- 60 years old
- Date of birth: Dec 12, 1949
- Place of birth:
Chelmsford, Essex County, United Kingdom
- Date of passing: Nov 2, 2010
- Place of passing:
Wichita, Kansas, United States
|"Because of Annie" You were my Bright and Shining Star. I will love and miss you until my memory fades. Thank you for sharing your life with me. "Rock On, My Angel" Love you sweetie, Bobby xo|
This memorial website was created on on 4 September 2011, in the memory of our loved one, Annie (Barber) Harrison, 60, born on December 12, 1949 and passed away on November 2, 2010. We will remember her forever.
Under the Gallery tab on this page I added a selection of songs you can play while viewing Annie's memorial. Many were songs that add meaning to memories we shared. If you want to select just one of those songs to play while you visit with Annie, simply sign in, click on the Settings Tab, scroll down to bottom of page. Click on the large x and it will remove the songs one at a time. Then click on the search bar which says add a song. A play list will come up and you can choose the song or songs you want to save and play while viewing the memorial. This site is 100% secure.
When Annie passed the world lost one of it's little known, great humanitarians. Not only to me, and my family, but to the unsuspecting stranger that needed some help, or just needed a compassionate ear, listening to and understanding their distress. She seemed to always have an answer, or knew where to find it. She especially loved the children of the world. If she could have, I am sure she would have bundled them up and brought them home with her, with a big smile on her face, all the love in her heart, and say to me, "look what we got." She would have rescued them all. Annie was a great loss to society, but where there is one there is more. I have to believe that!
Annie was a uniquely different person! She made it clear to me what her wishes were. She didn't want a funeral. She wanted to be cremated as quickly as possible, as she didn't want to be in the morgue too long. She wanted to be flown home to her motherland England and have her ashes sprinkled near her mother and two sisters. She was cremated 22 hours after she passed, and at the 36th hour, she was back in our home. A week later her ashes were flown to England and sprinkled in the beautiful "rose garden," at Chelmsford Crematorium where her mother and two sisters are resting, as she wished. Love her! xoxo
I've been on forever missed since Sept 4th, 2011! I found it by accident. This has been one of the greatest finds of my life. When she passed on Nov 2, 2010, I was hurt, lost and in desperate need of guidance. Then, one day I was searching the web for someplace I could write about Annie. I stumbled onto forevermissed.com which changed my life; as I set up her memorial that day, I knew I would have a safe place to go and visit her as often as I liked. Today is the 25th of May 2012. I still miss her terribly, but having access to her on a daily basis helps with the grief. I know that now, because when I look at her I don't get that overwhelming feeling of sadness and tears. I can now think of the happier times. We were married 39 1/2 years. Annie was special, as all loved ones are.
"Death Is So Final:" On a daily basis Annie's death is always flowing in and out of my consciousness and unconsciousness. It is like a grinding pain that becomes suffocating at times. My mind is often locked on the assumption that this is just a dream and I will wake up soon. When I lay my head on the pillow each evening, I close my eyes and pray that I won't have nightmares or even worse, night terrors. Still, they come and they go, and I awake to realize that this is my new reality and not a dream at all. "Death is so final." There's no escaping the pain or torment it visits on me everyday. Most, say I'm just grieving, but I know the truth~it is much more than that. It is a battle between life and death, the sane and the insane world I now find myself in. When I think of my sweet Annie, her journey through cancer was always about dying, she was not going to survive. Despite everything I feel, I have got to some how turn around all the negative emotions, and not let the cancer defeat me too. My journey can not be defined by hers. This is her story. "Death Is So Final." "Because of Annie"
ADDED: 5 Jan 2015: When I started writing on Forevermissed back on Sept 4th, 2011, I felt I was doing something very special for me and for Annie. I had no idea where this was all going to lead me. Just over three years later I am the Ambassador to Thecaregivertspace.com as well as a blogger, moderator, live chat host and a first contact person. We are the caregivers for the caregivers. Based in New York, and so is Forevermissed.com. You've already read what Annie's memorial and this site means to me, but you need to think outside the box and look at the big picture. There is an estimated sixty-five million caregivers in this country in one form or the other, and many of them are grieving and have no idea what to do or where to turn. I will help them find what they need. And of course, for those grieving, there is no better place to start than here on the Forevermissed site. My motivation is to reach out and touch others, one person at a time. On each Thursday night from 10 P.M. to 12 A.M starting on 8 Jan 2015, I'm doing a live chat on the caregivers space on bereavement. If successful, I will add more times to my schedule. It took me almost 4 years of navigating troubled waters before I was able to say, "I'm okay now." Annie is gone but not forgotten. "I will see her on the other side." If I had one piece of advice to hand out to you it would be. "write about your loved one, share your memories-your stories with the world as I did. Over time it becomes a real grief buster. I wish you all the best.
Annie has a website at www.becauseofannie.com . If you decide to check it out, there is a link on the site's home page that sends you right back to this page.
On May 15, 2012 I started building a facebook cancer page, dedicated to my wife Annie. If you would like to view it, just click on this link. www.facebook.com/BloodCancerAnnie it will take you to her page. Please click on the "Like" icon if you like the page.
Sept 4th, 2012: Today was ANNIE'S ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY on forevermissed memorial web-site. What a wonderful place to store memories to last a lifetime, and into the future for generations to come. I want to express my sincere thanks to the staff at forevermissed memorials for providing such a wonderful site.
ADDED: 27 June 2015: Over the past 6 months I've been writing and publishing blogs about my struggles with grief after losing Annie. I'm the Ambassador for the Caregiver Space out of New York City, and write for them. The blogs I'm going to share on Annie's memorial are powerful, were very successful nationally, with this first one receiving almost 500 shares nationally. Many of you will be able to relate to them.
Grief: Emotional Suicide--Published 23 June 2015.
After the death, we enter the very new and complex world of grief. We’re grievers! With the understanding that we all grieve differently, there is one thing for certain. Some, as was my case, will grieve much deeper than others. And therein lies a problem. Many of us will get caught in a little known, understood, or talked about grief trap. Emotional suicide! After Annie passed away, there wasn’t many days that went by for the first three years that I didn’t commit emotional suicide. I was guilty of getting caught in a trap that I had no concept of. It was all consuming–the five hundred year flood, so to speak.
What is emotional suicide?
This paragraph could easily be consistent with a person committing emotional suicide: quite frankly emotional suicide is living in misery–always, and I do mean always, thinking about and revisiting our loss, and not leaving any room for hope. One gets locked into the world of pitiful thoughts, and just stays there. Our focus is usually on the bad, and we’re unable to see or realize that we’re always stumbling deeper and deeper into a world of darkness, and therefore we have no way of escaping the pain and torment.
Most things we see represents the darkness in our life. And at that point we’re on the road to self destruction. Some people turn to alcohol or drugs to try to ease their pain, but the truth is, it will only make it worse in the long run. You can run from grief, but you can’t hide. After all, it’s pitched a tent inside of your head, and until you kick it out, it has no intention or reason to leave. Your sorrow becomes its comfort. Remember, in almost everything we do, and no matter where we are, happiness or wanting to be happy is being blocked at every turn by our grief. It’s a horrible place to be—if you loved deeply, it follows that you’re going to hurt deeply…And that’s just the way it is!
In my case, family and friends would come to my home, recognizing my unhealthy lifestyle and try to lift me up by inviting me out to family gathering or other events. To me, they thought they knew how I was feeling, when in reality they had no concept to the depths of my despair. Why would I want to go out with a bunch of happy people expecting me to be happy when all I can think about is my loss? And what’s happy about that! So instead of trying to pull myself out of the darkness, I alienated myself from my family and friends, shutting the door on almost everyone. They became nothing more than nuisances, a bunch of people that didn’t get it. Some would say to me, oh Bob, you’re just depressed over your loss, which in my mind was the understatement of the year.
My life was spiraling out of control and way beyond the world of depression, as when one loses all hope, one is approaching the point of no return. It is thought that depression is the leading cause of emotional suicide, but guess what, grief drives depression to a much higher level of despair, and over time can shorten one’s life span through some self-destructive behaviors…like, not taking care of yourself. There is little room for error, and a weak/unstable safety net for those of us that were, or are committing emotional suicide.
