Friday, December 28, 2007

Made it through Christmas

This picture was taken on Christmas Eve after we came home from church. As you can see Tyler is now quite the man in his new suit! Looks like a little businessman. Their smiles are a testament to the excitement that they had inside.

The last few days have been pretty tough. We finally got everything done for Christmas and went to church as we always do. It was not the same without Chris with us though. It just seemed as if our family was not complete. We came home and took care of bringing up the presents and hanging the stockings. The kids went to bed a little before midnight and I had a few things to do. After I finished around 12:30 or so I sat down and it finally all hit me. The 23-year routine that Chris and I had done each year had now come to an end. It took me awhile to compose myself and get upstairs to bed. It was the worst that I have felt since she passed away.

The next morning I had to wake the kids up around 8 AM. We opened presents and I started baking the 23 pound turkey! Alex got a special surprise in the driveway as you can see.

The whole family came and we had a very full house. About 30 people. We ate and exchanged gifts and played a gift exchange game. All day long all I could think of was how much Chris enjoyed doing all of these things and how hard it was to enjoy without her. We all had a good time and everyone left around 10pm.

This week Alex worked for a couple of days and will be leaving on Saturday to go visit her boyfriend in NJ. She actually has to leave to return to college on Sunday the 6'th so she doesn't have a lot of time left at home.

Tonight, Friday, Michael is going to a midnight rock-n-bowl night with the youth group from church. He's looking forward to it. I hope I don't fall asleep and forget to pick him up.

The day after Christmas I received an email from Jeannette Vagnozzi. I had posted a comment on her blog 2hands.blogspot.com about 4 months back and she had just gotten around to responding. I really do not remember how I came across her blog but I do remember reading through it. She sent me a very, very nice email and I will share a small part of it with you:

...Please let me first tell you how devastated I was to read of your loss. You have done a good job of letting strangers understand what an amazing woman your wife was. I have to say, Charlie, you are everything a woman could hope to have by her side. Your constant care, your ability (even if it doesn’t always feel like it) to carry on and care for your children in a way that Chris would have wanted are a testament to your strength and character. No one ever hopes or wishes to discover their inner strength by having it tested to such a degree, but the truth is that this is how we discover or uncover it.

Charlie, by telling your story and Chris’s story, you unknowingly have helped other men get through a similar situation. You have also allowed other women to truly understand how breast cancer impacts the whole family. This is so important. The more we talk about it, the more people understand that breast cancer must be stopped before one more person, one more family goes through this battle.

I now check in often to see how you are doing. Every May since my own diagnosis I participate in a Relay for Life and walk many laps (over the course of 24 hours!) in honor of people who have touched my life and cancer journey. It would be an honor to walk in memory of Chris this year...

It was just what I needed to read the morning after Christmas. It made me feel a whole bunch better. Now, on to New Years. Oh yeah, the following picture was taken by Tyler last Sunday when we were down in DC for the concert.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Weekend before Christmas.

Well tonight we finally got a chance to use Tyler's new firepit that he built in our backyard. It's been there for a couple of weeks but it's either been too cold or too wet to use. We'll have our own little campground in the back yard this year!

Yesterday (friday) we all went to the movies together (Alex, Ty, Mike and I). We saw the premier of National Treasure. Cool movie.

Thursday we went out to dinner together after taking a bunch of things over to the thrift store that Chris's sister Jenny works at. We started taking a lot of things there knowing exactly where the money is going to benefit when an item is sold. Of course while there we had to shop! We picked up 2 suits for Tyler which I must say looked very nice on him.

The rest of this week we had dinners at home and just spent the evenings together. I went to the cemetery on Thursday and cleared up what was left over from Thanksgiving. There were a lot of graves that were decorated for the holidays. It was very nice. I put up the following wreath on Chris's grave for her. It is a wreath that was made for her by Jonnietta at the credit union a couple of years back. It has a small angel in the middle with the word "inspire" on it. She was certainly an inspiration to all of us.

The holidays are fast approaching and I am really torn. One side of me just wants it to get over with and I'm not really in the festive mood. Then on the other hand, I have 3 children that keep reminding me of the holiday and somewhat force me to get into the festive mood. Things are okay. It is really, really going to be tough to get up on Christmas morning without the love of my life next to me. I'm not looking forward to it but I'm sure the kids will help keep me sane.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Concert for Christmas...

Alex finally made it home on Friday. She got a bunch of snow in central PA so she played it safe and came home during the day on Friday. An easy drive she said.

Saturday, she and I went out for coffee and breakfast. It was a nice morning and nice to sit and chat, even though I had to wake her up! College student you know… We did a little shopping after that and then came home. She and Tyler then went out in the afternoon and Mike and I went for groceries. We’re not too good at that on a regular basis. Alex came home and started looking through the bare refrigerator and cabinets and gave me a hard time!

Sunday was a very busy day. We got up and had to pack up all our belongings from our rooms as they are coming to carpet the upstairs on Monday (I think). After that we left to have lunch at a restaurant in Rockville, MD. This restaurant is owned by Scott Blaugrund. I coached his son’s baseball team a few years ago right after Chris was diagnosed. Last month he told me to come down for dinner so we decided to wait until Alex came home. Incredible food and great atmosphere. Check it out if you’re in the area it is called The Potomac Grill. Thanks so much to Scott and his family for lunch and getting our day off to a great start.

After that we drove down to Washington, DC. We went to the International Spy Museum which is located near the Verizon Center. We spent a couple of hours in there and had a fun time looking at all the exhibits and learning about espionage and covert actions! I think Michael has found a career as he really liked it.

We then walked over to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. What an incredible concert. Almost 3 hours long and worth every minute. Check out some of the pix and videos if you can. Since this was the boys 1st concert they were amazed. It’s not quite a head-banging metal concert but pretty close. They played many wonderful Christmas songs and then kicked it up for an hour near the end. We didn’t get home until almost midnight!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One of Chris's wishes granted!

It's been a very hectic weekend and few days already this week. For 2 years Chrissy and I planned on getting new floors put into the living room, foyer and dining room. They were carpeted and I wanted to just recarpet them. She had her mind up that she wanted hardwood floors put in. Over the summer we finally started looking around and getting some quotes. When she got sick everything went by the wayside.

Monday we followed through on her wishes and put a new floor in! It's beautiful just like she knew it would be. When we put all the stuff back in and started looking at it I couldn't help but start crying. Tears of joy of course knowing that she really wanted this and that it came out so nicely. We even talked about this while she was in the hospital. She was adamant that we continue with what we started and put new floors in AND new carpet in the upstairs. The carpet folks come on Monday morning to start their job! We have to spend the weekend getting all the rooms ready to move out all the furniture. Not an easy task.

Alex hopefully comes home tomorrow. The weather may not be to cooperative so it may become Friday. She has my Maxima so I'd prefer she wait if necessary! This Sunday is a special day for us. I bought us tickets to go and see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the Verizon Center in DC. I'm sure you've heard their music. It should be a great show. We're planning on going down early and do some shopping in town too.

The holidays are starting to come together. Both trees are up now and 1 is decorated. We put some decorations up but nothing too fancy. Outside no lights unfortunately. I just don't have the time or energy to get to it. We have a lot of shopping left to do as well so next week will be just as hectic as this one I'm sure...

God Bless.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A sign?

Well today is Michael's birthday. He turns 12 today. We'll be doing something this evening for him I'm sure. Most likely dinner and a movie. He loves the local Japanese steakhouse so that will probably be it.

Now, sit down and get ready for this. This morning I was up getting ready and of course thinking of Chris. I just sort of said to myself "Honey just give me a sign that everything's okay". We all probably do that at some time or another but today being Michael's birthday it had a bit more meaning.

