Last night my granddaughter, who admittedly was over-tired, whined and carried on about her chapped hands because they hurt so much. They look awful and her mom doctored them with ointment and reminded her that she needs to keep her gloves on, dry her hands completely and mostly, keep those hands out of her mouth! She was at a near meltdown.

I feel a little bit like this grandchild lately. I feel pained from the chafing of my heart. I feel like no matter what bandage I tried to fix the pain it really is, only covered the surface. The deep wound must heal from in the inside out. So yes, it’s pretty painful and I too would like to have a meltdown on occasion.

For healing purposes, like any wound, it gets a fresh covering pretty quickly. I’ve talked in the recent past about feeling and absorbing this pain. I let myself get caught up in life again and have forgotten to let it be … the pain must be felt in order to accept it.

As I attempted to move forward personally, I busied myself with day to day activities and set the pain aside. And here I am … it was that loud freight train whistling and startling me.  It was warning me that I need to stop. It was because I wasn’t feeling that pain every single day like I had been, it was full steam ahead into that grieving abyss.

Something happened that caused an overwhelming rush of emotion and thoughts of ‘I need you and I can’t do this without you’. I cried – probably harder than I have all along. I realized during that “episode” that I was forgetting what is important to me. Keith is, plain and simple. His love is. His presence in my life is important to me. I didn’t forget, but I didn’t allow for what I need emotionally. The reality is that what I do is with Keith in the back of my mind, but that’s not what I need to do. Keith needs to be in the forefront of my mind … that keeps his love alive in me. That is what gives me strength and courage to endure things that I have no control over. I could almost hear him telling me, “stop honey, and listen to your heart and not your head”. Yes, he continues to be my voice of reason!

I believe I am back on track now – I miss that man more as each day passes but I am so grateful for the moments I am still given with him. I had an early morning visit a week ago which put a song into my head for days! I heard him speak to my heart and once again he talked me through a sit019400b62e0822ce08de52584f3a3013ba1bb95538uation that I found myself unable to deal with. His love is coming through loud and clear!
Last night as I prayed my nightly prayers, holding Keith’s picture in my hands (see photo) I asked God to allow more of these visits and to get me back on track to what is important in my life. I held Keith close to me and cried – I am absorbing this pain again. Ouch.

A Lifetime Gift

Keith gave me the most amazing gift while he lived. He gave me his love. He also gave me an incredible perspective on life. His love helped shape my future and because of his belief in me, I am a stronger person today than I ever have been.

I’ve mentioned before this once-in-a-lifetime love affair that Keith and I shared. When I hear people mention that a good marriage takes hard work, I really and truly don’t get that. We never needed to work at anything – it just was. We went through times that our life was in turmoil with finances, raising 5 kids as a blended family, health issues, (mostly me) and outside influences that affected our lives with family and friends and incredible personal losses like everyone does. But we never let those things get in the way of what was most important. Let me say, the needs of our children came before our personal needs, always. But from the perspective of what I needed and Keith needed, truly – all we both needed was love.

A very wise woman whom I loved deeply, God bless her and rest her soul, once told me: “Your husband had better be your best friend. Someday your children will grow up and move on and you are stuck with that person for the rest of your life.” Keith was my best friend. Keith gave of himself so completely that it was impossible not to fall in love with him. There was never a “me” in our relationship, it was always “us”. There was always “we” – what are we going to do now? I refuse to go forward in life in the singular, because Keith will always be with me to guide me and love me.

We can go through life with blinders on (I lived that way pre-Keith) or we can pick ourselves up through adversity and look at the whole picture. We are on this earth for a short time and that became increasingly evident when Keith became ill. I think because Keith and I shared the same objectives in life everything just fit.

Keith and I figured out “our” key to life many years ago. For us individually and together, giving always felt good and it felt right. I am not talking about financial giving; I am talking about the giving of you – to another person, to strangers, to family and friends. We gave together and that was the best feeling of all. We were partners in love and in life and even now, when we are approaching two months since his passing, I feel him pushing me to keep smiling and living life.

I look at this experience of losing my husband as one of personal growth. Through Keith’s continued love and support (call me crazy, but I’m a believer) I have been seeking opportunities that would emulate the way that Keith and I lived.
I will not let Keith’s life and especially his death, be in vain. Toward the end of his life, Keith and I talked at length about what the future would hold. We both knew, at least we thought we knew that it would involve appendix cancer and pseudomyxoma peritonei.

Last month I contacted and asked to volunteer, in whatever capacity I am able, for the PMP Research Foundation. www.pmpcure.org.

The mission of the PMP Research Foundation is to fund promising research to find a cure for Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP), Appendix Cancer, and related Peritoneal Surface Malignancies (PSM), and to fund educational programs for physicians and patients about these diseases.

I truly cannot think of a better way to pay Keith’s life forward – to feel like a part of something that is bigger than I could have ever imagined in honor of Keith, feels so right. I am so thrilled to have been welcomed so graciously by this organization.

For those of you who are not on Facebook, please take a look at the following link. If you donated after Keith’s passing as was our wish, you can be proud, right alongside me that with others, Keith was included in the memorialization of the following research grant: http://www.pmpcure.org/blog/2014-research-grant-recipients

Keith lives on through all of those whose life he touched, those who loved him and those he loved. He will always live through me as I continue my own advocacy and awareness campaign; supporting other venues relative to this disease, and especially keeping active providing support of those whose lives were, are and will be affected by this cancer. We will also continue to be very connected to Dr. George Salti, who truly gave us the opportunity of a lifetime. So from my non-singular life, we are still together.

My life is busy and full. I am loved and I love where my life is taking me. I am also excited to share that my sister, our girlfriend and I are going to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico next month! A full week of fun in the sun and a few cocktails (hey, it’s all inclusive after all) shared with two of my favorite women has me a little more than excited! Thanks to Kimberly for holding down the fort at home!

My blog would never be complete without mentioning my faith. I am so grateful to God for bringing Keith into my life and for his love, which will truly will last me a lifetime. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been praying about being made clear to me.  Amen.

“God is good all of time. All of the time God is good”.