2016 was a Gift

by Karen on January 1, 2017

in Steve's Cancer Updates

Today is a new day, and a day to look back and reflect on the year.

A friend wrote something that inspired me and made me look at 2016 differently.

My husband died, that was absolutely the worst thing that has ever happened to me. But I’ve grown so much through that, and I like who I am today.

2016 was a GIFT and I am thankful for that. I had Steve by my side for almost all of it…. that was not something we knew we would have back in June 2014.

Friends I’ve known for a long time and a shorter time came together and became friends. And all my friendships grew, tremendously!

I learned from my friends and family what it means to give yourself up for others. I learned from them what it means to be a friend.

I lost my husband but I gained a guardian angel for me and my girls.

The night he died is still so fresh in my mind, but not as a nightmare, but as a night of closure and peace. He’s no longer suffering and the girls and I can now move forward and find our new normal and live. If it weren’t for my friends and family. I could not look forward to 2017 with peace.

I’m lonely inside because I miss my husband, my partner, but my heart is full from all the love around me, whenever I need it.

Thank you to those of you who went through this year with me, who’ve carried me and picked me up and that gave me the gift of love and friendship. And for those that were by my side when I needed them the most.

Good bye 2016 – Hello 2017!

by Karen on December 31, 2016

in Steve's Cancer Updates

A year ago today Steve and I sat at chemo for his “New Year’s Chemo”. I was grateful to have him for another year. After the new year we found out that chemo would end in the fall. The doctor estimated (at that time) he would probably have about 4-6 months after chemo ended. Of course that was without knowing how the last 6 months of chemo would work. He was being optimistic.

When Steve and I talked about that, we figured we’d get through the holidays, have another new year’s eve together and then sometime in 2017, he’d pass away.

Of course we didn’t know for sure, but we were being optimistic.

wilmes-family

From the day that we found out he was stage 4, I knew he was going to die. I knew I was going to be a widow, a single mom… alone. And each time the chemo wasn’t working 100% (since the fall of 2014) I’d think “it’s coming soon“. Then things would even out for a while with “no changes” and I’d think to myself “maybe he’ll beat this or just live forever with cancer“.  Then things would change and I’d think again “okay it’s coming“. Some of you know this roller coaster I was on because I talked about it with a select few. (Only because I tried to stay positive for Steve so I kept this to myself a lot).

What’s my point? My point is I wasn’t ready for him to die in November. I knew his time was limited, but we didn’t talk about him not being here today, tomorrow or next week. We talked about having some time in 2017 together, not going through the holidays without him.

Maybe I was really in denial all this time, I don’t really think so but maybe. Or maybe it’s just that when something life changing like this happens, we aren’t really ever prepared for it, no matter how much we prepare.

I miss him. Sometimes I think maybe he’ll walk through the door. Maybe the phone will ring and it’ll be him.

Steve and I had our first date on December 1, 1998 – we were together a month shy of 18 years. 18 years is a LONG time to spend every day together (give or take a few days the first year we were dating). We had our ups and downs and for a while there our marriage wasn’t going so well. But we stuck it out and made it work because we really loved each other.

He was my best friend, the one I spent every day with, the one I told everything to, the one that protected me and held me when I was sad. I had a dream last night that I ran into someone from our past and all I wanted to do was tell Steve (in my dream).  I miss him so much.

But tomorrow is a New Year and every year brings good and bad. I feel that the worst has happened to me (it can’t get any worse than losing your spouse at 43 years old). Well I suppose… but I’m being positive. So lets see what 2017 has in store for us.

Happy New Year! Thank you all for being there for me!!!!

A month + later…..

by Karen on December 12, 2016

in Steve's Cancer Updates

It’s a little over a month later and the girls and I have began moving forward with our life without Steve.  I won’t lie, it’s awful.  Some days are okay, but lately most are not.  I’m really struggling with this.  I thought I would be okay.  I thought I was prepared for this.  I thought I grieved the last 2+ years, and I thought that was hard.  This is worse.  I was no where near ready for losing him.  I was no where near ready for the pain of missing someone that has been in my life, every day for 18 years.  Especially losing them when you have no choice.

I also thought we had more time.  I thought we had one more Thanksgiving… one more Christmas… one more New Years Eve.   But then again, I don’t think I ever really thought he was going to die.  I knew he was, but I didn’t think it would happen.  For the past 2+ years I would think every now and then that maybe they were wrong.  Maybe he didn’t really have cancer because he looked so good.  And maybe he would recover.  Or maybe he’d go on with treatments forever and ever.  Honestly the thought of that was so hard too.

No matter how many counseling sessions I went through, no matter how much stronger I became mentally over the past 2+ years, nothing…. absolutely NOTHING could prepare me for losing him.

And let me tell you, the past 2+ years have been HARD.  You all saw only what we wanted you to see, or really what Steve wanted you to see.  The struggles every day were the hardest I ever went through (or so I thought).  I loved my husband so much but I wanted chemo to end so many times because I hated what it did to him, to us, to our family.  I had no idea how much worse it would be afterwards.  If only I could go back and enjoy him, even on chemo.  Even on those days he was miserable.

When he would get really anxious, he’d ask me to lay down next to him.  Doing so always seemed to calm him, and then he’d feel better.  So many of those times I was in the middle of doing something but I stopped to help him through.  Other times I was free and more than happy to help him feel better, even just by laying on the bed with him.  Oh how I wish I could lay next to him again.  You have no idea.  It’s just awful.

Christmas is coming.  I have my tree up as of 3 days ago, but it’s not decorated yet.  We’ve had time to do it, but I haven’t felt up to it.  We will decorate it, because i need to for the girls.  But I don’t want to.  I would prefer to skip over Christmas.  I’m not looking forward to it and nothing you can say will make me feel better about it.  I’ll go through the motions because I have to for the girls, but I really don’t want to.  I just want it to be over and begin a new year.

Every year since Holly was born, my in laws have stayed with us from Christmas Eve until the day after Christmas.  When the girls were little it was hectic but that’s how we spent our Christmas.   This year Steve is gone and they may not be able to say over Christmas Eve because they are having health problems.  They may not join us until Christmas Day OR the girls and I will drive there on Christmas Day.   Another reason to not want to celebrate.

I know this all sounds awful and sad and I’m told it’s part of the process so I guess I have to go through these feelings.  Doesn’t make it fun or easy.  Next year I’ll be better, I just know I will be.  I hope.

Thanks for listening.  This too shall pass……

Shots for Steve

by Karen on November 5, 2016

in Steve's Cancer Updates

I had a house full of people today.  Just the way it should be.  My brother brought over a bottle of something for shots.  I have no idea what it was, I can’t remember.  But I do remember that I didn’t have any shot glasses so we used wine glasses.  My crystal wine glasses that I got when Steve and I got married.  So they were pretty appropriate to use!

We all got together and did a “Shot for Steve”….. it was pretty fitting considering he enjoyed himself a drink or two over the years.

shots-for-steve

A memory I will always cherish!

Good bye Steve!!

by Karen on November 5, 2016

in Steve's Cancer Updates

This morning I did the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I said good bye to my husband Steve. He peacefully passed away at 6:20 am and is no longer suffering. His soul is free from cancer, so he won!

cimino-and-whiles-family-2016

Thank you all so much for your prayers, friendship and love over these past 2+ years.

Steve’s Obituary