Motherhood

‘I Have Stage Four Cancer, But I Will Not Live Like I’m Dying.’

A couple months ago, a man named Colin Farmer reached out to me about his late wife, Katy…

Here’s what Colin said: It has now been one year since my wife Katy died at the age of 45. She bravely fought stage four colorectal cancer for two and half years. Like so many moms, Katy handled pretty much everything for our household and kids, even while working as a producer at 60 Minutes and undergoing cancer treatment. She managed all the shopping, school forms, doctor visits, playdates and after school activities for our two children, Riley and Will. In the weeks following her death, I began settling her accounts, all things tangible and logistic. In a fog of grief, I obsessively spent hours a day digging through her phone, computer, emails and texts, searching for forms, files and logins. Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what she did on behalf of our family, I was determined to get my arms around all of it, even as I struggled with the loss of my beloved wife.

Looking back, I now realize I was looking for something rational and concrete to do, something I could control after helplessly watching Katy succumb to cancer. In her final days, I promised I would do everything I could to care for our kids the way she had. Unplugging her digital life and establishing order was among the only things that made sense. The early weeks after losing Katy were especially surreal. My mind was incapable of acknowledging that she was actually gone and I became wholly focused on taking control of whatever I could in her absence.

One of the last files I found on her laptop was simply titled “ONE YEAR.” It was deep in a drive I didn’t know she had. Katy had written it around the first anniversary of her diagnosis and never mentioned it to me. To find her essay was both comforting and disorienting. I could hear her voice in it. I understood better what had been going through her mind during that first year. I also struggled with why and for whom she had written it. Katy was not one to sit down and toil over an anonymous essay, and she had not left a trail of breadcrumbs for me to find it. She fought her emotional battle with cancer privately and with tremendous mental strength. She did not seek attention and often felt guilty that so many family and friends traveled from all over the country to be with her during treatments. We rarely spoke in depth about what would happen if she died or the fear we both felt. We focused our efforts on the fight, maintaining optimism, and keeping routines as normal as possible for our kids.

Katy had written for a reason that I initially struggled to understand. A friend suggested she was on assignment, producing her story of living with cancer. I think that’s right, but I will never fully know. What I do know is that her voice and story are alive in the essay that follows. Over the last year, I’ve come to accept what I could not control. What I can ensure is that a part of Katy, the wonderful mother of Riley and Will, lives on.


ONE YEAR – Katy Farmer

I am spending Valentine’s day on a table getting a sigmoidoscopy, a procedure that entails a small tube with a camera in it snaking up my rear end so that the camera can get a good look at my tumor. The images are broadcast onto a TV on the wall so my 4cm colon tumor looks like an ugly, angry planet up on the screen. Seinfeld once did an episode on “good naked” versus “bad naked,” and I’m pretty sure this qualifies for the latter. This is romance in the age of cancer.

These procedures used to terrify me and required heavy narcotics to get through, but a year of cancer treatment hardens you. Now it’s old hat. My husband, who I continually tell does not need to see this, holds my hand and I catch him look at his phone for work emails before we start so I know some of the crippling anxiety that came with a surprise diagnosis of stage four colon cancer at 42 have become the new normal a little more than a year later.

It is a blur of flowers, notes and doctor appointments for different opinions and lasagnas being dropped off and scouring the internet for information which usually sends you into a tailspin of tears. Just as I was to start chemo I dipped into one cancer support group and someone had asked if anyone else had lost their teeth from the chemo. My husband took away my computer for a while after that. You do this, all while trying to stay normal for your kids who, despite your best efforts and family taking them for surprise ice cream trips, very much know something big is up.

A teenage boyfriend once gave me a mixtape that had a song called “Live like you’re dying” on it. He was probably trying to be deep, I don’t really remember. With all due respect to the country star who sang it, no dumber words have been written. Ok, maybe if we knew a meteor was headed to earth and we had 48 hours you would gather loved ones, tell them what they mean to you and eat McDonald’s french fries and ice cream and Xanax to your heart’s content. The reality, or my reality of living like you are dying, is really more like purgatory. I feel good except on the days right after chemo, but my old life is over. Just try and make a long-term plan with cancer. We would love to come visit this summer…as long as A) I’m not in some treatment hell and B) am alive. It sucks. Thanks to a wonderful primary doctor my cancer was caught early, before I had symptoms, but that ugly planet tumor had a few months to send his friends to my lungs to set up shop. It took a lot of tests to conclude the cancer had indeed spread because the tumors are so small. But they are there. Which is not good.

In one of my many Google searches I stumbled on a cancer survivability calculator. You input your age, cancer type, and a few other characteristics of your tumor and voila! It gives you your choice of your 1, 3, and 5 year survivability chances plotted on a nice graph. It’s like a malignant version of one of those fortune tellers you make in middle school that tells you who you will marry, or the formula of your porn name which is the combo of your first pet’s name and the street you lived on as a kid (Corky Lee, not bad). My graph looks like a plane crash. I looked up the researcher’s name who probably spent years on his nifty creation and wanted to write him a letter that said, “Ha! I made it past a year, you suck.” But I won’t. I do hope he spends most of his time in a tiny office in a basement which I know isn’t nice. He was probably trying to be helpful. My real doctors won’t answer me on how much time I have. They say it’s impossible to know and science is changing fast and all the estimates are based on old data. They tell me to stay off the internet, but as you can see I’m not so great at following directions.

So purgatory continues and I am lucky for that. I know every time I go into an oncologist waiting room it could be a lot worse. Early on in a crowded waiting room at a fancy cancer center in New York I listened to a son try and fill out a survey for his mother who sat listless in a chair connected to an oxygen tank. “Ma, hey MA, they want to know how many cigarettes you smoke a week.” Ma sat there and batted her hands at her sons as they yelled at poor Ma to get the energy up to fill out the cancer survey. I popped a Xanax and stood in the corner and tried to take a deep breath while I tried to not imagine my future as poor Ma. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about cancer before I had it, but I can tell you now, no one deserves this.

In general I don’t fit in with my cancer fighting compatriots who are usually older men surrounded by concerned wives and grown kids, but I don’t fit in with my old life either. There is no such thing as a “little case” of stage four cancer. It takes over your life and it is terrifying. There are days it takes every ounce of strength I have just to get out of bed and face my new reality. A few months into my cancer treatment I made a friend my age and was so excited by her humor and strength. But her cancer was pretty advanced and she passed away four months after we met. Because I don’t have a lot of people with cancer to compare myself to, for a while I decided that because she lived 18 months post diagnosis, I would too. Her cancer spread at a certain month into treatment and mine would too. I had a few days where I was so sad I couldn’t get out of bed. It was crazy thinking as our cases are very different but for now I am not making any more friends at the oncologist’s office. Not that the old men really want to hang with me either.

