My Shaky Voice

Let’s see if I can pick up the pieces of this mess.

First, wow.  Thank you.  Thank you to each of you for caring enough to take the time to voice your concerns.  I imagine quite a few people typed out replies only to decide that what they had to say wasn’t elegant/important/relevant enough to post.  Sadly, their thoughts now fade into oblivion.  However, you that responded, fists or hearts bared, took a risk and put yourself out there, even if you were still covered under the cozy pseudo-anonymity of the internet*.  Kudos.  It’s a lot like watching karaoke.  Even the ones who can barely keep a tune have my respect because they do it.  They get up there and sing.  I cheer them sometimes more than I cheer the super-stars.  Life is 80% showing up, ready to play.  You did it.  You got up and sang.  Please know you each have my respect for chiming in.

*  I will always have more respect for those willing to attach their name to their post.  Responding anonymously, on the karaoke scale, is like singing off the side of the stage, hidden by a curtain.  Still scary, yes, but boo.  If you are too apprehensive about attaching your name to something you have to say, why are you saying it?  Stand tall and speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.  Trust me on this – mine does every time I post on this blog…. Like right now.

Just like with watching a bad karaoke singer, it’s impossible to help the person who is up there on stage doing a terrible job (a.k.a. “the best they can do.”)  You struggle with them because you want them to be great.  In fact, part of you NEEDS them to be great.  Thus, with every high note they mangle, you squirm in your seat.  The pain on their face reflects the pain on your face.  You want to help, badly, but you can’t take the mike and make them look good.  They are there on stage alone, naked for all the world to see (and hear.)  So, as your only option, you chime in loudly with your own version of the song.  The worse they croon, the louder you howl.  But, just like the person on stage who realizes all too late, you find you just think you know how the song goes.  You are human.  You stumble at the same places they do.  But the mumbled, jumble mess of togetherness provides a nice supportive blanket of voices crying out in semi-unison, smoothing out the rough spots, all focused on helping the person on stage tough it out and make it through the song.  When it’s done we all cheer.  Some karaoke is a team sport.

We all want to help out the poor schlep on stage – selfishly, altruistically….  Who cares about the reason if the goal is the same, right?  It’s all about helping them get through the song.  Some people in the audience are even well qualified to offer help by way of knowledge gained through experience or training or whatever.

However, what is certainly not helpful is shouting out singing lessons while the person is on stage.  In fact, it’s rather annoying.  “Shoulders back!”  “Sing from your diaphragm!”  “Open your mouth wider and pronunciate!”  Imagine the distraction.  It would be a mess.  The singer would be annoyed, embarrassed, and probably respond angrily and irrationally, despite the obvious intent of the “helper.”  People in the crowd would chime in, no doubt, showing solidarity to the one on stage, the one with the soft underbelly exposed.  It would be an uncomfortable situation, to say the least.  And the one who genuinely offered help, the one with the training or experience that saw an opportunity to throw in a learned hand, would feel burned and confused and hurt.  Gosh, what a difficult situation born from a ubiquitous and overwhelmingly human desire to lend a hand.  Both magical and human to the core.  Tragic by way of a common love for mankind.  Is there anything more truly, beautifully human?

Who would you want in your audience, were you to sing?  The wailers and howlers?  Or the teachers?  In a book called Crucial Conversations, the authors argue that the best decisions are made when what they call the Pool of Shared Knowledge is filled by those with a diverse base of experiences.  In another book called the Wisdom of Crowds the authors argue that the decisions of the average crowd are usually far better than those made by any single member of the group.  Both arguments share the same base – that together we are smart.

Well, I’m amazingly lucky (and touched.)  For what ever reason, you (yes, you!) have decided that you are going to continue to read what I type.  And you (well, some of you) have decided that you are going to voice (or have voiced) support, recommendations, howlings, or advice.  It is all raw.  It is all very real.  And it is all very wonderful.  I am, yet again, the luckiest guy on earth.  And I’m proud to have you all with me on this continued journey, where ever it may lead.  Thank you.

