June 28th. It rolls around every year, but for the last 13 I have hated this day. This year seems even worse than others. Maybe because the day is cloudy and overcast, which fits my mood. Maybe because this year I’m the age my husband was on this day 13 years ago when he took his last breath. Maybe because last week I spent time kayaking with his (our) granddaughter and know how much he would have adored her (and his grandsons), and they him. Maybe because on this day it doesn’t seem like years have passed since I lost him. It seems like only yesterday.
I’m angrier than normal this year. I’m angry that he was stubborn and wouldn’t go to the doctor soon enough. I’m angry there is no cure for cancer. I’m angry that I had only 5 very short years with him. I’m angry he isn’t here for me to discuss business matters with. I’m angry that his life was cut short and that he didn’t get to fulfill all his dreams. I’m angry that I want to talk to him and can’t.
I’m also grateful- grateful that I met that stubborn Yankee, that he convinced me to go out with him (even though I told him nice Southern girls don’t date Yankees- he took that as a challenge). Grateful that he loved me so completely and unconditionally that I never had to doubt it for one second. Grateful that his laugh still echos in my head when I need it most. Grateful for every second that I had with him and the many ways he changed my life. Grateful that he was the man he was.
If you were lucky enough to have known Mark Orze, you liked him. There was no way you couldn’t. If you never met him. I wish you could have. He was a smart businessman, had the ability to talk to anyone, he was funny and could laugh at himself like no one I have ever met. He was stubborn, organized, creative, an amazing cook, loved to travel and was a great Dad. And a wonderful husband.
Now it’s time for my soapbox. If you smoke, stop (and if you don’t, don’t even think about starting). I don’t give a shit how hard it is. It can’t possibly be as hard as knowing your family and those you love will have to live the rest of their lives missing you. Smoking can’t possibly be more important that being here to watch your children and grandchildren grow up. Smoking can’t possibly make you feel good enough to justify the pain you will put yourself and your loved ones through. Lung Cancer kills more people each year than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. For the record, Mark had stopped smoking long before I met him, 12 years prior to his diagnosis.
Today we all go on. Memories make me smile and laugh (I still laugh as his misunderstanding of some southern sayings), they make me sad and lonely. But I treasure each one. Especially on this day.