Katie Strumpf
"Helping kids with cancer.......a cancer survivor's story"  

Her story

The one I’d eat sushi and watch The Office with.

I read these words and froze, as I could have written them myself.

But the writer was not me.

Yet, it was no accident that I stumbled across this article, "Shimmy" while absently leafing through Skirt! magazine during lunch.

The writer told the story of David, whom she had loved and lost to a brain tumor.

I felt deeply and significantly changed. I was 30 years old, and one of the most important people in my life had just died in my arms. I knew that my world was different.

I read the article eagerly, hungrily, sad for her, but comforted by her words, her understanding.

Reading her article made me feel less alone.

Being a young widow can be very isolating, even when surrounded by those who love you, and want to help. Because the one you love the most is gone. Your entire world has changed, and there is not a damn thing you can do.

It can be enough to make you scream. Which sometimes I do.

Nadine explained that David was her ex-boyfriend at the time of his death. But, he was so much more than that.

For all intents and purposes, David was my ex-boyfriend when he got sick, but that is not the term that I would have picked to describe what we were to each other. He was still the man I loved. He was still my best friend.

She explained that she was saying "yes!" to life, yes to things she hadn't done before. "Yes" for one whole year. She belly-danced, did a polar bear plunge, started a blog, picked strawberries, helped a neighbor.

She lived.

While I didn't take a "yes" vow for a year, I have said a lot of yes in recent months.

Yes, I will rent out my condo.

Yes, I will take off my wedding band.

Yes, I will move to Charleston.

Yes, I will wear lime green polish on my toes.

Yes, I will call Adam's grandma on Fridays like he used to.

Yes, I will work in nonprofit again.

Yes, I will go on a date.

Yes, I will perfect banana pudding.

Yes, I will love and honor Adam for the rest of my life.

I liked that Nadine wrote about her love for David, even if he was her "ex-boyfriend".

I’m not writing the story of David’s illness or of my grief, but it’s impossible to separate my life right now from what happened to David.

I can relate to that, it is impossible to separate my life right now from what happened to Adam, because it is a part of me.

I recently encountered someone who told me he didn't think I was "over" Adam, and he thought it was weird that I still have pictures of him.

It really hurt my feelings.

I told him I wasn't trying to get over Adam, we didn't split up, I never stopped loving him, he just died.

I intend to have a picture of Adam years from now, and I know there is someone out there who will accept and embrace this chapter of my life. I get that it is unique, I get that it is tough, I get that it isn't neat and tidy. 

But it is a part of me, for better or worse.

But it doesn't mean I can't shimmy...


Posted by Katie Strumpf at 9:57 AM on June 9, 2011 | Comments (0)


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