The one person who hit the nail on the head, Don, said “Maybe Maggie kept the beat in the relationship.”  Well, that was more true than you can imagine for numerous reasons.  The most immediate and recent reason was that for the last ten months (that’s most of a year, every single day) the driving force behind almost everything we did, daily, sometimes hourly, was medically-based – keep Maggie alive.  Think about that for a moment.  Every single step we took, every trip to the store, every decision we made we had to consider how it was going to affect my sweetheart for TEN MONTHS!  And, if we I messed up, she suffered.  Worse, if we I really screwed up, she died.  The stakes were high.  For ten long months (that’s 7,200 hours straight!)  Gradually, it got worse.  Our existence was slowly engulfed in medical care.  The cancer ate away nearly all that we had that was normal.  Sure, we fit in some fun stuff but chemo treatments, CT scans and medicine schedules really set the beat.  Maintaining her health was the snare drum of our lives.  And that was just the last ten months.  We’ve been playing this record for two and a half years, in varying intensity.

Think of it this way.  Imagine one day, getting out of bed on a normal day and someone suddenly straps a fifty pound weight to your back.  For me that day was January 5, 2007, eight-hundred and fifty days exactly before Maggie died.  At first, it knocked me silly.  Fifty pounds is heavy and takes some getting used to.  But I did.  We did.  And for a while, that was all I had to carry – fifty pounds.  I got stronger and adjusted the way I walked.  I had to crouch down a little to balance the weight so I wouldn’t fall over but in the grand scheme of things, no biggie.  We still danced.  Occasionally, however, a few more pounds would be dropped here and there onto my back.  I’d adjust, walking a little more bent over but we kept on dancing.  At the end of September of last year, another fifty pounds was suddenly dropped on me.  Quickly following that, the really heavy weights started to hit.  The overwhelming burden forced me to walk hunched over, stiff and encumbered.  But the weights didn’t stop.  They kept on coming.  Toward the middle of March, my knees started buckling under the weight.  April was a blur of unbelievably difficult steps.  Then in May… … …well, in early May someone took all the weights off my back.*  Gone.  And now I have to learn how stand up straight again.  Eight-hundred and fifty days.  I don’t even remember what standing up straight feels like.

* I’m finding as the days drag on that all the weights aren’t actually gone.  They’ve just been replaced with different ones.  And my cheerleader is gone.

I thought seriously about closing down this blog.  Of course I did.  Who wouldn’t?  But, you know what I believe?  For every single person that I lost because of my crass comments and show of anger, there will be (or are) at least ten who are struggling with the same issues I am, for what ever reason.  Some of them are mired in such deep emotion that they have lost their way.  I can’t offer THE way out.  Hell, I’m not sure I can find my own way at this point.  But I can offer the way I’m headed, right or wrong, good or bad, crass, insulting, emotional, raw, or whatever.  When all the lights go out and you can’t see anything else, sometimes all you need is just one flicker to give you perspective enough to steady yourself.  Even if the light is not in the direction you intend to head.  I can humbly offer just and only that, a single glimmer of light.

(By the way, my voice is still shaking.)

61 thoughts on “My Shaky Voice

  1. I am one of your ten with the same issues… well generally. Lost my sweetheart to horrid cancer 2/25/09 I am just a little farther down this hard crass road than you and not proud of that fact.

    I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and just know…. some of us really know what you have, are and will go through to some similar degree.

    Just keep breathing and going one minute, one hour and one day at a time Chris.

    Wendy Miller

  2. I am coming over for an intervention, Chris. I am booking my flight now. Drugs and hookers? Fine. But karaoke? That is just wrong.

  3. Chris,

    I am mainly a lurker on this blog. I am a colleague of Carrie’s (we share an office, actually) and I have followed this blog for some time but never posted (not even anonymously). I have never met you, nor did I ever meet Maggie, except through your sister and the words written here. But I have been silently cheering when things were looking up and good experiences/revelations were to be had….and silently crying as the unbearable weights were added to both of your backs.