In my old life people are wonderful and ask how I am feeling and what they can do. Right now it truly isn’t much. I get a lot of, “You don’t look like you have cancer,” which for some reason I think is pretty funny. I think people expect the Lifetime movie version of cancer, or for me to look like their Aunt Ida who died a while back from it. After I was diagnosed, I had a sick thought that at least cancer would transform me into a waif but so far the steroids I’m on to give me necessary energy make me more East German swimmer than Gisele. My husband’s old boss told me my wig looked terrific. He was surprised when I said it was indeed my actual hair. Cold caps which freeze your scalp so the chemo doesn’t get to your hair follicles have been torture, but I have my hair which has been a big psychological boost even if it makes chemo one long ice cream freeze headache.

People are usually curious how this could happen to me and a lot of conversations turn to the topic. I’m sure I would be curious too if I heard a fellow Mom at pick up had a serious case of cancer. “Did she smoke? Family history? Closet drinking problem?” The answer is I have no idea. I don’t have a family history, ate pretty well and exercised. Colon cancer is hitting people under 50 at higher rates but researchers don’t know why. Thanks to my “colon cancer and research” Google alert, I know there are MANY theories that there is a link to poor diet and obesity which always gets my hackles up a bit. One friend keeps telling me how nutrition is so important, as if a closet Slim Jim and Twinkie habit got me into this mess. Another told me, “It’s clear we have to listen to our bodies.” Whatever. Another friend of my daughter’s told me her mom said I got it from my cell phone. Who knows? I have had more than a few moments of tears and why me, but in the end I think sometimes bad, extremely unfair things happen to good people. Just watch the evening news sometime and our world is full of examples. I doubt those people whose homes are destroyed in a tornado deserved it either. This time, it just happened to me.

So a year into “Living like I’m dying,” I have decided that this approach just isn’t for me. I am not in any way normal but I am taking tentative steps to rejoin life. Lying in bed recovering from treatment watching cable news all day is enough to make even the able bodied deeply depressed. Some good friends got me back playing tennis this past summer which I had given up out of fear a ball could hit me and cause a blood clot which had happened after the chemo port was put in my chest. I’m careful, but this small act was a tiny victory. I go to the gym and work with a trainer when I feel strong enough. He jokes with me and tells me to stop making excuses when I say I can’t do a sit up because I have cancer. People who treat me like a normal person and don’t look at me with pity are my absolute favorites. Funny texts from friends at work who say something happened that made them think of me bring real joy. Screenshots of great examples of Instagram humble braggarts always bring a smile to my face. Coffees and even sometimes a rare dinner out with friends return me to real life and it is beautiful.

My extended family has a huge text group which I use for cancer updates and even bad news can turn funny when someone from the older generation chimes in with something completely nonsensical. “Wendy we are out of mayo” from someone 3,000 miles away to 15 or so cousins and siblings and spouses. The same group also has one with me removed so they can talk behind my back. I can only imagine what they say.

After one CT scan showed some growth after many rounds of chemo, I took in the not so great results and then headed to pick up my daughter at dance class. Behind dark glasses to hide my teary eyes I live tweeted to my family how I was scanning the room of watching moms for a potential, eligible new wife for my great husband and future motherless children. Some cousins were trying to talk me off a cliff, and my poor dad had no idea what was going on. The total absurdity ended when the matron of the dance class pulled me aside to ask me if my daughter might be diabetic. “What!? NO! Why?” I asked behind my wannabe Jackie O. glasses. Apparently my nine-year-old daughter had been asking for frequent water breaks after an over enthusiastic rendition of the Mexican hat dance. Did I know that frequent thirst can be a sign of diabetes she asked? The absurdity of life with cancer can only be overtaken by the greater absurdity of raising children in New York City.

I have even tried to return to my office, which is decidedly something not recommended in that “Live like you’re dying” song. Having a routine and some normalcy and chats at the coffee machine are actually heavenly. Someone smart once said you need a reason to get dressed and leave the house in the morning and in my experience that is very true. I’m not great with too much free time. A lot of people see me in the hall after some time away and say nice things. Many ask within 30 seconds what am I doing there and what am I working on. It’s a competitive place. At this point I am beginning to have post cancer sea legs and I believe work will be great for me mentally and will certainly save me from too many hours on Google cancer research.

I feel like I am giving advice similar to what you find in one of those books of inspiration your grandmother keeps behind the downstairs toilet, but here goes. I have spent a lot of time trying to maintain meaningful friendships and relationships with people in my life. I am very close with my immediate family, my far flung extended family, and I absolutely adore my husband who has come to each of my treatments like a champ even though he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Those investments in relationships have paid off as I go through this. I am lucky even if my stupid survivability calculator says otherwise. People have gotten on planes or met me at the hospital and just held my hand when I needed it. Fellow moms have picked up and distracted my kids when I or they needed it. Small acts of kindness matter. It is what makes life worthwhile. In my old life as a TV producer one of the last stories I worked on before being diagnosed was about Syrian refugees arriving in the U.S. Two friends flew down to D.C. and took one of the families out to Target to buy towels and clothes for their kids. They went back to their tiny, nearly empty apartment and ate stewed goat and let the father drive them to the airport despite less than ideal understandings of left and right and road signs. That mattered. Friends coming to chemo got so loud telling funny stories from high school that the nurses started giving us the good room with the door that shut. Everyone is busy with kids and jobs but people make time and I am deeply grateful for that. And I know people love to rail on the medical system, but I have had caring doctors and nurses who have encouraged me and hugged me and given me their cell phone numbers and let me cry in their office or swear when they stick me with hundreds of blood draws and shots. These people are heaven sent and I love them even though they stick me and prod me and tell me how great it is I never lose weight and fill me with poison that hopefully poisons the cancer first.

I may be dying but hopefully not for a while. I am doing everything I can to avoid it. After my first bi-weekly chemo treatment I called my doctor and asked for more chemo so we could really get this going. He said no and now thinks I’m a little nuts too as I bombard him with studies I find on the internet. I have gladly taken suggestions from Uber drivers, Chinese medicine practitioners, and a woman on the bus who heard me talking and wrote down a tea that cured her sister. I will fight this and at least try to keep my humanity and my humor intact. Many days I fail completely. Many days are filled with tears when the weight of my diagnosis hits me. But I will not live like I’m dying.


