Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Happy Birthday My Love

Vern would have been 77 today. I'm finding that really hard to wrap my head around. But then I'm also finding it really hard to accept that I'm 66. I don't feel anywhere close to that number, and before he got sick Vern didn't look or act his age either.  In my mind's eye we're still that young couple so in love and grateful that we had found one another.

Since my hair is short (and his sideburns long) this must be around 1975.
But I'll admit it took me awhile to be able to remember the young us. That first year especially. I could only recall those hard 4+ cancer years and how he suffered. He had such a horribly hard cancer journey. So many crises. So many unexpected issues. So much time spent in hospitals, acute care facilities, rehabs, chemo rooms and dialysis centers. Did I make the right decisions? Did I advocate enough? Did he suffer far longer than he wanted because I wasn't ready to let him go?  The woulda, shoulda, coulda's can kill you if you let them. I thank God for my Caring Bridge journal which I go back and read on the hard days. And I know deep in my soul that I gave him everything he needed. Everything I had.

This was near the beginning of the cancer journey, after a couple of surgeries and starting chemo.
And then one day the fog cleared. And I was able to focus on the nearly 37 years we had together before cancer arrived. And those years were good. Really, really good. I was able to look through old photos and remember ... and cherish ... those wonderful years.  He was my best friend. My confidante. My cheerleader. My love. Such a good, good man.

So I put those oh so hard years in their own little box. A box I still open from time to time when I must, but contained most of the time these days.

So here I am ... 7 years, 4 months, 15 days ... since Vern left.  And I am grateful. So very grateful he chose me. So very grateful that I was able to care for him when he needed me most. So very grateful we were such a strong team that his docs and nurses mentioned it every single time we were in the hospital. So very grateful he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt how very much I loved him. And so very grateful that I was able to hold him in my arms as he took his last breath.

I usually hunker down at home on these special days. Tonight, however, I will be at Frankie Moreno's show at Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center. Vern saw Frankie at a private VIP event that he worked on the roof of the Barbary Coast before he got sick and he came home raving about this fabulously talented kid. We never got to see him perform together, but I recognized his name in a Smith Center newsletter and decided I needed to see him ... for Vern.  This will be my sixth time attending one of his shows. Vern was right. He is fabulously talented and his shows are great fun. And it seems like this will be the perfect place to celebrate my guy's birthday. I do think that Vern will be sitting at the table with me tonight ... oh heck, I'm sure he'll be standing up dancing with me, too!  Happy Birthday, my love.

His birthday in 2007; first outing since diagnosis 9 months earlier. His former Orleans Arena staff honored him
at a Wranglers game and the team gave him a Wrangers jersey with his name on it.


Kathie Scott said...

I know you are enjoying your evening out and that you are celebrating your Vern. It’s good we can celebrate these days instead of curling up in a ball all day.

Janice Heidt said...

Harmon's birthday is in a few days, and I am so grateful that I will be able to celebrate it with my daughter instead of hiding. I hope it was a great concert, and that you smiled with your love for vern.