    Tonight, your post inspired me to stand up, be counted, and leave a message with you…and sign my name, proudly and shakily, for all to see.

    I don’t have eloquent words, I don’t have advice on grieving or losing your best friend. I have often told Carrie that I can’t BEGIN to imagine what this must feel like. Unbearable sounds like the ultimate understatement to me.

    I guess what I want to say is this: You, Maggie, your story, and this blog have changed me in a way that can not be described. Your writing and your descriptions…of utter joy and utter despair…have made my heart swell and break at the same time.

    I say keep on keeping on. You have known the heights of joy and the depths of despair and I think that makes you one remarkable man.

    All my best to you on your journey.

  4. Hi Chris, we don’t know each other. Nearly a year ago I stumbled upon your blog for research purposes. I never meant to stay long, but, I did. I soon forgot about why I initially came to your blog and instead got caught up in you and Maggie’s story because of your voice. I laughed a little when I read the part you wrote above about all those people who almost posted a message but didn’t. So, I just wanted to say simply, thanks for writing your blog. Take care.

  5. Your gonna be alright Chris Weaver.

    On a Karaoke note: Chris was the acting MC at my Karaoke Birthday bash a couple years ago and let me just say, this guy has serious “Mad Skills”. Keep on singing, writing, breathing, crying, yelling, blogging…whatever you feel. Now “we” are your cheerleaders.
    All my best.

  6. I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now. My son lived in Austin and was a friend of the McCoys. I kept reading because my husband was fighting metastatic melanoma. His battle was almost 4 years~1498 days to be exact. You have a wonderful way with words and you open your heart and tell it like it is. I hope you will continue writing and I will continue to read. When my husband passed away everyone I saw would ask me “how are you doing”. Like you I wanted to say “how do you think I am doing”? People say stuff without even thinking. I did write a grief letter to friends asking them to be gentle with me and to keeping inviting me out~say dinner and/or a movie. God bless YOU.

  7. Hey Chris –
    I have a home screen I set up that has links to all my favorite web sites. Every morning when I boot up the computer, I start down the list of sites to see what is going on in the world. When you started this blog, I added “Maggie” to that page. So every day this blog is what I read first thing in the morning. And every day [that you post] you have reminded me about what is *really* important in life. Nearly every time I have been brought to tears by your words. Nearly every time I laugh at some point. I wonder just how many lives this blog has affected? I wonder just how many perspectives have changed?

    1. Ditto from me. Chris you have so many, many cheerleaders. Not only do we ask ourselves “what would Maggie do in this situation?” We also ask “what would Chris do?” This blog, your blog, has taught so many people so many lessons. Thank you for all of yourself that you give to us and share with us.

  8. Hi Chris, I am Alicia’s mom. My dad had to watch my mom slowly die of bone cancer (4 years) with out the help of pain pumps and hospice care. I was pretty young and it was pretty awful but somehow my dad made it through. After my mom’s death he was angry (and somewhat relieved which caused a lot of guilt) but he just kept busy and finally survived it. He lived another 30 years and I am sure missed my mom every day but he also led a full and wonderful life. My thoughts and prayers and with you. You are doing an amazing job

  9. Hi Chris, I love your sarcasm – I am the same way, and it is what gets me through all the good and bad in my life. It’s funny! And there’s no reason to be serious all of the time if ya can help it. When my dad passed away from melanoma when I was 12, of course it was earth shattering, and I am still scarred, but jokes and laughter and a raw sense of humor got me through that and life in general. I’ve wanted to tell lots of people to suck it (or whatever variation of that) lots of time for many reasons, and I do if I want to. Nothing wrong with being honest with how you feel. I guess my point is this… I relate to your sense of humor and how you are handling this. I think your outlook on life and your sense of fun is one of the reasons you will prevail. I think you have a lot of fun and life ahead of you following your loss.