The boys left for school and I went into Frederick to have coffee and run a quick errand. Everything was going pretty well and I left the coffee shop around 8:45. In the morning I usually listen to the local AM radio channel. Chris did a lot of advertising work with them and I still hear her ads on the radio each morning for the credit union.

One of the things this station does is run snippets of people in the community saying something about the morning show. So I'm listening and cutting through town to get to the other side and my route took me right past the back entrance to the cemetery where Chris is buried. This is the same entrance that was used on the day of her funeral. As I pull up to the stop sign at that entrance I hear on the radio the following: "Hi this is Chris DeWitt of Frederick, MD and it's time to rise and shine with WMFD". Or something pretty close to that. It was a recording of Chris done sometime awhile back by Bob Miller the host. I was with her when it was recorded in fact.

Needless to say hearing the voice of my beautiful wife again was overwhelming and I completely lost it. I had to pull over. My hands were shaking and I just could not control my self. I needed someone to talk to so I called Marianne at COMSTAR and talked with her which was really helpful getting me back on the road!

Thanks for answering me Chris! I now know everything is okay.


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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's been a long week...

The title says it all. I went to my friend Jeff's funeral last weekend. It was really tough and almost made me relive the week that I had all over again. I was, however, very glad that I went. There were lots of people there that I knew and I was able to see Jeff's wife Kristen. She was unable to come to Chris's funeral as she was caring for Jeff at the time.

I got home Saturday and my friends Danny and Brenda and Karen and Glen came up for a few hours. We just sat around and chatted and had some Chinese food. It was great seeing them.

This Friday is Michael's 12'th birthday and another one of those 1'sts that will keep coming. We don't have any immediate plans just yet but may take him to his favorite restaurant for dinner.

Today I attended calling hours for a woman that I had never met. Barbara Case. She is the daughter of one of the board of directors at COMSTAR. She had been battling breast cancer for quite awhile and unfortunately she passed away this past Monday. Married 28 years, along with 4 children. A very similar situation as mine only they were about 6 years older. I went and saw Nick (board member) and his wife. I also had a chance to meet Barbara's husband. I gave him my number and told him to call me if he wanted to talk. I hope someone, someday can put a stop to this.Tonight I was on a cooking extravaganza! I don't know what I made but as you can see from the picture the boys enjoyed it. Noodles, chicken and whatever else I could find. I'm trying the best I can to keep them fed! They seem to be doing just fine!!

The holidays are fast approaching. We are trying to get some decorations up but it just doesn't seem to be happening as fast as we would like. Today we got about 6" of snow and it's been cold. It did put me in the holiday spirit and we dug out a few more things tonight.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Going to NJ


Today I am leaving to attend my friend Jeff's funeral in NJ. Chris's parents are going to watch the boys tonight and probably take them shopping for Christmas presents while I'm out. That will be helpful.

Wednesday night after dinner Tyler came downstairs to my office after dinner and asked if we could decorate the Christmas tree. We put it up on Sunday and had not done anything to it. I was not looking forward to it but was glad to see that he and Michael wanted to. They did most of the work. The hardest part for me was hanging ornaments on the tree that Chris had just bought this past year or that I had bought for her. They we pretty and I'm sure she likes them. Here is one that I got for her:

Tyler in the Paper (Published Photojournalist)

This picture appeared in the local Frederick News Post Newspaper on Thursday. It's a picture of Lake Linganore which is located only about 1/2 mile from our house. It's located on page B-6. The interesting part is that the picture was taken by TYLER and submitted by him to the paper! It was really cool to see it along with his name in the paper. Here's what it actually looked like in the paper:


Oh and Alex was also mentioned in the FNP last Sunday. Her college routinely keeps the local papers updated on what is happening with their students. Here's what was said.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The loss of a good friend.

I received notice today that a good friend of mine, Jeff Waters, from NJ passed away yesterday from a brain tumor. He had been battling his tumor for almost 4 years! He was a very brave man and will be remembered always for his courage. Jeff will be missed dearly by his wife Kristen and all of his friends.

Jeff came to MD in August to our friend Danny's crab feast and while there he and Chris had a very long talk with one another. Chris never told me what they spoke about but I know that it was helpful to her and I'm sure to him as well.

I'll miss you Jeffy. God bless you and give Chrissy a hug for me.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back home.

We finally left Deep Creek on Saturday afternoon. We drove around a lot on Friday and Saturday looking at places that we've been to before. The weather was really weird. Normal for up there. It was 72 degrees when we went up on Wednesday, Thursday morning it rained then the front rolled through and the temps dropped 30+ degrees in couple hours!

Friday it snowed and the temps were in the high 20's. Pretty cool. We went by the Wisp ski resort and saw them making snow on the mountain. It was really cool seeing all of the snow machines running at one time! The kids got out and played in the snow! Some pics here.
I woke up early on Saturday morning and got a chance to watch the sun rise over the lake. It was pretty spectacular and on par with the sunrise on the bay I posted a few weeks back. I seem to have that knack of waking up early for some reason now.

We got home around 5pm on Saturday. Tyler went to the movies and Alex went to Chipoltle to get dinner for us. She had a bunch of things to do before going back to school.

Sunday Alex and I went out for coffee and then went out and bought a wreath for the front of the house and a huge poinsettia. Later we cleaned out the storage room and made our way to the Christmas decorations. While moving some boxes around I found a bag that contained some new ornaments. When I opened it I saw that it was ornaments that Chris had bought at Deep Creek in August when we were there. Let's just say it took me awhile to get myself together and get back upstairs. We did get the tree put up in the family room. No decorations yet but the tree is up. I don't know how we're going to make out during the holidays. I really, really don't. I do know that we have no way to prevent it from coming so we must do what we can to make it through. We will certainly have our entire family over for the holidays. That's what we've done for a long while and Chris would have it no other way this year too.

Thanks to everyone for looking out for us during the Thanksgiving week and for continually keeping us in your thoughts and prayers. We really need it! Take care and I'll try to keep you updated as the holiday moves in.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Well today has been a very, very tough day. We drove up to Deep Creek Lake yesterday afternoon. After checking into our room in the condo we went down for dinner to the all you can eat pasta bar in the hotel restaurant. It was the same place that we've visited the past few years and always enjoyed the meal.

This morning I woke up around 7 and decided to get up and go out for coffee. There is a really nice coffee shop just up the road from the hotel so I went there. After getting my coffee and newspaper I went over and sat down on a large leather chair in the corner. I sat and read for awhile and then sat and looked around for awhile at the signs that were for sale on the wall. After a few moments I looked at the wall behind me and just over my shoulder was a small sign the said it all. A very nice plaque that said "Time Began In a Garden", and had 2 very pretty purple iris flowers on it. Chris loved iris flowers and of course loved working in her garden. This was my sign that showed that we did the right thing coming up here and that she was indeed really with us. I, of course, bought the sign for our house and maybe one day we'll hang it in a house up here by the lake.

I went back and got the kids around 10. We went out and got them something to eat and then just drove around to look at the area. Places that we've enjoyed many times in the past with Chris.

At 3pm we had reservations for Thanksgiving dinner in the hotel restaurant. The food was great and we had a very nice table next to the windows overlooking the lake. Dinner was nice but will never be the same again without Chris. We miss her greatly.

Monday, November 19, 2007

No soup for you!

Whenever we had leftover chicken or turkey Chris would always make homemade soup. Well this week someone made us an entire roasted chicken which the boys and I didn't eat all of.

I took advantage of the cold weather and football games on Sunday to try and make some soup. I looked for Chris's recipe but was unable to find it. I don't think she had one. So I just winged it!

