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one year


kimblanchard

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Today is the day.

It can't possibly be a year since I have talked to Becky, held her in my arms, watched her in absolute wonder as she battled this damn disease. It can't possibly be a year since I woke up beside her, had a partner so complete that we really were one flesh. It could not possibly be a year since I saw Becky and Katie together, playing on the floor, building block towers and practicing adding on her abacus. (Now she practices multiplying on the same abacus. Some kindergarden teacher is going to have her hands full in August.)

And yet the calendar doesn't lie. It is March 28, the day God accepted Becky home just a year ago.

Church Easter morning was pretty rough. The minister called the kids to the front. Usually, Katie is completely confident and runs up there, first in line. But yesterday, that was not the case. Sensing my emotions maybe, she was unsure and wanted to stay with me. John (Minister) then said kids could bring their parents up with them if they needed to. So Katie took my hand and we went onto the stairs of the altar together.

John brought out his grieving collage. We had talked about it before. He has a hard time writing, and this is his tribute to the people he has lost in his life. And he told the kids that the best part for him of Easter was that death was not the final word. That the promise of Easter is that he will get to see his mom and his friends again.

Katie then said that her mommy was an angel. John said, I know. And when you are an angel too, you will get to see her again. And so there I sat, not quite sobbing but with tears just streaming down my cheeks in front of a church twice as full as usual. I have never understood Creasters, but that is a discussion for another day.

I have lost so many connections with Becky. We lived in another house in another town. We had two different cars than the one I have today. We were the same age when she died. I am now 32, and she never got to see that, or 2005. She missed Katie's fourth birthday party, and soon enough she will miss her first day of school.

And yet, all I ever have to do is close my eyes and take two deep breaths and I can feel her love pulsing through me. I know Katie continues to experience Becky too in the way she talks about her. Becky remains a living part of her existence. Not the way she wanted, but now the way she can be. Maybe it is even a better seat. I sure hope so.

It has been a year of great growth. I am more nurturing, emotional, expressive, competent than I have ever been. In many ways I have become the man only Becky could see all those years ago when she picked me with so many other men striving for her attention. I have experienced the most profound acceptance that it is possible to receive; Becky spent her last breath fighting for another so that she could stay with me and with Katie. I wish I could have shared this me with her. I loved her about as well as I was capable of then, and that will have to be good enough.

It has been a year of transitions. Some friends have drifted out of my life, and some have come closer. Though not as many as some others have experienced. My career is not as interesting to me as it once was. I am no longer as competitive as I used to be; I can even watch the Spurs lose with relative equanimity, and that surely wasn't the case three years ago. Fortunately, I don't have to do that very often. Soon enough it will be three titles in seven years. And next month, I will travel back to Florida as Becky receives her PhD.

I don't have many plans for this day. I am headed back to church after taking Katie to daycare. My professor and classmates were kind enough to move my only class to Wednesday, and so I don't have any school today. After church, I think I shall lunch at Spaghetti Warehouse, where we had our first date, and our first meal alone as a married couple. And then in the evening a classmate invited me over (ok, I basically invited myself) for dinner and an evening of Adam Sandler movies or something else completely stupid but distracting.

And then I will sleep, and it will be year two. I would never have dreamt that I'd be doing so well as a father and as a student and as a man. I wouldn't have thought I'd have started dating again, let alone have two relationships as meaningful as I have. I wouldn't have dared imagine how spectacular a little girl I have, so confident, full of life, with mischevious eyes and a disarming smile. Lo, can she just skip those teenage years?

Raise a glass with me today, in honor of the greatest love my life has ever known. Cry some, but smile even more. A life was cut tragically short, but it was well-lived, full of meaning and love. In my eulogy, I talked of falling in love with Becky three times; as a lover, as a mother, and as a cancer patient. And this last year I have gotten to love her anew. Not the same for sure, but anew.

The quote in my signature is from an old Harry Chapin song; sadly, there haven't been any new Harry Chapin songs in a long time. It is about a man who is half a song when his partner leaves him. And the lesser half at that. At the start of this journey, I felt like this man. And now I know I am complete. My song will be much better with some harmony, a lithe soprano to counterpoint my baritone. Some drums with my guitar. But my song is complete by itself. For now.

Already one year. May I grow so much in the next year as I have in the last. Though without quite so much pain, if that can be arranged. But I choose meaning over comfort; I choose love over play; I choose tenderness over respect. And if those choices mean more pain for more growth, then bring it on.

To Becky!

Curtis

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Curtis,

I lift my glass with a toast to your soul mate, Becky. She was a wonderful person who has left you with such an aching void in your life.

Through your wonderful writings, you made us feel as if we all knew her personally.

I pray things will get better for you, as Iam sure that is what Becky would want. She knows what a wonderful father you have become. You daughter has been such a joy and has helped filled that void that was left when your Becky left this world.

I pray for strength for you as life continues to go on.

Take care Curtis,

Cheers to Becky, I celebrate her with you.

Maryanne

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Curtis,

I do not know the whole story of you and Becky. But reading the past few posts you have written, I can feel the bond you two must have had. You have a new bond now. You moved me to tears - so much so that I had to reread since I could not see through all the tears. I wish you a day full of comfort and memories and hope. What a man you appear to be. Continue moving forward yet never forgetting. I will toast with you today and pray for you strength for your future.

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If anyone has ever seen the movie "Love Story",

with Ryan O'Neil and Ally McGraw. This would be Curtis and Becky's

love story. Just looking at Becky's smile brings a warmth

to your heart. Curtis, you are a fine young man and father for your

precious Katie. Becky is looking down on you both and is so proud

you.

God Bless, prayers and gentle hugs,

Karen

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Curtis,

You and Becky have been on my mind all day. I'd like to say I can't imagine what you are going through, but unfortunately, my husbands death from lung cancer 5 years ago does let me know exactly how you're doing and what you are going through.

I think Becky would have been so proud of you for sticking with this site and encouraging others as much as you have with all you have on your plate. You are a very exceptional man and your words and thoughts have meant so much to many of us.

You have many friends here Curtis. Don't ever hesitate to call any of us if we can ever be of help.

Lots of love and hugs to you, Becky and your darling Katie!

CathyR

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Curtis

I can't believe that it has been a year already. What I can recall when you posted that Becky had "passed" was reading it and letting go of an audible gasp because I was so shocked by the news.

I raise my glass in a toast to Becky and a toast for you for having coming through this year and learning and growing so much. What a wonderful father you have been to your Katie.

Gail P-M

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Me too. I can't believe it's already been a year since we learned of Becky's passing and "met" you more formally.

Thank you for sharing your words and feelings today with us. Those of us who "knew" her just from here have missed her this past year- I can't imagine what it has been like for you and Katie and your families- Just know that you guys are always in my prayers.

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Dear Curtis,

How very proud Becky is of you!! You have grown so much in so many ways, unfortunantly it has come from losing your life's partner and lover and the Mother of your beautiful Daughter. She knew this man you are... you just didnt. That is what she fell in love with.

Cheers to Becky!

God bless,

Jane

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