P.S. How to write a condolence note and 17 wonderful reader comments on grief.

(Top illustration by Alessandra Olanow. Bottom photo of Katy Farmer and her children courtesy of her husband Colin Farmer.)

  1. Rickelle says...

    Thank you for this. My mother started chemo this week after being diagnosed with 2 types of cancer. I am so sad that she has to go through this during the time of covid, meaning no one can sit with her during her treatments. I have a confusing swirl of thoughts and emotions this week, and this essay brought me some comfort. I am so sorry you lost this lovely woman in your life.

  2. Angela says...

    I was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer just less than one month ago. This beautifully written essay is both heartbreaking and also gives me strength at the same time. I hope I can live the rest of my life with as much courage and humour and be a wonderful mom to my daughter as Katy did.

    • AMK says...

      Angela, sending you strength, love, light, peace, and joy. Allll the joy. ?????

  3. MB says...

    Goodness Colin, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. Just by reading Katy’s words it’s easy to tell how special she is, and how much her family and friends meant to her. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Sara says...

    My professional days are spent as a hospice nurse. As someone on the clinical side, let me tell you, it doesn’t get any easier. I have met patients who were on hospice for years with a slow decline requiring our support. I have had patients discharged from the hospital whose decline felt like the sea came overnight and swept them in an undertow. Then there are others who fight and gnash and claw at death for so long they are left breathless and weak until finally succumbing. Each one leaves an indelible mark on my life, lessons unfurling with the breeze. For these families to share such intimate details of their lives, to share these deep, raw feelings, are gifts. Thanks for sharing.

    • Emily says...

      This was beautiful. Thank you for all you do

    • Julie says...

      Thank you for sharing your beautiful words, Sara. I’m an oncology nurse but I work in the specialty to be an advocate for early palliative integration and, hopefully, to facilitate better transitions to hospice. I always wonder about how things went for my patients who make it home.

  5. Shannon Winer says...

    So incredibly moving and inspiring. And on a strangely related note-my son get an art box monthly and they always include a pre-stamped, pre-addressed postcard to decorate and send to someone, with a brief description of the recipient(s). This months postcard is addressed to this family (Colin and the kids).

    • Agnès says...

      what a beautiful project for your son, and quite a coincidence. Will you share Katy’s essay with your son? (how old is he?).

  6. Peggy says...

    Colin, How exquisitely beautiful this is. Thank you so much for sharing. Katy, you rockstar – rest in peace.

  7. Olivia says...

    Thank you, Colin, for sharing Katy’s beautiful words with us.

  8. C says...

    My dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 small intestine cancer in September – I felt this way then. I distinctly remember talking with him about how this wasn’t what he IS now, but rather something going on, and that he is still the same complex person he’s always been.

    I now talk to him for at least an hour every Saturday, just the two of us, plus I call him almost every day and we end up talking up to an hour other days of the week, too. Our conversations are at least 90%+ about other stuff – that normalcy has returned, and I’ve just enjoyed being able to pick his brain and share stories with him of how my life is going. It’s not forced, we never discussed it, but it’s a lovely routine. I think the hardest part of this journey (thus far) was the unknowing and the uncertainty at the beginning. Once your brain wraps itself around everything (or at least somewhat begins to), you can more easily start revisiting and discussing more varied things, and it feels good again.

  9. Reanna says...

    Beautiful. “Small acts of kindness matter. It is what makes life worthwhile.” I really needed to hear that. Thank you to Colin for sharing.

  10. Mandy says...

    I can’t thank you enough for posting this. I am 43 and was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer at the end of January and have been battling through and extremely aggressive treatment plan that has had me on my knees at times. It’s been so scary but my darkest moment was when I was diagnosed but they hadn’t given me my staging yet and all I could think was- I can’t leave my daughter behind! I want to live to be a grandmother. I know none of us have that assurance but Katy, in the face of certain death, had such courage and conviction and beauty- I wept through her words. Her spirit will undeniably live on in her beautiful children. I am so sorry for Colin and all of Katy’s friends and family’s loss.

    • Emma says...

      Mandy, I was so moved by your comment and thinking of everything that you have been going through since January. I can only imagine how scary, frustrating and difficult it’s all been, but in this moment an internet stranger in California is thinking of you and wishing you all the very best for many, many, many healthy and happy years ahead with your daughter.

    • Mandy says...

      Emma- that means more to me than you could possibly know. Thank you xx

    • Julie says...

      Mandy, you have more prayers coming your way from New Hampshire ♥️. I’m sorry you have to go through this. It’s wickedly unfair.

    • Julie Smith says...

      Mandy, more thoughts from Florida. I am wishing you a strong spirit as you fight this fight. Cancer can f*ck right off.

    • Theresa says...

      May the Good Lord keep you, Mandy. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you. xx

  11. Denise says...

    I’m just over nine years out as a widow, and finally found myself at a good (read: strong) point to read both When Breath Becomes Air and The Bright Hour. This essay is just as wonderful. Thank you for sharing!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh I hope you love them, Denise!

  12. Rebecca says...

    This was so beautiful! I’m so glad her husband found it and that you posted it here!

  13. LSH says...

    I’m reading this beautiful essay on the second anniversary of my beloved father’s death from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. He bravely fought for nearly 8 years and I often wished I could get a glimpse into his mind like this, to know what he was thinking and feeling on a deeper level. I think ever the protector, he shielded my brother and I from much of his worries. I agree that “live like you’re dying” is a silly, trite platitude that is said by people who have never actually had to live with the reality of your death looming on the near horizon. But man, did my dad squeeze every last drop out of life with the remaining time that he had – traveling when he was well enough, babysitting his young grandchildren each week and focusing on spending quality time with his loved ones, and deepening his faith in ways he could never have foreseen prior to his cancer diagnosis. There was a lot of hard times during cancer treatment and not even terminal illness excuses you from the trivial details of life still needing to be taken care of, but there was so much beauty in those years as well. Thank you for sharing this incredible woman’s thoughts on a day when I was needing a connection to my dad.

    • Eileen McIlwee says...