Escaping Emotional Suicide
We are kidnapped by our grief and taken to a place where we’d rather not be, and locked up in a world we don’t want to be in, and see very little opportunity for escape.
So here’s my question to you. Metaphor! What would you do if you were kidnapped by someone, taken out into the woods and locked up in a an old shed with no water? Would you try to escape, or just give into the fact that you were now a victim and just going to set there until you were released or died of thirst? Yes, you could argue that I’m mixing apples and oranges with this metaphor, but the concepts are the same. Personally, I would try to do everything I could to break out of that shed. So why didn’t I do that when I was grieving? Why did I turn everyone away? As I now know, my home was my shed, and all those people that tried to help me were the door I needed to walk through to escape, even if only for an hour or two.
We have to try to break the hold grief has on us, and by doing so we are lessening the chance of committing emotional suicide. Think of it this way. When I was on lock down in my home, everything I saw every day, was the same thing–it never changed from day to day. I was totally locked in a world of sorrow, sadness, and many unpleasant memories. Of course, my home represented many good memories Annie and I made together, but to a griever, those memories are hard to come by until we break the hold grief has over us.
I think I should have spent more time with the happy people, had what fun I could, and celebrated her life, rather than wallow in her death. Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying…we have to grieve to get better and there will be plenty of grieving. But, it’s also imperative that we break the emotional suicidal hold grief has on us, and we do that by changing our routine. Perhaps, doing things differently once in awhile. If you go out for two hours, and part of that time you’re not thinking about your loss, you are breaking the cycle of grief. Any good that comes from your two hour break starts from your head and flows down through your body with a certain and much needed healing effect. A normal cycle of grief for many grievers is basically 24/7. They go to bed with it, and wake up to it. I certainly did.
Four months after Annie died, I flew out to Northern California to visit with my family, some friends, and do some fishing. My thoughts were that if I took a break for a couple of weeks, and got a much needed change of scenery things wouldn’t feel so bad. So I put on a mask and tried to run from my grief. To my surprise, for a few days me and my mask did okay. Then one day the mask fell off, and all I could think about was, “I want to go home.” Then on the plane ride home it hit me. When I get home Annie won’t be there and our normally warm and cozy home, is no longer going to feel that way either. And it didn’t–I walked straight into the arms of extreme loneliness once again.
Unknowingly at the time, the trip gave me some much needed hours of escaping the heavy grief, therefore, breaking the cycle of grief a bit. Although that didn’t change my overall battle with grief, it did give me a chance to build up my emotional reserves needed to fight the extended emotional battle I was in with grief.
Emotionally grief will drain you, or as some would say suck the life out of you, if you let it. When that happens to a normal griever, we have the ability to fall back on our emotional reserves to get us through the tough times. But at some point when committing emotional suicide through our continued visitation with our loss, our emotional reserves can be used up too, and when that happens, we hit the old proverbial rock bottom.
So as I see it now, it’s not only important, but imperative that we find ways to distract ourselves in an effort to break the cycle of grief, if only for a short while. During that small break from grief the body will start to heal. Yes it will be a vicious circle, and you will go round and round on the merry-go-round for quite possibly a long time, but after spending three long years in grief, and experiencing healing in the fourth, I know what needs to be done. I only wish I had of known back then. My grief would have been easier, not as complex, and I would have been able to kick that squatter out much sooner, that was camping out in my head.
I suffered terribly from grief because I didn’t have the tools and lacked the understanding to help myself heal. I was relentless in facing my worst fears and nightmares head on, on a daily basis in an effort to heal. My theory was, what hurts you the most, will in the end be what heals you. And as I’ve said before, it take’s grief to heal grief. And that’s all true, but I should have been taking a break from my grief through creative distractions, giving my body a chance to start healing. Instead, I chose hand to hand combat with grief on a daily basis, which is not a good idea, and in my case did more harm than good. I stayed the course, but now know I was committing emotional suicide.
When I talk about my grief, I have no regrets. I was doing everything I could to survive. However, now that you’ve read this article, I hope it helps you and you get the message loud and clear. Don’t stay in the trenches too long, you have to get out and take a break, do something for yourself. Take some “me time.” I know it won’t be easy, and then there is the guilt factor, grief in disguise, but as messed up as I was, if I had it all to do over again, I would have walked through that shed door into the arms of some happy people. People that loved and cared about me. It won’t change your grief, but over time it will help your body heal. That’s so important to your future well-being.
ADDED: 4 Jan 2013: For those of you that are hurting, or want to share in a loss you can email me via this site. We all need to talk, and share, at some point in our grief. It's taken me two years to come out of the darkness into the light, but I've made it, and everything is going to be okay for me, and in time for you too.
When I look around at other memorial sites, I can't help but wonder how, so many beautiful people passed. Annie was unfortunate; all blood cancers are rare, but many can be successfully treated if caught in the earlier stages. Multiple myeloma is in the family of blood cancers, and is treatable with most patients getting a remission. However it is not curable. When diagnosed, Annie's prognosis was maybe 3 weeks, followed by "why is she still alive." Annie's journey lasted thirty months. Her oncoligist, Dr. Moore Sr., had been an oncologist for 39 years. He said Annie was probably the worst case he'd ever seen, but that she was a tennacious fighter with a strong will to live. As you look through this memorial at her pictures, you'll notice that there is a unique story under each one. My intention was, and will always be; helping others through her story..
Feb 22nd 2013: Coming out of grief In mid December 2012; I was fixing my breakfast and found myself singing and dancing around the kitchen. When I realized what I was doing I felt a rush of panic come over me, so I took a seat in one of our dining room chairs. I needed to sit down and digest this strange new feeling in my head. Apparently my emotional connectors were pulling me out of grief in a way I never expected. For a few minutes as I sat and thought about what had just happened I started getting sad, as I wanted to go back to the darkness where I felt I belonged and was my comfort zone. It didn't matter, my emotions were starting to drag me out of grief, and left me little choice but to move forward. In other words I couldn't go back even if I wanted to. After 25 months of relatively heavy grief, I was getting well. I think my body's self defense mechanism was kicking in and telling me enough is enough. Two months later I feel reasonably well, and instead of grieving Annie, I find I'm celebrating her life. Grief is very selfish, unpredictable, and deceiving. It can keep one locked up forever, if the body doesn't take over and regulate ones emotions. I know I will always grieve for Annie, but it is different now. The overwhelming sense of loss is no longer there. I'm now of the understanding, if I had it to do over again, I would have fought more to celebrate her life, then to grieve her loss. Annie would not have wanted me to suffer the way I did. I know that now. We somehow have to learn to control our grief and not let it control us. I failed miserably at that, but there were no instructions on grieving. I now have instructions. My hope is that if you get caught in the nightmare called grief, you'll try to prove my theory. Try to celebrate the life of your lost loved one, and stay out of that black hole as much as possible. I know it won't be easy, but possible. This is just a theory, but I don't ever want to go back to the darkness again.
ADDED: 6 May 2013: Titled~"The Circle of Life." When I started writing this memorial on forevermissed, I had many reasons for writing, but the true significance only came to me tonight. Today is our daughter Melissa's 40th Birthday. Bitter sweet day, but nothing compared to the event taking place on June 13, 2013. On that day she is going to be induced in labor, and give birth to a healthy baby boy. This child is being gifted to this family through Melissa and her husband Van as a true sign that there is life after death. He will be the first "Post Annie Era Grandchild." All the rest got to meet and be loved by Annie. He won't have that privilege, but through Annie's memorial he will come to know and love her through my writing, stories and many pictures. He will know things that would not or could not have been possible without her legacy. With this new child, the "Circle of Life" will be complete. We lost someone that we all loved dearly, and this child will help this whole family heal in a way I would never have thought possible until tonight. I'm now going to start expanding the memorial to include the family, as we're all connected in the circle. Annie will be the missing link, but he will see her and know where it all started. I posted a picture of Melissa on here tonight in the gallery or under stories. From my heart, I know this is going to be so important for the child. Life can be a real mystery, but given time things come into focus. You just have to find the direction, and I unknowingly found it here. I've been struggling lately, wondering when this would all end. Now I know, it's just the beginning of something very special, and I have a new sense of direction. June 2nd, 2013: First picture of Baby Beaux, is now posted under galery/photos this site. He's a cutie! Born 3 weeks premature!
