This week last year…

MG_9757.jpgIMG_1632We didn’t know it, but this time last year, Scott was living out the last days of his Earthly life.  It wasn’t beautiful or poetic.  I wish I could say we spent hours together, constantly saying “I love you” and reflecting upon the amazing life we shared.  In reality, there was nothing beautiful or poetic about this week.  Movies have death, mourning, and grieving completely wrong.  On this side of Heaven, death is not beautiful, sweet, or perfect.  The timing is never right, and life does not go on as effortlessly as the actors portray on screen.

His last week on Earth was too busy for this family that prefers a slower pace.  It was full of radiation appointments in another town, teacher workshop days, open houses, master’s homework, school supply shopping, and every other busy, hectic last-minute routine before the beginning of the school year.  It was week not lived to the best of our abilities, but one of survival.

Two events, before the beginning of the WORST WEEKEND of my life, stand out about that week.  The first one was open house at the kids’ school.  I was unable to go, which is typical for a teacher whose kids are the same age as your students.  I told Scott to forget about it, but somehow, he fought his severe pain and took the kids anyway.  I can only imagine the excruciating pain he felt as he took the MANY MANY MANY steps required during the event.  It was the last big solo feat he completed as a dad; and I hope the kids hold that night in their hearts.  Although I wasn’t there, I know that in that one hour, unconditional love beat cancer.

IMG_1429The second event is mine to cherish.  One night, I collapsed on the couch after a day of setting up my classroom, teacher meetings, homework, and mothering.  I was ready for bed, but I wanted to spend time with Scott before we both attempted to sleep, despite the medication alarms that went off every two hours.  I was spent and extremely tired.  “Oh no, I forgot my water bottle in the kitchen,” I whined.

“Let me get it for you, Babes,” Scott said gently.

“No, Babe, you stay, I can get it.”

He grabbed my arm, looked at me and in his firmer, there’s-no-talking-me-out-of-this tone, he said, “Please, let me get it for you.”  It was the last time he ever fetched my water bottle, and I will always hold that memory close to my heart.

This week is here again, and as usual, I’m a flood of emotions, but mostly feeling more than sad, which is an emotion without a name.  I’m a little less busy, and more present in my family than last year.  Due to a new job assignment, I took my kids to open house tonight alone.

the roadsI think I looked OK, smiled during the right times, wrote the many checks, unpacked the supplies, and did everything I was supposed to do as a mom.  Inside was a different story, as it usually is; I was empty, sad, and feeling so lost.  I missed doing this with my husband, my other half, and soulmate.  Scott used to go in his mailman garb, but we always went together.  Tonight, his absence was severely missed by me, if not by anyone else.  It took longer than it should have to navigate through the “to do list,” but we did complete it.

As we walked back to our car, I pretended like it was another wonderful Friday night.  We talked about the pizza we ALWAYS eat on Fridays, and the newfound excitement about the upcoming school year.  As we walked, I was sad and empty, missing the one person who made us complete.  I wished more than anything he was with us.  I started the car, and hooked up my phone to play our music over the speakers, a song quickly finished.  Before I pulled away from the school, my favorite track played.  The Artist is called Fitzgerald. The song is LISTEN TO ME.  In eight seconds, we hear, plain as day, “I love you very much,” by the one person who is forever missing from our lives but somehow always making his presence known.


Please like & share:


  1. Kristi Campbell - findingninee says

    Huge hugs, Courtney. I LOVE that you heard his message when you so needed to, with the kids after you really and truly did it all perfectly imperfectly perfectly right. Thinking about you.

  2. cburke74 says

    I didn’t know Scott but I’ve come to know him as a wonderful man and as I am honored to have gotten to know you over this last year. Oh, and FUCK CANCER.

  3. says

    I love the honesty you share. The real and raw. Thank you for not sugar coating and giving life the movie treatment.

    I read through this piece and felt moved. Truly moved. And I realized when I was done that I had shed tears the entire time.


  4. says

    (Almost) a year ago I was reading all the condolences and messages sent on Facebook and remember stopping for a moment and feeling profoundly and overwhelmingly sad for you and your family — people I didn’t know but that people who I did know (other authors/bloggers), did. I didn’t send a message — even though I wanted to — because I didn’t want it to seem insincere since you’d never heard of me. Now that we share the pages of a book and I’ve gotten to “know” you through your words, I feel like I can tell you how sorry I am for your unimaginable loss. I’m glad you can share these memories through your writing. Hugs.

  5. says

    I never know what to say when I read posts like this. Part of me wants to grab you up for a good hug, part of me wants to tell you that you’re in my prayers (which you are), and then another part of me wants to just shut the eff up because what do I know about your struggle? I don’t have a clue how gut-wrenching the past year has been for you and your family. If nothing else, after knowing your story, I hope I at least loved my husband a little better and appreciated when he got my water bottle a little more. Hugs, prayers, and cluelessness. xo

  6. says

    It tears me to pieces that you and your family are feeling this kind of pain. I personally believe that our loved ones stay with us when they aren’t here physically. 11 years later we are still reminded of J’s dad’s presence. I’m sending you tons of virtual hugs, love and prayers for you guys.

I love to talk! Tell me your thoughts and let's chat