May 26, 2009
I am up late tonight (or very early in the morning depending on how you look at it). It's nearly 3 am as I start to write. I am tired, but for some reason, I just can't fall asleep. I came into my computer room and checked my emails and went to the various websites that I regularly check to see if anyone has posted any recent updates. I didn't find any so I clicked on my own. I looked at those pictures on the homepage of Jeff and I. What a difference between the two pictures. I can remember when both were taken... the one in 2002 was for Tommy's wedding. Jeff and I were paired up together to walk back down the aisle after the wedding ceremony had concluded. That picture was taken in the parking lot before we entered the reception hall together. As it turns out, May 25, 2002 is when that picture was taken... today ( or I guess it was yesterday by what time it is) is Tom and Jenn's 7th wedding anniversary. So that picture was taken 7 years ago almost exactly. I am so thankful for that picture because I really don't have many of just he and I together. The other picture on the homepage is the only other one that I know of that was recent. And as I said, what a difference. It seems like I have gotten so used to telling my story... the one that includes Jeff having been diagnosed just one year prior to my own diagnosis. Even saying out loud has numbed me to the effect that has had on me. It takes moments like tonight when it really sinks in that my life is not a storybook... it is real and live and true and the events are not made up. That second picture on the homepage of Jeff and I with our bald heads in 2005 was at my house. We were celebrating Tommy's 28th birthday. That is how old I am now. We stood in my dining room and smiled for the camera to capture the time of when we were bald together. And again, I am so grateful for that picture as I think it was the last of just the two of us.
A few nights ago, Friday night to be exact, I had a dream and Jeff was in it. It's been a little while since this has happened. Most of the time when I dream about him, he looks as he did before his diagnosis, more like in the picture from 2002. But in this most recent dream, he looked as he did in the picture from 2005. The dream took place now, and Jeff had just come back. He had been gone all of this time, and we thought he had died, but now he was back. Gwen was remarried as she is now, and our lives were all as they are now. And he was back. I can remember him looking at me and saying how much things had changed since he was last here. He couldn't believe how big his kids had gotten. Things had changed and now he didn't know where he fit back in. I remember waking up from that dream and just feeling so sad. I still do when I think about it. I want to remember everything I can about Jeff... I don't want to forget anything. I want to remember his laugh, the way he sneezed, the faces he would make, his voice on the phone, the way he sang, the way he ran, the way he told stories... everything. It gets hard sometimes to remember what it was like when we were all together.
In May of 2004, if you had asked me where I saw myself in 5 years, my answer would have been way off from where I am today. 5 years ago, I had been married for 8 months, Mike and I were living in our apartment with our 9 month old puppy. We were planning our summer vacation with our family. And that summer vacation changed our lives forever as it was when Jeff was told about his brain tumor.
I don't know if you can truly understand what it is like to lose someone unless you have experienced it and even then it is different for everyone. When Jeff died, Kaylee, Josh, and Nathan lost their daddy. Gwen lost her husband. Brian, Tommy, and I lost our brother and Mike and Jenn lost their brother in law. My parents lost their first born son. Olivia lost an uncle, and Emily had not even had the chance to meet her uncle. Students lost a teacher. And many lost a friend. I know Memorial Day is a day that we traditionally remember those who lost their lives fighting for our country. In addition to that, I am remembering my brother's fight and others who have lost their lives in this cancer battle. I know personally that it takes so much out of you. My dream the other night made me realize again how much life has changed and how fast it happened. But he's a part of our family forever.
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