ADDED: 3 Aug 2013: ~Lost DVD~ On Dec 10th, 2008, while in the hospital, my daughter Melissa and Beverly, at my request, were going to set up a surprise birthday party for Annie. It was going to be held on the evening of the 12th, her actual birthday. Annie had defied the odds a few times to get this far, so we all made an effort to make the party special. During the party a DVD was made with some videos mixed with 220 pictures. The computer containing all the pictures and videos was unfortunately fried during a lightening strike and I lost everything. I was really upset when I looked for the video after she passed, as it contained the last recordings of her voice and the last chance to see her beautiful smile as it happened. After several months of searching for a copy of the DVD I gave up. Now 32 months post death, my sister Marcy located her copy, and sent it to me. I've had it two days now, and I have to say it's one of the greatest gifts I've ever received. It invoked many memories, and yes, many tears too. I purchased Annie a new candyapple red walker that you will see her using, making the walk to the surprise party. Annie thinks she's walking to a traditional Christmas Tree lighting, her response when folks start singing happy birthday to her is "Priceless." Keep in mind, the day before this party Annie received a very special gift too. She was told she was in an improbable remission, after 6 cycles of chemo, 21 days on and seven days off. Having a very aggressive cancer, and a short prognosis, this was a festive occasion. Annie was all smiles. The video can be viewed under the gallery tab, audio portion.
ADDED 14 Sep 2013: "Because of Annie"
"If You Love Someone Today, Try to Love them More Tomorrow"
Excerpt Page #112: Because of Annie: Annie was my bright and shining star, and I loved her more every day. She was so helpless, defensless, and precious. In my mind she was a true gift, and I was beginning to understand love in a way that many people never will. As I was starting to find, true love penetrates deep into your soul. There is no anger and no resentment. It's not conflicting and I found it very spiritual. It seemed my goal in life was to keep Annie safe, and to share every minute I could with her in happiness. I always loved Annie, however, I have to realize and accept that I never really knew the true meaning of spousal love until now. As chaotic and sad as our lives were, we were always taking time to "Smell the Roses." Sometimes we'd look at each other and laugh for no reason. We'd both found the "Perfect Love," but what a price we were paying.
ADDED 21 Nov 2013: Excerpt from "Because of Annie" coming soon.
The setting is in my living room, Annie is in her hospital bed: It was now time to start comfort care (End of Life Care) which was being administered by my daughter Melissa. We didn't use Hospice.
Excerpt: I asked for some private time with Annie, and then laid my chest across hers, put my arms around her, and lost it. I cried like a baby, as I was so hurt. I know it sounds like it's all about me, but that isn't even close to the truth. Over the course of the illness, Annie and I became one. I hurt for her because she had to die, and for me, I was losing the love of my life. While I was crying, all I could feel was her right hand with the sports bandage on, rubbing me up and down my back. Annie was dying and comforting me. I gave her everything I had for thirty months. In return, she gave me enough love to sustain me forever, and some of my most incredible memories.
As I rose up off her chest, I looked her in the eyes, told her I loved her, and she said, "I love you too." I rubbed my hand across her forehead, letting it gently slide down over her hair. After a soft and tender kiss, I turned and disappeared into the dinning room.
I truly believe in some way, beyond the imagination of many, I was kissed by an Angel.
After I left the room, Melissa walked back into the room, told her momma she loved her, and immediately started comfort care. The time was 2:00 P.M. End Excerpt.
ADDED 12 Dec 2013: "HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNIE"
"Because of Annie"
It been 3 years, 1 month, and 2 days since you had to go home. And I can say without reservation, I love you as much today as I did when we were together. Time is a good healer, but thankfully it was never intended to stop a person from loving someone that meant the world to them. Love in its truest form knows no boundaries. So, as I've done since I created your memorial, I will visit you everyday, and be here at night to tuck you in. I love you Annie, and I'm so sorry I couldn't save you from that wretched cancer. But know this Annie, I shall never forget that epic battle you fought, sometimes against all logic, and share your story everywhere I can, in hopes of inspiring and helping others. I shall never leave you. I love you Sweetie. "Bobby" xoxo
ADDED 20 Jan 2014: Barnes and Noble Book Signing; On Feb 15th, 2014, I'll be taking Annie's story~"Because of Annie" to a new level. With the support of our local Barnes and Noble Bookstore and the Kansas Chapter of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society we're expecting a good crowd. Barnes and Noble will be running it on their website, and the Kansas Chapter of LL's will be sending out group emails throughout the local area and state. This book signing will be like Annie~so very unique. My signing table will have a 32" HD monitor which will be streaming her forevermissed.com memorial throughout the signing. I'll have several 8x10 pictures of Annie, which I shall call, "the various stages of cancer." Some of the main characters in the story will be there as well to meet, greet, and visit with our guests. B&N will order in all books and be responsible for selling them. My share of any money received will go to help others less fortunate than Annie, which would please her as she always donated to cancer. Because of Annie is a tragic but inspirational story of a man and his wife that were married for 39 years, and fought blood cancer together until the end~forever falling deeper in love. It delves deeply into the world of care giving for a terminally ill cancer patient and in a sense provides a roadmap that will steer caregiver's away from many cancer traps. Annie and my biggest fear throughout her 30 month journey, was fear of the unknown. Cancer does not come with instructions~nor does being a caregiver. When writing Because of Annie, my intention was to let the reader know things, that unless they've been there, they couldn't possibly know. Cancer promotes a very cold world for the unsuspecting patient, caregiver, and loved ones. If you're reading this entry, and recently suffered a loss, I'd like to say with all sincerity "that I'm sorry for your loss." Always remember, that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and do not let others define your grieving process. It's your loss, and you need to deal with it anyway you can; if you need professional help, please get it. I've been seeing my psychologist, Dr. Bryant, for over three years now. He, along with this memorial site allowing me to speak to her each day as often as I needed too, and writing Because of Annie saved me. And I truly believe that. I wish you well~
ADDED 21 Feb 2014: On 15 Feb 2014, Annie was honored at Barnes and Noble via a book signing of her story~"Because of Annie." The day was very special. I signed books for 1 1/2 hours, then went over to the childrens area, where an area was set up for me to speak about "Because of Annie." A half-hour later I returned to the signing. The first person to buy a book after I spoke, was a lady sitting in the front row while I was speaking, and was a breast cancer survivor. She told my daughter that listening to me made her feel like for the first time sinse she got the all clear, she was finally home. I don't know what she meant, and didn't ask her, but she was very emotionally distraught, and my message seemed to give her comfort. To me, sucess is defined by how many people I can reach out and touch through Annie's story. It was a good day, and I saw many tears flowing. A few days later a man that read the book contacted me and said, I shouldn't be contacting you after reading what you and your beautiful wife Annie went through, but I'm scared. Then he said, today I was told I'm dying. I have cancer of the brain and its spread to the lumbar region of my back. What could I possibly say to a person in that situation? The first thing I thought of was, where there's life, there's hope. Hang in there, miracles happen everyday, maybe you'll get one. And then I spoke to him about Annie. She was always dying, but she never gave up, and fought until the end. He did say the story was very inspiring to him, but still, he was very afraid. And who wouldn't be.
