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Sherry: A Hole in my Heart

Go figure. My doctors found a literal hole in my heart! I could have told them. I knew it was there. I could feel the gaping hole. All day, every day, everything that had any meaning fell through the hole, much like the hole that Alice in Wonderland fell through, only mine didn’t evolve into a magical land of make-believe.

No, my hole is a land of nothingness: A place where only tears and memories reside that make me miss him all the more. Every test the doctor’s wanted to perform that was painful, I’d ask for a few minutes to allow me to escape to my “happy place”. Philip was always my “happy place”, not just in this life, but always in our life together. Continue reading

Sherry: Life Lessons

I learned so many important life lessons from my Philip. The best lesson was learning to be me.

Philip loved me. He loved every thing about me and he taught me that I needed to love me as well. He encouraged me to speak my mind and to be me! My friends and even acquaintances that know me probably find it difficult to believe that there was a time that I didn’t speak my mind.

There was a time, when we were newly together, and after I left a miserable relationship that among other things, stifled my impulses and my thoughts, that I held my tongue and kept my feelings strangled within me. As I write this, it seems inconceivable that I allowed anyone to do that to me. Now it seems so foreign, so unlikely, so not me, but my Philip had much to do with that growth.

He loved my spunk, my funny side, which is another thing I didn’t know I had (of course, my family always thought I was funny, but I thought “they’re my family, of course, they find me humorous.” Now, I know that I’m occasionally funny in an entertaining way, not at all like my Philip’s humor. No, he was gifted in a way few of us are. Continue reading

Sherry: Sweet Memories of Times Gone Bye

I have so many wonderful “Philip Stories”. He was such a funny man. Not just funny, but witty and clever, and sharp as a tack. His comebacks were immediate and hilarious, always. He made me laugh out loud every single day of our lives together and that’s the truth.

In 1999, I was in a near-death car accident and after 32-days in the hospital and rehab I came home with two broken feet, three broken ribs, a lacerated liver, a broken nose and contusions everywhere. Philip became my caregiver.

He’d empty my bedpan. That was mortifying even after all our years together. Something a husband should never have to do, but he did it and because he knew how embarrassed I was he did so in good humor without it ever being a hardship or an issue.

It made me remember when we were first together. In those days, I would never use the bathroom before two in the morning when I was certain he was sound asleep. Heaven-forbid he’d hear something that would embarrass me. In those days, I embarrassed easily. When I think of my growth it makes me giggle. We women are so different then our male counterparts. Viva la difference! Continue reading

Sherry: September Song

As the Days Dwindle Down to a Precious Few…

There’s always another milestone. First there was Thanksgiving. I was fortunate to have so many friends who wanted to have me join their family celebration. But it wasn’t the same. There was laughter and merriment by all, but for me, it was just a thin veneer cloaking my broken and sad heart.

It made me remember all our Thanksgivings that came before. I remember the first in our new home: we had twelve guests for dinner and I was making stuffed Cornish hens so everyone could have white and dark meat and their own stuffing. However, my wonderful Aga Oven decided not to cooperate. It refused to hold its heat.

In a mad rush to save my dinner, Philip piled a tray upon his lap and rolled his wheelchair up and down the block with tiny, stuffed hens to three separate neighbors to cook them! He was quite an adorable spectacle: Hawaiian shirt, a wooden tray across his lap and piles of hens rolled down the street. He succeeded in getting them all in neighbor’s ovens when alas, our oven changed its mind and became toasty warm.

Back again the hens came on Philip’s lap and they finished cooking to a golden brown and succulent meat cooked to perfection. It was a harrowing hour or more before this chef could breathe a sigh of relief.

He never flustered; rarely lost his cool; smiled and joked through all of life’s most taunting escapades. Not even years later when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He took it in his stride. He always amazed me. Continue reading

Sherry: It’s All About Love

I think about him all the time. I see something or hear something or my mind will just drift and it’s a full-blown movie in my head. I still can’t believe he’s gone. His essence, his presence is so powerful that it saturated my world – and I dare say, that of so many others.

I have so many exquisite and hilarious memories of our life together: our joyous life together, but nowadays I have trouble separating my sad and anguished memories of his last days with the precious, wonderful memories of our past.

Philip made me smile every day we were together, even more than that: he made me laugh…not just any ole laugh, but a belly grabbing full-throated guffaw. His wit was unsurpassed; the quickness of his mind was awe-inspiring.

I remember the early days when I’d spend hours primping to be as perfect as I could be just to be undone moments after walking through his front door. We spent the first five years in a torrid, whirlwind of passion. We talked and touched and learned every little thing about one another.

We shared our dreams, our wishes, our regretful pasts, the mistakes we made along the way and the joy and good fortune of finding one another…and in all the most unlikely of places: a rehab hospital. (Not the addiction kind of rehab, but the kind that puts bodies back to form.) Continue reading

Sherry: As Time Goes On…

There is no pain like the loss of a loved one: the numbness, the tears, the anguish, the loneliness, the aloneness, the sadness, the anger.

In the beginning there were so many tears, gut-wrenching tears, an unfamiliar howl deep from within. Slowly the world came back into focus; busyness overtook the constant memories and softened the pain ever so lightly…but not really. It was a false sense of return to wellness.

For the first sixty days I ran from here to there from hither to yon moving but going nowhere. I lunched with friends, talked and found my laughter, but inside I had a huge gaping hole that was consuming me.

The crowd of friends that beckoned my door and rang the phone diminished to a handful of special caring friends. I know its not because they’ve forgotten me or my loss, but rather that their lives – their normal lives – moved forward. I understand, but I now know that I, too, have never fully been the friend I should have been to those who have lost their love. Continue reading

Sherry: Class Warfare of The Big C

My husband has stage 4, metastatic cancer and this is our story of the search for his care. Although twenty-four months ago his physicians and three second-opinion doctors gave him six-months to live if he opted out of treatment and twenty-two months if he opted in. My husband, Philip, decided he wanted quality of life and chose not to undergo the assault on his body that the treatments were certain to do.

Philip is no stranger to coping with difficult situations and decisions. Thirty-three years ago on Halloween Eve 1977 a three time DUI offender slammed into the rear of his car catapulting him over his driver’s seat paralyzing him in an instant. As life changing as his paraplegia was – this was different. His life lay in the balance. Continue reading