All-in-all I think it came out pretty good. I asked Michael if it was as good as Mom's and he said no but it was pretty close. That made me feel good! I'll take pretty. I'll never be as good or better.

I got a call from my brother-in-law Ken yesterday around 3:45. He asked if he could come over to watch the Redskins-Cowboys football game with me. I was glad he did. It then became a bash as Chris's mom and dad were out and came by, along with her brother and his 2 girls, and Chris's sister Jenny came by too. It was great. They joked about inviting themselves over but I didn't care one bit. I enjoyed the company a lot.

Tyler and I went to Mass yesterday morning and one of the songs we sang was "Here I am Lord". It was one of Chris's favorite songs. We also sang this song at her service in the same church. I cried through the whole song. It was just beautiful, as was she. Here's a link to the song if you don't remember it: Here I am Lord
And the words as well:
          I, the Lord of sea and sky,
          I have heard my people cry.
          All who dwell in dark and sin,
          My hand will save.

            Chorus
            Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
            I have heard you calling in the night.
            I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
            I will hold your people in my heart.

          I, who made the stars of night,
          I will make their darkness bright.
          Who will bear my light to them?
          Whom shall I send?

            Chorus
            Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
            I have heard you calling in the night.
            I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
            I will hold your people in my heart.

          I, the Lord of snow and rain,
          I have borne my people’s pain.
          I have wept for love of them.
          They turn away.

            Chorus
            Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
            I have heard you calling in the night.
            I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
            I will hold your people in my heart.

          I will break their hearts of stone,
          Give them hearts for love alone.
          I will speak my words to them.
          Whom shall I send?

            Chorus
            Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
            I have heard you calling in the night.
            I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
            I will hold your people in my heart.

          I, the Lord of wind and flame,
          I will send the poor and lame.
          I will set a feast for them.
          My hand will save.

            Chorus
            Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
            I have heard you calling in the night.
            I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
            I will hold your people in my heart.

          Finest bread I will provide,
          'Til their hearts be satisfied.
          I will give my life to them.
          Whom shall I send?

            Chorus
            Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
            I have heard you calling in the night.
            I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
            I will hold your people in my heart.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cat and Dog

Just thought you would all like to see that the dog and cat are getting along so well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mid Week


Well the home coming party was a big success. About 45 9'th graders showed up to "hang out" at our house Saturday night. They had lots of food and lots of fun. Nothing broken (that I know of) and all is good. The last ones left about 3:00 am so we were pretty beat.

I had to get up at 7am to take Michael to his 8am indoor lacrosse game. Ugh. He at least went to bed around 11. Sunday afternoon we Michael and I went to the Baltimore Ravens football game. We went with our neighbor Ray. We had a good time. The weather was not too cold.

Last night I was sitting at my PC around 5pm working and the phone rang. It was a friend/neighbor and she asked if she could bring dinner by. Considering I had not even begun to think about it I said sure. What a blessing!!! Great meal. It helped out a lot.

I still need to go to Chris's office and clear out her personal belongings. hopefully I can get that done this week. We made reservations for Thanksgiving at Deep Creek for next week too. Should be nice.



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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Home Coming for Tyler

Today was Tyler's homecoming at high school. He was nominated to be one of the princes for the king and queen's court. He didn't win but was really psyched about getting on the ballot! He asked me about a week ago if he could have an "after" party. I said sure. Well now there's 40+ people on the invite list and probably more coming! Needless to say I'll have my hands full. We went out and bought a whole bunch of food and stuff for the party and pizza will be ordered when they all get here.

I just dropped Tyler off at the dance a little while ago and am now in the waiting mode before the big bash. He was all dressed up in a new shirt and tie. I dropped him off and then cried most of the way home. Another one of those moments that seem to be coming more and more often. Chris would have been so proud of him.

Tyler, Michael, and I went to the homecoming game today to watch their team WIN. Very exciting. Tomorrow we have tickets to the Baltimore Ravens NFL game at 4pm. So we're excited about that too.

Wish me luck tonight with all the 9'th graders!


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Friday, November 9, 2007

Another Honor for Chris

The fall newsletter has come out from COMSTAR. In a tribute to Chris they have devoted the entire first page to her memory and wrote a very heart warming article about her. This publication goes out to each household that has an account at the credit union. If you would like to see the entire newsletter you can click here.


Monday, November 5, 2007

Bagpipe Songs

The gentleman who played the bagpipes at Chris's funeral sent me an email telling me exactly what the songs were that he played that beautiful Saturday morning. They were:

  • Sou
    Gan - also known as Welsh Air, which IS a Welsh lullaby
  • Dawning
    of the Day - an Irish song that has several expressions; one
    being that after someone's passing they awake to a "new day"
  • Amazing
    Grace
  • America
    the Beautiful

If anyone wishes to contact Peter his information is:
Peter Elliott
301-788-3819

Washington DC Fire Dept. Pipes and Drums
http://www.dcfdpipesanddrums.org/


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Waking up EARLY

Halloween was good for the boys. They got themselves together and went out trick-or-treating with a couple of friends. They were gone for a couple of hours and came home with the usual load of candy. I stayed at home and handed out the candy. It was really hard though. I never handed out the candy before. That was what Chris used to do. When the kids were younger I would go out with them and she would stay back and hand it out. Last year was the 1st year I stayed home too and I was able to watch her hand out the candy. She enjoyed it a great deal. My neighbors asked me down to their house to hang with them but I was just not up to it.

Friday the boys had the day off from school so we had a chance to sleep in. No deal for me. I woke up at 4:30 and today Saturday I woke up around 5:00. It's starting to catch up to me some as I'm tired during the day. I'm going to try some Tylenol PM tonight and see how that works.

Thursday was the end of the term for the boys. I went out and bought Tyler a new bike about 10 days ago and Michael received his on Thursday. They've worked hard in school and certainly deserved something like this. They haven't had a bike for about 9 months now so it was time.

Friday ALEX came home for the weekend! It was great to see her again. She is doing well in school and just wanted a break. We all went to the highschool football game last night and watched our local team whip up on the competition. It was cold but we had our blankets. The 4 of us sat together and watched. Several people came by to say hello which was nice.

Michael mad the comment "the last time we were in these stands was when we came to watch Allie's lacrosse games". And Chris was at each and every one of them.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Over a week and no post!

For all my hardcore bloggers I'm sorry for not posting anything in the last week. It's not that I've been too busy but really there's not much more to post about. The boys and I are doing okay. They go to school, I work from home and then when they come home we work on homework and then dinner. We're in a routine now.

Michael has worked very hard to get his grades out of the cellar and with the term ending on Thursday he should be getting some good grades. He was having a horrible time a few weeks back but has finally started to put some effort back into his work.

Sunday I woke up at 4:30 AM. Sleep has not been too good recently. I piddled around until about 7 and then went out for coffee. Around 8 I went to the cemetery and sat quietly for awhile. It helps some. Sunday night the boys and I drove south of Annapolis to watch the Redskins game with our friends down there. Thanks to the Gebbia's for looking out for us.

The holiday's are coming and we're looking forward to them but it will be incredibly difficult. The kids and I are going away for Thanksgiving. Not sure where. Just away somewhere. Hopefully Alex and I can come up with something that we all agree on.

I'll keep you updated if things change around here.




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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

'Widowed'? No, That Box Can't Tell The Tale of a Heart

This article was in the Style section of yesterday's Washington Post. The same thing that happened to this woman also happened to me the other day when I was filling out some forms in a doctor's office. I sent her an email and asked for permission to put this on my blog.

By Tracy Grant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 22, 2007; C08

For our 10th wedding anniversary, he gave me a delicate gold bracelet that encased 35 perfect, tiny diamonds.