The Kansas Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society were at the signing too, in support of Because of Annie. They felt it's a wonderful book for caregiver's or future caregiver's based on the story line. Just about every experience I could have had as a caregiver, I experienced, and their all well documented and explained in the book. I learned from my mistakes and greatest triumphs. A caregiver will never be defined by his/her mistakes, but will be defined by lack of caring. It can be a very tiring and thankless job at times, but the rewards of making a difference in someone's life is priceless. And being a caregiver for a loved one, is probably the most difficult and challenging position one will ever be in. It's very, and inhumanely painful. I got knocked down more than once, but as I said in Because of Annie, I got back up, dusted myself off, and got on with it. When you love someone, there is no other option. It becomes so natural to do what you have to do, to make the loved one feel safe and comfortable. "Because of Annie"
What is grief? Overview: In my opinion grief is a part of our body's self-defense mechansim, that allows potentially harmful feelings of sorrow to leave our body. Anytime our body is overwhelmed with sorrow, through grief we have an emotional release, thus expressing our feelings, most often through our tears. In many cases we stay in touch with our loved one by looking at pictures, reading old notes, remembering the good times, sharing in our laughter, playing our favorite music, and whatever else we shared and enjoyed in life together. My grief was driven by the love I shared with my wife Annie. And I do believe, the more we love, the more we lose, which equals a much longer and more difficult journey through our grief. Some folks never get over their grief, but thanks to our bodys resilience, we learn to get through it. In theory, the loss of a loved one can create a darkness that penetrates our soul, which becomes a measuring stick for our grief. As the darknes slowly departs from our body a wonderful thing happends. Our grief starts to dissipate, and we can feel ourselves stepping out into the light. What I found amazing and unexpected was I had a strong sense that Annie stepped out into the light with me. So I realized it wasn't Annie that was keeping me in the darkness, it was me. We all know our loved ones would certainly not want us to be sad, so why are we. Simply put, we loved and we lost~But in the end, although things can never be the same, we get better and once again find our purpose in life.
ADDED 7 APR 2014: Breaking Down Grief: It's important to understand when you started to grieve. The reason is simple. I started my journey with grief the day Annie received her diagnosis/prognosis. I was told privately that Annie would not survive her cancer. So it follows that at some point prior to a loved ones death, depending on the circumstances of the death (how quickly the death occured), grief will be firmly entrinched in your emotions and actions at the end of the journey. Can we control our grief? Under certain circumstances we can, and in my case I had too. Annie was terminally ill, and grieving in her own way. So it was important for her that I stuff my grief while she was grieving and fighting cancer. It wasn't easy, but it came with the understanding that our journey was about her, and not me. Here's a tip. If you need a good emotinal release as I did at times, just find a quiet place away from your loved one, and let your emtions come flooding out. It won't take long, and when you rejoin your loved one you'll be more composed, focused and able to help out. As Annie's caregiver husband I had a ring side seat to everything that was going on. I instinctively knew that if I showed signs of weakness through my grief, it would allow her to become insecure, which is an emotion or fear that she didn't need while fighting her battle. And it would make her weaker in the long run. So here's the answer to the question about how long you've been grieving. This is what happened to me. For the most part, but not always, I stuffed my grief for 30 months while she was fighting her disease. When she died, the old theory that I'd been grieving for 30 months, so my grief should be light, went sailing out the window. It was more like an explosion of emotions, that my mind couldn't digest, but there was nowhere else for them to go. I can tell you, that's not a good place to be. The pain was immense and it felt like the life was being sucked out of me. I just kept saying over and over, "I want her back." And that was just the beginning of my 24 month nightmare. Yes, that's how long it took for me to feel half way normal again. Having said that, I do know that everyone grieves differently and that there is no time limit on grief.
Grief & Mind Games: In the beginning grief is like a mind game and will literally make you reflect back to things or events that you'd rather not think about. It seemed to me that the more traumatic the event was the more I focused on it. And that's something I tried to avoid as much as possible, but grief is strong and it will fight back. Grief is so deceptive that it will try to convince you of things or events that you know were not true and perhaps didn't even happen. What I'm saying is, grief will disrupt your thought process, and it can be a real battle at times to maintain control. Here's what I came to understand while fighting grief. It is, very deciptive, but less complicated when we start paying attention to our feelings. It's truly a state of being and what you are feeling in grief is quite simply your way of dealing with your memories. I found that sometimes my memories didn't always set well with family and friends, as they just wanted me to move on. And that's okay, but remember, their your memories and no one can take them from you. Also, it's important to understand that most family and friends have no personal idea how you're feeling, as they are not you. Stay the course with your grief, and move forward at your own pace. In the end you'll be glad you did. Healing takes time, and can't be rushed. If you need help with your grief, I can be contacted via email through this memorial site.
There is no better place to share in the love you had for that special someone then this site. I'm still in the process of consolidating my memories of Annie on Forevermissed. I'm always just a couple of clicks away from being able to visit with Annie, and pay her the respect and love she deserves. It's called Forevermissed for a reason. Our loved one will always be missed, and sometimes we simply need a place where we can go and visit with that special person. Even though my grief is not as it was, and I can now wake up most morning's with a smile on my face thankful for another day, I would be lost without Annie's memorial to inspire, guide, and keep me focused on just how precious our lives truly are. We were never promised a tomorrow. When I brouse through Annie's memorial, even in the latter years of my life, I'll always know and be able to reflect back of the love this oridary man found in a beautiful woman. For my future family members that will never get to know and be loved by her, Annie's memorial will become a priceless part of their history. I loved my grandmother very much, she was such an important part of my childhood. She died when I was 9 years old. Fifty-six years later, all I have is simple little memories of love. I would love to have more, but that's not possible. This memorial will forever be an addition to the family tree and be a well documented story of a very special family member for all to see and love. Priceless!
ADDED 8 APRIL 2014: My name is Blood Cancer, Color Me "Red." In the United States 1 person every 4 minutes is diagnosed with a blood cancer, while 1 person every 10 minutes dies from a blood cancer. My wife Annie was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare form of blood cancer.
There is no pre-screening for Blood Cancer, which opens the door to, often times a late diagnosis, especially with multiple myeloma patients. Dr. Moore Sr's nurse got it right on the day of Annie's diagnosis when she said, "We've been going over Annie's medical records for two days and can't figure out why she's still alive." Annie hadn't been feeling well for over one and a half years and seen many specialists. But for whatever reason(s) the general practitioner(s) didn't send her to the cancer center until it was too late. So here's my suggestions. If you're having any of these symptoms~~feeling unusually tired, anemic, bruise easily, experiencing bone pain, having kidney problems or too much calcium in the blood for no apparent reason based on your general practioners findings, ask to be referred to hematology/oncology for a study of your blood and a diagnosis. Annie broke four ribs on four seperate occasions for no apparent reason during the five month period prior to diagnosis, but it was written off as osteoporosis. Hopefully you won't have a blood cancer, but if you do, early detection can potentially save or prolong your life.
Am I Dying: This is a cancer trap: The photo of Annie that navigated you to this page was taken two months to the day prior to her tragic diagnosis. She looks tired but beautiful. And that alone deceives the doctors and gives them, along with the patient a false sense of hope for a diagnosis, sooner rather than later. In other words, too much time is wasted trying to fix a problem that is increasing becoming out of control and no one knows what it is. You must not let that happen. Be proactive in your healthcare.
This memorial is dedicated to Annie and the thousands of other folks that have either passed away fighting a blood cancer or been recently diagnosed. Through Annie and some of the information contained within her memorial, it's just possible a life may be saved. Beyond that, I can be reached via an email through this memorial site. I can and will guide you in the right direction if you need help. Or go online at LLs.Org and find the entry that suits your needs. If you prefer you can call the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at 1-800-955-4572. They deal with all blood cancers, and have a trained staff on duty from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. If your calling in the middle of the night you will get an automated message that can guide you to your local chapter of LLs. If your struggling for help it's important that you do this. I wish you the best
ADDED 5 MAY 2014: Celtic Woman~~The Prayer: Annie is now 45 Visitors from reaching a new Milestone of 50,000 Visitors. I've always strived to be mindful of the visitors to her memorial and not infringe on the beliefs of others. And I believe I've done that. However, on this day and over the next week or so I shall honor Annie with this song. The backdrop to Annie's story and this song is that she didn't believe in God, but yet, through her 30 month journey, God found her. And I say that because there is really no other explanation. One dark and fearful night Annie fell into a deep coma with no expectations of survival. When she, against the odds, came out of her coma she became a different person from that day on. All she said about the experience was that it was very dark, with a deep sense of loneliness, and she was very fearful. She said one more thing, that was very important to her new found spiritualism. She said she could feel herself being pulled back. Something did happen that night, that she could not have possibly known. When her vitals started dropping, a nurse stood beside her bed, said what I thought was a strong prayer, and kept caressing her head saying, "God loves you so much, you are such a beautiful lady." Did we witness a miracle? I don't know, I'll leave that to the reader. But I will tell you this, it sure seemed that she had a Guardian Angel. Over the next 24 months Annie fought a battle that was labeled by some doctor's as, "of Epic proportions."
