Thoughts from a widow: Our Last Valentine’s Day

It was the year 2018 and Valentine’s day was coming up. I was 7 months pregnant and things had been going well. We were making plans to go somewhere fun for Valentine’s Day because we knew it would be the last one with just the two of us before the twins were born.

Justin started feeling sick in the beginning of January and we thought he just had a cold. Cancer patients have bad immune systems and can get hit harder with the common cold during the winter months. We assumed it was just taking a long time to recover, but he continued to get worse.

Little did I know that Valentine’s Day was the beginning of the end. I woke up that morning and he had looked worse and could barley stand on his own. Justin hated going to the hospital. I’ll never forget the day he had to start chemo again after being in remission for almost a year. We drove up that first day for his chemo treatment and as soon as we parked he opened his car door and threw up all over the ground. We weren’t even inside the building yet and he was already feeling sick.

That Valentine’s Day morning when I woke up and saw that he was feeling worse I knew it was time to take him to the hospital. We tried so hard to avoid it, but he wasn’t getting better. We called his doctor and she told us he needed to come in.

As I prepared his hospital bag, the house enveloped us in silence. Though we didn’t exchange words, our expressions conveyed our thoughts. Despite being seven months pregnant, I exerted every effort to guide Justin, towering at 6’3″, down the stairs and into our car.

I’ll never forget that drive to the hospital. I had to keep pinching myself to hold back from completely losing myself in a deep heavy sob. Instead one tear trickled down my face every minute for the hour long drive to the hospital. I think I knew deep down this was the end and things were worse than I had hoped for and believed.

I’ll never forget Justins eyes looking at me in that car. So much sadness and guilt. Wishing things had been different. Wishing he could be there for me the way he had always hoped to as a husband and future father.

That hour long drive was the last time we would be alone together for a long time. Last time he would be able to breath on his own without assistance. Last time we were Jennifer and Justin.

Rather than sharing our final Valentine’s Day together in a restaurant, filled with laughter and anticipation for parenthood, we found ourselves confined to a hospital room, with Justin teetering on the brink of death.

our last valentine's day together

Valentine’s Day never held much significance for me, but it inevitably brings to mind our final one together, which can be difficult to bear. I long for the warmth of loving and being loved in return. The weight of loneliness can be crushing, serving as a poignant reminder of the void left behind and the potential life we could have shared if he were still here. This day is often a struggle for me.

My first Valentines Day without Justin

I never would have thought last year would be Justin and I’s last Valentine’s day together. I’ve never really been a fan of Valentine’s Day, but this year I’ve been dreading it. This is just one of many days this year I’m not looking forward to. It’s been hard experiencing all the “first” without Justin. Surprisingly Thanksgiving was harder than christmas. Justin was never as enthusiastic about Christmas as I was. He did have an obsession with food, therefore Thanksgiving was always his favorite. That was a hard Holiday to get through. Continue reading HERE.

Our Love Story:

My dad sharing my story from his point of view:

Hi, this is NOT Jennifer.  This is Jennifer’s Dad. As I was going through my storage I found many photos of the last 15 months.  I didn’t know if I should bring all this up again, but in a conversation with Jennifer she said that if we made it weird, then it really would be weird.  She encouraged me to not only bring up some of the pictures, but to share some of my thoughts about what has happened in the past many years. Continue reading HERE.

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