Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hello, old friends and followers who may still be looking here for updates. It's been along time since I've posted anything. It certainly isn't because I haven't had a lot to post. I moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., in the fall of 2008 with my husband of 31 years. We both took advantage of early retirement offers in Ohio. He got a teaching job down here; I was freelancing. Life was good for about a year. That's when I found out he was cheating on me -- with a man. In 2010, he left me to live a new kind of life with a new kind of mate. It was tough. He had been not only been my husband but also my best friend for most of my life. He just walked out the door and never looked back. I was devastated. I was alone down here and without a job. I had to start life over again in middle age. It was really tough and scary but thankfully I had my sons, my family and good friends to lean on. Then I met a terrific guy named Dave Knize who loved me very much. I got a job at the St. Pete (now Tampa Bay) Times writing and editing in the features department. Dave thought I was a rock star because I worked there. He was really smart, read a lot and loved the news. Six months after we met, we tired of the two-hour commute between our houses and he moved in with me. He was retired after a lifelong career running the respiratory therapy departments in a hospital group in Fort Myers. It was easier for him to move. Things were great; his love for me immense. It felt as if we had always been together and we knew we would always be together. We'd get married sometime. Not quite a year later, Dave got a terrible pain under his right rib. One test led to another test led to another test lead to the diagnosis: liver cancer -- which had gotten there because it had spread from his lungs. He had extensive small-cell lung cancer, the worst, most aggressive cancer a person can get. No one survives long with it; if they do go into remission, it comes back quickly. He immediately started chemo even though it did no good. Toward the end, I would push him up in a wheelchair to get chemo. In hindsight, that seems like the most ridiculous, most cruel thing in the world. Why did I continue to push this increasing frail, weak man into the hospital to get useless poison pumped into him? Because we didn't know any better. Because we did what the doctor told us to do. Because we didn't want to believe it was happening. Because we wanted to have hope. On Aug. 29, almost six months to the day he was diagnosed, Dave died. I took care of him until the end. I watched him get progressively worse every day. He didn't deserve to die. He was one of the good ones. I miss him a lot. Funny, though, after my husband left, I was desperate to find someone else to love immediately. I felt incomplete. I felt like a failure. I felt like a fool. I don't feel any of those things now. I just feel sad and lonely. I want him to come back. But I won't let this defeat me. Dave wouldn't want it to. I'm living for both of us now. And I'm not alone anymore. I got two jet black maniac kittens, not babies exactly but teen kittens whose legs are too long for their bodies. They are full of life. They are joyous. They make me happy. We're all going to be OK.