      LSH- I am sorry for the loss of your beloved Dad. I lost my mom to Multiple myeloma in March 2019. I think my mom and your dad would have been great friends, squeezing every drip of life they could! My mom recieved a call one night from her hematologist that she needed to be admitted to the hospital as some “level” dropped critically. My mom went to the hospital and asked for whatever medications they planned to give her because she was going the next morning on a 14 day European river cruise. She called me from the airport to tell me what all had transpired in the previous 24 hours, knowing full well that I would have encouraged her to cancel her trip. She said to me I can die here or I can die there, but in the end I will still be dead and I will never get this chance again. And she went, and she didn’t die. and she loved every minute of it. I asked her how she did it and she said “Well, I do what I can and I ask for help when I need it!” Truly, this is now my mantra, especially during these times. So I thank you for allowing me to connect to my mom with this special memory, maybe they are heaven friends!!! Much peace to you-Eileen

    • LSH says...

      Eileen McIlwee – oh my goodness, what a gift your comment was to me this morning! I agree, I could definitely see our parents being friends (and if your mom was anything like my dad, she probably had a ton of friends because of being so darn friendly and full of life). My dad would have done the exact same thing as your mom, patiently following doctor’s orders as long as it still allowed for travel and not telling the worriers until later lest they try to dissuade him from going (and indeed he went on trips with his arm in a sling due to a broken shoulder blade, another with his foot in a walking boot due to broken bones in his foot, and another on a regular regimen of pain killers as a tumor closed in on nerves around his rib causing significant pain). As he was getting his last ditch chemo treatment a few months before he passed, his next bucket list trip was a river cruise in Europe that he was hoping to regain enough strength for but unfortunately never did. Maybe your mom can tell him all about her trip. Much love to you as you navigate life without her and seek comfort in remembering all that she taught you.

  14. f says...

    Heartbreakingly beautiful… Colin, thank you so much for sharing your wife’s wise and moving words. Much love to your family and children.

  15. Anne says...

    My best friend passed away at age 38 after a 7 year battle with glioblastoma. I think of her every day, and Katy’s remark about the steroids made me laugh, because my friend had the same complaint – “I *at least* thought I’d lose weight, but these steroids!!”

    Thank you for sharing her letter, and all my love to your family.

    Jo, I read your brother-in-law’s book while my friend was ill, and it was lovely. Please send my love to your sister as well.

  16. Erica D McCarthy says...

    Wow wow wow, thank you Colin for being brave enough to share this and Katy for so poignantly expressing the season she was walking through. May she rest in peace.

  17. Kirsten says...

    My Mom passed away 4 years ago from stage 4 colon cancer. Her fight lasted 4 months. 4 long, arduous, and frightening months. Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece… the memories that I hold so dear are the normal, everyday moments when my Mom was the beautiful, enthusiastic spirit that she always was, far from the fear and overwhelming C word.

  18. Anon says...

    Instead of taking my breath away, this gave me breath!
    I have an incurable neurological disease, but I’m yanking my chain to live a better life, a good life, without barriers forced on me by my S.O. I can do it.
    Katy’s words have given me strength to proceed to continue, to live my life and make a difference in the lives of others.
    Until I read this (thank you so much Colin and Joanna), I was sitting here in bed, wondering if I should simply relinquish back into my sodden life of his coercive control or struggle on to forge my way forward.
    Now, I’m stronger. With fortitude, I can and will do this thing!
    Thank you so much. xx

    • nadine says...

      Wishing you all the best Anon. You can do it!
      xx

    • GoldenMoon says...

      Go, Anon!

  19. Dena says...

    My husband worked with Katy. They were all gutted by her loss. He couldn’t bring himself to finish reading this.

  20. JP says...

    My Dad was diagnosed in April 2020 with Stage 3B lung cancer. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2020. Two parents with cancer at the same time. This essay really hit home. I’ve been trying to imagine my life without them, since they tell me that lung cancer is never really “gone” and breast cancer often returns. I realize that maybe I’ve been too focused the cancer and not really on my dad or mom the way I was pre-cancer diagnosis. Maybe I should just call sometime and talk like we used to before cancer was in the story and a part of every single conversation. It’s hard though…it’s always in the back of my mind. But I’m going to try. It’s not like I am pretending it’s not there, but I bet both of them would just like to talk about the weather or dinner or something mundane for a change. Anyway, thanks for the essay. It has somehow helped me.

    • Robin says...

      Oh, that’s so hard. Sending much love your way.

  21. Alix says...

    Thank you so much for sharing Katy’s words. Is there anything we can do to support Colin and their kids?

    She was clearly a wise, caring and thoughtful woman. How lucky her family was to have the time with her that they did. I am so sorry for their loss.

  22. Nicki says...

    Wow. Apart from clearly being an amazing mom and having a wicked sense of humour, Katy was an incredible writer.

    When my dad got cancer, I came across a beautiful book by palliative care doctor Kathryn Mannix called “With the End in Mind: Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial”. It recounts stories and learning from 30 years of experience of caring for dying patients, in an effort to normalize death and help us prepare for it. Even though some stories in the book are tragic and unfair, like Katy’s, I found it so helpful to make sense of the complex emotions that come with death and grief.

  23. Lindsey says...

    I think sometimes bad, extremely unfair things happen to good people. This time, it just happened to me.

    This is so true and something I have been grappling with since my mom succumbed to cancer nearly 6 months ago. Why her?…I keep asking the universe. And my mom was “young” at 73. Katy being diagnosed with cancer and passing away at 45 is just downright horrible.
    There is no normal after a cancer diagnosis…it is an all-consuming new normal and even if your numbers are good at one appointment, the fear is always present for the next appointment and the one after that. It deeply affects all aspects of life for those who have the diagnosis as well as those supporting them. My heart goes out to all of you going through this now or supporting someone who is.
    I was surprised by who, when her
    time was nearIng the end, my mom really wanted to see – she was someone who was adored by many and was proud of her friendships. But it was only a very small handful of people who
    mattered at the end. Those are the relationships we are the most lucky to have, and those are the ones that truly matter.
    Thank you Colin for sharing your wife’s beautiful words. She comes across as an extraordinary woman.

  24. molly says...

    Oh wow, so many feelings. Thank you for continuously sharing such rich, tender content on this blog.

  25. Becca says...

    Thank you Colin. Thank you Joanna.

  26. Kate says...

    Thank you, Katy and Colin.

  27. Alison says...

    Katy Farmer’s essay is beautifully written and gut-wrenching. I dealt with very early stage breast cancer years ago when my kids were 2 and 6. I can only imagine how she felt knowing that she would leave young children. But my comment relates to the unfortunate placement of your advertising. I recognize the necessity of advertising on Cup of Joe. However, when the ads are placed between the top illustration/photo and the beginning of the post, you risk offensive juxtaposition. When I first clicked through to the post, the ad headline related to a dog licking its feet. I refreshed and it was an ad targeting young adults with life insurance, leading right into Katy’s essay. I feel strongly you should limit ad placement within sensitive posts. If that’s impossible, then at least place the ads further into the post.

