As part of the Environment Report's week-long series, Cancer and Environment: Searching for Answers, we'll be highlighting some powerful stories of hope and loss in the words of those touched by cancer in Michigan. You can read more Michigan cancer stories here. How has cancer affected your life? Tell us your story.
My husband Joe died of cancer on his favorite holiday, July 4, in 2010. He was 39, I was 33. We had the gift of cancer. Cancer isn’t something that most people would consider a gift, but really, we did.
To die so tragically young and leave behind a young family, cancer gave us the opportunity to live every day until he died. We cashed out his 401(k), charged up our credit cards and threw caution to the wind. Because we knew there was no chance for long term survival we took the opportunity to do the things that most people put off until it’s too late.
We took a month long road trip and traveled to the west coast twice. We went to Las Vegas to live like a rock star for a couple of days and spent a long weekend in the presidential suite at the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscane.
I journaled and sent daily emails to all of our friends and family members. We spent what little time we had making sure that everyone knew that we loved. We loved not only each other, but our respective children, our families and most importantly, we loved the life we were given.
I miss my husband with a constant ache. His loss left us with holes in our hearts that we try to fill with all of the memories we created and the extraordinary life we got to lead, if only for a minute.
*This story was informed by the Public Insight Network. Share your story here.