  10. Rock on Chris… Your shaky voice and dim light remains loud, strong and bright as I keep up with you. Perhaps you have lost your cheerleader, but it seems to me that Maggie is right there with you. She is in your heart and soul, pushing, pulling and giving you the strength to keep your spine erect. Maggie will be there to hold that microphone inches from your lips and make sure that your flicker produces a steady, strong long-lasting flame…Rock on Chris, Maggie is in the background playing a beautiful piece on the snare.

    Cheers, Tony

  11. Sweet Chris,

    Bravo and thank you…from the bottom of my heart. Shawna

    “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
    Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.”
    Prov 3:5-6

  12. Thank you, Chris, for your honesty and eloquent way of expressing yourself. Anger is healthy. So is laughing, crying, singing, sarcasm and story telling. I am so glad Maggie chose you as her life partner, and I’m so glad that you are keeping this blog going even when the light seems dim.
    All My Love,
    Mary

  13. Excellent words, Chris. You are a giant among men, your physical stature be damned!

    I noticed that there were no “Anonymous” comments so far!

    See you soon,
    Scotty

  14. Thank you for continuing! I have been following Maggie’s story (as well as your’s) with personal interest for the past two years. I too have stage 4 colon cancer that has travelled to my lungs. I’ve had two bowel ressections, and chemotherapy since 2005, including the drugs that Maggie took. Maggie’s journey was not only frightening for me to follow, but inspirational. Unfortunately, my husband of 20 years has–how can I say this… lost his mind, and has been less than there for me. You were there for her-what a gift!
    Thank you

    1. D,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your cancer and what has happened with your husband.

      My thoughts are with you! Thank you for sharing your story.

    2. D, I’m very sorry about what you are going through. I know parts of your situation very well, as you know. I wish I could offer more to you than my words here. I fear I’ve given everything I had away already to my honey. Please know that you’ll be in my thoughts as the days move forward. And thank you for speaking up. I’m beyond touched.

  15. Sing out Chris, loud and strong. God gave you that voice and we eagerly away your every song.

    -Maggie

  16. Chris –
    Summer is almost officially here, and I was looking forward to spending it with my 6 year old at the pool. Now, I will be spending it with my parents to help out. My father has been diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. A few other complications include a fall that left him unable to walk and a glioma in the pons of his brain stem. The combination has left him devastated. The thing is is that there are days that I just want to shake him and tell him to wake up!! He’s not gone yet, but he’s living each day as though he is. He won’t get out of the house at all.

    Maggie didn’t do that – she kept on living. She defied the odds. She inspired everyone around her and all of us that followed your blog and never met her. Voyerer perhaps, but I needed her story to remind me what kind of person I want to be.

    And, it was your voice that told her story. You gave us all hope and a renewed strength in our belief that true love does exist. That there are amazing men out there that love their wives with an unconditional heart.

    It’s the story that only you can write. I look forward to following your journey –

    Just keep living –

    Bobbie

    1. Bobbie, keep shaking your Dad. My mother was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer w/mets to her liver and lungs in Aug. 2006. The day she found out, she went home and worked in her garden. That spirit and determination is what has kept her going for almost 3 years – certainly way longer than pretty much anyone (including her oncologist) thought…

  17. I anonymously say Maggie would have enjoyed that “debate”.

    You have to take the good w/ the bad. One “bad” post out of how many great ones? People need to cover their belly buttons and get some thicker skin if that offended them.

    “Chris. You are a giant among men, your physical stature be damned!”.. what a great comment. ha ha ha

    Justin (oops)

  18. Chris — Thank you for being so vulnerable, open, and human.

    — Sharon (a long-time family friend of Karen S.’s — her blog links to yours)

  19. Chris,

    Please continue to write your blog. It helps so many people cope with what is going on in their lives.

    I actually did know Maggie. I thought she was adorable and cute and sweet. I remember thinking when I first met her, “wow, I’d like to have her body”. Of course I didn’t know she was sick at that time, but she told me shortly thereafter. She was a beautiful person and she lived her life to the fullest that she could. She obviously made a great choice in husbands too.