  28. Abbie says...

    This breaks my heart.

  29. Beth says...

    This was so beautiful and heartbreaking to read. My mother died many years ago when I was a teenager from leukemia on the SAME day that she was diagnosed. She thought she had the flu, and then she had a few days of non-stop migraines. She was 48. I’ve always wondered whether it was more cruel that she learned she had advanced cancer but was given no time to really process that, and no one in her life had a chance to say goodbye, or less cruel because it was so sudden. I appreciate reading other people’s experiences so much, and I wish her family well.

    • Sharon says...

      Wow… my mother died suddenly as well when she thought she had a 24 hour bug, but she was 64 (per the autopsy, it was some crazy rare bacteria she somehow contracted). I feel lucky I was 31 when it happened, but I’ve often wondered the same thing. Was it better that she was never really sick? I think we were all in shock for a solid 6 months after it happened. I kind of think it was easier in our case, but no one got to say goodbye as she was unconscious in the ICU when my dad called to let us know. My mom and I had a great relationship and lots of love, so I’ve learned to have empathy for the shock my father must have been feeling.

    • beth says...

      Sharon, I am sorry for your loss. Life can be so strange.

    • Rin says...

      I am so sorry for your loss, Sharon and Beth. I experienced different kinds of loss, one that was very unexpected and sudden happening over a few hours (my dad from ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm) and one that was prolonged and full of hospitalizations, raised and dashed hopes, and ICU visits spanning years (my grandma dying of cirrhosis as a complication of Hepatitis B). Of course both loss were very painful. Given the suddenness of my dad’s death, I wasn’t able to say goodbye and processing it was tough since you’re shell-shocked, but if I’m honest, going quickly means less agony for the decedent and also the family. Like you, I also appreciate reading others’ experiences, including yours. Life is fleeting and we have to all take care of each other.

  30. coco says...

    My sister lived for 18 months after a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis. She died just after her 30th birthday, 10 years ago. It was a total fluke. Cancer hadn’t been on my radar before. I didn’t know Stage 4 was the end of the road. I also learned extremely bad and unfair things happen to good people (or semi-okay people :)), to those who are healthy and don’t have terrible habits, physiques, or genetics. I’m now 37 and I measure my time in comparison to the years she lived. It’s hard not to. And I actually think that this particular tendency is normal for those of us who have lost family prematurely. They are my bonus years, and for much of them, I’ve worked my way through a list of places I must visit or things I must do- not to live like I’m dying? But just in case. Because I’m a worst case scenario person. Of course the pandemic has put all of it to a hault, and I have thought on repeated occasions now- it’d be a real shame if I got my cancer diagnosis this year.

    • Mary says...

      Coco, I identify with this so much. I’m so sorry about your sister.

    • Summer says...

      Same, Coco. I lost my bff in her 30s, and I often go through the struggle of, “save for retirement” and “spend the money, you could die any day.”

    • beth says...

      I identify with this so much, too. I measure everything in comparison to an age I haven’t quite reached- 48 to my 44- and there is so much I need to see and do…this darn quarantine.

  31. V says...

    thank you so much for this. so beautiful.

  32. Sandy says...

    I’m currently in my new camper in the Hudson Valley of NY, moving my youngest son (25) into his new digs at a boarding school where he will be teaching, coaching and advising young men. I have Stage 4 BC and have been terminal for 5.5 years, every damn day I get is a gift. A 14 hour drive to help my son set up his new life and hit the ubiquitous Target and Trader Joe’s run for essentials, no matter if I’m dragging a bit is a perfect day to me!
    This beautiful essay touched my heart in so many ways, mostly because it is the small things that bring people in our predicament the most joy, Peace to you and your family as you put one foot in front of the other, move forward and live in her light.

    • Lb says...

      Sandy, I know your kids cherish every opportunity they get to make these “little” memories with you. Wishing you days filled with joy and peace.

  33. maria says...

    lost it when i got to the photo. lost it.

    i avoid sad stories like these after living my own tragic story in childhood and now having kids myself. but i clicked on this one, and read every word.

    stunning. thinking of you katy. and your babies. xxo

    • Jody says...

      Me too, Maria. My mom heart just breaks to know her pain of leaving her children. My heart goes out to Katy, her family and all those who commented about their own grief. This life is tragic-beautiful.

  34. Charlotte says...

    Thank you so much to Colin for sharing, and of course, to Katy. Her heart and wit shine through in her words. I know she is deeply missed and wish Colin and their beautiful children happiness and peace.

  35. ashley says...

    Thank you cup of jo team for sharing this. It’s so beautiful and sad. Sending so much love to her family.

  36. Jordan G says...

    Thank you for sharing, Colin. I’ll remember this sentiment and be the better for it.

  37. Illana says...

    This one hurts so much to read. It’s also beautiful. I don’t know what else to say.

  38. Laura says...

    As a palliative physician, I spend my days with people in situations like Katy’s. Time and again, I hear about the meaning of continuing normal routines through serious illness, and the satisfaction that something as simple as folding laundry can bring when life has changed in so many other ways. Thank you for using this space to share Katy’s words; to remind us that what gives life meaning is not the exceptional moments, but rather the everyday moments lived with a clear and deep understanding of how truly beautiful and meaningful our normal daily lives are.

  39. Sam says...

    My mother has stage four cancer and recently went through major surgery; yet another round of chemo is up next. Colin and Katy’s words brought tears to my eyes and moved me beyond description. Thank you so much for posting, Joanna.

  40. Wendela says...

    Oof. What a beautiful essay and what a sad story. I’m so glad that this woman had so much love in her life and also so sad that she won’t be there to see her kids grow up and to grow old with her husband. Thank you for sharing this—I’m glad to know her even this small bit. She seems like someone I would have been friends with. Sending condolences to her husband and children. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  41. Jessica says...

    The world lost a very special person. Such a heart breaking beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing it.

  42. Alex says...

    I had advanced cancer and live in wait of a recurrence… loved reading this as we all will be there – some of us just too soon (But so many even sooner). This blog in particular does a lovely job reminding us of death- and the million moments before it.

  43. Charity says...

    This was a very thoughtful and beautiful piece. Thank you for publishing it.

