Monday, March 21, 2011

The Final Entry

I've been putting this blog entry off - I mean, how exactly does one end a 4-year documentary about a loved one, that had so many followers? Should I be brief and to the point? Should I reiterate everything? CliffsNotes, maybe? This is the end of a big chapter in my life. My memories, good and bad will remain with me obviously, but my journal is at a close. This will now be made into a book for Katie, my little princess warrior.

Katie was only 8-years-old when Tom was diagnosed with cancer. She has been through more in her life already, than most adults my age (I'm 41). She has witnessed a lot of raw, scary, painful times in the lives of us three. She has been there, a rock for Tom and myself. I have found a great deal of strenth through her. Many times she has been the only source of joy in my life - a little star in a big, dark, night sky. She is an amazing child and I'm positive that she will use her emotional strength to make a difference in many more lives. I am so very proud of her.

Tom, as you know had a horrible ending to his life, and I don't care to dwell on that. I do want to express my feelings for him. When we met, we were so carefree and happy. We knew immediately that we were a perfect match. Tom proposed to me six weeks after we met, and we were married seven months later (he was 26, and I was 22). Being so young and having known each other for such a brief time, the odds of a successful marriage were certainly against us. We didn't pay attention to that negative way of thinking, and instead we put ourselves through college, bought our first house, and then in year seven of our marriage we decided it was time to become parents. Katie came along and life continued perfecty over the next several years, in the fast lane of happiness.

Tom was successful in his career - always wanting to return to the office and work alongside his colleagues. He thrived on riding his bicycle and working on his "machine", as he called his computer. He was such an intelligent person (nicknamed the 'human encyclopedia' by my brother), seeming to know a little something about almost everything. He was a good father, always trying to pass on his hobbies and interests to Katie. He was a loving husband - I know he would have done anything for me. In the end, not only did he and I beat the odds of having a long marriage, but this would have been year 20!

Cancer is not only a sickness to the body, but it can spread to other areas of life, namely financial, emotional, and psychological. If I could give anybody a word of advice, should this happen to you and your loved ones, it would be to realize that it's difficult - there will be times when you are: reminescent of the old life and feel cheated, when you don't get along with your loved one, when you get along perfectly, when you worry in the middle of the night, when you worry during the day, when you can't believe how many people reach out to you, yet you still feel all alone. The illness may not get better, but it's out of your control. You can't obsess over "what if". All you can do is remain strong, try not to be angry, cherish the last minutes, grieve, and try to move on in a positive direction.

I love Tom and I miss him so much. I feel his presence. I will keep him alive in my mind and heart, and that of Katie's, as will so many others. There is no other like Tom Carter.

When I started my blog, as you will see in the first entry, Tom suggested I call it "A Voice From Up High", as he said that is how he perceived me - comforting, caring, and looking over him. Who knew that in my last blog entry that I would be reassigning that title to him, for he is now our Voice From Up High.


Mike Smith said...

Thank you for sharing your experience with the 4 year battle - I have felt your pain, your joy and your strength. Tom was a good friend to me and I think of him often while out on the bike - he made a difference and so have you. God Bless - I Ride for Tom Carter RIP 02/12/11.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog Lisa! And don't forget that we'll always be your family and we love you & Kate immensely.
Ted, Elise, Nolan, & Hannah

Greg Dymerski said...

Lisa, your blog is written with the most direct and heartfelt approach I have ever seen. I wish you the best with your daughter, you certainly deserve the best. Thanks you for sharing. Greg from WA (ALL patient)

Steve said...

I'll miss the blog just like I miss Tom. Thanks for letting those of us far away follow along and feel like we were maybe a little closer.

Maybe you'll do another blog at some point?


Daniel said...

Tom was an important figure in my life. One of the few that I could call friend. He laughed at life and had fun with everything he did. From cycling, to music to work, Tom shared his passions with those who would listen, and often with those who would not. ;) Tom was always there for me. As the snow melts out West, I'll be tuning my bikes, and remembering a dear friend. Thank you Lisa for sharing this. This blog has been my main contact with you and your family since my departure. All my love to you and Katie, may the next chapter find you joy and happiness.

TLSumner said...

Thank you so much for the blog and sharing such a tough journey with us. I can't imagine how hard it was to share, yet it probably was cathartic too. Your strength continues to astound me. What a wonderful gift for Katie.