    I have your site bookmarked as one of my favorites. I read it everytime you write. Sometimes it makes me smile, sometimes it makes me cry. It’s a little harder for me since I actually knew her. I lost my mom a few months ago due to breast and bone cancer. She fought a very hard battle for 10 years. The last 2 months of her life were absolutely the toughest I had to endure but I know she went though so much pain that she just didn’t tell us kids about.

    I’ll always miss her and I’ll always miss Maggie too. Taking care of yourself is top priority now. Maggie would want you to be happy… so do whatever it takes. Peace and love are wished for you.

  20. Thanks for posting again. I hope that your writing is as beneficial to you as it is to so many of us.

  21. We don’t know each other, and I never knew Maggie, either. But the two of you have really changed my life. I truly feel that I am a more compassionate person, a more patient parent and more understanding (most of the time) spouse because of you.

    I wish there were something I could say or do to bring your Maggie back to you. Or at least find a way to “repay” you for the clarity and joy you’ve helped me find in my life.

    Keep writing. I want to read it all!

  22. That was an absolutely beautiful entry, & not the first to make me cry. (sorry, I guess my heart has hardened over the years, but this blog is so important, & has helped all of us who read what you write.)

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. May God bless you.

  23. I want to say “Ditto” to many comments written on this post. And… I think you, Dave, Scott, and a few beers would equal a fun/good time. Wish I could join y’all. God Bless

  24. What keeps me coming back for more of your blog is your honesty. You have been brutally honest from the beginning. No holes barred – tell it like it is – take it or leave it storytelling. This is what I find most inspirational about this blog. There is no pretending; you don’t compromise who you are or what you feel to avoid a response from your readers. I applaud you for that. It takes an amazing amount of courage to do what you do, even if it is with a shaky voice.

  25. Chris,
    I too am one of your 10. Thank you for posting your thoughts and feelings, your words speak to my soul. I am also going through this “process”. You have helped me more than you’ll ever know. Thank you and be strong.

  26. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for keeping up the posts.. they mean a lot to me in many ways that you probably cannot imagine. Every thought, word, emotion and even the things you don’t say but imply are heartfelt. You have a true gift and we are all here to benefit from it as long as you are willing to share it. We all love you and we are all here for you… On that note when is movie night? 🙂

  27. Hi Chris,

    I just want you to know, you are still in my prayers. If it is any comfort at all, I strongly believe that the Lord gives us the strength to handle whatever we are dealt. No matter how hard. Rely on His comfort and strength when your running low! Thank you so much for sharing this “Great Adventure”, both you and Maggie’s strength and courage throughout this has been such an inspiration to me. I admire your being so open to share so much, no matter how hard. Take care, and don’t forget to reach out to the Lord, He will always hold on to ya!

  28. I enjoyed your Karaoke reference Chris, so I feel the need to “sing” a little. I have been an avid reader of your blog for sometime now. My husband worked with Maggie at Scient. I may have met you once in person at a Scient gathering. I am an OT working with people who are in situations that I never want to be in (Long term acute care-vents, wounds, catastrophic illnesses etc.–much like Maggie’s) and have lost many patients. Your blog has really helped me personalize my patients. I mean, I try not to get too close to them because I do loose so many, but over the past few months, I see these people as “somebody’s everything”. They have gone from just being that person with that horrible wound (that may never heal) or that person with “shhh….the terminal diagnosis” to someone’s honey. I treat everyone the same (of course), but I feel it has made me a better therapist. I also feel like we are all lucky to have the opportunity to be with you on your journey and for those of us who have been following you for a long time, I think you could write just about anything you wanted and we would not be offended in the least. I really hope you continue to keep up this blog. It really gives me strength, as well as allows me to understand what the families of my patients may go through. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts with us.

  29. You have such a wonderful way with analogies, Chris! It really made this “mess” a little more clear – at least in my mind.

