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Happy Life Day



The ides of March for me have been bad.


March 8 seems a diabolical anniversary. On this date, in 1973, I got engaged to someone I thought was a wonderful, God-fearing man. I soon learned he was domineering, tyrannical, and abusive but I thought I had to stay with him anyway because the church said I had to and my minister said it was God's will that I do. God hates a divorcing, they told me. So I resolved to make it work.


Within 6 years, on March 8, I had cancer surgery for the first time. Five years to the DAY, on March 8, 1984, I had cancer surgery for the second time.


When I woke up in my hospital room, there was sitting there a lady from my mother's church who had been a nurse. She was crying and she came over and took my hand and asked me how I was. In a few minutes, I learned why she was crying--my husband had come and told her some news he was soon to share with me. She was still holding my hand when he came into the room to see me. He looked grim. I figured the cancer was so bad I was dying. I steeled myself.


"I can't do this again, " he said. "I'm getting a divorce. I'm not going through this cancer crap anymore." and he walked out. I never saw him again until August, in divorce court. Even then, he never would look me in the eye.


The lady from my mom's church stayed with me for hours and I think she was more upset than I was. She sent others from her church over. My parents were by then moved out of state, but mom had sent all of her friends to see me and help me.


I was a college student. I was almost done with an Associate's degree. I was an intern at the local newspaper. But now I was going to have to add divorce and chemo to my schedule.


Somehow, I did it. I finished first in my class at the community college, was named graduation speaker, and won a scholarship to Boston University. I didn't take any incompletes.


But it was hard. It was harder than I thought to break up a marriage that wasn't all that wonderful to begin with. It was hard to be sick and to be alone. It was hard just to learn to rely on God and forge ahead. I was scared. I was lonely. I was, before this, afraid to call up and order a pizza. I had stayed at home most of the time because I had been poor and had no car. I sold stained glass things at flea markets to pay for my community college tuition. The only full-time jobs I'd had were working for my ex's relatives. At one job, I learned how to be a florist and worked in a greenhouse.


So, with two years of college left and chemo to get through, I went to my newspaper editor and begged him to hire me full time and let me work around my college commute to Boston for classes. He readily agreed when I suggested he make it a trial basis, because he hesitated at first. In two months, he said he was glad he'd done it and I even got a raise and my own column which became popular enough for me to get hate mail and weird love letters asking me out on dates.


The whole experience cured my shyness. I figured that if I didn't speak up then, I could die and nobody would have known I was here. So now I say what I mean and I mean what I say and apologize later if I got it wrong.


I thought of all this today as it is now 25 years that I am cancer free. I often wonder how this could come about when one doctor had given me three months to live. It's been an interesting "three months." I've worked some big and small newspapers, fell in love with a man who turned out to be even more wonderful than I hoped, and became an adoptive mom to a pretty great kid.


But somehow, on this date, I feel a little sad--or I used to. My family changed it for me greatly. On this date, they bring me flowers, they call it "Mom's Life Day" and they take me to dinner and tell me they are glad I'm alive.


On this day, 25 years later, we are headed to Brown University in RI for a weight throw competition for Katy--and we are going all be together enjoying the whole day. So on this date, which has been the anniversary for a lot of pain, I'm feeling pretty blessed.


For the last decade or so, the pain has been erased and replaced with memories of good times. So I'm off now to make a new one, and bury that old horror just a little bit more.


Happy Life Day!


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Bravo! I'm believe in LIVING life, to the fullest and having as much joy as you can in the process. Also, I'm really big on turning the 'bad' memories into GOOD ones...may we always live our lives so the good outnumbers the bad. :)

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I love you more than I can ever say Judy and I am so happy that you have a LIFE DAY! I am happy to call you my Sister, and tell my children about their "Aunt Judy". One day we will meet again, and maybe when we are really old, we can live in the same nursing home and see each other instead of just talk to each other almost every day! LOL


Hugs, and may there be another 40 life days ahead!

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