So, it’s been 70 days now since we lost our beautiful, precious Lynn. It’s still so hard at times … the pain can be really intense and just come from nowhere. These last 70 days have been somewhat of a blur … I’ve been going non-stop (remember I warned you that I’m a hardworking, global traveling, wine/beer/cocktail drinking, music loving, dancing, fun-loving, fishing, golfing, boating and outgoing guy who loves life, who tries to get the maximum out of everything I do, and rarely tires). Over these last 70 days I’ve experienced so many good things … things emanating from LOVE. I’ve experienced a few shitty things … but they’ve been dwarfed by the good … so let’s just focus on the good. I’ve been traveling a bunch … spending time with family and friends … Boston 2x; Houston 3x; CT; Philly, Northern VA, NJ, etc. I’ve made dozens upon dozens of new friends along the way. I’ve shared my story with them and they have shared theirs with me. It’s amazing how many folks have had experience either directly or indirectly with suicide and/or depression.
I’ve seen moments of real joy with my boys … it brings tears to my eyes just writing that. This is so hard on them … so to see their faces genuinely light up with smiles and laughter just melts my heart and makes me cry.
I too have had many, many moments of real joy as I’ve experienced great moments with old friends; re-kindled old friendships; enjoyed good food and good wine (lots of good wine … lol); listened to tunes non-stop (music is so soothing to the soul … can’t get enough).
So, you might say I’ve been on a bit of a LOVE tour. One stop I made on this tour was Houston during the week of July 24th. The main purpose of the trip was to hold another Celebration of Life for Lynn back in our old neighborhood. Our family lived just outside of Houston for ~7 years … we made so many good friends there … so I had to go and give folks a chance to reminisce, honor Lynn, and say good-bye. It was a beautiful tribute that we held in the clubhouse of our old neighborhood’s golf course. We had an incredible turnout and I couldn’t have done it without the “most excellent” help from my good friend Sara (thanks Sara … you’re awesome!). I want to share with you what I said to the group that attended that night. I apologize in advance that some of what I said was a repeat of some of the comments I made in CT and Wilmington … but there’s a message at the end of my remarks that I want to highlight … “My Two Wishes for You”.
Welcome … incredible showing … it’s humbling … thank you all for coming and sharing this special night with me and my sons. So, this is the 3rd and probably final (for now) stop on the Lynn Love Story tour. I’m glad to have my boys here with me tonight. Obviously, they’ve been through a lot … but they are here tonight and I’m very proud of them. I apologize in advance for reading directly from notes but … I’m actually tired … not much sleep since this all went down … so I don’t want to leave anything out that’s been on my mind and heart to communicate to you. Like I said in CT … and at that time it had only been 12 days … but now it’s 40 … and it’s been an exhausting 40 days … I’m running on adrenaline fumes and LOVE.
So, Houston, Houston is a special place for my family and me. Now originally Houston wasn’t a happy move for us. My kids liked Atlanta … so they weren’t happy when I uprooted them. Lynn was a poor college student here back in the ‘80’s … imagine living here with the brutally hot and humid summer we have here and you have a car with no A/C … that’s tough. When she left in 1987 and came to live with me in Schenectady … she vowed to never come back again … well things didn’t exactly work out that way. My job transferred me here and in the end Houston grew on all of us. And the reason for that was the people … you.
Please know that we … the boys and I … are making progress … but it’s hard and sometimes and its two steps forward and one step back. Just as in Wilmington on 6/20 and in CT on 6/27 … the purpose of tonight is to celebrate Lynn’s life … share memories, thoughts. What happened is tragic but as I continue to process all of this … and as I think of Lynn and our life together … an infinite amount of thoughts & memories flood my brain. But there’s one constant theme that keeps coming through … and it’s simply LOVE. So, let’s celebrate Lynn tonight … let’s cry, let’s laugh, let’s reminisce, let’s eat, drink and maybe dance, and express love to each other because Lynn was synonymous with LOVE.
I want to discuss and share a few things with you, then we’re going to give anyone that wants to a chance to share a story or two about Lynn. Please bear with me because I have a lot to say and I’m sure I’m going to make you cry … and hopefully laugh and think.
