Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thank You and Hello

First, I would like to thank ‘Dan in Real Time’.  I admire how he has always been true to his moniker and what a great last post about love. I think about my three children when they ask, which one of us do you love more? I of course want to answer, "Whoever eats their vegetables."  But I try to explain to them that love is not a first, second, and third place contest, it’s ever growing. So thank you Dan for bringing that point home again.

I had quite a year in 2008. My third daughter was born in March, my mother-in-law died in April, and my wife died from breast cancer in July. This was all under the same roof because we moved in with Lisa's mom in 2005 to help her colon cancer.

After Lisa passed, I moved my family out of that house and into my parent’s basement. When we first moved in, my mother was taking care of her 93 year-old mother. Yes, four generations living under one roof - there is something about me and muti-generational living I can’t seem to escape.

When my wife died of breast cancer, she was 39.  I have three daughters –yes the cosmic joke keeps getting better and better – all under the age of 12.  The last six months of my wife’s life can be described as a girl who was doing everything she could to stay alive, and a boy who was doing everything he could to let her die peacefully.  It’s a contradiction I still carry with me to this day.

My journey has brought much trial and error, reflection, sadness, new beginnings, confusion, loneliness, and growth.  It is my hope to take my observations of what I am experiencing and give it a voice.  Please never hesitate to contact me or share a different opinion from my own.  There is so much to explore, so much hurt to heal, and our voices are what helps us get through the day.

Thank you to Michele, the other writers – love all of your work – and the entire WV community for allowing me a space to share my journey.  May we all find our new place in this world, while keeping the best parts from our past.


  1. Welcome Matthew. Thanks for sharing your story here .... and 2008 was "quite a year" indeed.

  2. Welcome Matthew. I'm thrilled that you will be writing. I've always related to your posts as a guest writer. Thanks for the picture- I see so much love in it.

  3. Welcome Matthew, what a beautiful pic of your girls. Sharing our journeys' helps us to become the person we are to become. I look forward to your writings, as much as I did of Dans'. So again Welcome!

  4. What lovely ladies to surround with with, I can see your love is ever growing for them. Still looking for my new place in this world, thanks for joining as a writer and sharing your thoughts with us. I truly do look to all the voices here to get through my days and nights.

  5. We love you, Matt!

    ~Your Chicago Peeps

  6. Welcome Matthew and sorry you're 'here'.

    Your girls are beautiful!

  7. Mathew -Your writing is right on the mark. The caregiver's journey is so very different from the person that is leaving this world. We, who are left behind must be planning how we will go on without them, as we help them to go on even when the outcome is so grim and we know what is inevitable. We cannot share our fear because our spouse is coping with just staying alive. My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at age 43 and fought it 4 years before he died. It is such a hideous disease. All the while he denied he would sucumb. 3 days before he died as I helped him to the bathroom, he was leaning on me and said, " you know this might just get me". Denial is a powerful coping mechanism for the dying. But we caregivers are left with the reality. My son was 13--a difficult developmental age (yes it is a cosmic joke that a boy doesn't have his dad or girls don't have their mother). As I look back it was a time full of love, even though it darn near killed me it was so draining. Only another caregiver could begin to understand. I'm glad your girls have each other and you. It can get pretty lonely for an only child, especially when his mom sometimes finds it hard to cope even though I am pretending very hard to. My son is the light of my life and I love him dearly.

  8. Welcome Matthew! Your picture tells a beautiful story of 3 delightful girls, overwhelmed with sadness at losing their mom, but who have been loved exceptionally by a grieving father! Very tough act to follow. Thanks for sharing your story.

    I, too, am sorry you are here but look forward to your insights and inspirations!

  9. Dear Matthew,

    You have lived through so much already. It is amazing what the human heart can endure. I have a similar tale - three of y family members died from cancer with in six years. Three years later my husband developed a brain tumour and died a year later. Like Cathy above my husband ( and it sounds like your wife) wanted his life to carry on. It was only the last week when he said "I think I am dying". It was heartbreaking.
    As caregivers we are the torch bearers - we carry the into the future. You will be able to do that for your children. Your love for them will do it. It shines from their faces.

    Thank you for sharing this journey.

  10. Welcome Matthew enjoy your writing and love the picture, 3 beautiful daughters, there is much love!

    I kinda went through a different perspective as caregiver, I dont know why but I guess because my wife was so strong and determined to live, I accepted that and fought along with her, knowing that it would eventually kill her, but both of us thinking she could live another 5 or 10 years.

    She died at the age of 50 after a 2-1/2 year battle with colon cancer. In hindsight I wish I had taken a more realistic approach because the snap back to reality when she did die almost killed me as well.

    I was left questioning everything we did, every Doctor, every word we said to each other, unfortunately there are really no answers...

    It's an uphill battle but I think we are truly blessed to live in a day and age where we can communicate and share in this medium and I often think how lousy would this have been 100 years ago, no pictures or videos to remember our loved ones by.

    Mike from Canada

  11. Welcome, Matthew. :)
    I'm sorry that you're here .... that you have a reason to be here.
    But I'm also glad that you're here.
    And I know you (and all of he readers) know exactly what that means.

  12. Welcome, Matthew. Thank you for being willing to share your journey will all of us. You will heal your readers even as you yourself heal.