just talked about our love and how it just doesn’t seem fair.
He said he wants to see the other girls have babies and he is not ready to give up. I called them to let them know what was up and told them he would call when he could. He doesn’t want them to be scared. He is a great protector. Very strong.

I urged him last night after dinner to call his girls- he did, and felt better. I told him it was okay to cry- to tell them it is okay to cry too. Don’t hold back and let it flow… it’s all okay. We are in this together and whatever happens- we’re going to be okay.

Everybody feels like they have to be strong for the next person. Nobody wants to be scared out loud. Or cry with the other person. F- that…. I got them all crying and talking… that’s where the healing begins. Not in the closet, but out in the open with each other

I feel the love from all of you- and from all of our friends. I know I am blessed and I know that people are praying for us. Talk about blind faith. Holy crap- nothing like practicing the second and third step right out loud!

We are going away for the night- no phones and no interruptions… Please just pray- We don’t want phone calls right now… we are all talked out at the moment… Send me an email if you want- I’ll read it on Monday.

Love you all!
With love and gratitude,

Your sister Denise

Just Send Love



It’s been four months and two days since I lost my husband. I have been working a lot on healing and learning what I feel I need to learn.

Here’s the tricky part… some days, I can run with a thought… even when I know it’s not good. I can also get enough people to validate it and can actually start to believe it as my truth. I am thankful for the real friends who are willing to call me out on this. I am thankful for the truth in my heart… that little voice that I have cultivated for years. The one that won’t let me lie. The one that won’t let me hide. This is the voice from God. The voice from my heart. I believe he resides there. It’s funny… or maybe it’s not… but I have not given that much thought. I just know it to be. Just be.

I am searching deep. Deep within my heart. Deep within my mind. Deep within my faith. It’s not a pretty journey… but I know it’s going to be beautiful when I am done. You’ll get a glimpse of that, towards the end… when I share the aftermath.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Oh sure… easy for you to say… you didn’t lose your best friend. You didn’t just lose the one thing in this world that made you feel whole. Or maybe you did…

I am finding strength in the coolest places. I am finding answers in the most obscure situations. Every now and then-my heart flutters and I remember that he’s gone. Just the other day, a white vehicle came pulling up in front of the gym… I thought- oh- my baby is bringing me lunch. Then it hit me. Not all at once… but like a slow-moving brick. I didn’t feel the sting until I shared it with a friend. Then… the healing began.

I think healing comes when I am ready. It’s been a slow process. People are very kind… but death is not an easy thing to talk about. It’s not easy to ignore. It’s awkward and it’s messy. Sometimes they forget that you’re still hurting… days and weeks later. It’s a process and it’s also a solo journey. There is nothing anyone can do or say- to help speed up the process. They want to offer comforting words. They tell you how you should be doing… how much time it took for their second cousin Zelda to heal or get her life back… or they will let you know how much time it has been…trust me- I know how much time it’s been. They offer stiff hugs and little pats on the back… come on- hug me. Hug me with both arms. Hug me and share your heart.

One of the most wonderful things that recovery has taught me is how to give a hug. I remember going to my first recovery convention and watching the “huggers”. I thought- wow- that would be a fun job. I was told later that it’s an emotional job. It’s an exhausting job. Those huggers wrap both arms around you and embrace you. They hold you tight and they send love directly to you and receive the love you are willing to give. No matter who you are- no matter what you are… no matter how much time you have in the program. It’s equal and it’s love. So- the next time you get a hug or give a hug… ask yourself? Did I give love? Did I feel that love? One of the kindest things anyone has said or done since my husband died- is to give me a warm hug- tell me that they love me and that they are sorry. Boom- that’s magic.

I hope your heart is ready for the ride. Enclosed are my email updates and a few other thoughts about my journey thru Paul’s cancer. Many of you have asked me to write these down. To write a book. So here it is… My book.




I won’t make any excuses or apologize for my poor spelling or grammar. It is what it is. I write like I talk. These are slightly edited versions of my email updates and my correspondence throughout Paul’s illness and his death. The emails began as support for me… to ask for emotional and spiritual help when I didn’t know what to do. To rally the love and help us on the Cancer Path. It’s a frank look at my mind during my husband’s treatments. It’s a glimpse into the lives of two people who found each other at the perfect time. The perfect moment… No, there are no such things as coincidences. God had a plan…


Prayer request



Thursday, February 10, 2011 9:45 AM

Hello everyone,

Last month at his regular check up at the VA- Paul had his Dr. check out a lump on his neck. They scheduled an ultra sound and detected a 2cm mass. They are doing a CAT scan and blood work today.

He is so private and didn’t want to even mention anything to his girls… I urged him to tell them what was going on. They both freaked…

I guess being in recovery has taught me to live in today. I also have to respect his boundaries and allow him to feel and process stuff his own way. As hard as it is… I need to let him- be him!

He emailed me and told me what the Dr. found… how would you like to be his wife and get an email? I sooo wanted to scream at him and say- hey- a phone call would have been nice… but again- I need to let him process his own feelings and support who he is. Doesn’t mean that I like it… I just told him whatever it was,  we will deal with it, and I am not going to worry about it until we find more out.

He is going by himself today- he didn’t want me to take off work or be worried about nothing… he is a very strong man. But deep down- I can see his fear.

Please keep Paul, Melissa, Jennifer, Hailey and I in your prayers…. I would appreciate it.

The Doctors have already told him it could be many things. An infection, something to do with his kidneys or it may be other minor things… so- it’s not necessarily something terrible…. so let’s just send him love and he’ll get through it.

Thanks! Denise