As you know … I’m devastated, my boys are devastated, her parents are devastated, our family is devastated … but something that’s important for our family to get folks to understand … she was happy. Obviously not in that MOMENT of despair … but she was happy the vast majority of the time … we had a beautiful, blessed life together. Given how things had been going for us for quite some time … and how quickly things turned so tragic … it was a shock. But I know 24 hours prior to this happening … she was happy and she had been for quite some time. So, don’t for a second let this one moment, this one irrational decision in a moment of despair define my beautiful bride. Lynn deserves better, I deserve better and most importantly my boys deserve better.
I also just want everyone to know … that I know my boys and I will need help … real professional help. I will get it … because I need to be equipped with all the tools necessary so I’m in shape to help my boys. So, you don’t have to tell me. Now I just want to focus on the beautiful memories of Lynn and celebrate her.
And although we’re devastated … we, my boys and I, are taking this thing head on. Just know, as I said at her tribute in Wilmington and CT … if God had given me a choice of being with her for 36 years and having it end this way or taking a different path and not having to endure this unbelievable sorrow … there’s no doubt I would’ve picked the 36 years with this incredible lady every time.
So, with that I want to address 2 things specifically 1) “the stigma” associated with suicide and 2) this evil, devastating disease known as depression. On the first … “the stigma”. And just in case you’re sitting there … saying “stigma what stigma?” … believe me it’s there big time. I have many examples. And please if you wrote something or said something to me along these lines do not feel bad… it’s a big part of the reason why my boys and I want to be so vocal about this. I got more than one card that said in effect “Wow I didn’t know … thought you were the perfect couple” … we were the perfect couple; in another example, I had a call with a person I’m close with and just like I have been with everyone … I was transparent with him … so when I told him, “she did it intentionally” … he says … “hey man that’s your business, no one’s going to hear that from me”. So, don’t be confused … there’s a stigma associated with suicide and there shouldn’t be … there’s no shame on her, we will not be embarrassed … there’s no reason to keep this secret … just the contrary. Just imagine … I was the only one there when it happened … I could’ve tried to hide it which you’d never be able to do for a significant amount of time … the truth’s going to come out … but until then everyone is whispering and gossiping about what happened. More importantly what good would that have done … it doesn’t allow me to honor her legacy, just think about it … I’d have been delivering remarks last Tuesday and tonight and all the thousands of other conversations based on a lie; and I’d miss an incredible opportunity to make something positive out of this by shining a spotlight on the stigma surrounding suicide; and depression.
Depression is an extremely powerful, evil, and dangerous disease. I knew it before this … but I really know it now. I’m not going to stand up here like I’m an expert on depression … because I’m not. I’ve never been depressed … I’ve got experience with it being around the love of my life who struggled with it from time to time … but I really don’t truly know what it’s like. I really need to learn more and believe me I will. But I tell you what … my son Brendon does … and I hope you’ve read what he’s been writing and posting. And I hope it changes your perspective.
Look, my job description changed overnight along with my priorities. At the very top of the list is to take care of and protect my boys. So, one thing I ask you is to give them some space. Love them, tell them how sorry you are for them, tell them how wonderful a woman their mother was, tell them stories, let them know that you are there if they need you. BUT DON’T EVER TELL THEM … MY BOYS … THAT THEIR MOM WASN’T HAPPY … BECAUSE IT’S NOT TRUE AND THEY KNOW IT … JUST LISTEN TO THEM, TO ME … WE KNOW. I’M NOT DENYING THAT SHE HAD HER MOMENTS … AND THERE WERE TIMES WHEN THEY LASTED MORE THAN A MOMENT. AND THIS LAST “MOMENT” SHE COULD NOT SHAKE IT. I GOT IT, BRENDON GETS IT, I THINK RYAN IS GETTING IT. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN SHE WASN’T HAPPY. AND PLEASE DON’T OFFER YOUR ASSESSMENT/ANALYSIS/RATIONALIZATION OF WHAT HAPPENED … IT DOESN’T HELP … LET’S LEAVE THAT TO THE PROFESSIONALS … OK.