So on this morning as we approach the milestone I shall honor her with this beautiful song. Celtic Woman is an Irish group~Annie was from England. I think she would be pleased. I adored Annie, and watching the pain and torment she suffered on a daily basis, just about destroyed my view of humanity. But, she left me with this memory~she was going home, away from all the pain and suffering and she would be safe. What I believe or what you believe really doesn't matter, this was about Annie. Her last vocal words were, "Jesus will take my hand."
"Hi Sweetie, how you doing darling. I decided to paint our home, got
rather creative on the color. It's called Bayside Blue. It's so cool. It looks like the deep green and blue color a of lake or the ocean. I love it. Had to replace a bunch of siding too. Since you got sick and them my 4 year grief the house was in neglect. I want to leave it in the family so I thought I'd better fix it up. Weird, all the decorating and planning was always your responsibility. But I think I did a good job, and you would be pleased. Love you, I pray your resting in peace. Good night my love, Bobby xoxoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, for the past 4 years without you I've had to learn to live on my own. I know, that probably seems rather silly, but being with you for 39 years and having a partner to share in on all the decisions seemingly allowed us to do everything right. Our successes in life were a joint effort. So I've decided to go out on a limb and repaint the house a different color. Scary. Since our house dominates the neighborhood in size, I have to be so careful with the color I choose. I refuse to stick to the traditional colors, as I know you were such a unique person and always thinking outside the box I need to as well. So I've chosen a color called, Bayside Blue, which on the wall looks a bit green. But that's my choice. For a trim I'm going to use a beige. We have so much trim, I believe it will tone down the base color a bit. I learned that from you. Lets just hope I get it right. Then I'm going to put all new windows in using the Pella brand to match our back sliding doors. It's gonna be beautiful, I just wish you could see it. Who knows, maybe you will. One of life's great mysteries. I love you sweetie, and always will. Bobby xoxo Rest in Peace Annie. xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, just checking in. I know I don't leave the tributes or write on here the way I used too, but you know the truth. I stay busy writing about you on "The Caregiver Space" in New York City. Since Dec 2014 I published 30 blogs, and have 5 more scheduled. The last one I wrote which will be published in mid May, is 5,500 words and deals with the hospitals first attempt to put you on hospice. All my blogs fall under the heading of the book I wrote on you, "Because of Annie." It's all good baby, and I'm doing better now. Only took four years, and over a few million words. I love you darling, rest in peace Annie. Bobby xoxoxox"
"Hi Sweetie, not much happening around here. My birthday was on the 18th of March. All I did was stay in the house all day. It did start off okay. At midnight our daughter Melissa and our granddaughter Hannah pulled up to the house around 12:10 A.M. blowing the car horn to the tune Happy Birthday To You. Hannah jumped out of the car with two birthday helium filled balloons, followed by Melissa dancing to the music from her cell phone, "Uptown Funk." She and Hannah danced to that music on our front lawn and sang some made up happy birthday song. Then they presented me with my favorite cake you used to make me. German Chocolate Cake. I pigged out. They stayed about an hour and left. It was fun, but we were missing you. I wish I could see you. Rest well baby, Bobby xoxoxoxoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, we laugh, we live, we love, and sometimes we die--then we cry. That was you and that was me. What the hell happened Annie. Will I ever understand. I try so hard to make sense out of how suddenly life can change. One minute you were here, one breath later you were gone. As I'm learning, sometimes it's simply a case of bad luck with cancer. Your cancer was rare, and the odds of you getting it were tremendously against. But it appears one cell popped out of your bone marrow into your blood stream and it was malignant. The rest is a horrible tale of pain and suffering. I'm doing okay, but still miss and love you. I hope you're resting well my love--Bobby xoxo"
"Hi my friend Annie,I Have not been on for a long time,I just found out that your hubby Bobby has give my dad a life time membership on this forevermiss,Which touch me so much,Your a thousands miles away but i seem to know you both,I really miss my dad,And my big brother David,Please look out for them Annie has I have so many Questions i would like to ask them,Night Annie and thank you for sending me to your hubby to chat to,Has it wasn't for you i would never of found a mate to talk to,And he miss you so much AnnieXX god bless you xxxxxx"
"Hi Sweetie. It's been a long day today. Still trying to figure out which fork in the road I need to take. Here's a neat story for you. Melissa called me earlier tonight and told me that baby Beaux was laying on her bed while she was washing her face. When she came out of the bathroom he was staring at the corner of the room laughing and smiling, and making a lot of baby talk. Melissa said he was acting like he was talking to an Angel. Wonder where she got that idea? I said no, it was just his "Nanny." We see you everywhere Annie. Your spirit is strong and your star is still bright. I love you, Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, having a bad night tonight. Very lonely. Seems my favorite thing to do when I'm feeling out of sorts is visit you here on your memorial. What else can I do? I had know idea just how lonely life could be. I know I've said this many times before, but when does it end--perhaps it never ends. Well, it will when it's my time to come see you. I find so much peace on your memorial, thank God I set this memorial up. Don't know what I would have done without it. And that's why I encourage others to do the same, or at least keep a journal or a diary so they can look back in real time. I love you sweetie, hope you are resting well. Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, Not much going on in this part of the woods. I'm back into the not doing too much these days, other than write my blog in honor of you. I've been sharing you with so many people. Their inspired by your story. I published a blog last week, titled, Grief and Dreams. In the first few days it was shared over 700 times nationally. You are slowly being introduced to the world. I love and miss you Annie, Bobby XOXO"
"Hi Sweetie, been awhile, but you're never far from my mind and I just keep on loving you. Annie your star is still shining bright. I joined thecaregiverspace.org and am now one of their two Ambassador's. What's so special about that is, I'm meeting so many people in need that I can actually help. My blog post's are 99% about you and your story. You're inspiring so many. One lady wrote, "I love Annie." Isn't that wonderful. I wish they could have all met you. Wow, sitting here and listening to your music while writing is really hard for me to do. I still miss you so much. I would love to put my arms around you and feel all the love we shared. Annie, I'm always here, loving and missing you. It's been just over 4 years now, and at times it seems like yesterday. I love you, Rest well--"Bobby" XOXO"
"Happy Birthday Sweetie. You would have been 65 years old today--and no doubt full of life and spirit as you always were. It's now been 4 years 1 month and 10 days sense you went away. Sitting here writing to you tonight it not that much different of a feeling than it was when I started this memorial. Yes, I can write to you now without tears running down my face and making a mess of things, but my love for you is as strong as it ever was. And anytime I look to the heavens there is always that chance that I might just see a fleeting star that will remind me of you flying around on your angel wings. I like to think that anyway. I love you Annie xoxoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, I've been in California for about 13 days now. Does my heart good to see and spend time with dad. It's amazing how he keeps on going. He is 87 years old, and probably among the last of our great WW11 heroes. He is frail, very weak and losing weight. I take him biscuits, gravy and 2 eggs over easy everyday to put the calories on him and add some protein to his diet. Plus you know biscuits and gravy is amongst his favorite foods. As I sit here listening to your music alone in my bedroom, I'm really missing you. I wish you were here. Folks say everything happens for a reason, but what is the reason. You were so beautiful and healthy, it so difficult to understand, and perhaps I'm not meant to understand. I guess it's true--we never get over grief, we just get through it. Love you darling, Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, Four years ago today we said good-bye. I still have trouble wrapping my head around losing you. It's lonely without you. I know, I had 30 months to prepare for your death, but that doesn't help any. They say anticipatory grief, knowing the death is coming helps with the grief, lessens it. What a joke that is. I think it makes it worse. How could that possibly make grieving your loss any less. I've said this many times. The more you love the more you lose which equals a greater grief cycle, and longer. You are not replaceable! I will love you forever. I pray you're resting well, and not working your Angel Wings too hard. I love you Babe, Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Annie, Another year has passed, and your loved and missed more than ever. You will always be in my heart for ever more. I send my love hugs and kisses to heaven to you. God bless my darling sister. Love Dor-Dor xxx"
