You could say that my story began on August 30, 1978 at 7:55 am at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston because that is when I entered this world. It was the beginning of my childhood in the Boston area with my Irish-Catholic family. My childhood was pretty ordinary, filled with bike rides, Barbies and games of tag and hide and go seek. I had a strong sense of where I came from. I was fortunate enough to know all four of my grandparents. I also grew up around many aunts, uncles and cousins. It was in my childhood that I developed my love for dogs, history, the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots, hoodsies and fried clams. I also developed a Boston accent that still manages to slip out when I am emotional or have been drinking.
You could say that my story really began early morning on July 3, 1993 when my family drove away from my grandmother’s house in Massachusetts. We were setting off for our new life in Maine. This was the summer before my freshman year in high school and I was excited to be starting high school in a new place. My high school memories were filled with cross country and track practices, cashiering at the local Shop ‘n Save, social studies and French class, walks by the ocean and driving my hand-me-down ‘87 Ford Escort around town because there was nothing else to do. During my high school years, I found small town life to be suffocating and I longed to see the world. I would later become a “boomerang kid” and return in my twenties where I learned that it’s actually not so bad to be from a small town.
You could say that my story really began on August 30, 1997 which was my nineteenth birthday. My father and I left our home in Surry, Maine and I was about to embark on my four year journey at the University of Southern Maine. I was tired that morning because I had spent the night before with my high school best friend Darcy at the Blue Hill Fair. I was excited to be leaving home for the first time. I also was embarrassed because my father told everyone, from the waitress at the Augusta Friendly’s to the USM volunteers directing traffic that they were making me start college on my birthday. My college years were filled with history classes, cross country and track practices, midnight trips to L.L.Bean (when we were under 21) and trips to the bars in the Old Port in Portland (once we were legal). It was also during my college years that I did a semester in Winchester, U.K.
You could say my story began on July 5, 2005 at around 5:00 am when I was boarding a plane from Bangor International Airport to Las Vegas for the 2005 Young Republican National Convention. This organization would play a big role in my life for the next 5 years and I would even hold an officer title. I got to see many places in the U.S. that I had never been such as Nashville, Denver, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Little Rock and Miami. I got to meet many important political figures. Politics helped me grow as a person because had been a relatively quiet and shy person and politics helped me develop my social skills. My years in this organization gave me one of the biggest gifts of all- friendships and love.
You could say that my story began during the late afternoon of August 1, 2008 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. That is when the greatest love story of my life began. I knew I really liked this guy and he seemed to really like me. It was our first date only we didn’t really know it when it started. What started as an outing between friends evolved into a date as the night went on. It was on this day that we held hands for the first time and that we had our first kiss. I was doubtful that it would ever work out but I decided to do something that I never do, which was to let my guard down. Despite living seven hours apart and an age difference I don’t care to mention, our love only seemed to blossom. There were lots of weekend trips and lots of tanks of gas charged to my VISA card. I drank a lot of 5 hour energy shots and I could recognize all the people who worked at the rest stops on Mass Pike. 364 days later I moved to Albany.
You could say that our story began on September 29, 2012 at 1:30pm at Blessed Sacrament Church in Albany, NY. Our fairytale was going to officially begin. I was so excited that I had to tell myself to breathe and my knees were shaking. I was in my princess dress and he wore a kilt. Of course, we learned that marriage wasn’t always easy but we were best friends and soul mates. We weathered the low of a miscarriage and the high of the birth of our daughter. We bought a house and a family car. We went on five cruises and explored many Caribbean islands. We both had some success in our careers (he more than me.) We had many friends and an active social life. We had so many plans. Our life was good.
But this story doesn’t begin on any of those days. This story begins on a Sunday morning, August 21, 2016 in the Medical ICU at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center at 8:35 am. I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept in 30 hours and I hadn’t showered for 3 or 4 days because I was too afraid to leave the unit. One of our best friends had stayed up with me all night. After a 5 month battle with surgical complications from a surgery performed at another hospital the doctors had just declared my husband clinically dead.
I was heartbroken and numb. Our fairy tale was over. I had tried to do everything I could to save him. He fought until the bitter end. My only relief was that he wasn’t in pain anymore. It just wasn’t meant to be. Our fairy tale ended too soon. I didn’t know how I was going to do this without him. How was I supposed to carry on and live my life without my best friend? A part of me died with him that morning. This is the story of the part of me that is still living.