So much to celebrate

My daughter is getting married this week. My daughter, my baby, my firstborn. And yes, there is so much to be thankful for, to celebrate.

She is marrying a wonderful, fun man, who seems to be a very good match for her. The wedding also makes them officially a family, as he has two young daughters from his first marriage, who adore my daughter and she them.

loveI had hoped to get through the wedding without starting treatment and without revealing that I had multiple myeloma, but that was not to be, But, I am grateful that it has not interfered with any of the activities or the joy of planning such an event. We hosted an engagement party, bought dresses, tasted food, had a fabulous “Showerpalooza”, shopped for accessories, worked on centerpieces, and scanned a zillion photos. I even made my daughter try on my wedding dress, as I always said I would, she has always hated it, and indeed it was not at all appropriate – but it was fun doing it. She made hEr wedding ring from her father’s wedding ring. We’ve had so much fun, reminisced and made new memories – and we haven’t even had the wedding yet!

We will all miss my husband, her father, but she is determined that this be a happy day and I could not agree more.  He will be with us, as he always is, and we have already talked about setting aside a moment, which we will do. But, if there is anything that losing a spouse and having cancer has taught me, it is to enjoy all the good things, the happy moments and the joyous events, fully and with all I’ve got.

We will be surrounded by friends and loved ones, not only from our backyard and all over the country, but all over the world – Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, DC, Virginia, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, California,  London and Argentina.  we are so fortunate to have so many people with which to share our love and this special day.

And as someone asked me recently, yes, I have comfortable dancing shoes, if you’re looking for me I’ll be on the dance floor!

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Heather

I never thought I’d be writing a blog, and certainly not one that is all about me, and yet, here I am. For me life has always been interesting, not mundane, not always exciting per se, but hardly ever the norm. When I say “It’s always something…” I don’t hear it as my life is a mess, it;s always something. It’s more of life is challenging and evolving and messy and inspiring and wondrous, it’s always something. I grew up in suburbia, buy my grandfather was the head of the Communist Party in the U.S. I was raised keeping that a secret, so that was something. I am tall, always have been, really tall (6’1″), I was taller than every human being in my elementary school when I was in 6th grade, that is still something. My parents divorced in my teens. I got a full basketball scholarship to Duke University. I married my high school basketball coach, 18 years my senior. I raised a stepson. I had two amazing kids of my own. We had a multicultural household, secular christian (I guess that’s what I would call it, you know Santa and the Easter Bunny) and Judaism, I used to say if it was a holiday – we celebrated it! We were uber involved in our community, mostly through youth athletics, coaching, managing and spectating. Our kids grew up, I started a photography business on the side (I hope to share some photos here) and we planned to travel a bit together, went to Portugal for our 25th anniversary and then my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer, initially they gave him 5 years, but he only survived for a little over two. I was going to say lived, but really, it was more like surviving. That, indeed, was something. I became a widow at 49. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. But, then it was something in another way. I relearned who I was. You don’t realize how much of you becomes a combination of you and another person in a relationship. And not in a bad way, it is essential, and you don’t lose yourself, you just evolve. And I found myself suddenly alone, and learning about myself and who I had become over the years, what was just me, and what was part of who we were together. Which in retrospect, was probably hardest on those around me who had gotten used to the old me, or never even knew the original me. A year later I found love again. Sold my home of 31 years and moved closer to work. I became more fit, ate more healthfully and was amazed that I could be happy, truly happy, in the wake, no not wake, but the shadow of such profound grief. And that is truly something, something amazing and unexpected. And then, through some routine blood work in April 2014, and a visit to a hematologist and bone marrow biopsy in May, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. And so, yes, for me right now it’s multiple myeloma, but that is not all, there are still highs and joys, and the mundane and the rest, but something like cancer does cast a pretty long shadow.

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