Anticipatory Grief

Shared by Bob Harrison on February 21, 2019

We talk about grief on this page, but never mention the Anticipatory Grief that takes place before the death. This post is a quick overview of what I experienced, and I know many of you experienced it too. And perhaps, it will help you understand what you were feeling. Sadly, many people don't understand why they are so sad.

Anticipatory Grief can be dreadful. But it's not the end of the story.

The day Annie was diagnosed, which was the morning her test results came back, I received a call from her Oncologist's nurse,Tracey. She told me Annie had Multiple Myeloma, and maybe 3 or 4 weeks to live if she couldn't take treatment. That afternoon when we saw her Oncologist he took me in a room and said many things to me,including, Bob, your wife will not survive this cancer.

My question to you would be, where do you put that stuff--that information. The answer is simple...It attacks every fiber of your being. You are now in Anticipatory Grief.

Now it's time to leave one room and go back to the room where you wife Annie, is waiting. There-in lies the problem. How in the hell was I supposed to not, look totally broken.

The truth is, I did a good job of stuffing my feelings in a body that just wanted them and the nightmare to go away. But they never leave you. They fight you day and night, even during your rare sleeping hours, until the bitter end, trying to break out and let the world, including Annie know how your are truly feeling.

My goal, knowing she was dying, and not having a clue how she was internalizing being told she had a terminal cancer, was to protect her from any signs of weakness on, my part.

Annie, from the Oncologist's words, was immediately put in a very compromising and vulnerable position. And I knew any weakness on my part, would bring fear to her world that, at the moment was completely out of control.

Well, that's where it started for me, and stayed with me until the end. But, I never let her down. And in case you wonder, this is probably where the term, "I'm okay," comes from. I'd be with Annie and a nurse would say, how you holding up Bob. The answer was always, I'm okay.

If anyone ever tells you that, because you've been in Anticipatory Grief for awhile, your Grief after the loss won't be so bad, their full of crap. Grief takes things to a whole new level as, in my case I, had 2.5 years of Anticipatory Grief piled into the mix. In essence, I was buried in Grief before she died.

A new star in the sky...

Shared by Donna Star on June 26, 2018

Eternal blessings upon you for your loss.  He is a new star in the sky to lighten your darkest hours.  My deepest condolences, donna Star

Shared by Bob Harrison on October 12, 2017

My friend Pattie created this beautiful Butterfly on 9 Oct 2017, in Remembrence of her beloved husband Jack, that passed away a few short years ago. They were so much in love. Pattie is still struggling with her loss, as noted in the beauty, detail, and thought, of her creation. Only a griever could create such a masterpiece. Pattie lost Jack not long after I lost Annie. We found each other while we were wandering in the dark on the internet not long after Jack died. Been good friends ever sinse. She's a neat lady. 

The Writer

Shared by Bob Harrison on June 15, 2016

After Annie passed, I was drowning in my grief and loneliness. So, I decided to teach myself to write. That was 5 1/2 years ago and I'm still writing. I've published over 400,000 words telling her story.  And perhaps another million words, just because, helping me heal. And it is true, I will not stop writing about Annie until my memory fades or I'm no longer here.  Annie will keep touching others through me. 

Because of Annie (Poster)

Shared by Bob Harrison on January 18, 2016

This post is significant in that it's a deptiction of my grief after I lost Annie. Titled,

Because of Annie  XO

Only A Life

Shared by Bob Harrison on January 2, 2016

This is a perspective care card. In other words, to me, suffering the loss of Annie to cancer, watching her unimaginable pain and suffering, messed me up.  And I find my life and satisfaction with life now revolves around helping others.  That's my perspective, and for now at least, spot on. 

