Our Story | All You Need is Love

On the way in with my three kids to school this morning, I was telling my 13-year old daughter how much I love her and how much mommy loves her. After all that has happened this past week since the passing of the love of my life, Maureen, it really should have come as no surprise to me that the Beatles, All You Need is Love, would come on the radio. I said to Kyla, “mommy is still talking to us.” Kyla responded, “daddy, she is never going to stop.” And, you know, she is right. Love simply doesn’t run out, ever. During the service this past Saturday for my sweetie, several of her friends and family spoke in remembrance. From Suzanne, one of her younger sisters, to Susie, her life-long friend and one of my daughters’ godmother, to Francis and Martine, her Belgian cousins, to Christianne, her friend from her junior year abroad in Strasbourg, France, and another of our daughters’ godmother, the love that I was privileged to share as Maureen’s husband for over 24 years was apparent in all their words. As Susie noted in a conversation this past week after she returned home, that is the great thing about love. Each of us, across distance, space and time, could feel the abundant love Maureen shared with all of us… and there is still plenty to go around!! When you have felt love, you know it. You also know how deep the love is by how big the tears are. We’ve shed some big tears, but they aren’t tears of just sadness. They are tears of...

The Love of My Life | My Love Letter for Maureen

On Saturday, October 25, 2014, I was privileged to share my love letter for Maureen with hundreds, upon hundreds, of the people touched by her love. There are many more words to come, however, for now, the ones I spoke at the Upper School Chapel at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School will stand alone…. Bonne Maman and Bon Papa, Ann and Henry, I love your daughter more than words can describe. Bon Papa, I can see clear as day you walking up the aisle of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Chicago, arm in arm with your beautiful daughter in her white wedding dress and being blown away. The fact that you had to walk up this aisle this morning to say goodbye to your daughter makes me so very sad. Suzanne and Nique, I know Todd and Paul would agree with me completely when I say, it is a privilege to be married to a Diercxsens girl. I love your sister, and I know the love she shares with me, our kids, and all of us is because of the love you share as a family. Thank you for that tremendous gift. Sweetie, I am not going to be able to share all of the stories I want to in the time I have, so I will be sharing those stories as I write about our love story the next several weeks, months and years. I will say, however, the day you said yes to our first date, yes to my proposal of marriage, and we both said I do at the altar of God were the greatest days of...

Our Story | Marriage & The Greatest of All Positives

At the start of the order of service for “The Blessing and Celebration of a Marriage” in the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer, these words are spoken by the priest as the ceremony begins: The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God. For those that have read the first two posts in this sequence of Our Story on the “Triple-Positive,” you know that Maureen and I did not enter into marriage unadvisedly or lightly. You also know that I was most deliberate about the privilege of spending the rest of my life with this truly beautiful women, having met at Apple and knowing that I would marry Maureen even before we started dating. I had planned to make this particular post over the weekend but got a little delayed, however as I started to type, I just noticed what day it is… the 14th… 24 years and 3 months to the day that we were married. We were married on Saturday, July 14, 1990. So, this is the right day to talk about the greatest of all positives. I can think of no other way to tell our story of marriage, the greatest of all positives,...

Our Story | The Next Positive (The Proposal)

Just over 26 years ago, I was as scared as I am now. As you’ll recall from Friday’s post in “Our Story,” I had just shared the first of my “triple positives.” It was New Year’s Eve, and I had picked up Maureen at Chicago O’Hare, after the Christmas break at Apple. It was the end of 1988, and we were about to usher in 1989 together. Little did we realize we were ushering in far more than a new year but instead a new life. There are a lot of stories I could share from the 6 months that followed New Year’s Eve, but I’m going to jump ahead a little bit. The day is July 2, 1988. Six months earlier a dozen red roses had been sent to Maureen’s home in Ridgewood, New Jersey on Christmas Eve. This time, however, I am with Maureen in Ridgewood for the Fourth of July weekend, and as I said, I’m scared. I’m scared because I’ve carried with me a diamond engagement ring, and I’m about to pop the question while we are in New York together. As I have mentioned in previous posts on Our Story, family is tremendously important to Maureen. As a result, I knew that when it came time for me to propose, being with her family to celebrate (hopefully, she hadn’t said yes yet!) would be as important as how and when I popped the question. The day of the proposal is forever etched in my memory. There were a lot of things that I had planned, from playing our song to another red rose to...

Our Story | Triple-Negative & Triple-Positive

This past Friday Maureen began new treatments for the latest twist in the progression of her breast cancer. As I promised on Facebook, this latest post will actually include a few glimpses into our specific journey with cancer, however, as I have made clear since the very first post, this is our story, not cancer’s. As a friend at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School commented yesterday, this is a very intentional approach. She is right, and it is intentional on our part for two reasons. First, it is our expectation that we are going to “win” the fight with cancer, and second, we define winning as the living of life, and living is loving, and I love Maureen. So, since cancer is getting a bit more air time than it deserves in this post, I’m going to expand on the meme of love from the latest post I made about our trip to Chicago. I’ll get the oncology stuff out of the way first and then get to the fun stuff: Maureen and my story, how we met, how we fell in love, how I was blessed for her to say yes when I proposed, and how we ended up at the altar at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, Illinois. Just so there is no confusion. Cancer sucks. 1 in 8 women will deal with breast cancer in their lifetimes; every 4 minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer, and every 10 minutes someone passes away from a blood cancer; a deeply cherished young friend and angel was part of that 10 minutes and passed away at 11 years...