    I, too, want to be counted as one of your cheerleaders! Just don’t look for any splits or fancy flips in the air (unless you want a good chuckle)!

    Take care of yourself!

  30. Chris, so glad that you didn’t shut the blog down! There will come a day when you will look back at this blog and be amazed at how far you’ve come, all along helping so many.

    No, I’m not dying, nor my husband, nor dad or anyone close to me right now… but, you and Maggie have taught me how to live again. That is priceless. You both have also taught me through your example of how to live if I am ever faced with the situation that you two went through. How to live and fight and not just curl up in a ball and let time pass by. A friend of mine had a friend that just died after doing that and it was remarkably sad.

    I enjoy your writing being so raw. It gives those of us that don’t know you a glimpse into your heart and mind. You have remained in my prayers! Keep walking tall… every day a little taller…
    Melanie

  31. Chris,

    I went to school with Maggie. I just wanted to tell you that I too, lurk on this blog. Your blog touches my heart and reminds me to hang on to those I love and cherish the fleeting time I have with them. Too often they are taken from us too soon.

    I think of you often. I truly wish you all the best…

    Gwendolyn

  32. When my dad died I was so angry that I wanted to smack people upside the head because of all the stupid things they would say to me. I don’t remember how long it took, but one day something shifted and I felt better. Not great, but a little bit better.

    Part of the healing process is feeling angry, so Chris, do what you have to do to heal. I hope you will feel the shift one day, too.

    I am chiming in now.

    Karen W.

  33. Chris, I thought about you all day yesterday. I understand your shaky voice and those terrible weights – I am several years (9)down the road but there are still times that standing alone is a very difficult task. Just know that there are a host of us with you in spirit and prayer. We continue to cheer you on! God Bless you. Paula Thrasher

  34. Keep your head up Chris. Only you know what you went through and as such you have every right to express what you feel in whatever manner is right for you. Give it time, you will find your own inner ‘drummer’ and find your beat again. That is life; no matter what happens it carries us along and we have to learn or relearn how to live it. You will too.

  35. ohh….and I make it a point to howl every chance I get. The next full moon is Sunday so if you hear a wavering voice in the distance, it is probably me singing an ancient song that touches my soul

  36. It seems as if Maggie will be your “Muse” for life Chris…you have such a gift for words and like all the others through the journey you document with/for Maggie this blog entry is no exception. I want to thank you for keeping the blog. I sent this to my family. My Uncle has Stage 4 Lung Cancer that after three years of battle is slowly starting to take over his body. I wonder sometimes how my very sweet Aunt Robin…the kind that couldn’t hurt a fly is going to cope. Like you, she is the primary care giver and has taken care of him since day one…I can only imagine your anger, frustration, love, loathing…too many emotions for me to fully do justice to with words. I thank you for this blog and for the inspiration Maggie has given me and for the words you wrote to tell her story…on days I am sure all you wanted to do what scream, hit things and run away you didn’t. Instead you wrote to “us” to let “us” in on your personal mission to save Maggie. You are more than a great husband, wonderful son and son-in-law..you are a truly exceptional person. You have the ability to help others with what you write and I hope you never stop. I expect that we will see great things from you because of your love for Maggie…her last gift to you…memories of times of love and laughter to share even when there was nothing to laugh or smile for. I hope that writing helps in your process to heal and my prayers and thoughts are with you and her family.

    Thank you.

  37. Hi Chris,

    I have been a lurker as well for the past few weeks. I never knew Maggie but she was my Aunt’s attorney. It is hard to believe how much she helped my family in a time that she was that sick. It shows how truly selfless she really was. Honestly I did not read your blog until after her death. I sat down and read the entire thing in one night, laughing my ass off at parts and sobbing at others.