For all of you that were close to Lynn and me … I know you hurt for me and for my boys. As I said Tuesday … don’t look down on her, don’t say … “how could she do this to them”. Also, as I said Tuesday … all you need to know is this …
- I know … I loved her with all my heart … she was everything to me … and I know she knew it
- I know she loved her boys and her family … with all her heart
- I know she loved me with all her heart
- And I know if she could’ve helped it … she would have
Ok enough of that let’s get back into the love story and at the end I’m going to give you some insight into how it all began …
First just know that I loved her completely. She was beautiful inside and out, sexy, passionate, compassionate, and caring. She was smart, and talented in so many ways … as a surgical physician assistant, a cook, with arts and crafts. She was strong. She had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. She was hardworking and she took great care of the house, the boys and me. I liked the fact that for many years now … she didn’t have to work outside of the house … she liked that to. I’d tease her about going back to work … saying come on hon I could retire sooner … she just say nah … I like my gig … I’ve got a great life! She loved to read and would just gobble up books … she could read so fast, she loved music, flowers and plants, the beach and water, and animals … especially her dogs, loved seeing dolphins in the water right by our house and she had this weird thing about otters. I could go on and on about the many, many things she loved.
I mentioned this last Tuesday … how I was particularly proud of her and happy for her over the last 7 months following her most recent back surgery last October. Lynn originally hurt her back in 1999 … she was helping to move a gastric bypass patient and blew out one of her lower disks…S1/L5. Over a period of 3-4 years they went into that poor girl’s back at least 5 times to address the disk issue (another 3 to put a spinal cord stimulator in). We were so nervous that this latest injury was going to turn out like the first one … requiring multiple surgeries. But this time it was different. Within an hour after having surgery I had her back home; an hour later per Dr’s orders she walked a block. Every day she walked further and further and got stronger and stronger. She started swimming. My girl is quite the fish … she started out doing 40 laps at the Y. Every week she added laps. She got to the point where she was doing 100 laps 2-3 times a week in the same amount of time it took her to do the original 40 … and she loved it. Over the same period of time she lost 30 lbs.
We liked a lot of the same things and shared many interests. We’ve built 4 houses together and rarely were we not on the same page. Although there was one notable exception when Lynn, Pam and Jan tried to re-arrange my kitchen layout by extending a wall … ask them how that turned out. But we were also quite different in many ways. They say opposites attract … we were great together. We both used to like to say … not only do we love each other … but we also like each other. Like everyone neither one of were us perfect … but we were the perfect couple.
I also mentioned Tuesday night how just in the last couple years she started to affectionately call me Superman on occasion. In part because I’m a hardworking, global traveling, wine/beer/cocktail drinking, fun-loving, fishing, golfing, boating and outgoing guy who tries to get that maximum out of everything I do and rarely tires.
Look this sucks … I know in this world I’ll never again hear her voice, touch her beautiful skin, I’ll never again kiss her lips, we’ll never make love again … I will never again hear call my name or call me Superman. As I also mentioned last Tuesday … I’m so glad that on April 22, 2012 she made the decision to give her life to Christ … allowing him to be her Lord and Savior. So how cool is this … with the choice she made and that same choice I made before her … I’m guaranteed to spend eternity with my high school sweetheart.
Now that brings me to something I want to leave with all of you … my two wishes for you … 1) that you find Christ 2) that you experience love like Lynn and I had. If you achieve these two things … you’re all set … “drop the mic”!
Ok so let’s switch gears … let me fill you in some more on the beginning of this love story. As you’ve heard Lynn and I were high school sweethearts. So, in CT I told folks the story of how it all began … the very beginning … our first kiss. I’m going to share something different with you. I’m going to tell you about how we got together for good … how Superman closed the deal!
Well as I mentioned before … I’m not going to share the details of the Lynn’s Love Story on-line. You can only get that during face to face interaction with me … or wait for the book. ☺
One last thing I’ll share. I know we’re making a positive impact with our transparency, this blog, etc. Here’s a note I got a couple of weeks ago, from a new friend. I had dinner late one night in a wine bar he works at and gave him the address to the blog …
“Sorry to message you so late/early but you told me to read your blog… I have shared it with a friend so far. Why did you share it with me? Did you detect something with me? Did you know that I’ve tried? I have been hospitalized twice because of depression. I’m happy that I met you Lance and I’m truly sorry for your loss.”
Well that’s it for now. I hope this message resonated with you. As always please share this blog with others … and give me feedback … I’d like to know what you think.