"Hi Sweetie, Last night was the 2014 Light The Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We attended as a family as much as we could. One day maybe Vicky and her children will be here so we can make it a really big deal. I want to make that happen if I can. Maybe next year. It's that time of year again, the 4th Anniversary of your death will be here in 9 days. I really struggle this time of year. Your passing, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. You'd think life would be much easier, and although it's not as bad as it was, it's still not easy. Last night was particularly hard on your 13 and 22 year old grandsons. They both shed some tears. It was difficult to see them cry. One minute you're hear loving them, then the next minute you're gone. Your loss has hurt a bunch of us, but I know you would be here if you could. Annie I love and miss you so much, but what can I do. I guess I'll always miss you. Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, Two things. Today I started conducting an Estate Sale for an elderly retired dentist and his wife. Working in their home the past week, getting the sale ready has been very enlightening. He is a micro-manager, and likes to be in charge. He really has no concept of how an Estate Sale should be ran to maximize the returns--how much money he gets for the total sale. That's been a challenge for me, but today has come and gone and we did really well. You would have been pleased. As this was a profession we shared for the better part of 25 years, going it alone was a wee bit hard. I missed you, and saw lots of things you would have loved to have purchased for our home. This was not a planned event, as I had previously told him I wasn't interested. But a few weeks later he called me and I agreed to do it for him. It was a long day, and two more to go. But I made some money, my first attempt at working a proper job since you got sick. I think I'm going to stay retired or do something we didn't always share together. Makes me to lonely. I love you. Bobby xoxoxox"
"HI Sweetheart, I had a wonderful cry the other night, when your memorial counter clicked over 60,000 views, my tears just started flowing and I lost it. It was such a bitter sweet moment. When I think of all the folks you've touched with your memorial and story I get overwhelmed with pride for the woman I loved, and who loved me for 39 years. When your counter clicked over the other night, a bit later I posted a short story of you on facebook with a picture of you and me. It got over 70 likes and a slew of comments. People love hearing your story, and I've been sharing you with them almost 4 years now. And still, their touched. I'm so proud of you baby, but I would give everything back and more just to see and hold you. It's just not fair!! I love you, Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, This has been a bad week for me Annie. Going through grief for 3-1/2 years was horrible. But now that I'm coming out of grief, I'm starting to realize the magnitude of everything that I've lost, and it's really bringing me down. It's too much Annie. On our own little patch of earth we were living the American Dream, and life was good. Then all of a sudden up pops a cancer that we'd never heard of, and 30 months later you were gone. I still can't believe it. I do all I can to help others and stay busy, but things will never really be okay again. I went and saw Dr. Bryant today, thank God for him. He says it only natural now that I'm looking back and seeing the havoc and destruction the cancer created in my life. Annie I never asked for anything, I just wanted you to live and not have to leave me. Death is so final--I love you to heaven and back--Bobby xoxoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, went to a BBq at Melissa's tonight. Van's brother in moving to Wichita with his family. They were there, and seem to be very nice folks. It was nice seeing Melissa enjoying herself around family. It appears her and her sister-in-law are going to be good company for each other. I hope so. Baby Beaux took to his 8 month old cousin really well. He's only 13 months old now, but he was leaning over the front of the little car she was sitting in and giving her kisses. How Precious. Other than that I have a bunch of stuff happening in the world of your book, "Because of Annie," that I will be sharing with you soon. It's a big deal, so as soon as things are finalized I'll let you know what's happening. Love and miss you Annie, some things never change. Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, Well we had a meteor shower the other night and I thought for sure I would see your star flying across the sky. I drove out into the country at midnight or a dark desolate road, It was kind of spooky. I stood outside the truck for ages watching the sky for a shooting star, and never saw a thing. Were you taking a nap. I was disappointed, but there will be another time. Your new grandson, Baby Beaux, just turned 12 months old and is now walking. He is so chuffed. You would have loved him, he's such a special little child~~and he had to be to help us through our loss. We miss you every day. Melissa had a hard weekend, she lost your wedding ring. Then she said some really strong prayers and found it Sunday. Amazing. I love you kiddo, sweet dreams. Bobby XOXO"
"Hi Sweetie, The last two weeks have been very busy. There's a company in New York City called "The Caregiver Space" that asked me if they could blog the care giving aspects of your story, Because of Annie. I told them that would be a dream come true. The first blog was 7 Aug 14. Within 24 hours your blog had over 325 likes and 61 shares. Now, that's a big deal. Your star just keeps getting brighter. After it runs for a couple of weeks, their going to add another blog, and just continue on as a series of blogs. You're approaching 60,000 visitors on this site, and by the time they finish the blogs of your story, the numbers will be huge, and who know where the blog is going to take you. Incredible visibility for you. Annie you are touching so many people. I love you darling, and will keep you posted. Love and miss you, Bobby."
"Hey Annie, I talked with Bob a couple days ago and he sounded good. I am thinking about visiting him in late September for a week or so. I remember the good times we had when I came to visit with you and Bob after you got sick. What a great visit we had. I am just sorry that it had to be under those circumstances. I am looking forward to meeting your grandson, Beaux. What a beautiful boy he is. Have you had a chance to visit with my mom? I bet the two of you find a lot to talk about. The Lord really blessed you with a wonderful husband who was so devoted to you when you needed him the most. That is what we call true, unconditional love. None of us knew that caring for you was the beginning of his journey to be an advocate for cancer patients and their families all across the country. God Bless you, Annie"
"Hi Sweetie, you were my Annie. I had some nice dreams of and with you this week. It's been three and 1/2 years and I still dream of you. How good is that? As good as it gets. It just solidifies my love for you, and gives me hope for the future. I know you're coming around for a reason, not quite sure what it is, but I love your nightly visits. Going to bed each night with excited anticipation that you might come pay me a visit is wonderful. Thank you Luv, see you in my dreams. I love you, Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, I was just sitting here thinking about you, it's so hard not to relive the events of our last 30 months together. It still takes my breath away at times, and I find it so hard to wrap my head around not being able to see or touch you. People say to me, at least you're alive Bob, am I really. This isn't living, without you it's simply existing. Annie I'm getting tired, all I seem to do is hold onto each day, hoping a change will come. And I'm not sure what that means. Probably nothing without you. I love you Baby, hopefully I'll see you in my dreams. Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, your candle is not shinning as bright as it was a few weeks ago. The administrators of forevermissed wanted to give the home page a new look, and that meant taking you and your buddy that was in the picture next to you down. I even miss him. I was surprised as between the two of you, you were splitting 2,500 visitors every 5 to 7 days. I loved all the interaction I received from folks that viewed your memorial, then contacted me through email. Many contacted me through the link on your memorial to your Facebook cancer page and eventually became Facebook friends. I love making friends. I know a lady that is building a memorial now because of what she saw on your memorial, and a lady that just completed one. Now I'm in a dilemma. I don't know whether to continue growing the page, or just keep loving you through tributes. I'll figure it out over time. You'd be surprised at the amount of people that saw the love in your memorial. We need to be proud though, out of over 34,000 memorials you really have the only true memorial on there. The rest are basically obituaries. And that's why you were so popular. But I am thankful for the time you had on the home page. It really help me by keeping me busy. With over a 1,000 views every 5 to 7 days, I kept it up to date as best I could. I love you my darling, I just hope you don't get lost in the crowd out there. Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, Missing you. It's been almost 44 months since you went away, and I can remember it as if it were yesterday. What the hell happened? How can 39 years of love be wiped out by something so hateful as cancer. I always thought love conquered all, but as I know now, cancer has a will of it's own. It doesn't care about pain, hurting others, or love. It just pushes them aside. I could better understand if you had a cancer caused by a self-inflicted reason, but you didn't. You were the healthy person that seemed to do everything right. So what does that mean? I guess, no one is exempt. We must love, our love, as much and as ofter as we can. Life turns on a dime. Love you baby, Bobby XOXO"
