As I try to keep moving, I look onward to the new year. I cannot believe it will be 2011 in a little less than 24 hours. The plan: to reflect on 2010 and move into 2011 with an open heart. Will it be difficult? Absolutely. Is this open heart of mine wounded? Even more so…but at least I am moving…moving in the right direction…toward healing.

There was little to no movement during the few days in which the family tried to recognize the Christmas holiday. Big John’s memorial was the day before Christmas Eve and making it through the service without alligator sized tears streaming down everyone’s face seemed impossible. There were photos blown up just like at his son’s service. There were beautiful flowers….just like those of his son. There were miserable hearts…all just like his son’s service the month before. The comparison comes naturally because we had just cremated John the previous month. None of it seemed real, fair, or possible. Much of the same people showed their love as they did the month before and with disbelief in their eyes, everyone paid their respects to a phenomenal husband, father and man.

In the days following, there was as much time spent with family and friends as possible. It is all a blur to be honest. It was a surreal feeling knowing the tiniest of baby steps I made toward “getting better” the month before had been wiped clean. I felt as if I was back to square one…all without John. I miss him so much and this Christmas was a day I did not want to face. All I wanted to do was close my eyes to have them reopen with him standing before me…smiling. His sweet face smiling…that is all I really wanted. I had left some of his clothes at my parent’s house since his passing and took them home with me this trip. As I gathered my things the last night I was there, I scooped up his garments and smelled them right away…they still carried his sweet scent.

Since being back, I have buried myself in my work. I hit the ground running and realized today, I have not taken a second to relax or breathe. I am saving that deep breath for the new year. I plan on taking my first, new, deep, clean, sip of air in 2011 because I want to run as far away as I can from 2010. I was telling a friend of mine today that I have never been one to make new year’s resolutions or look at a different year with purpose…it used to be just another day. Now, more than ever, I look at this day as a new beginning and one of healing. My love and desire to be with John will never diminish, but rather strengthen in a healthy way. Right now, I am okay with my mess of emotions. I still wear my wedding and engagement ring and his wedding band on my right thumb…all this to honor him and I am just not ready to take it off. Again, this is a part of my mess and my healing. His clothes…all still in the closet and bedroom drawers. I do not know what to do with it just yet and I am okay with not knowing. I am welcoming this new year…I am closing the door to the year before because I think we all need to have that right.

So…dearest 2011…I stand before you…begging you to show mercy on our family, friends and myself. The break we are all longing for is needed. The two men we lost, the journey it took us on to get there, and the life we are supposed to live from here on out are all factors and will be a part of our daily struggle. I know there will still be tears and longing for my husband to be here physically but I know he is in my heart. To John…you know how much I miss you because I cry out to you every night…but I know, above all else, you are with your dad and that brings me great comfort. My sweet angel….I wish I knew more ways to tell you how much I love you. Your incredible spirit is still very much here and there are so many missing you right now….including your wife. I know you are always with me and I know you will be with me when the ball drops…just like we planned my angel. I love you.


  1. Dear Cat, my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September (3 months ago) and I was told yesterday by Hospice that he has probably about a week left. Your blog is amazing and I am so glad I found it.

  2. What a beautiful tribute to the husband and fafther-in-law you lost this year. I wish you all the best in 2011.

  3. I'm still praying for you, Cat. Keep breathing and moving forward and don't forget to smile and laugh as often as you can.

    With love in Christ,

    Denise R. from Texas

  4. I am thinking about you and hope your 2011 is able to get kicked off right.

  5. Thinking and praying for you often, Cat. Your words are beautiful. May 2011 be a year of healing and moving forward.

  6. The year 2010 was one of great loss for so many, myself included. I wish there was something I could do to help ease your pain. Know that I'm just a short drive down the road when and if you ever need/want me. I love you.

  7. Cat-
    I do not know you, but your blog has been such an inspiration to me for the past few months. I am a newlywed and a healthcare worker, and your words have helped me to deal with many situations both in my new marriage and in my profession. I am so moved by your experience and the way your words make me feel as if I am in your shoes. Your writing is truly a gift. Anyways, I saw this on etsy.com and it made me think of you.


    Take care of yourself, and may the new year hold many blessings for you.

  8. HUGE cyber hug from louisiana.

  9. Gosh. i am so moved by your writing. don't stop. i love you.

  10. Cat- I do not know you, but have been a follower of your blog for the past several months. You ability to express such raw emotions through your blog is such an inspiration! You are an amazing woman and deserve all the happiness in the world! As I read your blog today, I thought I would share what my sister and I did with my Grandfather's clothes. We took his clothes and had a memorial quilt made for my Mom and Aunt and had teddy bears made for ourselves. We gave the quilt to my Mom for Christmas and she absolutely loved it. It's a great way to preserve his memory. I hope 2011 is a much better year for you!