Helping Others

Shared by Bob Harrison on January 2, 2016

Since Annie passed 5 years ago I've dedicated my life to helping others.  My experience with care giving for Annie pushed me to places I never wanted to go, and I had to learn to do things I never wanted to do. When she died I was understandably lost and looking for direction.  Ten months after her death I started her memorial on Forevermissed.  Well, it didn't stop there.  I published 2 books detailing her journey with cancer, and just over one year ago became a volunteer blogger, writer, and live chat moderator on spousal care and grief for the Caregiver Space in New York, City. I've been successful beyond my wildest dreams in all ventures.  Why!  Because I believed there were so many hurting and lonely people out there that needed help. Sadly, I was overwhelimgly right. Through Forevermissed, and The Caregiver Space I've had the opportunity to reach out and touch the lives of one person at a time. Easily, through this memorial, my blogs and writing, I've reached over a million people.  I believe life is about love and being loved. And I shall continue on my journey of helping others until my memory fades.

And this memorial will serve as a testamennt to the legacy of a beautiful woman and her loving husband caregiver that tried so hard to survive a wretched cancer, but in the end, we lost the battle, but one day, we will have done our bit to win the war. "Hope" for a better day, is always there. but in times of sorrow not easily seen. It's coming to me, and one day it will come to you too.

The business card was sent to me by the founder of the CaregiverSpace, and it kind of stands alone and speaks for itself. God bless! 

 

The Early Days

Shared by Bob Harrison on March 24, 2015

This picture of Annie and I was taken in the summer of 1971.  It's significant it that it was one of the earliest pictures of Annie and I together.  We were up in the Northern Most Part of England attending a wedding of a friend of mine. It was a blast.  At the time I was in the USAF stationed at RAF Lakenheath. 

We Lived, We Laughed, & We Loved

Shared by Bob Harrison on March 24, 2015

Taken at Disneyland In 1980. 

Still My Guardian Angel

Shared by Bob Harrison on August 14, 2014

It's been 3 1/2 years since she went away. And not a day goes by that I don't spend some time with her. I loved Annie through 39 years of marriage, and I will continue to love her forever. Until we meet again!!   Bobby   XOXO

Simply Beautiful

Shared by Bob Harrison on July 29, 2014

This lovely poster just about says it all. I love it!  Gives me chills.!

Letter from Annie

Shared by Bob Harrison on June 10, 2014

On 7 June 2014 I was asked to be a guest speaker for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Man and Woman of the year Gala. When I got up on the stage I was holding an 8x10 picture of her, this letter, and her story (Because of Annie.) I had donated three items of Annie's to be auctioned off for chairity.  This was no easy task as Annie's stuff was going to be the last items sold, and I was going to speak to the crowd before they were auctioned.  The event was held in the Marriott Grand Ball Room.  There was 60 round tables with 9 chairs and place setting. Every chair was filled, 540 folks, and each person paid 125.00 a plate for dinner.  When I hit the big stage the crowd was very rowdy from 3 hours of drinking, eating, and bidding in the live auction. When I walked up on the stage I held her picture up which I titled, "Do I Look Like I'm Dying."  It was taken two month to the day that she got her 3 week prognosis. I told them that fact, followed by a couple of beautiful stories. That got their attention. Then I simply read them this letter, from her to them.  Tears were flowing all over the room. After that I held up her book and told them what it was about.  When I handed the letter and book to the auctioneer to sale, he did a clever thing.  As this was now an emotionally charged crowd, he simply held the book up and asked the audience to donate to blood cancer in honor of Annie at 100.00 dollar increments. $2,100 was donated.  Then he sold Because of Annie for $1,000 dollars. So Because of Annie, $3,100 was raised for cancer. This was an amazing night and I was truely an emotional wreck.

Summer 1978~RAF Chickands, England

Shared by Bob Harrison on June 2, 2014

Annie and Bob, summer of 78. This same picture is located further down in the pictures with a story attached. We were having a little kiss in that picture.