For our 20th anniversary later this week, I will bring 19 red roses and one white one to his grave. Nineteen for the years we had together; one for the promise of an eternity yet to come.

Please don't call me a widow. The word conjures images of an Italian grandmother in heavy black stockings, a lace mantilla and a heavy shawl. I am a 43-year-old working suburban mother of two. I don't look like anyone's vision of a widow. More important, I don't feel like one. Seven months have passed since he died and I feel as married as I ever have, maybe more so -- more committed to all the plans we had made together, whether for the toolshed in the back yard or for the 11-year-old boys now, inexplicably, absent their father.

I was first confronted with this idea that I was a widow, not in the hospital room where his body lay lifeless, his spirit already gone to a purer place; not following his casket down the aisle of the church; not the first night I tried to sleep alone in our bed. No, it was in an oral surgeon's office filling out new-patient forms.

There it was: "Marital Status," followed by four boxes and the letters M, S, D, W. I barely managed to ask the receptionist for the key to the ladies' room before the mind-numbing shock gave way to body-wracking sobs.

Till death do us part. By all legal, moral and spiritual definitions, my marriage is over.

We had loved each other through lots of good times, some not-so-good times, in sickness, oh yes in sickness, and in health. Yet, there is a part of me that still feels his presence in the home that he redecorated in the last days of his life, in the car he gave me for my 40th birthday, in the heart he stole the day I first met him 23 years ago.

The phenomenon of phantom pain is well-documented in people who lose limbs. They feel sensation -- even pain -- from arms or legs no longer there. Their suffering is real, sometimes excruciating. Mental health professionals describe the loss of a spouse as one of the most stressful events in a person's life. I know about phantom pain. Mine is not in my arm or leg but in my soul -- where a cannon blast has left a jagged hole that no prosthetic device can ever hope to repair.

I don't see my marriage so much as being over as being interrupted -- rudely and unexpectedly interrupted. Some will say this is an unhealthy attitude, that I'm trying to keep my husband alive, that I'm stuck in the past, that I'm not "moving on" with my life. There are well-meaning people who advise me to date, remove my wedding ring, color my hair.

Understand me: I am not pining for what I lost. In the worst days of those 19 years, we had more happiness than some people have in their entire lives. I did nothing in my life to deserve the goodness and sweetness we knew, so I refuse to curse the fates and say that I don't deserve the sadness that is now part of life. I move on when I walk the dog each morning, talk the boys through the latest middle-school crisis, take on a new challenge at work.

But I believe that while we love many people in our lives, each of us, if we're lucky, gets but one "love of my life." I have mine. He no longer shares my bed, but he will always share my heart. It is enough. It has to be.

When I fill out forms these days I leave "Marital Status" blank. There are some questions that simply can't be answered by checking a box.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fishin'!

This is the scene that I was able to see on Saturday morning. After doing some juggling with the boys and dog I was able to have the whole day to myself and I went out on my good friend Danny's boat and went fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.

My friend Rich (in the picture below holding the fish) from Rochester flew down on Friday and also went with us along with a few others as well. We were out until about 3pm and the weather was just wonderful. I haven't seen most of these guys since the day of Chrissy's funeral so it was nice to see them under different circumstances.

My in-laws took Tyler to their camp on Thursday and then I took Michael up there on Friday evening. I then drove to Danny's and spent the night there. Ray and Cheryl watched the dog and my day was set. I cannot begin to tell you how hard things have gotten being a single parent. It is just overwhelming at times juggling carpools and schedules with the 2 boys. Everyone has told me to tell them when I need help and I will. But at the same time I need to get adjusted to this as best as I can.

As you can see all the work paid off. We caught a bunch of fish and had a really nice time. Thanks to everyone for helping make it happen for me. I really needed the day away.

I was supposed to go and watch Alex's lacrosse team on Saturday but even she insisted that I go fishing. She understood completely. They did well without me being there!

This morning (Sunday) the boys and I got up early and went to 9am mass at church. After that we went to breakfast and then went to a pumpkin patch fundraiser at the church and bought some big pumpkins. One of the pumpkins is for Chris and I plan on taking it over to the cemetery in the next day or 2. The weather is getting cooler. This is Chris's favorite time of the year.

The boys are asleep and this is the hardest part of the day for me. This is the time that Chris and I used to sit back and just enjoy each other's company. I really miss that alot. I tend to just go upstairs and try to go to sleep now instead of staying up and watching tv. Sometimes it works. Most of the time it does not. I think Chris's passing is starting to settle in.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wild Tuesday...

Well I had to share my day today with everyone. It was pretty hectic but worthwhile.

I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. Not typical for me to say the least. Especially since the boys had a 4-hour delayed school opening and since I went to sleep around 1:30! I don't know why but I woke up wide awake. I got up and something persuaded me to take a shower and clean up that early. Around 6:40 I left the house and went into Frederick for coffee. I generally always go to Beans and Bagels. I was there for about an hour and when I left I drove up and around the block and something made me go down the street that our church is located. As I was approaching it was about 7:50 and I saw the sign out front indicating that morning mass was at 8AM.

I don't know why but, again, something persuaded me to park the car down the street and and go to mass. Now, I'm not Catholic, and I've NEVER been to AM mass before but today I did. I went in and sat down in the 4th row. Me and a bunch of elderly people praying the rosary! After a few minutes the priest came out from behind the altar and guess who it was.......
Yup!!! FATHER WAYNE. Father Wayne was the priest that came to our house the day Chris died and gave a blessing and also presided over her service at the church and cemetery. We really love him and his teachings and were blessed to have him do her service.

After a few moments in church he saw me and a huge smile came over him. The mass was nice actually. Very quiet, no signing, choir, singing or any of that. It lasted about 30 minutes. Afterwards Father Wayne found me outside and we chatted for awhile. I told him I wasn't sure why I was there but after I saw him I knew why. Somebody wanted me to be there that morning for to listen and see him. I think we all know who!

Father Wayne is actually suffering from cancer himself and is going to chemo next week. I offered to go with him if he needed someone. I'm sure he has a long list but I sincerely wanted to help him out for all he did for us.

After church I walked to the car and kept walking. It was a nice morning and I was feeling pretty good. I walked a couple of miles in the downtown area of Frederick. It was great. I then went home and got started on some work and got the boys up and off to school.

At 2pm I had a meeting with a therapist. It was nice to chat with someone about what was going on. Me... I'm okay. Not great. Sad. Lonely at times. Busy. But I'm doing the right things and I keep making progress. Tough times are ahead I'm sure. I'm also concerned about the boys. Especially Michael. His grades are not anywhere near where they should be. The therapist said that boys need led at that age and that they are seeing me and looking at me for direction. It has been hard to show that direction but I'll start getting more in tuned with schoolwork and all that again.

At 4:45 I had 5 conferences with Michael's teachers for parent/teacher day. We worked out a plan for him to get his grades up to something acceptable. He's got a lot of work to get done in the next 2 weeks but he's already begun. I just hope that I can keep up with everything. Chris and I used to be "good cop bad cop". I would threaten them with bodily harm or injury and then she would come in and help with the homework. I have to do both now!!!! We'll all adjust I'm sure but it's so hard right now.

When I got home around 6:15 I went out and made one of our last "Let's Dish" dinners that came to us from COMSTAR. It was just wonderful and all I had to do was cook it on the grill. The boys and I then sat down to dinner and had a nice dinner. Chris's seat is empty and it's really hard to sit there and not think about her at the dinner table. Very similar to when Alex left for college. That was a hard adjustment for me as well.