    I have no idea how you feel but I am thankful that you can express it so beautifully. The honesty is amazing. Your writing has inspired me to take advantage of my life (as corny as that sounds). Keep it up, I see Oprah’s Book Club in your future 🙂

  38. Hello Chris,

    We have never met and I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Maggie. My wife (Gwendolyn) and Maggie attended Baylor and graduated together. I commuted to and from Houston for work during the law school years and only met a few of my wife friends. Gwendolyn told me of your wife and her battle with cancer. I do remember the building rupture with applause and screams as she walked to get her diploma. (BTW..I think I may even have it recorded if you would like a copy)
    When my father was killed, I experienced so much, all at once. I didn’t know what to do or say. I have no profound words of wisdom to offer and I refuse to throw out some crappy words of advice. I hated when people gave me “free” advice. I will say this, I have been thinking about you and Maggie’s family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what life has thrown at you. I wrote this poem based on my personal experiences/emotions with my father’s death and what I read in your blog post. I hope this is ok and appropriate.

    Battle

    I wake up in the morning, through the window shines the light,
    I find it very strange, this feeling of nothing to fight.
    As the battle raged on and all was consumed,
    One battle for life lost and another resumed.
    The heavy labored fight for a life through the pains,
    Now battling my way through all that still remains.
    With all the air it can gather, life screams” WHY”,
    Then silence takes over while listening for a reply.
    The quiet gets annoying and the day must move on,
    How does life continue, with so much of it gone?
    Life’s puzzle is still on the table where it always use to sit,
    Except now it’s incomplete and some pieces no longer fit.
    With an open wound to the heart and memories making it bleed,
    I am getting lost in this new life and where it will lead.
    I have heard all the advice that others believe I should heed,
    But I find it hard to care about what they think I need.
    Please understand, why I feel the way I feel,
    My battle wounds are deep and need time to heal.
    My journey is not over and though seeming longer by the day,
    I push back at life and try to find my way.
    When the lights dim and all fades to black,
    I look for a flicker to steadily guide me back.

    Jeremy Simpson

    1. Amazing. It’s like you took the words right out of my head. Thank you for sharing this with me.

  39. Hey Chris,

    Glad to see you’re still writing and keeping us connected to you. Maggie may have kept the beat in the relationship, but you’ve proven to be quite a lead in the dance, don’t you think?

  40. I went to a graduation yesterday. When the graduating class walked in, they received a standing ovation. I thought of you, and how your “performance” these past few years has given so many such inspiration. Chris, to you, I offer a standing ovation!

  41. Chris,
    I’m another “lurker” and I honestly don’t know why other than you inspire me. I think everyone has either lost a loved one or known someone who has died of cancer at some point, but each person is an individual with their own way of coping. So I’m not sure anyone can truly say “I know how you feel.” You have to get through the days and weeks the way that YOU feel you can. I appreciate the continuation of the posts, and I also have the main page bookmarked as was said by others.

    I’ve read all the posts, but don’t remember seeing one thing…I know Maggie had just completed law school, but what is your occupation? If you’re not a writer, perhaps you should consider it at some point (not now because its too soon to relive it all). I’m just trying to get the “whole” picture here I suppose, but its something I’ve been wondering since I started reading this.

    Take care and thanks again for writing!

    1. Thank you, Jo.

      My background is in writing software / technical nerdy stuff. Until Maggie got really sick I was starting a new company that was building a device that would help people save electricity. Now, I’m not sure what I’m doing.

  42. Chris, you really have a terrific outlook, and you are so young and have lots of friends and family for support during these extremely difficult times. I really wish for the best success for whatever you want to do in your life after yours with Maggie.

    My prayers will always be with you. God will guide you, and your life is truly what you decide to do with it, but take your time.

