Have you met my wife, Sharon?
She's still alive.
I know what you're thinking -- duh.
A year ago today, I took her life for granted. But, a year ago tomorrow, everything changed. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the first visit to the hospital. The day we found out it wasn't just fatigue and it wasn't an ulcer. It was the day the first doctor said cancer.
We hadn't heard of a rare form of stomach cancer called a GIST (Gastro Intestinal Stromal Tumor), nor had we seen specialists and cried and prayed and asked the same question over and over and over again: why?
I thought, looking back, a year out, all I would see would be blackness. But things turned out a little differently. Sharon came through the cancer. She is cancer free. And that event kicked off a remarkable year for us. In many ways, 2009 was a very rough year for many families, including ours. But this kick in the teeth changed us, and perhaps it strengthened us for challenges that would come later. For all the struggle, our marriage is better than it has ever been -- and it's always been a good one.
I thank God every day that my wife is still by my side. Sharon is my muse, my best friend, my most honest critic, my sounding board, my greatest cheerleader, my strength, my companion and partner, my whole world. The thought of watching her slip away was more than I could handle, and I guess God knew that. Words are cheap, but if I could have taken the burden from her shoulders, I would have, and it would have been purely selfish -- it would have been easier for me. God gave me a second chance to love her better, to appreciate her more, and to show her that her life means more to me than my own.
I'm not a perfect husband. I don't say these things as often as I should, but Sharon, I think them constantly.
I love you.