Sorry for the lengthy post but I thought you all could use some casual reading. Take care and god bless. And please say a prayer for Father Wayne Funk at St. John's as he continues his cancer battle. Good night...

Charlie

Sunday, October 14, 2007

End of the weekend.

Nothing new to report on the home front. Just keeping busy. Friday the boys and I went up to Thurmont to visit with Chrissy's parents. They have a trailer in a campground up there and went for the weekend. We got there around 4 and just sat around the campfire and had dinner until about 9pm! It was really nice. Tyler spent the night there and Mike and I went home.

Saturday night I took the boys to the Air and Space Museum (the one near the airport where the space shuttle is) and we saw the movie Transformers. The difference here is that it was on the IMAX screen! It was huge and fantastic. They had a great time.

Sunday I let the boys sleep in. I went to have coffee and then went to the cemetery for awhile. I need to start thinking about a headstone soon so I'll start getting some ideas for that soon. Today Tyler had confirmation class at 1 and also at 7. Michael had a lacrosse game at 1 and also has Youth group at 7 too. That leaves me home alone from about 6:30 to 8:30. Not sure if that's good or bad...

Aside from that I started getting back into work last week. It is so difficult to get back into the swing of things but I'm trying. I'm also, finally getting things in order on the financial side as well. What an undertaking... Health insurance is our #1 priority and I'm still looking at options.

This is a very busy week. I have parent/teacher conferences with all the boys teachers this week. I'm meeting with a grief counselor, and next weekend is Alex's lacrosse tournament. Stay tuned.



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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Moving along...

Yesterday I finally went out and played golf with a friend of mine. It was a beautiful day and it really helped to take my mind off of everything. We walked 18 holes and so it was good exercise too! When I got home the boys had finished up their homework so we decided to go out to Bushwaller's in Frederick for dinner. Michael really likes this place because Chris and I took him there about a year ago. It's an Irish pub/bar but has good food. We had a good meal and a good time.

I took the boys to the skateboard shop (pitcrew) after that. Tyler "needed" a new board so I helped him with that.
After that I asked the boys if they wanted to go to the cemetery. I needed to go by and water the huge mum I bought for Chris. They looked at each other and waited for the other one to say something. After a few seconds they said yes. We went over, got a watering can, filled it up and went to the site. This was the 1st time the boys had been there since Chris was buried. They did great. I did okay. I was more emotional for them than anything else. We stood there for a few minutes and just hugged each other next to Chris. We then watered the mum and walked around to look at headstones. We need to start that process pretty soon too and I want the boys to be involved. It started getting dark so we left around 7.

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

22nd Anniversary

Well I finally made it. Friday was our 22nd wedding anniversary. What an incredibly difficult day it was. I let Michael sleep in on Friday and took him to school. I then went for coffee and a muffin (banana, thanks Rich @ B&B). After that I drove over to the cemetery and put up my chair, the same one we use for lacrosse games, and then sat quietly next to Chris for a couple of hours. I'm not going to lie to you, the grief sometimes just overwhelms me. I miss her so very, very much. Going to the cemetery allows me to get that grief out and then come back to the boys and be a little stronger. I hope it is working. I had a nice surprise on the porch when I came home. Chris's parents stopped by and left a pair of beautiful yellow mums in a nice basket for me.

Thursday I went down to COMSTAR to return some of the items that needed to get back to them. I had a nice visit with Lisa (CEO) and Marianne too. I didn't get a chance to go around and see everyone but I will. I promise. I did get to go into Chris's office and was immediately overcome. It looked just like it did the day she left back in mid-August. There are a lot of personal things there that I need to gather up but I was not able to do it that day. Lisa is also not able to do anything with the room at this point either so together we agreed to leave it as is for a while longer. Perhaps I'll bring the boys down one day to help me out. I did bring home a plant from her office so that Alex could have it back at school with her.

Alex came home this weekend on Friday for my anniversary. She and Jon (not a typo... no H) got here around 3 on Friday. After Michael came home we went out to Chris's favorite place for dinner, La Paz. The last time we were there was on August 16th with our friends from NY, Rich and Jill. It was not crowded on Friday since we were there early and we were seated in the best seats in the house. A nice dinner with the kids.

Saturday Tyler went to Hershey Park with some friends, Alex and J2 went to the University of MD football game and that left Mike and I at home. We decided to go to downtown Frederick's "In the Street" celebration. We had a good time together and did a little bonding. He is having a tough time coping with everything. But who isn't?

This morning we went to 9am mass at St John's and went to breakfast afterwards. We then took Mike to his lacrosse game and watched that. He scored another goal this week so he was proud of himself.

Alex left around 5. Tyler went to church for confirmation class. Mike went to church for youth group. That left me at home alone. Not what I like. So that's why I'm writing this for everyone!!! I guess it helps with some of the grieving. I don't know.

Thanks again to everyone for looking out for us and keeping in touch with us. I'll try to post more later this week.

Charlie



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Thursday, October 4, 2007

"My First Job"

Each week the Frederick News Post runs a piece entitled "My First Job". It takes one person and interviews them about their 1st job and then progresses into how it helped them where they are today.

Back in August Chris was given the application by the paper. She filled it out near the end of August and submitted it without a picture. They were looking for a picture of her in the office from the pictures at COMSTAR. Unfortunately she never got a chance to send in that picture. I contacted the paper and was told by the FNP that they would not run the piece since she has passed away. I then asked for them to send me her responses so that I could have them to read. After reading them I felt that everyone should get a chance to see them so now I will publish Chris's responses here for everyone to see. Enjoy.




MY FIRST JOB
  • Name: Chris DeWitt
  • Age: 44
  • Graduated from: Montgomery Community College
  • Degree: Associate of Arts
  • First job: Working at the original Jimmie Cone in Damascus
  • Title of first job: Counterperson
  • How long did you hold that job? 3 years
  • What was the most important thing it taught you? If you’re willing, you can learn how to do a lot of things.
  • How did it contribute to where you are now? I feel I have always been willing to learn new things whether it’s part of my job or not.
  • What did you dislike most about your first job? Long lines on Sundays!
  • What do you tell your children or family about your first job? How I learned to clean machines, do inventory, schedule employees and add quickly without a calculator. And, of course, what my favorite ice cream and toppings were (chocolate with hot fudge).
  • What did you think about your job then? I loved it. I met a lot of people and got to eat ice cream every day.
  • What do you think about that experience now? I still think of it as a very positive experience. I became friends with the family that owned the Jimmie Cone and I always felt very appreciated as a worker.
  • What was the least important thing it taught you? While it seemed important at the time, I’ve never really found a use for being able to swirl ice cream just right on a cone.
  • If I could go back in time and give myself advice about my first job, this is what I’d say? Learn everything you can — it might be useful one day.
  • If I could go back and change anything, what would it be? Nothing.
  • What do you do now? I work for COMSTAR Federal Credit Union — my second job.
  • Title? Vice President of Operations
  • How long in that position? Were you in a different field before that? I have been with COMSTAR for 24 years and have been in a VP role for about 6 years.
  • As a high school senior, I wanted to be: An artist or landscape designer.
  • Favorite book, or types of books? Historical fiction or romance.
  • If a movie were made about my life, what kind of movie and who would the actor be that would play me? I have no idea!
  • Proudest accomplishment? My marriage and three children.
  • Favorite quote? Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings while the dawn is still dark.
  • Favorite song or type of music? Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer”.
  • What I love best and least about Frederick? Frederick has so many great little restaurants and shops to visit. What I like least is the traffic.
  • My business philosophy is: Don’t micro manage — let people do what they do best. Always be aware of what’s going on in the company even if it’s not your department or area of focus.
  • In my free time, I like to: Go to my kid’s sporting events, work in the garden, watch reality shows.
  • Best and worst investments I ever made? Best – my 401k.
  • Favorite time of the year? Autumn.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Price is Right!