"Hi Sweetie, On 7 June 2014, I attended the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Man and Woman of the year event. We raised 418,000 to fund the fight for blood cancer. You were so close. In the three years since you passed, some new and promising strategies, chemotherapy's, are now on the market. I auctioned off a signed author copy of your book, Because of Annie. It sold for $1,000.00. The auctioneer also held your book up and asked the crowd if they would donate money in your name to blood cancer starting with 100.00 bids. Hands went up everywhere in the room. Before the bidding was over your book raised another $2,100 dollars. All total, $3,100 was given to blood cancer in your honor. I was a total emotional wreck, the generosity brought tears to my eyes. You may be gone, but will never be forgotten. Love you so much. Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, I received an email through your memorial a couple of days ago from a lady that lost the love of her life. She was very emotionally touched by your memorial and story. We couldn't save you Annie, but through your story you will live on as long as I'm on this earth. You are touching and helping so many people. I'm still struggling too. Writing this note takes my breath away in rapid jumps. I have trouble dealing with your loss at times too. Not like it was, but helping others through telling your story keeps me emotionally linked to you, which can be all absorbing at times, but it helps me with my grief. I've now got your playlist of songs that I selected for you playing one after the other~sort of like a short CD. I think the songs are all beautiful, and will hold down the repetition when folks are spending time with you. I love you Annie, and I will not let your death have been in vain. If you and I can save just one person from living the tragic story you were destined to live, you will have made a great contribution to humanity. Having said that, you are already making a great contribution by touching the lives of others. God bless sweetie. Bobby XOXO"
"Hi Sweetie, your story, Because of Annie, has been placed in our local Barnes and Noble at the front of the store under staff recommended books. You took me on a 30 month journey through myltiple myeloma-blood cancer. Since your death I've been taking you on a journey. Your book is incredible, and just another way for me to get your story out there. I want people to know~If you love someone today, try to love them more tomorrow. Life Happens. And it's my way of giving back to the community in your honor. I know you would want that. All proceeds go to cancer and helping others. I love you Annie, and as the song says, Goodbye My Friend. xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, I never mentioned this, but last year during my annual physical, my PSA blood count was elevated. My doctor suggested we wait 2 months and do the test over. So two months later I was retested and the results were worse. My doctor wanted to refer me to a urologist, but I convinced him once again to retest in another two months.Well, this time they were even worse. So this past Feb 15th, I went to see the urologist. After doing an ultrasound of the prostate and other tests he came to the conclusion that he had now ruled everything out but cancer. He said my chances of having cancer were 35%. Well, he wanted to schedule a biopsy, but as I was preparing to leave for my 30 day trip to California, I convinced him to wait until I got back. He schedule me in for an appointment on 7 May. I had my blood drawn on 1 May for the appointment. I got my results back the 6th of May, one day before the appointment, which was yesterday.. The results were completely normal. I could not believe it. Apparently I have a guardian Angel looking out for me. :) When I went to the Urologist, he was rather amazed too. But he said we will now go into the watch mode, and retest in 3 months. I lost you to cancer, and watching you suffer was a very painful nightmare. Don't ever want to feel or see that again. And I really don't want to fight such a wretched disease. But if I ever have too, I just hope I can fight it with the grace and courage that you did. I love you Annie. xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie. I love you Annie. It's been another tough week. I'm still having nightmares, but no matter how many nightmares I have, they can never take away the beautiful memories we made over the 30 months you were fighting cancer. As your caregiver husband we got to hang out 24/7 and never had an argument. We just fell deeper and deeper in love. I saw your pain Annie, and along with seeing you laugh through your pain and tears still haunts me. How did you do that with such grace? You know, the doctors and nurses had great difficulty wrapping their heads around your survival on a daily basis. You defied the odds so many times. Your infectious disease control doctor told me after you got off the ventilator from fighting double pneumonia, swine flu and sepsis, the odds of you surviving that event were incalculable, but you left ICU with a smile on your face two weeks later. After that event was over, I remember him walking up to you and me at your bedside, and telling us he'd just been nominated to be the assistant director of the CDC. That put his thoughts on your survival in perspective. You were a tough cookie Annie and I just hope when my time comes I can display as much grace as you did. Sweep well my love. Bobby xo"
"Hi Sweetie: I read an article today from a lady that was diagnosed with multiple myeloma almost a month after you. She started her chemo the same time as you, and yes you both had the same chemo. She's here to tell her story because she had an early diagnosis. You're not here because your general practitioners didn't understand or ignored the warning signs over the year and a half when you were always unwell. Despite all the unstable blood draws, the anemia, bruising easily, fatigue, they were inclined to believe it was in your head. Annie. I'm so hurt by such a near miss. One trip to the cancer center 6 months earlier would have made all the difference in the world. This day and age nobody should be diagnosed with end stage cancer when all the symptoms are presenting themselves. It's not right. You never had a chance Annie. Yet, it's still happening to many, and with different cancers as well. I'm so sorry baby, I didn't know. All those nights I massaged your painful legs until you went to sleep, that triggered many events to the doctors. The GP's said it was osteoporosis, the osteoporosis doctor said he could see it, but it wasn't bad enough to cause pain. It went on and on. Then you broke four ribs over four months for no apparent reasons. But once again, it was diagnosed as osteoporosis. The cancer center knew at the time that multiple myeloma can be misdiagnosed as Osteoporosis, but you were never sent to the cancer center. Obviously the article I read today triggered many emotions in me, at what might have been if you would have been cared for properly by your GP's. I love and miss you, Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, Been home from my vacation a couple of weeks now. I'm lonely, but okay. Baby Beaux is starting to say a few words now. The main word he says is, believe it or not, Hannah. He says Da-da & Ma-ma too, but Hanna is a big word. She brain washes him. The day after I got back from my trip on the 2nd, I went down to see him. After 30 days I was afraid he wouldn't know me. But he did. When his momma turned the corner with him in her arms he got really shy. Then he reached out to me and gave me a snuggle hug that was just priceless. He had tears in his eyes. That's not bad for a 10 month old. And, we got it all recorded and on facebook. I wish you were here to share in his precious little life. You were such a stabilizing force for all the grand kids~with a love second to none. I love you Annie, Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, you really do have a long reach. A couple of months ago a lady from Rome got in touch with me, needing to share her recent loss of her husband with me. We're now friends, and although she is still struggling, Because of you Annie, I'm able to offer her help and guidance. I could never measure my grief over losing you, but other than ending my life, I can't imagine it could have been any worse. I kept notes in order to track my grief, and ended up with more knowledge on the subject than I could ever have imagined. Now I have the knowledge and understanding to help others, and I do help many. Anyway, in conversation I told her that you had always wanted to visit the Sistine Chapel. Well, guess what. I'm gonna make that trip for you, and my friend is going to be my guide. I've toured London & Amsterdam, now I shall tour Rome. I wish you could go with me. But I suspect in some way you've met her Paul, and the two of you put her in contact with me. Maybe through my eyes you'll be able to see the chapel too. I hope so. My friend found me through this memorial. Love you Annie, Bobby xo"
"Hi Sweetie, as you may or may not know my flight on the 1st had a weather cancel. I was a little bummed out as I was looking forward to getting home, but being of the belief that all things happen for a reason, I was okay with it. I boarded the plane on the 2nd at 1:30 P.M. Pacific time and arrived home 11:30 P.M. Central. When I arrived home from the airport our home looked lovely, and I had an immediate sense of relief, knowing this is where we made so many memories. I can't see you, but I can feel your presence. And as always, the first thing I did when I got in was what you always did. Made a strong pot of coffee. It's been a real treat setting in my favorite chair and sipping from the mug you bought me years ago. Good night my love, gonna get some rest, it's been a long day. Love you Annie. xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, In 8 hours I'll be headed back to Kansas. Can't wait to get back to our old familiar surroundings, and once again lock myself back into my zone of comfort and your love. I've missed wandering around our home, and often staring in amazement at the warm home you created for us. I know, it's only memories now, but there's nothing wrong with that. If one loved and lost, and didn't have memories of the love, what a cruel irony that would be. Getting through grief was very tough, but, on the other side of grief it's not so bad. Grief, although emotionally destructive in nature, can't hold us back forever. And when we come out, at least in my case, I once again see the truest form of beauty old mother earth has to offer. It is indeed beautiful Annie, but so were you. I love you. I'll write more when I get home and settled in. xoxo"
"I was looking at my father in law tribute oliver larison. I came across this wonderful tribute for a mother who passed. I felt compelled to write something for one so wonderful. From reading all the tributes I felt she was so special and an angel. We believe that angels do walk or walked the earth and she surely seems like one. God bless you and I will say a prayer for her and the family. I know I didn't know her or the family but the Lord puts things on our hearts and wants us to be of comfort to others. I am sorry for your loss and I know there are angels that come back to help us and guide us. We may not know it now but they are with us always in our hearts but especially in our souls..... God bless."