  11. I know that nobody's words will feel the void in ur heart and sole but Id like to tell you that your story has given so many people hope! Im truly sorry for the loses that you have encountered, I can only hope that you husband is here in spirit holding your hand through the worst in your life as you did when he was here! your words are as you would say intoxicating! PLEASE never stop writing!
    From Kristian
    Indianapolis, Indiana

  12. I always hope when anyone dies that the next step is that they join all the people they lost in their lives. I hope your husband's father and your husband found each other and were filled with joy. I hope when all of us who are here finally move on, we experience and know that joy too.
    But while we are here, I know it's horribly difficult. I found this randomly and couldn't stop reading it (though my house is a wreck and dinner isn't made). I hope your new reality becomes less painful with time. I hope all your beauty (the inside kind, though you are lovely on the outside too) draws good people and good things into your life.

  13. Quetta Penson1/10/11, 11:27 AM

    Good morning Cat. I just wanted to stop by your blog spot and show a bit of love. You are truly an inspiration. Your strength...when you have it...as well as the transparency you have in your weak moments. Every day is a new day filled with challenges and happiness. Thank you for showing me how to embrace both.

    Your colleague from Aurora,

    Quetta Penson

  14. I do not know you but I just wanted to let you know that I have been following your blog for several months and praying for you daily. Know that there are many that are crying with you, and we will be rejoicing with you as well. Thank you for displaying true strength and reminding me to take everything one day at a time. God is faithful.

  15. Cat, are you coming back to us anytime soon? We miss you and wonder how you are!

  16. Hi Cat -

    We have a mutual friend, which is how I found your blog. I first started reading in September and it was your "Dear John" post. Your beautiful letter to John echoed the feelings I have for my husband and your words opened up a wall inside of me. My husband had been struggling with his health for ten months at that point and we had seen every kind of specialist, twice, to figure out what was wrong but still had no diagnosis. He was on the mend but the journey until then had been incredibly difficult. I had shut down emotionally in order to survive the day to day and be as strong for him as possible. Your words, your courage, your love helped me to start processing again. Needless to say, I followed your blog from that point forward. You, John and your families have been in my thoughts and prayers ever since. I haven’t reached out before because everything I started to type didn’t seem like enough. I came across a poem recently and it better expresses what I’ve wanted to say:

    Words For It

    I wish I could take language
    And fold it like cool, moist rags.
    I would lay words on your forehead.
    I would wrap words on your wrists.
    “There, there,” my words would say –
    Or something better.
    I would ask them to murmur,
    “Hush” and “Shh, shh, it’s all right.”
    I would ask them to hold you all night.
    I wish I could take language
    And daub and soothe and cool
    Where fever blisters and burns,
    Where fever turns yourself against you.
    I wish I could take language
    And heal the words that were the wounds
    You have no names for.
    - J.C.

    Your journey has forever changed mine. And I know I’m not the only one who feels so moved. Wishing you strength, grace and healing.
    With love, Meagan

  17. Just wondering how you are doing...

  18. I do not know you, Cat, but I think of you often. I have followed your blog for months, and it moved me in a way that I have never experienced. I want to thank you for having the courage to be so open with your life. Your words have inspired me to be the friend to my husband that I was in the beginning of my marriage, before I allowed kids, work and life get in the way... Your words have had such an impact on so many. I hope you choose to write again.
    With much admiration, Di

  19. Cat,I think about you alot hope you are doing ok. May you move forward and know John would be happy that you are,he is always going to be with you, just close your eyes and there he is smiling back at you with that beautiful smile. All my love friend, Melissa Mercer

  20. I found and read your whole blog in a few hours and it moved me so incredibly, with so so many tears. As do many people, I thought my own life was hard, but I can't imagine having to go through what you have. You are immensely brave and are the most amazing wife I have ever ever heard of. I will pray for you daily, and will leave your page with a heightened appreciation for life and my own loved ones. I long for the day when you feel at peace again.

  21. Hey I am a new follower would you be so kind & follow me back, thanks :)


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  23. I am sitting here just in awe of the beautiful words you used to share your story. I don't know whether I should cry over the sadness in your writing or tell you how much I respect that you could share the journey here with others, or just soak it all in and try to learn. What an amazing thing to come across late at night and read....just blew me away and I am so honored to have found your blog. My heart breaks for your loss but what an inspirational story you have offered to others. Thank you and God bless.