This picture came from Marianne while she and Chris were in Las Vegas back at the end of June.

They were getting ready to go to a stage show that was set up to be like the Price is Right gameshow. Chris called me and told me how much fun it was.

I thought I would share it with everyone. It shows her wonderful smile.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Parent's Weekend

FIRST: I uploaded all of the pictures that were used in the running DVD display at the funeral home during calling hours. The direct link is here.

Friday the boys and I drove up to Lycoming to visit Alex for Parent's Weekend. We got up there around 7pm and then immediately met Alex and Jon (no H) at Ichibahn for dinner.

The boys love having the Japanese Chef cook the food in front of us and especially like the fire and flames! After dinner Alex took the boys back to her dorm and I went to the hotel to rest.

Saturday we went to the football game. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining bright. After the game Alex's lax team had an intrasquad scrimmage. She played well. Later just me and kids had a quick dinner and the boys and I returned home. It was a long ride home. The boys watched a movie and I drove silently.

Sunday morning we all planned on sleeping in. No deal. I got up early. I went to the cemetery to visit Chris's grave site. I sat in the morning shade with her for about an hour.

Later Sunday, My in-laws and Chris's brothers and sisters came over to the house to visit. I cooked on the grill and made some other things for everyone to have. It was nice getting to see everyone again. Just not the same though. It'll take awhile to get used to not having Chris here for family events.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy Birthday to Chris...

Since today is Chrissy's birthday Alex sent me a picture from her cell phone that she took in Ocean City around the 4'th of July when they were out there. Of course Chris was just having a great time with the boys while she was there as evident from the picture. Sorry guys!

Today I went to the Oncology Center in Frederick and visited with the head social worker there. I took her a bunch of things that Chris wanted them to have. In fact they've been boxed up for about 2 months and we just never got over there. We chatted for awhile and then I left to go to the cemetery.
I spent a couple of hours at the cemetery sitting in a chair under the tree next to Chris's grave. It was incredibly difficult at first and I cried a lot. The first time I've felt that way in a couple of weeks. I did a little grounds keeping while I was there and then ran out and bought a huge mum for her. I brought it back and it was just perfect. Other people came to visit today as well. Co-workers and family alike. It was a happy birthday in different kind of way. It is just so very hard to not have her around. Just look at the picture and the smile that she has with the boys. That's what we miss most right now.

Tomorrow we are going to Lycoming to visit with Alex for Parent's Weekend. We're going out to dinner and then attending the football game on Saturday. After the game Alex's team has an intrasquad scrimmage so we'll see that and then make our way home. She's doing well and looking forward to seeing us.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Flowers


Nice day for some pretty flowers!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Day after my Endoscopy

Yesterday (Monday) I went to the outpatient center to have an upper endoscopy done as prescribed by my GI doctor. The test went well. I was asleep for it and the entire process took only about 90 minutes from the time I got there to the time I left.

After the procedure the Dr. told me that nothing major was found. They found a few "erosions" which can be aggravated and cause pain. They took a few samples and sent them for biopsies. The CT scan and bloodwork done last week came back and all looked normal according to the Dr. This was a huge relief to me as I was really starting to get worried about how I was feeling and what it could be. I follow up in 2 weeks with him. Thanks to everyone for looking out for me and keeping tabs on me.

I started doing some things again for work. I'm way behind but have still managed to bring on 3 new accounts in the last few days that I had already been working with. I spoke with my boss Phyllis, which many of you met, and she has been more than supportive.

Tonight I took Ty and Michael out to get ice cream in Frederick. They enjoyed it and it was nice to get out together. School is going well for them so far. Michael still has work to makeup but is getting there.

Thursday is Chrissy's birthday. I don't know what I'm going to do that day, but I'm sure I'll go and sing happy birthday for her.

This weekend the boys and I are going to visit Alex at school for parents weekend. We'll go to the football game saturday and watch her play lacrosse after that on the turf field. We're coming home late Saturday.

Today I received the Chrissy's death certificates. That was a tough envelope to open. I have a long list of places to contact but several people are giving me a lot of help.

Good night to everyone....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend

Saturday night we went to the Washington Nationals game in Washington, DC. We had a parking pass so we just drove down. It was the 1st Nats game we've been too so it was kind of fun. The boys were tired and so was I so we came home a little early.

Today, Sunday, we got up early and went to 9AM Mass at St. Johns. The boys gave me no problem at all about getting up and going. This is what Chris wanted for them to do and they have no problem carrying out her wish. Tyler went to his 1st confirmation class this afternoon and Michael had 2 lacrosse games today. Chris's Mom and Dad surprised Michael and I and showed up to watch his game. It was an absolute beautiful day. Michael scored a goal this afternoon as well.

The intern that Chris hired for the summer stopped by and delivered a couple of meals for us before going back to college this evening. She really liked Chris a lot and was so thankful that she hired her.

Michael has youth group tonight and I'm just watching football. Not something I get a chance to do very often but I'll take it while I can.

Tomorrow is my Upper Endoscopy. More on that later. This week is Chris's birthday as well so I'll be preparing myself for that...



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Saturday, September 22, 2007

1 Week

What an incredibly difficult week. Alex is in school, and so are the boys. They all seem to be doing okay. There are lots of people keeping they eyes out for them so that is very reassuring.

Last night (Friday) the boys and I went over to some friends (The Fords) in our development. They heated their pool and had some other young people over for a little pool party and cookout. It was a great time for them and I had a very nice time talking with them and getting a chance to place some euchre (cards). We didn't get home until almost 1am!

Stacey is going to help me with Tyler and his upcoming confirmation classes through the church. Her daughter is going through the same thing and she offered to drive and help teach his class. This is great for me as Chris took care of all of that for Alex. I'm an outsider looking in it seems. I'll be prepared for Michael for sure.

Tonight the boys and I are going to the Washington Nationals game in DC. We've never been there and are looking forward to spending some quality time together! We may take the subway into the stadium too.

I posted some information on the bagpipe song above the pictures. Here is a link to the song.
http://www.pinoypiper.com/music/mp3/04-suo_gan.mp3

Thank you to everyone who has called, and emailed me. I really appreciate that you are looking out for us. Never hesitate to give us a ring or stop by.

Friday, September 21, 2007

My CT

Thursday Tyler got up early for school and got off on his own. I didn't have to get up early with him. That was a big help and allowed me to get some extra sleep.

I got up with Michael and ran some errands. I had to get the dog's haircut and the car in the shop, along with several other trips to town. Thursday I had to go to get my CT scan done. I had to drink the contrast 2 hours early and then ran over to get my bloodwork done. I came back for the scan and while I was laying there I started to cry. This is the same scanner Chris was on many times before.

Later that afternoon I came home and started catching up on my emails for work. It's been quiet so I'm not too far out of the loop. I tell the boys that they need to catch up with their work and I need to do the same.

Sleeping is starting to get a little more difficult. The pain in my back/side keeps me up sometime and, well, my mind is just going in circles.

This weekend should be quiet. Today is Friday and there is no school for "fair day". I'm taking the boys to the County Fair and letting the loose! Tonight dinner over at a friend/neighbor in our development. After that...
who knows?


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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Everyone's back to school

Monday afternoon the boys and I packed up Alex in the car and drove her back to college in Williamsport, PA. We got up there around 4pm and took her up to her dorm. We then went to a hotel and checked in for the evening. The boys went swimming and I sat and relaxed.

