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”.