Touching Others, One Person At A Time

Shared by Bob Harrison on May 31, 2014

30 May 2014:  This group, plus many more of us walked two miles in a parade through the streets of Wichita, Kansas tonight in the kickoff event to the 2014 Wichita River Festival. This is essentially a 10 day party in the city, sponsored by the city for the community. The parade was also about 2 miles long, full of floats and interesting characters. We had a good night.  Relentless For A Cure. Note:  The young lady on the right side of the picture facing you, is almost 12 years old, and recently went into remission from Childhood Leukemia. The gentleman in the background, blue T-Shirt, appears to be in remission now too from a blood cancer. The guy next to him is me. 

Barnes & Noble Staff Recommendation

Shared by Bob Harrison on May 18, 2014

Two days ago Because of Annie was moved to the Staff Recommended book shelve in our local Barnes and Noble store. In this picture, it's in the third row down, center book. I've worked hard at getting Annie's story out through Forevermissed and many other means to include this book~Her 30 month journey through blood cancer. There is probably thousands of books on cancer, and according to the literary world all sound the same.  Annie's is different, in that its focus is on helping others through our experience. Probably one of the most educational, and emotionally charged books on cancer there is. It's primary focus is on being a caregiver for a terminally ill patient.  It speaks to two people that fought until the end, finding the deepest love known-The Perfect Love, through often raging and unforgiving storms, which set the stage for one traumatic event after another. Annie's prognosis was literally, "Why is she still alive."  That question has been answered in her story. All proceeds go to cancer and helping others.

 

Shared by Arinze Okafor on March 20, 2014

we will miss you forever

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Shared by Bob Harrison on February 22, 2014

For the book signing the Kansas Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society sent a representative over in support of, Because of Annie.  Two of the members read the book, and felt it was very educational, and based on the story, provided a very useful roadmap for caregivers. Always remember, cancer or being a caregiver does not come with instructions.  Because of Annie will most cetainly help you, as it has many others. I think it will help you with your grief too.  As that was an ongoing process for both Annie and me throughout the story.  At prognosis Annie got a death sentence from her multiple myeloma, with no ecpectations of survival.  I wish you well.  

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society are the biggest volunteer health care organization in the world.  If you have or get a blood cancer they can be contacted at www.LLs.org  They are on the cutting edge of research and development of new blood cancer drugs, and will answer all your questions, and hopefully be a breath of fresh air to you. The literature and guidance they put out on Annie's blood cancer, multiple myeloma, help Annie and me tremendously.  You're not alone. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Because of Annie"

Shared by Bob Harrison on February 22, 2014

See related story in the~About" section.  Her daughter purchased the hat for her before she lost all her beautiful hair.  There is a picture in the book of her wearing the hat. 

"Because of Annie"

Shared by Bob Harrison on February 22, 2014

See related story under the~About~ section. 

Annie & Light The Night Walk

Shared by Bob Harrison on February 10, 2014

This picture of Annie was taken on 20 Sept 2008.  We were at "Light The Night Walk,"  one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  This night was a special night to the family, as her prognosis on June 19th, was three weeks. She'd suffered two broken legs, broken right hip, and a collapsed spine, but, although she was wheel chair bound she was still here for us to love. Annie shocked the medical personnel; hence, she became their little miracle girl. Ours too! 

Do I Look Like I'm Dying

Shared by Bob Harrison on February 4, 2014

This picture was taken 2 months to the day that Annie received her 3 week prognosios. And 3 weeks later she was dying.  This memorial, when pieced together tells her story.  Such a tragic ending to a beautiful lady.  In this photo she was on her way back from Catalina Island with her sister Lesley.  :(

 

Annie's Surprise Birthday Barty

Shared by Bob Harrison on January 14, 2014

This is a picture of Annie sitting at the surprise birthday party table, located in the waiting area at the hospital.  What a wonderful night that was.  She was fighting low blood counts and pneumonia at the time.  But, in her truest form, she arose for the occasion. 