We then met Alex and her friend Jon (no H) at the Bullfrog Brewery in downtown. This is Michael's favorite place up there and mine too. I'm fond of the brewery part. We had a nice dinner and then I drove them back to the campus. We went back to the hotel and then watched some of the Redskins game. I fell asleep around 10pm and the boys right after that.

The next morning I was happy to see the Redskins won. I think Chrissy is giving them some extra help from above! We went to the campus bookstore around 10 am and met Alex there. We got some coffee and then took off for home. Alex will be in good hands up there but I am going to miss her dearly! She got me through this week with a great deal of help.

We got home just in time for Tyler to go to golf practice. I picked him up and when we got home I made our first dinner together. The 3 or us sat quietly and ate our dinner. It was sad but peaceful. We miss Chris a lot and it shows.

This morning (Wednesday) Michael and Tyler went back to school. They have a lot to catch up on but should be able to make it up quickly. I ran the dog to the groomer, went to the lawyer's, drycleaners, dropped off the car for service, and picked Tyler up after school. It was a quick day but productive.

Tomorrow I go for my CT scan of my abdomen. I've had some problems for about 2 months and need to get it looked at. Blood work too and my endoscopy on Monday. Wish me luck.

Good night...


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An email from my sister...

It's been quite awhile since I've seen my sister. She made the trip out here last weekend and it was great seeing her. She left early Monday morning and just sent out an email to some of her close friends. I thought I would share it with you all.

Well everyone I finally got back Monday and I have just spent the most emotional draining weekend I have ever had to encounter. If there was ever the meaning of true love, my brother and his wife who just passed, had to write the book. They were the pillars of the community and calling hrs went past there hours just to accommodate the lines that went out the door and into the parking lot.

The Catholic Church was filled to capacity, and not one dry eye in the place. The emotion was running high as the Priest himself shed tears, knowing Chrissy, and that he himself has cancer.
By the time we reached the cemetery and everyone was slowly walking toward the grave site out of no where bagpipes started from a distance and came toward us. After a quick sermon and as everyone was saying their goodbyes the bagpipes filled the air and slowly headed off to the distance.

My brothers house was overfilled to capacity with everyone being there to give support to Charlie. He is blessed to have some of the most wonderful neighbors and friends anyone could ask for. We never had to touch a thing. They had all the food and arrangements done. Even his daughter's entire lacrosse team came from her college in PA just to be there.
I was so glad that I could be there for my brother and it meant alot to him that I could. Over the weekend I learned what the meaning of true love really is, and that life is to short, staying in contact with family and friends should not be put off for another day.

For anyone interested please go to chris-dewitt-updates.blogspot.com just cut and paste or type in and go read chrissys blog that my brother had set up for her. Beware tissues are needed !!!

I love you all !!! Vicky



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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saturday... A day to remember forever.

All I can say is WOW. I was looking forward to this day. I was not scared. I knew that today would be a wonderful send off for Chris. I was not disappointed.

The day started around 5:30 AM. Yesterday was a rainy day and so was the evening. I was sleeping with the windows opened and at 5:30 AM I was awakened by a huge gust of wind that blew the trees for about 10 minutes or so. It was as iff a hurricane was blowing through. After this short time the wind stopped blowing and the trees became calm. From that point on the weather started clearing up and continued to be as perfect as it possible could. I know that this was Chris clearing up the weather for everyone who attended.

The funeral home sent a car to come and pick us up at the house and take us to the church. We arrived around 9:45 and the sun was shining brightly and the wind was blowing a little bit. The church was already about 3/4 full when they seated thed kids and I. The service was absolutely perfect. The readings that Jenny, Alex and I chose were very appropriate and were listened to very attentively by everyone there. The music was beautiful. When I stood up to receive communion I looked back at all of the people in the church and the entire church was almost full. It brought tears to my eyes to see all of the people there to say their last goodbyes.

Chris's sister Jenny played a song during the service that I had not heard before. It is a country western song by Craig Morgan entitled "Tough". It did not leave a dry eye in the house. Here are the lyrics:

She’s in the kitchen at the crack of dawn
Bacon’s on, coffee’s strong
Kids running wild, taking off their clothes
If she’s a nervous wreck, well it never shows
Takes one to football and one to dance
Hits the Y for aerobics class
Drops by the bank, stops at the store
Has on a smile when I walk through the door
The last to go to bed, she’ll be the first one up
And I thought I was tough

Chorus
She’s strong, pushes on, can’t slow her down
She can take anything life dishes out
There was a time
Back before she was mine
When I thought I was tough

We sat there five years ago
The doctors let us know, the test showed
She’d have to fight to live, I broke down and cried
She held me and said it’s gonna be alright
She wore that wig to church
Pink ribbon pinned there on her shirt
No room for fear, full of faith
Hands held high singing Amazing Grace
Never once complained, refusing to give up
And I thought I was tough

Chorus
She’s strong, pushes on, can’t slow her down
She can take anything life dishes out
There was a time
Back before she was mine
When I thought I was tough

She’s a gentle word, the sweetest kiss
A velvet touch against my skin
I’ve seen her cry, I’ve seen her break
But in my eyes, she’ll always be strong

There was a time
Back before she was mine
When I thought I was tough


It was very beautiful and the lyrics were right on. Chris was tough and this song was written as if it was about her! Click here and you can listen to it yourself!!!

After the service we mingled around in front of the church for a little while. I saw so many people that I have not seen in a long while. It was so nice. The procession took about 15 minutes through downtown Frederick to get to the cemetery. The police had several intersections blocked off so that we could scoot through. Once we arrived at the cemetery we pulled up along where the tent was. Off in the distance a person began playing the bagpipes. I don't recall the song but it was absolutely wonderful. It was a beautiful addition to the ceremony.

The kids and I were seated next to Chris's parents right in front of the casket. Father Wayne was there and said some more beautiful words. The flowers were brought to the site and placed on the casket and near it. After some time it was time to say good bye. It was very, very hard for all of us. We were finally able to make our way back to the car which took us home from the cemetery.

Everything was just perfect. When we arrived home we saw that several friends and neighbors had taken over the house and brought in tables, chairs, food, drinks, EVERYTHING needed to feed a couple hundred people. Many people came over to the house for awhile. It was just wonderful and made me feel very good to have them there. There were relatives, friends, bosses, neighbors and everyone in between here!

One thing that will stay with me forever is when the Lycoming Women's Lacrosse team showed up in their team van and a couple of cars. Out piled about 30+ beautiful women athletes who came to support Alex and the rest of the family. They made the trip down from PA early in the morning and stayed until late afternoon. This is Alex's family away from home and when I saw them I knew that I had no worries about her when she would return. They would take care of her for me.

Later in the day everyone eventually went home and it was just the kids and I along with my sister. We were exhausted. I finally went to bed around 11. I'd been sleeping in my room all week but this night was really difficult. I laid in bed for quite awhile. Saying goodbye is a very hard thing to do. I'll miss her so very much.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Chris remembered at COMSTAR

This email was sent to me from COMSTAR. It is about a member of the credit union who was talking about Chris the other day...

Ladies,
just thought I would share a story with you. So many of our members
remember Chris from when she worked here.

We have a member ( Nancy ***** ) that lost all 3 of her grandsons to domestic
violence a few years ago. Chris and I used to talk about Nancy.( Chris
remembered her) Well today Nancy came in when she heard about Chris. And
through her tears, she said to me, “ Well Chris has been promoted to an early
Grandmother, I am sure she is in heaven right now hugging my grandsons. Just
wanted you all to know that even way down here Chris made a big impact…..

Friday, September 14, 2007

Rainy Friday for Calling Hours

Friday was the day set for calling hours at the funeral home. It rained quite a bit all day Friday and that made things a little more gloomy. All of Chris's family was there with me and my sister actually made it up from KY to be with us as well.

