Hi sweetie! It’s been five years today since you went away. A thousand questions, and a million tears later I, still don’t understand. You seemingly did everything right. Good diet, always exercising, and working towards good health. What the hell happened? Will I ever know or understand. A year and a half going to doctors and specialists, all agreeing that something was wrong, then kicking the can down the road for some other person to get paid. Everyone was making money, and you were dying in front of our eyes. I don’t understand! The dreaded “C” word that no one wanted to talk about–they said, you simply looked too good to have cancer. I don’t understand! Death is so final.
And then the big day came
Finally, we were scheduled to go to the cancer center, and did so with a very silent reserve. I’ll never forget the look on Dr. Moore Sr’s face as he gave you your diagnosis and prognosis after the bone marrow biopsy results came in. With a wrinkled forehead, and I believe the look of sadness in his eyes he simply said, “Ann, you have multiple myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow. It’s terminal, metastatic, treatable, but not curable.” Your fate had been sealed. In his notes that day he wrote, “I hope to get started by next week on treatment of this unfortunate patient.” What you didn’t know and I never told you was that I had a phone call from the cancer center earlier in the day and they told me you might have 3 or 4 weeks to live, but what they couldn’t understand was, why you were still alive. How could that happen? I don’t understand! Death is so final.
But what the doctors, oncologist’s, medical professionals, and family didn’t know was that you had a tenacious ability to fight through your pain, suffering, torment, adversity, and always with a smile. Annie, you inspired and were loved by so many. Even the cold heart melted in your presence. You were so much about love and as you said, the well being of other cancer patients less fortunate than you. I remember when you made that statement about the other cancer patients. It blew my mind. How could anyone be less fortunate than you? Broken femurs, broken ribs, collapsed spine, blood poisoning, swine flu, countless pneumonia’s, shingles, over one-hundred days in the hospital, many in ICU and on the ventilator. You were so sick, but so giving. You were truly an amazing humanitarian, so selfless, and thoughtful of others. I get your point!
Annie, a few weeks ago when I was at the Annual Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s light the night walk, a young nurse from the stem-cell transplant ward that you liked so much that I hadn’t seen in several years, came running over, put her arms around me, gave me a big hug, and with tears in her eyes motioning me to a big sign listing all the names they were walking for. Annie, it was not alphabetically listed, but you were their first name. I know, that would not impress you as you didn’t feel any more special than anyone else, but, obviously they thought you were very special. And so did I. Sweetie, you didn’t realize at the time, nor did I, that you were touching and inspiring the lives of so many other patients, giving them hope for, in some cases, just one more day.
Sweetie, your star is shining brighter than ever. I haven’t forgotten you, and as a friend from Nebraska recently said–“Annie is never going to die as long as you’re alive, is she.”
My reply to him was spontaneous. Nope. She is not! Her star will shine until my memory fades, and by that time her legacy will be fully entrenched on the world’s biggest stage (the world wide web) and in the hearts and minds of others. Annie, as long as there is life on this planet your legacy will be out there, appearing out of nowhere to some unsuspecting stranger seeking help during a crisis. What they find will be like a breath of fresh air, a candle flickering in the night, lighting up their darkness, and guiding them to a brighter day.
I’ve been writing or journaling your story since the early days after your death. At first, I wrote for my survival, I simply didn’t know how to go on without you. Through journaling, I was able to stay in touch with myself, my feelings, and acknowledge the devastating grief. Well, I never stopped writing. There has to be in excess of several million words about you, “My Sweet Annie” on the web. At first, the writing was hiding in all the dark corners, as was I, but now, it’s out into the light for the world to see and share. Annie, folks are starting to take notice around the world, and I know that from the contacts I have made through your story. It’s never ending, and will forever be about a timeless love between a caregiver husband and his wife, always fighting against the odds, never knowing the meaning of giving up in the face of extreme adversity.
Annie, know this! I will never stop writing or sharing your story. It seems in almost every paragraph I write there is another little jewel of a story just waiting to be told–the story within the story.
So I will continue on with my journey of helping others through your story, and I know, between the two of us we are making a difference. To me, that is my destiny and will one day be my reward. As was with you, I will go silently into the night, filled with love and peace in my heart, knowing, together we made a difference.
I love you more, and miss you, “Rest In Peace My love.”
You can visit Annie’s online memorial here.