Annie's Hospital Bed

Shared by Bob Harrison on January 14, 2014

Three weeks after Annie's diagnosis, her two femurs broke, her right hip broke, and her spine collapsed along with 4 broken ribs. All from the cancer.  After a lengthy stay in the hospital, I brought her home. Our bedroom was upstairs, so I had a hospital bed delivered to our living room. My daughter wanted her momma to have a beautiful bed, so she went out and bought her some colorful linen.  Over time when Annie was well enough she started making tie fleece blankets.  She gave most of them to the children and the adults with cancer. She also made them for family and friends. The Hot Air balloon blanket was one of her favorites, so she used it. The other one she liked, I sleep under every night and have done since she passed.

Surprise Birthday Party

Shared by Bob Harrison on December 19, 2013

If you click on this picture and make it larger, look at her eyes.  She was told she was making her way down to a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, in the hospital lobby.  Her eyes are showing great anticipation of what's around the corner. Around that corner was a bunch of people waiting to wish her a happy birthday.  It was a "Hallmark" moment and is captured in a video under the gallery files.

 

"Because of Annie"

Shared by Bob Harrison on December 19, 2013

This picture was taken the day of her surprise birthday party while she was in the hospital~fighting pneumonia.  She wasn't feeling well as her blood count was low, but fortunately her pneumonia was in retreat. Annie fought an epic battle with cancer, and although she lost her fight, she never gave in to the wretched disease, and she passed on her terms, not the cancer's.

The Empty Hospital Bed~Beautiful Story

Shared by Bob Harrison on November 30, 2013

This picture was taken in our living room Dec 2010.  Just over a month post Annie's death.  Annie bones started breaking badly, three weeks after her diagnosis. This bed became the place where she rested and slept.  She also lost her battle with cancer 30 months later in her bed. At night I'd pull the couch over near her bed and sleep beside her. There's a beautiful story behind the bed.  Nine months after Annie passed, it was still sitting where it is in the photo and the room still had the x-mas decorations up. In my mind I was going to keep it that way forever.  Then on a warm July day, my daughter called me from the clinic where she worked. She told me about a young boy that had been in a terrible motorcycle accident, suffering many broken bones.  She gently asked me If I was willing to let the child have moms bed-his family's insurance would not cover a hospital bed.  I was very reluctant at first, then decided to think about what Annie would want me to do.  So, without hesitation I let go of something that was very important to my healing.  And I think that is what Christmas is all about.  Helping those less fortunate then some of us are. No, it wasn't Christmas when I gave the bed to the child, but for him and his family, it must have seemed like Christmas.  They were of little means and could never have afforded a hospital bed. Annie was a lovely lady, with so much love for others.  And I'm sure that child could feel her love while resting. 

Happy Holiday Greetings From Annie

Shared by Bob Harrison on November 25, 2013

Annie was not one to offend others, or question their beliefs. So Annie and I shall wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, in what ever term you choose to use.

New Jeep/Cute Story

Shared by Bob Harrison on November 22, 2013

Several years ago Annie decided to take a 3 week vacation and go visit her family in England.  Over our many years of marriage at the time, I'd never made a decision to make a large purchase without talking it over with her. I decided to man up and go out and buy myself a new jeep, which I did.  As the days got closer and closer to her coming home, I came down off my big white horse and derived a plan.  It was quite simple really, tell her I bought it for her, and I'd keep driving "Big Red" my old Chevrolet pickup.  Wasn't quite that simple, but in the end, she loved it.  Annie was clever though, as we both got wages from our small business, I was not allowed to pay for it with the bill paying money, I had to use my money.  Lesson learned; never buy your wife a new vehicle and expect her to share the cost. "Ain't going to happen." Annie getting ready to drive my new jeep. :)

I Remember You

Shared by Bob Harrison on November 12, 2013

I lost my "Annie" of 39 years just over three years ago this month. There's not a day that goes by, where I don't stop and take the time out to pay hommage to her.  And yes, I remember the good times we shared together.  Caner is a terrible disease, but I'm finding out over time that the good memories overcome the bad. I can't change what happened, and certainly can't bring her back, but what I can do is not dwell on the trauma, and focus on the good things that happened during her 30 month journey theough cancer. As difficult as Annie's disease was, we still found the time to love. Remember, if you love someone today, try to love them more tomorrow. Life Happens.  

