October 31

October 31 is Halloween.  In 1983, it was a Monday.  Around 9 in the morning on Halloween, 1983, my fiancee and I were sitting in the doctor’s office–not an exam room, but the office with a desk.

In a month and a half, she would be 22.  I was a week and a year older, so I was soon going to be 23 years old.  We had been together for pretty much our entire college life–almost 4 years–and had been engaged for about a month longer than we had known about her cancer.  Our wedding was still 7 months in the future.

About quarter after 9, the doctor walks in, sits down behind the desk and gets right to it.  “I’m afraid I have only bad news…..”

He recommended in patient hospice instead of in home care because he said that while I had been doing an amazing job caring for her, I looked at the “end of my rope”.

I went totally, absolutely, 100%, completely numb.  Not even tears would come. I just sat there like a rock.  I’m not even sure if I breathed.

The doctor offered to “make the calls”.  We nodded, again. He got up and said he would make the calls in the other room so we could have a few minutes alone.

25 days later, she was gone.

She was cremated.

Our wedding had been set for the Saturday of the U.S. Memorial Day long weekend and was to be a beach wedding in Rocky Point, Mexico.  She loved beach sunsets, “when the sun dances on the water”, so that was when we were going to be married…sunset.  It was going to be a small wedding; our parents, the best man and maid of honor, the priest and half a dozen friends…that’s it.

At sunset, on that Saturday, I was in Rocky Point.  I went down to the beach and waited until the sun was dancing on the water, and, all alone, I scattered her ashes in the surf.


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