    Love,
    Pat Valente

  43. Friday night was San Angelo’s Relay for Life. It should have been perfect. One Night, One Day, One Community, One Fight. It was difficult to watch the survivors lap because there was no Maggie. The 62 year old women who was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer told her story of survival for the past 3 years and I became angry. Maggie had so much more to give than she did. Why did she get to live and not Maggie? The scene was perfect as lights were powered off and the luminarias lit the night. The mist over the stadium drew me in as the bagpipes played Amazing Grace. I had no luminaria for Maggie- it felt too final. I own my anger, don’t apologize for it, and sat quietly behind a post crying until someone noticed and felt compelled to give me a hug. I like solitude but want you to know I CARE. Love always, Sara

    1. Why did she (the 62yo woman) have to live?! How do you know how much this 62yo woman had to give? You have no idea how many lives SHE has affected. (Besides the fact that 62yo is not that old.) I realize that you are upset about Maggie, but your comments are uncalled for….I suppose you think my 80yo mother, who has been fighting Stage 4 colon cancer for almost 3 yrs. has no business living. I’m not sorry about my anger towards your post either, because you posted them on a public forum.

  44. Wow! See how many lives you are touching? And these are just the folks leaving comments. I wonder how many other lives you have touched. Maggie is smiling down on you. God bless.

  45. Hi Chris,

    I knew Maggie when she worked with my mom at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. I was very little and in 6th or 7th grade (sorry can’t remember exactly). As I write this now, I cannot help but cry. I remember Maggie’s smile, and how great of a personality she had. Unfortunately, when my mom retired from there, and Maggie went to school, we no longer stayed in touch. Nothing on bad terms or anything, my mom moved onto a different law firm, and as I said before, Maggie went to school.

    When I was introduced to this blog by my mom a year or so ago. I was completely sad. Mom also had colon cancer, but (thank God) they were able to catch it before it spread out of her colon. I remember how angry I was when I found out my mom had cancer. I was the first to know because I had gone to the appointment with my mom (which was supposed to be a regular check-up). I was angry because I felt I couldn’t do something. I questioned why it had to happen to my mom. It was weird, I wasn’t mad at God or blaming Him for this, but at that moment, I was wanting God to literally come to me and tell me why this had to happen. Why my mom? I remember I wanted answers to all my life questions then. Though God did not physically come to me, I saw how close my family came together, and how Blessed I felt to have them all. I was so happy that after the surgery she was better, but struggled with the pain of having that surgery. This hurt me to see her hurt. I remember the anger I had at the doctor for being so rude and blunt when he talked about the procedure and what needed to be done. But in this situation, I understand that you do need to be frank. There is no way to sugar coat it. From this, I truely felt that everything happens for a reason.

    My mom still tells my dad, sister, brother-in-law, me and my fiance we all need to have regular check-ups, but I keep telling my mom I have time to have it checked out (I’m 25 about to be 26), I’m still young. Sadly, the truth I don’t want to have the check-up is fear of embarassement of the after effects of having the check-up. Stupid, I know. This will be my downfall, but at the same time I’m so scared of having cancer too. I’m scared to find out the truth. I feel if I ignore it, then there is nothing wrong. Again, stupid thought.

    To get back to my original point, that I have seemed to have gotten away from, but when I saw you and Maggie’s blog, I felt my heart break once again. Now, after finding out today that she had passed away, I feel completely heart-broken. Everyone here is right, you do write amazingly. And you say that your muse to write is gone, but her memory isn’t. There is nothing wrong to always have Maggie in your heart. She was your love, your partner, your best friend, your everything. Her story will always be here for everyone to share. But most of all your story isn’t over. You have such a strong spirit that amazes mall of us. Even if you decided to stop writing, it’s ok. We will all be ok. But if writing helps, continue on or start a new blog called, “A Road to Recovery”. Again, Maggie will be here for all of us to read, learn, and share from, but you need to do what is right for you, and not what everyone else wants. I hope you don’t feel pressured into posting because everyone here wants you to, you should write because you want to. Ernest Hemingway said it best when he said “My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way,” this is what you should do becuase you want to.

    Your support network is amazing, and I hope things become easier for you. Hey, do what I do to get away from reality, watch some Spongebob Squarepants or Fairly Odd Parents. Sometimes cartoons are the best cure. It’s all about the laughter. :n) God Bless

  46. Chris,

    You and Maggie have been an inspiration to Wendy and I. I’m glad you have chosen to continue. This blog helps so many people. Thanks

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