 

"Because of Annie"

Shared by Bob Harrison on October 31, 2013

This picture was taken in Oct 2010, not long before Annie passed. And for the second time in 9 months, through our faith we fought off hospice once again. It was a difficult decision to make, but as one can see, it was the right decision.  I truly did get to love her, "one more time."

"Because of Annie"

Shared by Bob Harrison on October 31, 2013

This picture is of Annie, Melissa and I.  Taken the last couple weeks of her life at the infusion center.  Annie was getting blood and platelets that day. Even though by this time, we knew all hope was gone, She was getting 1 or 2 units of platelets each day and sometimes a unit of blood.  We were all sorrowfully and in our own way coming to terms with death.  For Annie, it was going to be an opportunity to see what's really out there after death.  Was there really "Life after Death?"  Annie became spitirual during her 30 month journey with cancer, and if anybody makes it to that place called heaven, I'm sure she did.  As for Me and Melissa, we'll just have to wait and see.  I would love to see her again in any spititual form that presents itself. 

Letter From Heaven

Shared by Bob Harrison on October 15, 2013

When we lose a loved one our world seems to spiral out of control. And in most cases we have more questions than answers.  I don't know, but the thought that there is some merit to this letter, gives me a warm feeling, and a stronge sense of missing Annie. Which is very healthy and so natural.

Bob (Me) & Melissa

Shared by Bob Harrison on October 5, 2013

This picture was taken a couple months after Annie died.  Melissa was as solid as a rock through her moms cancer and was my wing-man.  She helped me care for Annie when she could, even thought she had four children and a full time job.  After Annie passed away, and as most people predicted I fell apart; she started taking care of me.  She helped me through my grief by inspiring and encouraging me through her words and actions.  After I started getting better, which was well over a year later, I got to help her with her grief.  I didn't realize it at the time, but she was so busy helping and caring for me, she had to keep her grief locked up inside.  That's not a good thing.  In a sense I failed her as a father, but there wasn't much I could do, as Annie's death bottled me up, and trumped any outside emotions, blinding me to what was going on around me.  :(

 

Mother & Daughter

Shared by Bob Harrison on October 5, 2013

This picture was taken Dec 11, 2008 while Annie was in the hospital.  Sitting with her is our oldest daughter Victoria, who drove in from Colorado with her husband Gene for Annie's surprise birthday party on Dec 12th. 

Annie & Andrew

Shared by Bob Harrison on August 27, 2013

This picture~Taken June 2010~ is a small miracle.  On Feb 11th, 2010, Annie was on her 49th day in the hospital.  On that day the doctors were demanding that I put her on hospice.  I chose Life; and took her home.  Against all odds she survived, and made it to the Wichita Arena for Andrew's highschool graduation.  When we arrived at the arena, Annie, as she had been for the past 22 months was in her wheelchair.  The folks at the arena, showed great kindness to Annie that day and placed up high in the VIP seats.  She had a great view of the graduation, and when Andrew came out on the stage, she was standing, yelling, and waving her little toothpick arms all over the place.  It was truely a glorous day. 

The Walk

Shared by Bob Harrison on August 4, 2013

Additions in this picture is Annie's friend Kathy, in the burgandy sweater, and friends  Kim and Allen. 

Love from the Grandkids

Shared by Bob Harrison on August 4, 2013

This clip;  Annie was getting hugs from three of her grandkids.  Hannah, the blond, London the little one, and then there was Andrew.  They are brothers and sister, from my daughter Melissa.  The lady in the burgandy coat was Annie's dear friend and spiritual advisor.  The gentleman near Belvely was Pastor Rusty, a friend of my daughter Melissa. Walking in front of the camera just befor the tape ended was Melissa, holding Grace, our little gramddaughter. I'm standing to her right near the end of the video.  She was my only true love.

