I ...love you my princess. You are and will always be my everything
Today Emma went to Lili Salon Spa in Edina, MN to have nearly 15 inches of her hair cut and donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. This was her first time meeting her stylist Matt and he was fantastic. It was an emotional day for Emma as she did this honor her mother Malou, who passed away on May 17, 2015 due to multiple complications related to living with a very aggressive cancer. Emma remembers the wigs Malou wore and how emotional it was when Malou would lose her hair and shave her head. Emma hopes that her donation will help someone very special feel better. Emma is sending her love, hope and prayers along with her hair.
Happy birthday Malou. You always hated it when I called you by your first name. You will always be the greatest friend, daughter, wife and mother. The girls and I miss you. Our wish for you is peace and comfort on your 44th birthday.
A time to feel her near me.
Whatever you believe you must believe in something. I believe that there is much more to our lives than just the things that we see in front of us.
Even before cancer, Malou and I would talk about eternity. Her belief was more than strong and she wanted to ensure that we would always be together....
My thoughts are a bit fragmented. I'm trying to piece my thoughts and emotions together and I am getting a flood running through my head.
I am recalling the last week Malou and I spent together in the hospital. And I feel so naive and stupid. The entire week just happened. We didn't talk about her imminent death. We just held hands and watched television. Occasionally I would lay in the hospital bed with her.
She was always clear that she did not want to suffer and I under...stood what she meant. But I never did think it through.
The cancer in her lungs was not going to go away. She was coughing all of the time. The cough medicine, Guaifenesin, was actual making her feel worse. The cough wasn't in her throat, it was coming from deep within her so that medicine was discontinued on Monday or Tuesday. I don't remember that decision other than we both made it.
But on that first Saturday of her final stay, around 10:00am, when she said that she wanted the intravenous Morphine and not the oral medications, I knew what was happening but I had no idea how it was going to happen. She just looked at me with tears in her eyes and said she was sorry and all I could do was take her hand and tell her it was okay. There were no other words to say. We knew each other like no other two people in the universe.
I didn't think about it at the time but by saying it was okay I was actually telling her that she had fought her cancer long enough. Her fight was epic, like Frasier and Ali. She was up and then she was down. When everyone else was ready to throw in the towel she sprang back up and carried on, always with a smile and a spring in her step.
Since November of 2014, I could see that the smiles were overlaying pain and that the pain was growing. She hated using the oxygen machine but if it gave her one more day she was going to use it. Beyond the oxygen requirement, Malou was beginning to fatigue with the slightest of exertion.
One afternoon we we getting ready to take the Emma out for the day and I could see Malou was angry as well as scared. She had only just gotten out of bed and changed her clothes but she was winded and already exhausted.
She very rarely cried but her anger and fear were so great she couldn't contain it. We sat in our love seat at the foot of our bed and held each other. She would berate herself for having a pity party. I would kiss her on the head and hold her tighter with each sob and muffled scream.
That Saturday morning in the hospital, when I looked into her eyes and said the words "it's okay" I gave her permission to die.
Vow Renewal Photo Albums
Malou and I never really knew how much time we would have together once the cancer diagnosis became incurable. We only accepted that our time would not be as long as we had dreamed.
We always spoke of having a vow renewal and inviting all of our family and friends from the original 1996 wedding as well as many new friends we been fortunate to bring into our lives since that time. At her weakest and most sickly moments she became even more resolute th...
I don't know how many trips I have been on over the years when I traveled by myself. Including all of my business trips it is most certainly over 150 during the past 20 years. Despite all of these trips, today I am experiencing a first.
Today I did a day trip to Chicago so I could attend a memorial service for Malou. It was a lovely event and all of her friends from high school were as I imagined them.
Now I am sitting at the O'Hare airport waiting to return to Minneapolis.... A flash of sadness is washing over me but not because my flight has been delayed for two hours. Rather, this is the first time ever that I am returning home to my family and Malou won't be there for me to hug when I arrive.
There will no doubt be many firsts over the next year but this one is a heavy and slow tug on my heart. I feel it in my chest and I am certain that I have slid down in my chair since I began feeling this way.
She isn't there and I have an uneasiness in that I also feel that I have taken Malou for granted. She was always there. Even during the past six years as she lived with cancer she was always there. I never allowed myself to think what life would be like without Malou. Doing so would have admitted what was the looming eventuality of her cancer. We both knew this and that we were avoiding it. However, ignorance is most certainly a blissful blanket under which we hid.
In many ways our intentional ignorance served us well as we lived as full a life as anyone during the past six years. But as someone that is known for jumping head head first into any situation it definitely feels that I have done something wrong or have not done enough. I am still alive but she is not.
