As an oncologist, I deal with death on an almost daily basis. The hope – and, in many cases, the reality – is that cancer gets cured and death is pushed back as far as possible, into the distant future. When that isn’t the case, though, part of my job is counseling people on how to handle the reality of death, how to handle life when it is about to come to an end. I work with patients and with their families to get them through that time, with as little suffering as possible. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be there for them, in that time of vulnerability and powerlessness. I can make a difference during that time, and it is humbling to be able to do so.

The thing with cancer is that often, we can predict – to some degree – when death will occur. When death is predictable, there is time for last hugs and kisses, last moments of hand-holding, final goodbyes. And goodbyes are so, so important.

A friend of mine is hurting right now.  Jennie is about my age and she lives in New York. She has two young daughters, about the ages of my own children. Her husband died on Sunday, unexpectedly, with no time for goodbyes.

I’ve had a very hard time with this, harder than I expected. I think that many of us in this community – the food blogging community, and yes, the Twitter community – are struggling with grief and sadness for Jennie’s loss. This letter describes so well the feelings that so many of us are experiencing.

I told my husband I loved him yesterday morning when I walked out of the house to head to work. I tell him that every morning, but yesterday was different. I told him emphatically, with emotion, not just because it was habit but because I meant it.

I told him I loved him as if it were the last time he would hear it.





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17 Responses to “on this day, fifteen years ago…”

  1. Paula — June 28, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    Happy 15th Anniversary! That is a beautiful photograph. Sincere best wishes for many, many more years of happiness with your best friend 🙂

  2. Kerry | Yum and Yummer — June 28, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    Happy anniversary you two!

  3. Winnie — June 28, 2012 @ 8:24 am

    Such a gorgeous photo…Happy Anniversary to you and Sam 🙂

  4. Tracey — June 28, 2012 @ 8:25 am

    Happy Anniversary! Time flies, doesn’t it? 🙂

  5. Nate — June 28, 2012 @ 8:33 am

    Happy Anniversary! its mine too, only 4 years though

  6. Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — June 28, 2012 @ 8:36 am

    Happy anniversary, love that photo!

  7. Kim Foster — June 28, 2012 @ 9:31 am

    Happy anniversary, honey!

    I think choosing the right partner in life is everything. You both did good.


  8. Jennifer Hess — June 28, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    So beautiful! Happy anniversary to you two, and here’s to many more happy years together!

  9. Maria Raynal — June 28, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

    Happy anniversary! What a lovely photo. Wishing you many happy decades together.

  10. Heather — June 28, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

    I hope you have a wonderful anniversary!

  11. Amy @ The Nifty Foodie — June 28, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

    Happy Anniversary!

  12. Jenny @ BAKE — June 29, 2012 @ 5:02 am

    congratulations! that’s a real achievement!

  13. Rachel Winter — June 29, 2012 @ 9:30 am

    WOW! Has it been 15 years! Still remember your wedding and how much fun we had!!
    Congrats to 2 of my favorite people.

  14. Kathryn — June 29, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

    Happy (belated) anniversary! What a stunning picture, there is so much emotion captured there.

  15. Tara @ The Butter Dish — June 29, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

    Congratulations Jennifer. I hope the next 15, 30, 45 years are even more blessed than these first.

  16. Gah! That picture! It’s so tender!

  17. Lenore — July 24, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    Happy anniversary!! That photo is gorgeous.

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