 

 

Surprise Birthday Party

Shared by Bob Harrison on August 4, 2013

To read the story behind these 3 videos~~The Surprise Birthday Party~~click on the "About" section of Annie's memorial.  It details the emotional attachment behind these videos, and what they mean to me, and to all of Annie's family. In this video is me, walking backwards, Melissa in the white sweatshirt, Annie :), Victoria my daughter, and Beverly.  Audio and camera was Gene, Victoria's husband.

True Love~~Annie and Bobby

Shared by Bob Harrison on August 4, 2013

This picture speaks a thousand words. It was taken on the evening of Annie's surpirse birthday party, 12th Dec 2008, while in the hospital. I've made this picture my background immage as it simply radiates love.  She looked so beautiful that night; even though her (HGB) red blood cell count was low, and she was suffering from anemia.  It was a good night for all, and Annie was overwhelmed with love she received. We felt her love too. NOTE:  I used the name Bobby instead of Bob. Reason; when Annie spoke to me she usually addressed me as Bob.  But, during the tender moments and times of our life, I was always Bobby,    

Our Iraqi Vet Granddaughter

Shared by Bob Harrison on July 23, 2013

Meet Brittany; She is our oldest granddaughter.  Brittany is what one would call a real patriot.  As a young teenager she decorated the walls of her bedroom with the American Flag. Which, as she got older led her to the US Army.  While in the Army she served a 15 months tour at Al asad AFB, in the western Province of Iraq. While there, she drove a big rig in convoys taking supplies to the troops at varous locations in Iraq.  I think the whole time she was there her nanny, Annie, was always on pins and needles, fearful of the letter, or the knock on our door that might come. It's just a natural thought from a loving Nanny.  After leaving the Army, she used the GI bill to get her education.  She'll get her Bachelors degree later this year.  She currently works for the VA, with patient benefits. 

Annie~one year old post stem~cell transplant

Shared by Bob Harrison on July 19, 2013

When Annie was fighting cancer, in order to give her more time she had a stem-cell transplant. According to the scientists, as your cancer cells and all your good cells are killed off, when the new cells start to engraft, as the cells are all new, that's technically the first day of your new life.  One year post stem~cell transplant is your 1st Birthday.  Even though Annie was technically 59 years old.  This is the card and a couple of plants  she received on that day.  It was a lovely day, and at the time she was still cancer free.  :)

 

Beaux Jase McMullen Born 29 May 2013

Shared by Bob Harrison on June 2, 2013

On 6 May 2013, I wrote a an entry "story" on Annie's home page, about the "Circle of Life" and what this child means to my family. It's a good from the heart article, check it out. I loved this child before I met him, and now I love him more each day. After losing Annie, little Beau's Nanny, I was so lost.  This child is a real blessing, and fun.  Even though he can't do a darn thing but open his eyes, feed, and have bowel movements, he's gorgeous.  In this photo his little hand seems to indicate he's saying "Hello World." I wouldn't be surprised. By the way, he has lovely black hair, with pretty blue eyes.  And he has some of Annie's features.  How great is that! At least I like to think that he does.

Meet Melissa~

Shared by Bob Harrison on May 6, 2013

Today is 6 May 2013, and it's Annie's daughter Melissa's 40th Birthday.  This picture is 8 months old. It's another bitter sweet day for us, but we're getting ready to complete the "Circle" of life.  You see, Melissa is pregnant and due to deliver a beautiful, healthy bay boy on June 13th.  High risk pregnancy, so doc wants to induce labor.  She will be at term. Then and only then will the "Circle of Life" be complete.  First baby born "Post Annie's Death."  It's going to be a tough day for all, but we see a significance in this birth.  It will be gifted to Melissa and this family as a sign that there is indeed life after death.  And through this memorial, when the child is old enough and wants to know about his "Nanny" he can read all about her. Yes, it's a tragic story in places, but so full of love and compassion. He'll know his Nanny and what she was about and stood for~Melissa looked so much like her momma when she was young she was called "Little Annie."   :)