I certainly look forward to getting back home to my daughters but I know that I will be driving slower than I usually do so as to delay the actualization that my trips away from home will not conclude with a tight hug from Malou as she headbutts me in the chest. We both knew the ritual was odd but it was her thing and I loved it.
ATTENTION FRANNIE'S, Class of 1990 and any graduating classes who knew Malou Ligon Watterson. Sunday, June 28th at 2pm, Malou's classmates are having a "Celebration of Life" service in her memory at JCA in the chapel. There will be a small reception immediately following the service. ALL ARE WELCOME!!
Please join us to celebrate the beautiful life of our SISTER ANGEL, MALOU!!
**ADDED NOTE: We are requesting that everyone attending wear WHITE (as that was Malou's wish....thank you)
Eventually I will have to clean the house. Not that it is dirty but eventually I will have to go through all of the files, unfinished projects and piles of pap...er that Malou was working on.
No one expects me to do this anytime soon but I feel that I need to start. Each room of the house has some file, pile or project that Malou touched. At times I find myself avoiding these reminders of Malou so as not to get emotional. Other times I begin to sift through the items contained within only to realize I am just pushing paper around on the floor or table and not really making any progress. I get distracted by the littlest things.
This evening I was cleaning out financial records dating back to 1997. I caught myself staring at one of Malou's first 401K statements from her first employeer after college: EMMIS Broadcasting/Q101. There was nothing specifically sentimental about this statement, it was just a piece of paper that listed her investment elections, current contributions, employeer matching and market changes since the last statement. Other than that it only idenitified how little we had back then. Just as I was about to shred the statement I noticed a few pen marks in one of the columns. The marks are clearly notations that Malou had made during one of our monthly financial review sessions that we began when we were getting serious about our relationship.
Those little marks released a flood of memories for me as I recalled sitting at our first kitchen table in our first home in Oak Park, IL. I can smell the candles that we would burn and feel the sunlight that would come through the glass wall of our condo. We were planning our retirement and daydreaming about spending months on end in Manila and Tuscany when we no longer had to work. All of this from a little pen mark on a nearly 20 year old 401K statement. I can't bring myself to shred or throw it away. To do so feels as if I am destroying a memory of her.
So after two hours of staring at the same piece of paper I place the statement with the others, bind them with a paper clip and start a new pile. Only now the pile is mine and no longer Malou's unfinished work. For now, this is how I perpetuate her memory and relive moments from our life together.
It is a slow and bittersweet process but I can not comprehend any other way.
Yesterday was a milestone. Yesterday was the one month mark since Malou passed away. I went to work but often caught myself in a daydream about her, nothing s...pecific, only the thought of her. Thirty days and yet it feels as if I only just left the hospital room where I left her with the medical team and funeral director.
I can hear her voice in my head, repeating over and over the words she would say to me: "Please don't mourn my passing, I want you to always celebrate my life and the time we shared".
In celebration of Malou, I am sharing one of our earliest photos which commemorates the happiness that we shared and is an example of how our relationship was never confined to traditional boundaries. I can not remember the exact date but this was from Six Flags around 1995.
All of the photos I look at bring me mixed emotions but I hope that this one makes you laugh and appreciate the silly and ridiculous times that you spend with your loved ones.
I haven't written much because I really have no words. I have received hundreds of cards from all of the people Malou has touched during her life. Thank you all for the cards and letters, they help me to remember happy moments from our years together.
Her absence hurts. The house is too quiet wiithout her. I want the hurt to stop but I fear that if I stop hurting I will forget her. I woke with fear the other morning because it couldn't remember how her hand felt when I held it and it caused me to cry.
Filming this promo was one of her most favorite memories. Thank you Kevin for making her vision become a reality.
I share these memories today to honor a special friend. A passionate person with a great sense of humor, a strong advocate, and a lover of life, family and frie...nds! Malou you have touched so many people in your short time on earth and you will no doubt be bringing smiles and laughter to everyone in heaven as you watch your beautiful family and all of us! It is an honor to have met you and worked with you and helped share the message of Cancer MY WAY!
Here's to the elephant in the room and not being afraid to acknowledge, embrace and laugh about it! My heart goes out to you Todd and your amazing and beautiful daughters. May you be comforted and find peace in this challenging time.
Thank you for all the laughs Malou, you will be missed!
I just read her obit in the paper and looked up her site. Wow I think we could of been friends!!! I am dealing with cancer since jan 2011!!! Cancer sucks! I thi...nk this site would be helpful to all of us dealing with the terrible disease! I am so sorry for the lose of your beautiful wife and to your mommy! My prayers go out to all of you. She sounded like an amazing lady. Heaven gained an amazing angel and will be watching over all of you. Prayers to your wonderful family! Pam T.