The kids and I went to the funeral home a little early and we went in and spent some time alone with Chris. Of course we were all a little bit scared as we went in. We started in the back of the room and made our way forward. Well as soon as we saw her the fear was gone! She looked beautiful. Just beautiful. The flowers that were there were so vibrant and wonderful as well. We brought a couple of jewelry items to put on her and some pictures to put around the room for people to see. We were really happy.

We then went over to an alcove to watch a slide show on a video screen. That brought the tears for us. But not sadness, just joy as they were all great memories that were coming back to us. Chris's parents came in and spent time alone as well.

People started coming in around 2pm and there was a very steady flow until about 4pm. After that we walked down to a restaurant in downtown Frederick for a dinner in between. It was nice to get some food and sit with the family for awhile.

We went back and around 6:30 the people for the evening session started filing in. The line was out the door and onto the porch the entire evening! I met so many friends, family, business associates that I will have to go back to the guest book to remember them all. It was so soothing to see all the support come through the door all night long. Chris's parents, brothers and sisters were also greeted with the same love and caring. Thank you to each and every one of you who was there in the rain to be with us.

Afterwards, we had some time to wind down. During that time Michael and I placed some items in the casket with Chris so she could have them with her. A cat's meow house of LaPaz (favorite restaurant), a depression glass from her collections, some photos of friends and family, along with a shell from Aruba were some of the things we gave her. After that it was then time to make our final goodbyes. Everyone else went first and then Alex, Tyler, Michael, and I had our
turn.

We talked a long time about Mom and how much she meant to us. We then gave each other a huge hug. The kids left and I told Chris that I loved her and promised to do my best to take care of the kids. I thanked her for all the love and devotion she had given me for 23 years. I then kissed her 1 last time and then said "See you soon...". In the big picture life is very very short and our time on earth is only a speck. It will be soon and I look forward to seeing her again.

More to come...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Jump in and get wet!"

I have received hundreds of emails in the past several days. I have read each and every one of them but unfortunately cannot find the time to respond. Today I received one from a one of the people at COMSTAR that has worked for Chris for quite awhile. She is also a very good friend of mine and our family.

She and Chris recently went to Las Vegas for a conference at the end of June. I will share with you her email in it entirety. I think it says it all... I miss her so much.

One of my most treasured memories with Chris happened when we were in Vegas. I’m sure you already heard Chris’ version of the story, but I don’t know if she told you everything. We were at the CareerBuilder/Barenaked Ladies concert which was poolside at the Hard Rock Hotel. The first thing we noticed when we got there was that the stage was centered in such a way that you HAD to be in the water in order to be close to the band. Everyone seemed to be sitting in the cabanas and hanging out around the pool, so we staked out a great location sitting on the edge of the water (and pretty close to the stage). As the concert started and some more of the alcohol was flowing, people began to slowly brave their way to the center island portion. We had a great time laughing at the people who were trying so desperately not to get wet. The BEST was this guy who came out of the water with a towel wrapped around him. All of a sudden the towel dropped and it turned out that he had NOTHING ON underneath! (Thank goodness we got the backside!)

I guess seeing all of this craziness inspired Chris and she decided that we had to get in the pool. I looked at her like she had finally lost it! “You do realize that I have on a white skirt and you have on white pants?!” I asked her. But it didn’t matter to her, “You’ll never see these people again, so who cares?” she said. I continued to flounder with it, thinking about what people would think of me, that if Charlie were here HE would certainly do it - but I just couldn’t do it. I could tell she was disappointed, which hurt me – why couldn’t I do something this simple for her? Later on she turned to me and said, “You know Marianne, sometimes in life you just have to jump in and get wet.” I knew that moment was something that I would always remember (I still have the pictures of us on my phone from that night), and especially what she said. I hope that I’m able to able to do just that – jump in and get wet - and make her proud.

I love you guys.

Chrissy's Obituary

This was in today's Frederick News Post newspaper. Click the image for a large view.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Final Arrangements

The following are the arrangements that have been made for my wife Chris.

Calling hours will be at the Keeney and Basford Funeral Home on FRIDAY September, 14 from 2 to 4 PM and from 7 to 9 PM.

Catholic Mass (everyone is welcome) service will be at St. John the Evangelist Church on SATURDAY September, 15 at 10 AM.

Both of these locations are in downtown Frederick, MD

If you are coming from out of town and wish to stay over you can use the Hampton Inn Hotel listed below. I have called the hotel and they are offering us a special rate.

If you are flying in I would recommend BWI in Baltimore. It is much easier to get here from there. Approximately a 50 minute drive. You need to simply find and get onto Interstate 70 West from the Baltimore beltway (695), then exit number 56 is for Frederick.

At this point, nothing has been set up for after the burial service at the cemetery on Saturday. If something does get arranged I will resend that information separately. Otherwise we will notify everyone at the service of any plans.

If you go the blog http://chris-dewitt-updates.blogspot.com/ I have posted some maps that you can print off to help you find everything.

Thank you to everyone for the emails you have sent to me. I have read each and everyone but unfortunately don’t have the time to respond….. YET.

I was notified late yesterday about a special trust fund that COMSTAR and a local lawyer have setup for people to make donations. They’ve asked me to let people know about this fund. It is being administered by the law offices of STERN & THORNTON, P.A. and the trustee is there as well. It is set up strictly for the educational future of Alex, Tyler and Michael. In the obituary tomorrow it will read “In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Chris DeWitt Children’s Trust Fund c/o Douglas Thornton Trustee, STERN & THORNTON, P.A. 127 West Patrick Street, Frederick, Maryland 21701”

We are doing okay right now. Alex is here and is keeping our family together. She has helped me with many of the arrangements, from cemetery plot, clothing, etc. Just a wonderful help to me. Tomorrow…. Flowers and meet with the church.

~ Charlie

Funeral Home information (FRIDAY):

Keeney and Basford Funeral Home
106 East Church Street
Frederick, MD 21701
301.662.2171
http://www.keeneybasford.com/
Map location: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=106+E+Church+St,+Frederick,+MD+21701,+USA&sa=X&oi=map&ct=title

Hotel information is:

You can call the hotel directly and ask for the DeWitt Family Rate which is $99.00 per night.

You can use the internet site to reserve a room and then just ask for the rate when you check in.

Hampton Inn- Frederick-Fort Detrick, MD
1565 Opossumtown Pike
Frederick, MD 21702
1-301-696-1565 as for Reba Beaver
1-800-HAMPTON

Reservations Online: http://hamptoninn.hilton.com/en/hp/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=FDRHSHX

Map location: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=1565+Opossumtown+Pike&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS177__215&um=1&sa=N&tab=wl

Church Service Information is (SATURDAY):

St. John the Evangelist
118 East Second Street
Frederick, MD 21701
Phone: 301.662.8288
http://www.stjohn-frederick.org/
Map location: http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&q=st+johns&near=Frederick,+MD&fb=1&ll=39.42479,-77.412071&spn=0.16363,0.270882&z=12&iwloc=I&om=1

Cemetary Information is (SATURDAY)::

Mount Olivet Cemetary
Frederick, MD
http://www.mountolivetcemeteryinc.com/
Map location: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Mt.+Olivet+cemetary&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS177__215&um=1&sa=N&tab=wl


The DeWitt House Information is:

9512 Bridgewater Ct. East
Frederick, MD 21701
301.662.5453 house
240.285.7251 cell phone
Map location: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=9512+Bridgewater+Ct+E,+Frederick,+MD+21701,+USA&sa=X&oi=map&ct=title&aq=t