 

Cancer Does Not Discriminate

Shared by Bob Harrison on April 10, 2013

Cancer is not prejudice, it does not discriminate, nor does it care~the color of your skin.  In this picture, Little Mykel is setting on Annie's lap at the Fall of 2008 Light the Night Walk, sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Annie's blood cancer, multiple myeloma, was unforgiving, relentless, and eventually took her life.  Little Mykel's Myelodysplastic Syndrome or Preleukemia, was also unforgiving, relentless, and eventually took her life too.  The doctors will say, "The cancer didn't actually take their precious lives, it was due to the effects of their cancer."  Well that may be true, but to those left behind, who have just experienced the world of cancer through the eyes and sorrow of their loved one, there will always be more questions than answers. For those of us left behind, we eventually get our emotions in check, and in my case, I look to the sky for that fleeting shooting star, and wonder, is that my "Angel." Living in a world without pain and suffering; watching over me.  When I look around at this beautiful world we live in, and think of it's creation, death simply can't be the end~maybe it's just a stepping stone to a new and wonderful adventure. Annie passed on Nov 2nd, 2010, Littly Mykel passed 22nd Aug, 2009.  Annie was 60, Little Mykel was just 4 1/2 years old.

Honesty, Cancer & Wisdom

Shared by Bob Harrison on April 3, 2013

Annie was one of those cancer patients, when sometimes to much information was not enough.  She had a wish; I was to always be truthful when speaking of her cancer and not give her false hope if it was not there. I had to learn to navigate through those awkward questions.  Many times after a major event, she would look up at me from her hospital bed and ask me, "Am I going to be okay."  In anticipation of the question, I tried to stay one step ahead of her. I would make sure I had the latest and most up to date information on her condition, from her oncologists thoughts. I could then answer that up-coming question by saying, "Annie, I think you are going to be just fine."  She could then relax, and the fear and anxiety would slowly move from her eyes. She trusted me; I had made her a promise to always be honest. It happened many times. Wisdom on Honesty:  When a person is in a coma, we tend to be vocal, and cry with our tears. Our assumption is that they probably can't hear us. Annie's oncologist, Dr. Moore Sr. taught me to be honest with Annie,  He said, "I believe the loved one can hear more than we tend to believe." Here's a classic example. Annie was in a coma, no hope for survival.  This went on for 26 hours. During the first 6 hours or so, the family would be sitting around the bed crying, non-vocally.  One of us would break the ice by telling Annie a funny story of things that she'd done during her journey with cancer.  We'd all start laughing; on five different occasions, Annie raised her head up off the pillow, saying words we could not understand.  But we got a beautiful message; her voice was of laughter, and the smile on her face was one of happiness. What was she telling us on those five occsasion. Maybe to celebrate her life with laughter, and don't let her die in our sorrow.  It's complex in that there is no real answer. But I believe, our loved one would not want us to sit around their bed crying.  She'd rather die in the comfort of our hapiness.  Isn't that what love is all about. 

Children of Cancer~Blankets

Shared by Bob Harrison on March 27, 2013

Annie's empathy and love for others was very special.  When Annie was having a few good hours she would work on blankets and donate them to the children of cancer. In this picture she was at Victory in the Valley (Non-profit Cancer Charity) with a few of the blankets she made for the children. The blanket she is displaying, has the words, live, laugh, love, hugs, and under her right hand the word dream. It contained all the words a young child needed to give them a warm heart. If they were too young to understand she took care of their needs too.  She would give them a very colorful blanket with some sort of heart warming child scene. Annie didn't forget the adults either.  She made all sorts and sizes, from 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 feet.  She said she didn't want to leave the big people out.  She made about 60 blankets over a period of time, during the calm before the storm. She always loved giving, and never expected anything in return. Her positive outlook on life, even though she knew she was going to die from her cancer, never changed.

