Missing Martino: Love & Loss 15 Years Later

I will always find it interesting how a turn of events can shift one’s life completely, and 15 years ago today was one of those moments. We said goodbye to my dad. My dad who had battled stomach cancer for 2 years prior, but whose body just couldn’t keep the fight going no matter how hard he tried. No matter how much he wanted to keep up hope that maybe this last chemo treatment could be the one. The one to make all the cancer disappear. But that’s just the thing with cancer – it doesn’t give a crap how wonderful of a person you are, or how healthy otherwise you’ve been your whole life. When it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go – and cancer doesn’t wait til you’re ready. Believing this in some sick, twisted way was the only thing that got me through those excruciating first few years. That, and the fact that I met my soulmate a few days before – which you can’t tell me that wasn’t a “God thing.”

My mom on the other hand, would you believe her birthday is just two days before the anniversary of his passing? So every year, on the second week of September, she has to feel these extreme emotions of joy and pain all at once. I used to feel so guilty that God had given me Grant, because who would she have? I would think of all the reasons it wasn’t fair – I had found the love of my life, right when she was losing hers. Still some days, I almost can’t bear to think about it. A love like theirs wasn’t supposed to end so soon. I mean, isn’t that the whole point of finding the love of your life – you get to spend your life with them? So why the hell did she not get that same chance? But she would never think of it this way. Instead she’d say, “I got to spend 25 years with him, and they were the best 25 years of my life.”

So when I look back and think about this week, I try to not remember the loss, but the love. The love that still endures through my mom, and my own family now. And that’s just the way my dad would have wanted it.

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