"Hi Sweetie, my trip to California is almost over. Dad is still hanging in there, and wants to stay on this earth as long as he can. I had my doubts that he would make it through my 27 day trip, but it appears he will. He has lost over 60 pounds, but as far as I can tell he is showing no signs of illness, other than being 86 years old. As for you my sweet, I've think of you every day and will always have you safely tucked away in my heart. You know what? When I go away for an extended period of time, and return home, I get that excited anticipation of seeing you, just to have the thought shattered by reality. It's not easy without you. Good night my love, Bobby. xoxo"
"i know what your going throug im 12 and loseing my uncle to brain and lung cancer from smokeing"
"Hi Sweetie, I've been in California 12 days now, and it's been okay. I miss you, and always will. When my thoughts drift to you, my body still reacts the same way. I feel the air being sucked out of me, so I shake my head from side to side and try to refocus on the reality that I'm living alone. I have to do that to stay grounded, otherwise I go too deep into the memories of us, it's still very painful...It's just so hard coming to terms with the facts. You're gone forever, and will never be coming back. Hopefully, someday I'll be able to join you. That may just be a dream, but it's my dream. Love you Annie, sweet dreams."
"I miss you Nanny."
"Hi Sweetie, after two stress filled days, two flight cancellations due to the snow, I've finally made it to Northern California. I went over and saw dad last night, it was a heart felt experience as I had thought when I was out here last year that he was on his way out. At 86, he's lost a lot of weight, and talks a bit loopy at times, but that is to be expected. I'm gonna spend as much time with him as I can, and cherish the moments. I love you, and wish you were here. I'll keep you posted on my trip. Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, Heading for Northern California in a couple of days. Going out to see Dad. He's 86 years old now, and apparently lost a considerable amount of weight. I think his Biological Clock has slowed down a bit. I shall also spend as much time on the river as I can, trying to catch the elusive Steelhead. I received a nice email from our daughter Vicky yesterday. She seems to be doing okay. I'm gonna spend more time writing to her as I've neglected her a bit since you've been gone. Annie, losing you really messed me up. I've never known so much heartache. I really didn't have much time for anyone, and you know that's true. I was always thinking about you, and I guess feeling sorry for me. Grief in my case was tough, or should I say insanely bad. Anyway, 3 1/4 years later I'm finally getting my life back in order. Annie, spending time with you in grief was very real, and such a natural progression from your death. And although not buried in grief, I still feel your presence. It's a wonderful feeling. I went to one of your favorite clothing stores a few days ago, and I could see you roaming from the clothes racks to the shoes. Then on to the bedding and about everything else. All I could do was smile. What a blessing you were to me. I'll always love and miss you Annie, but life is getting easier. Even 6 months ago I thought the Sun inside of me was never going to shine again. It's not bright enough for you to see it yet, but you will one day. Sweet dreams my love, I love you, Bobby XO"
"Hi Sweetie, Your story, "Because of Annie" was a hit at the Barnes and Noble book signing 2 days ago. One and one-half hours into the signing I was the guest speaker for the event. There was a lady sitting in the front row, and her tears were flowing as I spoke. She told Melissa after I got through speaking she felt like she was finally home. She had a terrible struggle with breast cancer, but was a survivor. Your story touched her heart. There was also an emotional young lady that had a chat with Melissa. She was listening intently to Melissa talking about her momma, then with much emotion blurted out that she had survived Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (A Bad Blood Cancer). She said in a quivering voice she was told she would never have children, but she had a big tummy, and said the baby was beautiful and healthy. It touched us all. Those two ladies that were the most touched by your story, made the event very special. Although your presence was not apparent, Melissa and I knew you were there with us, and reaching out and touching others. I love you Annie, and thanks for loving me. Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, I forgot to tell you. Yesterday, 14 Feb was our grandson Andrews 22 Birthday. When he went out yesterday it was cold, snow still on the ground. Something very strange happened. He found a lady bug on his finger. That was the best birthday present he ever had, a gift from you. You don't know this, or you may, but when you died on that cold Nov evening, against the odds, we found three or four lady bugs by you, two on your nightstand and one on the plant near you. We also found one in a sympathy card a few days later. Don't usually see them during the cold season. Lady Bugs have a very special meaning, and were truly a gift to this family. I love you, Bobby."
"Hi Sweetie, tomorrow is the big day. Book Signing at Barnes and Noble. "Because of Annie" is your story, and another part of your legacy. The past three years without you has been a long road. I've done everything I can to educate folks on blood cancer through your story, hoping that it might make a difference, and maybe keep someone from having to relive your story. I know you would want that, and I want it too. On the eve of the big event I'm feeling sad, and really missing you. I wish there was no story, and it was just you and me as it was. We lived a good life, you kept us on track with a healthy nutritional life style. I thought, as we were just 3 years away from retirement, we were getting ready to kick back and enjoy life to it's fullest. It was just an illusion. Now I find myself all alone with loneliness in my heart, wondering what's next, and when will I see you again. Still more questions than answers. I love you Annie, watch over me tomorrow with your Angel friends. I love you, Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, "Calling All Angels" On the 15th of Feb I'll be doing my first book signing at Barnes and Noble. The Kansas Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma society will be there in support of your story~Because of Annie. They've read it and believe it has the capability of helping many people, especially caregiver's, dealing with cancer or terminal illnesses in general. So gather up your Angelic friends and send a few visitors my way. I'd love to meet them all. But not just yet, if you know what I mean. :) I love you darling, and will speak to you again before the signing. Bobby xoxoxoxo"
"Bob its a given you will receive your wings, you are already an angel. 30 months of caregiving now your on to caring for someone else, your absolutely remarkable .I am sure Annie is beaming right now watching down on what your doing."
"Hi Sweetie, I was driving home tonight from John's, and found myself having a running conversation with you. During your 30 month battle with cancer, we talked about so many things, and got to say many of the things that we always wanted to say to each other but hadn't. Now your gone, and 3 years later, I'm still coming up with more questions than answers. But, I guess I'll have to wait until we meet again to ask you things that only you know the answer too. I miss you Annie, and wish I could hold and love you. I believe I'll see you one day, and that's what helps me keep going. That's what faith is all about~it gives us comfort during a storm. Good night my darling, Love you, Bobby xoxo"
"Hi Sweetie, I'd like to introduce you to John. He's a 14 year old boy with Autism that I call a throw away child. I spend two to three hours with him 4 times a week after school so his parents can work. He's a good kid, but he's non-verbal so his care is challenging at times. He loves Hot Wheel cars~he has a couple hundred or more. We spend much of our time on the floor crashing them into each other, or just racing them around the room. He has an Ipad, and can communicate his thoughts on that, a bit, don't always know what he's trying to say. But he gets excited when he says, "John go get burger," he likes Burger King. Sometimes, if I have the time, I'll take him. I'm learning from him. No matter what he has to eat, it seems when he's done there is a 3 foot radius around his chair full of food bits. He has poor motor skills, so it's easy to see how that happens. It doesn't bother me, we just clean the mess. But he has taught me, with him I must always expect the unexpected. I love you, Bobby xoxo"
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