Annie (Antique Dealer)

Shared by Bob Harrison on March 25, 2013

Annie and I shared a love and passion for Antiques. I believe every marriage needs an entity other than love, that helps bind the marriage when things aren't always good. In this picture she had recently gone to England and purchased boxes of small Antiques, and shipped them home.  She was going through her boxes and showing me all her little treasures.  She was a master at her craft, and well know in the local community and industry, as being very clever, with a keen eye for sorting through the junk and finding the treasures. I really loved being a part of her life, there was never a dull moment. If we drove out of town to visit family or friends, she always had to stop in and check out any shop that might just contain that special little jewel. What fun we had!  Now I am blessed with many beautiful memories. Keep smiling Annie! :)

"You Are Not Alone"

Shared by Bob Harrison on March 19, 2013

One of the biggest challenges I faced after Annie passed, was that deep gut felt pain with the feeling I was so alone. It will seem that way for awhile. Your loss is so great that nothing seems to matter. Well, I am that person.  I went through all the emotions, being blindsided many times, as there were no instructions, and a lot of grief traps to fall into. I was very sick, and I knew it. I was unable to pull myself out of that deep, dark, bottomless pit, called Grief. It doesn't have to be that way. Yes, it will be difficult for quite some time, it took me two years.  There are so many others out there in your situation~alone and lost. I'm sure there is grief support groups in your area. Seek them out, "tell your story of your loved one." Hold your chin up and head high.  Be proud, and share! And then there is me. I'm always available via email  through Annie's memorial.  I will always respond. I certainly know and understand what it takes to survive. Writing this memorial was a major grief buster for me. I shared Annie with the world.  I'm here for you if you need me. I will do all that I can to include helping you find a support group in your area. Note:  When Annie died I thought it was the end of my story.  Two years later I'm still writing.  Although it may seem like it is, "this is not the end of your story." Anything other than an eventual positive outcome is not an option. "Stay strong."

Angels Among US~Pict: Fall of 2009

Shared by Bob Harrison on March 19, 2013

The lady on your left facing you is Beverly. On the right is "My Annie." Beverly, a stranger,  came into Annie's life at approximately 10:10 PM, Aug 15, 2008. Annie had just been admitted to the cancer ward in a coma. Her condition was critical, with no expectations of her surviving the night.  After a powerful prayer from Beverly, Annie came back to us the next day. Annie was an atheist, but after coming out of the darkness, she had a story to tell.  She said she could feel herself being pulled back by a voice saying a prayer. She spoke of the darkness, and said she never wanted to go back there again.  She never did.  Beverly was what I call an earthly Angel.  A very spiritually powerful lady that loves to laugh. For the next 28 months this sort of event, although more difficult, was replicated several times, and Beverly was always navigating Annie to the light and away from the darkness.  What I saw over the 28 month period, all the miracles, or what some would call coincidences, was awe inspiring.  Annie survived the unsurvivable a few times. Annie never took pity on herself, she did become a Christian, and died with a smile on her face and love in heart.  As I see it, I now have two angels watching over me. Note: What makes this story unique~Annie's body was ravaged by cancer when she was diagnosed, with a life expectancy of 3 weeks. In this post she had survived 7 weeks. Her 30 month journey was about miracles or coincidences. You'd have to be the judge of that. Medical science had no explanation for why she survived so long. The scientists were following her case~

Annie, having way too much fun!

Shared by Bob Harrison on March 9, 2013

This was taken in Orford, England, in the late 1990's.  Annie was sitting on a cannon used to repel the Roman invasion, many centuries ago.  The picture shows a part of the Orford Castle, still intact today. Annie had a beautiful spontaneous laugh, and despite her battle with a raging cancer, she had it until the end.  I'm so thankful and blessed to have shared so much of my life with her. She was very easy to love, and lived her life with a burning passion in all that she did. I was a very fortunate man, and will do all I can to share her story and life with others.

Share a Story

 
Illustrate your story with a picture, music or video (optional):