I will be forever grateful that I had those two weeks before the fight began. Those two weeks that seemed to be just us -- cocooned in her hospital room. Two friends, mother and daughter. A bond that had survived distance and disagreement. A bond that had lasted for almost 38 years.
We live in a world of constant gain and loss, and the common denominator is always love. Love is who we are, love is where we are from and love is how we are all connected. Tap into it and know that the moment when you do, your loved one is doing the same.
Among all the lessons borne from losing my husband to cancer, the one I see clearest is this: The best way to memorialize a loved one is to choose life. When life feels hard, I tell myself to keep going. I tell my children the same thing.
I did my best to hide my tears, to not let my Nana sense that I knew God was calling her home. There was no medical indication of that. I didn't need to hear it from them. I knew in that moment, that God was readying Nana.
My grandmother's picture was featured on the cover of the sheet music for "Once In Love With Amy," and the story goes that late one night, my grandfather brought home dozens of copies of the sheet music and hung them up all over their apartment in Forest Hills to surprise her.
Those near and dear to us will feel our absence, and we trust that after we're gone, we will remain in their hearts just as those who have passed on from our lives remain in our own. And so it goes on this human journey.
Perhaps for the first time, I saw the world through the eyes of a dying man, and it was so much better. Time moved slower, the flowers were brighter, people were kinder, and my family and friends were more meaningful.
As I weep over my big sweet dogs, I wince off and on, a little embarrassed that in a world where each newscast brings new images of heart-wrenching human tragedy, I continue to be so broken up over them.