  44. T says...

    As someone who works in predicting survival in cancer, it was incredibly heartbreaking to read Katy’s story and the impact those predictions had on her personal outlook. While I didn’t create the calculator she referenced, on behalf of my fellow basement dwellers (she wasn’t wrong; at least in a pandemic I write this from my basement), I want to say that we do this work because we want cancer care to be better. Most of us pursued this work because we have also been deeply impacted by cancer – to the extent we spend years getting a PhD in biostatics or epidemiology. But unfortunately, we can’t predict individual prognosis well, and knowing the average is not particularly helpful for understanding individual prognosis, in the same way that knowing the average height for a woman in the US provides limited information about how tall your daughter will be. But we’re working on doing better. We want to provide better information so that those in Katy’s shoes don’t have to assume they’ll have the same progression as the one person they know with the same cancer, and so that we can measure progress in cancer treatment.

    This piece inspired me to continue the work and to remember, always, that each data point is a person with a full and complex life, who was everything to someone, and whose absence left a tremendous wake in the world. Thank you for sharing.

    • Melissa M says...

      I love your comment and the part about prognosis being so individual. I’m in treatment for brain cancer and having my neurooncologist tell me (over zoom) the average survival rates for my particular tumor was the worst moment of my life (this was also in the same conversation that I learned my tumor was malignant and I did in fact have cancer.) I appreciate you and everyone who’s out there studying this damn thing.

  45. Rebecca says...

    My beloved boss (more of a dear friend and mentor) had suddenly passed due to lung cancer. it was short notice and I am currently grieving. This comes timely into my life. Thank you.

  46. A says...

    Colin, thank you for sharing your wife’s beautiful words with us. A strong reminder to live, laugh, and love. Peace, strength, & hope to you & your family. It’s easy to say than to live these words, but I hope you all are able to move forward with faith.

  47. Sara says...

    This. This is why I’ve read this blog daily for so many years. It’s meaningful and special and acknowledges everything important, big and small. Thank you Colin, for being brave enough to share a snapshot of strong, funny, beautiful Katy with us. And thank you, Joanna, for finding it important. ❤️

  48. Caroline says...

    Really appreciate this perspective as I start my fourth round of chemo for ovarian cancer. She really nails what it feels like as an otherwise healthy young person faced with the life changing effects of cancer, chemo and people’s reactions. Life will never be the same, but feeling normal is a big win. Thank you Colin for sharing.

  49. Anonymous says...

    This is very beautifully written and moving. But the idea of publishing something so personal without express consent gives me a little pause – especially when it’s stated that she was private about her medical care. I wonder if you considered running this anonymously.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, Colin thought about this deeply for a year, and, in the end, he decided what he thought was best as someone who knew Katy best. it’s definitely a tough decision, though! I’m so glad he shared her beautiful essay and think it will help so many people (myself included). thank you so much xoxo

  50. Jill says...

    So beautiful…so heartbreaking. I am so deeply sorry for your loss Colin….what a beautiful soul.

  51. Ali says...

    What a beautiful essay. Katy for sure lives on thru all those she loved and loved her back. You can feel her spirit in her words.

  52. Kim says...

    So beautiful. Thank you.

  53. Megan says...

    Thank you for sharing Katy and her thoughts with us. I am so sorry for your family’s terrible loss.

  54. Christie says...

    Thank you for sharing your wife with us all. That essay was beautiful and deserved to be read.

  55. Elise says...

    Thank you for this. My dad was recently diagnosed with stage four cancer, and this was so helpful to read.

    • Sending you a virtual hug from Paris, France..

  56. Valea says...

    ♥️ – beautiful and sad and powerful.

  57. Laura J says...

    Katy seems like an amazing person. Thank you for sharing Colin. I’m sorry for your terrible loss.

  58. Cynthia says...

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece.

  59. Sheri says...

    I held it together until I saw that gorgeous photo of Katy and her kids. I am a million months pregnant (read: 39 weeks) with my second, so more prone to sobbing than usual, but I cannot fathom the grief of leaving my boys without a mother and my husband without a wife. Goddamn cancer, and goddamn this world where we cannot count on equitable access to healthcare for every mother (and every person). Rest in peace, Katy, and love, light, and luck to your family.

    • Anon says...

      VOTE TRUMP OUT.

  60. Tyler says...

    I wish I had something like this from my mom. She died of a brain tumor 7 years ago, which seems like an unbelievable amount of time. Unfortunately the cancer and subsequent radiation ravaged her cognition, so I didn’t get much insight into what was going on with her psychologically. Once I had some distance from her death, it really made me realize how depressed and anxious she must have been (she also had a script for Xanax) and I developed a belief that there should be more psychological treatment options available for people with terminal illness beyond prescription tranquilizers. Obviously, mental health in this country is always an afterthought, but giving people a way to organize their emotions via talk therapy and making it part of the treatment plan would be invaluable to quality-of-life. I wish so much I could have seen this at the time and arranged it for my mom. Maybe this will help someone else.

    • Alex says...

      Tyler, my mom also died of a brain tumor when I was 17, and she too developed memory loss and cognitive difficulties. At the time (and still now) I had so desperately wished she had left something like this or written down notes to us. I even just wanted tips and basic life advice from her that would help me navigate growing up without her (which feels selfish to say.) Part of me tries to understand that she had so much to handle that it is unfair of me to wish she had done more. But now a bigger part of me wishes she had written down her experience so I could now better understand it as an adult and feel that connection to her. I have no idea how she actually felt going through such a tremendously hard time. I fully agree that mental health and therapy of various forms should be a much greater focus in cancer treatment.

    • Elise says...

      I agree completely. My dad has stage four cancer and I have been strongly suggesting therapy to both of my parents (and for the whole family). I’d suggest people look into Medical Family Therapy.

    • Ann Lowell says...

      My mother also died quickly after she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to her brain. She was 49 years old, I was 24. I Recently turned 50, so have just outlived her lifespan. Her presenting complaint was “difficulty solving mathematical equations “. She was a super star high school math teacher. After learning of her diagnosis she returned to class because she wanted to be the one to tell her students. She didn’t want them to hear the news from anyone else. She descended into confusion very very quickly. Hardly a day has gone by since her death that I have not mentally wrestled with how things ended for her. I remember those last moments with her like it was yesterday. I am still just completely stunned by the tragedy of what happened to her.

