Wednesday, March 6, 2013

OUR JOURNEY - A Story of Love, Friendship and LIFE

I know MANY of you have been on this journey with Mike and I since day one and know our story inside and out.  You were able to witness true love right before you and know that we shared it with all we came in contact with.  I have had many new people come into my life since Mike’s passing and have asked, and though I have shared, I wanted to share again…it’s been a little over a year now, and not a day goes by that I do not miss the mess out of that man.  Here is our story…

2007 Mike unexpectedly walked into my life. I was going on 6 year off and on of being single and “dating”. I had gotten married straight out of HS to a “sweetheart” and quickly realized at 19 I was truly just young and in love and by 21 I was needing to be out of the relationship, for it was headed nowhere fast…and as the saying goes in Dazed and Confused – “I got older and my husband stayed the same age”…well mentally. I had an apartment that I shared with a roommate and every weekend during the summers, we BBQ’d and did the pool thing. At the time one of my best friends called (he worked with Mike) and asked If he could bring him along…he needed to get him out of the house…sure! I always feel more the merrier! I had seen some of the guys my friend worked with so I was only imagining a greasy, overweight middle-aged locksmith…low and behold, in walks my 6’2” Hott Pocket and my life changed forever. We locked eyes and immediately like a dog to his territory I made my way to his side and allowed the flirting to commence…and by the next morning we had stayed up all night talking and spent the entire weekend together and never left each other’s sides. A month later we were living together and the following year he made me his wife.

Fast forward 2 years later, 2010 we were like any young married couple…planning our lives, setting goals and looking to buy our first home…until we got the phone call. Mike for about a month had a swollen lymph node that was not shrinking, but with him in his industry, he was always getting scraped, cut and bruised and the man was an avid outdoors man from hunting to fishing and just liked to get dirty (I SO miss that) – so we really did not associate it with anything other than his body was fighting off some sore he got. Well he went in for his yearly physical and brought it to the attention of his PCM and he sent him to do some scans…the day our world felt it stopped, we were so not prepared…I had never felt SO uncomfortable in a Drs office and to top it off our PCM is a long-time family friend of Mike’s and getting the news from him was bitter-sweet, it offered compassion yet still fucking sucked. Days went by and thank goodness for his promptness we were at MDA the next week starting our “journey”. 

Mike was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer at the age of 34 – he was given less than 6 months to live if chemo did not work. On top of this the cancer had spread to his brain and they had to remove a tumor before even moving forward with treatment – GOD the days dragged. The operation was successful and fast and he started radiation shortly after and then on to the “fun stuff”. He had an amazing team of doctors and with his strong immune system and good health, he did exceptionally well with treatment and by the end of 2010 and into 2011 he was not in remission at all but there were no signs of cancer (able to be seen by all scans) we were SO happy and we endured the most fabulous last year of our marriage! We took trips, we loved harder than ever and just did not take anything for granted!

Towards the end of the year, mid-December I noticed a slight change in Mike, he was getting a little more tired than usual and seemed to not be doing as well as he had the past year. We went back to the Doctors for his scans and they found cancer – it had come back with a vengeance…spleen, pelvic bones, leg and the spinal fluid…I was in shock – how the fuck does this happen…why??? We both just sat there and looked at each other and cried…and hugged and just prayed. At that moment, Mike looked at me and promised not to give up and he didn’t, he remained my El Toro! We flew through the holidays and straight into 2012…all was well until about mid-January.

I got a call from Mike while I was at work and it sounded like he was having a stroke…he was slurring and not making sense…I had never rushed home as fast as I did, all while calling 911 with ER at my door when I arrived…he was fine when I arrived but we still took him to the ER…from that day on until he passed ER visits were quite normal…I never wanted to take any chances, he was my husband and best friend, I wanted the best care for him…he went into the hospital for the last time about 5 days before he passed. My husband took his last breath at 4:20AM on 02/12/12. 

I have much closure for this. Hours before he passed, I had remembered my grandmother telling me that even when our loved ones are “not here” mentally with us, they can hear even when we do not think they can. He had not moved for over 24 hours, spoke to anyone and just slept. I crawled in bed with him and whispered in his ear and told him it was ok to go…to completely be at rest. I would be ok, the dogs, family and friends would all be ok. I reminded him of what an amazing fight he fought and that Cancer did NOT defeat him…GOD just needed some additional help up above and it was his time to watch over me. I dozed off and about 30 minutes later I woke up to his breathing getting worse and I looked up and as the clock his 4:20AM, he took his last breath.

Though this year has been a complete roller-coaster of emotions, I would not change it for the world.  Mike taught me to love the hardest I can love, he allowed me to enjoy the hardest love that I have ever felt.  He offered unconditional friendship that was nothing short of just damn amazing! The last year, I continue to know Mike is with me and he remains with us all…he would have it no other way.  I am thank(full) for all of you that have endured this year with me. For family and friends that have no idea and know it is completely OK to not.  For the friends that I have met along the way, one that are traveling this “new norm” with me with complete understanding how “not normal” it really is but we just “get it”.  There is not a day that goes by that I am not aware of just how truly blessed we are, we were and I am.

As you can see from this video Mike loved me, he loved family and friends and most of all he loved life! He is missed and I am so thankful for the time that we spent together and for him choosing me as his wife, his friend and his last love…

Thank you for allowing me to share everyone! XOOXOX