  61. Jane says...

    So incredibly beautiful. I think losing a mom when you are young and dying with young children is just the most heartbreaking thing. I think of all the the care and joy in everyday mothering and it just feels irreplaceable.
    So deepest condolences to Katy’s children and for her own loss of mothering them to adulthood.

  62. Sarah says...

    Wow. I’m so glad Colin made sure we had the chance to read this. I feel like having this perspective will come in handy someday when I have a friend (or myself) who faces something like this. I hope Colin, Will, and Riley are surrounded by love and getting through this together.

  63. Kelly says...

    This is incredibly beautiful – thank you for sharing Cup of Jo.

    For any other young cancer patients or survivors out there, I created mayleavestars.com to help normalize the experience and healing journey.

  64. Shannon McQuilkin says...

    Breathtakingly beautiful.

  65. Flic says...

    In the grey midst of low mood during lockdown, of counting my shortcomings and sadnesses instead of my blessings – which are plentiful – I needed this reminder. God keep Katy and bless her husband and children.

  66. Meagan says...

    Kudos to you, Colin, for sharing this piece by Katy even though it was disorienting for you and probably very hard for you to read. This reminds me of a Brene Brown quote- “When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.” Even though Katy’s story did not end in the way either of you had hoped it would, there is SO much power in letting her share it in her own words. It’s so clear in this piece that she rewrote the way she would live her story out by choosing to live her life in as normal a way as possible. Her vulnerability and honesty will help others realize they can do the same for themselves. Sending you and your family so much love and compassion.

  67. Leia Y says...

    I had so much admiration for Katy – her humor, her intelligence, her devotion to family – and I can see her gorgeous spirit live on so vibrantly in her kids. Thank you for sharing this with us, Colin. Sending love and hugs to the Farmer family. Happy one year anniversary in Heaven, Katy.

  68. anne says...

    Thank you for sharing <3

  69. Isabelle says...

    So moving and heartbreaking. Thanks for sharing.

  70. Juliana says...

    In the face of the unspeakable, Katy found words of encouragement. Among many acknowledged moments of despair. Encouragement for herself and probably an imaginary audience with whom she might have shared this. You could almost say she seeks to soothe and encourage the readers that she never planned to have, most probably knowing that anyone compassionate would be torn by the suffering she described. I almost did not breathe and I certainly ached while reading her lines.
    But her message of positivity is undeniable, too. So, I also felt uplifted and inspired, as I am sure many other readers will be, while fighting their own battles to survive, to support others or to grieve.
    Terrible things do happen to good people. Do they happen for a reason? Katy chose to lay it all out in writing, a digital message in a bottle discovered by her husband.
    Thank you for sharing Katy’s memorable words of hard-earned wisdom and her inspiring battle to hang on to dear life literally, and live it to the very last bit.

  71. Justine says...

    That was beautiful.

  72. Jill says...

    Hi Colin, thank you for so generously sharing Katy’s essay with us. This was so moving. God bless you and Riley and Will!

  73. Maryann says...

    So beautiful – thanks for sharing Katy’s words. They will stick with me.

  74. Emily says...

    Such a beautiful and sad reminder about what matters in life-those around us and those we love. Thinking of this family and of all who are fighting cancer. Sending love.

  75. Mag says...

    Wow. Beautiful, powerful and heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing Colin.

  76. beth says...

    Thank you for sharing this. Colin, so much love to you and your family. Your wife was amazing.

  77. M says...

    This hurt so much to read. I think about dying all the time, and while I like to think I could “live like I’m dying” (checking off the bucket list! trying things without debilitating anxiety!) I feel like I’d have the same bitterness, resignation and sorrow I feel in this essay. I’m so sorry for this loss of a loving, complex, and beautiful life, and for the loss to her family and friends and all touched by her.

    My dad had colon cancer when I was 10. He got screened early because his dad had colon cancer. I know I need to go get screened very soon. I know that and I also tell all my friends that they should consider early colonoscopies because, for a little unpleasantness now, you can save so much pain later.

    But at the same time, I feel like a hypocrite. I don’t have a PCP, because, even though I’m insured, navigating healthcare in this country (the US) is a nightmare. My brother lives in a country with socialized healthcare, and it’s relatively easy for him to get a colonoscopy, but I have so much to confront every time I think about it: will my insurance cover it, even though I’m well below the “recommended” age for the first screening? Is it worth the unbearable, massive stress of having to “try out” (and pay for those tryouts for) multiple doctors to find one I trust, one who listens to me when I talk about my body? Is it worth it when I’m not planning on surviving 50 anyways, between the climate crisis, our inability to handle a very handle-able pandemic, and the stress of life that has started to physically manifest in me in migraines, stomach pains, back pain, high cholesterol? In many ways, I feel like I’m already dying. Whether or not I’m “living like” it is a different question.

    No point or structure to this comment. I was just moved. And so sad.

    • M2 says...

      Hi M,
      I’m like you with double family history of colon cancer. While I can’t help with the existential questions at the end of your comment (though I FEEL THEM!!), my dad’s gastro doctor recommended I lie to a doctor about having symptoms in order to get screened earlier than my insurance would typically cover me (10 years before my grandma was diagnosed so ~age 40). It’s pretty dark that he suggested this, TBH, but I followed his advice and found a doctor who took the family history and increasing numbers of early onset CRC seriously and I had my first colonoscopy at age 31. After watching my dad’s journey, I think his doctors advice was spot on. Good luck to you in navigating the shitstorm that is the US healthcare system!

    • SG says...

      Your insurance is likely to pay for a baseline screening based on your family history. I have a strong history of colon cancer in my family and I got my first colonoscopy at 35. I think I paid nothing, or very close to nothing, out of pocket. It’s worth the peace of mind.

    • Catherine says...

      M, if you have a GYN, or any doctor you trust, you can ask them for a referral to a gastroenterologist. I’m sorry you’re feeling this way. It’s a stressful time, and there’s no “right way” to do this. Hugs!

    • Anon says...

      “socialized health care” is actually UNIVERSAL health care.
      Careful kabelling something incorrectly.
      The devil is in the detail.
      Providing health care to all in a first world, democratic country does not equate to socializm!

    • Rusty says...

      In Australia, we have a health care system that is universal, called Medicare. When someone turns 50, they’re sent a free bowel cancer screening test in the mail, then this repeats every five years.
      It picks up a lot of cases very early.
      If someone has symptoms, they get a free colonoscopy.
      Etc.
      There is NO reason other than political back biting, that prevents the USA from enshrining a similar system.
      It. Works.
      VOTE.

  78. Jessica says...

    This is so beautiful. A co-worker I cared a lot about succumbed to cancer recently and I can hear so much of her own voice in this essay. She had the same tenacious spirit. It brings me peace to imagine her thinking many of these same things, as I know she would have.

  79. Agnès says...

    I went to the funeral of my 93 y-old aunt this morning, and it was still terribly sad; but when I think of Katy’s children and husband, there are no words for their extreme pain and their inmense loss. Death is still the greatest mystery and my same most terrible fear since I was 7.
    Sending love to this family. Thank you Katy, and Joanna, for publishing this beautiful essay.

  80. Allison Deptolla says...

    She was beautiful and an amazing writer. Thanks for sharing this.

  81. Janelle says...

    There is a lesson to be learned after reading Colin’s story. It is vital for partners to have an ‘If’ file. My IF file contains passwords, logins, insurance info, bank info, phone numbers, contacts and anything else that is important so that if something happens to one of us the other has all the information they need to make things go a little smoother. Blessings to Colin and his family.

    • Emily says...

      Such a smart idea. Actually Joanna, didn’t you post awhile back about a secure service that stores information like this in the case of emergencies? Could you link the post ?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Emily, I love Everplans — I use it myself.

    • Samantha says...

      I’d love a post on how to organize and store these important documents. I have recently been asking my parents to better organize their affairs. They have all the paperwork together, but it’s just loose pages in a file folder in a drawer- not very secure or safe from fire/flood/ect, and no backups.
      As an only child, the weight of knowing that it will be entirely on me to handle their estate keeps me up at night.

  82. Melissa M says...

    Those investments in relationships have paid off as I go through this.

    I absolutely love this part. I’m in active treatment for brain cancer right now and I think and say this every day.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Sending so much love to you, Melissa!

    • mirela says...

      Sending good vibes to you. And much love!

    • Michelle says...

      Sending you love and energy Melissa.
      I also loved this part.

  83. Leah says...

    what a gorgeous essay. thank you, colin, for sharing your wonderful wife’s words. may she live on in all who loved her, especially in her children and in you.

  84. celeste says...

    I love that Tim McGraw song, having lost lots of people, so I beg to differ. Sorry for your loss.

  85. monica says...

    That was beautiful! Thank you Colin for sharing your wife with us, an inspirational woman and mom!

  86. GoldenMoon says...

    This is so powerful and raw. Thank you for sharing this. Our culture buries death and dying and yet it so powerful to let it out and to hear the real human journey. Reading this reminds me to be awake to the precious days of life and to know that one never knows what is on the path ahead. I’m so grateful to her for her wisdom and for her gift of writing that captured her experience in such a tremendously powerful way that strikes the universal heart in all of us. I laughed and cried. My condolences to her family and gratitude for sharing her journey with us all.

  87. Sarah says...

    Thank you for sharing this

  88. Alexis Powers says...

    Wow Katy’s personality shines in this piece. I’m so thankful Colin discovered it in her files. So well written and an important perspective to share. We miss you Katy.

  89. KATHERINE says...

    Thanks for this beautiful voice. The picture at the end is lovely and heartbreaking.

  90. Sofia says...

    This is the best essay I have ever read. I actually proper belly at ‘closet Slim Jim and Twinkie habit’ and the husband’s old boss and the wig! Rest in Peace Katy Farmer, I never knew you when you were alive but your essay is the brightest light ever.

  91. M says...

    In a different life, years and years ago, Colin and I briefly worked at the same firm. He regularly spoke about Katy and when he did, his whole demeanor changed: his eyes twinkled with joy and his ever-present grin expanded into a massive smile. I didn’t know Colin well, but it was incredibly obvious that he was head over heels in love with Katy. I remember thinking that they had an amazing relationship filled with love, support and mutual respect. I am so sorry to read this beautiful essay.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s really beautiful, M. xo

  92. md says...

    Ugh. Live is fragile and short and unfair. What an honest and hopeful piece of writing. Much love to Colin, Riley and Will – your wife/mom was clearly someone special.

  93. Amy says...

    Oh my. This is breathtaking. Katy is a hero. Thank you for sharing this essay.

  94. So beautiful and heartbreaking.

  95. EL says...

    This was incredibly moving and I commend Colin for sharing something so personal with the world.

    I’m a little hesitant to write this because I obviously don’t know Colin and Katy, but it bothered me a little bit when, at the beginning he wrote about how Katy “like so many moms” handled all the aspects of household and children while working and undergoing treatment. It made me think about and feel like no matter what women are going through, they are still expected to be the primary person at home.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I think he didn’t realize until afterward how much invisible work there was. (that’s true for a lot of couples, I think.)

    • christina says...

      I had the same reaction, and it made me think about the book All The Rage, which I think about all the time because these situations are everywhere. The more I notice it, the more I realize how it is baked into the system and not a product of individual people behaving badly.

    • AE says...

      This was moving and heartbreaking. And like you my mind took me in many different directions. Cancer sucks no matter who you are but I can’t help but think of underprivileged people everywhere in America who instead of getting “early detection” and a team of funny, kind, nurses and doctors who care… are instead turned away from EDs or disbelieved and ridiculed. Literally right here in the same city. And how even though cancer sucks- it sucks even worse when you never even have a chance at survival or a smiling doc or nice hospital or good insurance. So many feelings.

    • M says...

      Omg yes i felt this way too El. And this does not diminish my recognition and empathy for Colins grief but this notion that moms (who are not single) doing everything, the kids, the house, the chores and working is something to celebrate is absurd. Other spouses listen up, just because we CAN do it and wven if we do it WELL its still your JOB to help. It makes me sad to hear this normalized and sadder yet to hear it celebrated.

    • EL says...

      Oh yes, Jo, this was more a commentary on our society, not meant to be a critique of Colin. My apologies if it came across that way (I could see that it may, hence my hesitation on posting).

  96. Amy says...

    This was so moving. Thank you for sharing something that puts so many things into perspective. Katy’s writing is beautiful and I hope she wrote a lot more that could be shared. I would certainly read it.

    • Abbey says...

      This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

  97. SC says...

    I wish I had something nice to say but I don’t. It’s horrible to lose someone you love and worse to see them battling a deadly disease. Life is just not fair.

  98. Amy says...

    Just beautiful.

  99. SR says...

    This just took my breath away, literally. After i finished reading, i realised i was holding my breath and I was in tears. I hope her last days were fun.

  100. Lesley says...

    This is beautiful. Sobbing!