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Tribute for my wife Sara

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    Posted: Mar 26 2013 at 9:45pm
I just joined this site and it was suggested that I post a tribute here. Thanks for this opportunity to remember her alongside others who have also passed from TNBC.

Here is a eulogy that I wrote and a portrait that I drew for her parents to take home to England with them. The drawing was used at the funeral and on the leaflets for the funeral.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Sara was a remarkable woman who always held her head high and gave endlessly to those around her.
Born in Rochdale, England on April 22, 1966, Sara’s father Jim was an entrepreneur who worked at a variety of jobs, from working as a courier to owning his own corner store. Grace, her Mum, was a devoted mother and lifelong confidante, who Sara remained very close with despite the geographical distance between them.
Sara had an interesting upbringing – born into a family with some history of military service, and a deep-rooted legacy of Northern English hospitality and humour. Her great grandfather was lost in the WWI Battle of Loos, in France, in 1915. Sara's Great Uncle, Ronnie, fought during the Italian campaign in WWII. Her father Jim would later take part as a gunner of the 65th Heavy Antiaircraft Royal Artillery in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Sara's family loved to go camping quite often, across to France mostly, and sometime to Switzerland, and also around various places in Great Britain. Sara grew up with a large, close-knit extended family that included many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Sara had always wanted to work with children, and it was her interest in working with children that first brought her to Canada, back in 1985. She came to work as a nanny for a family in Markham, Ontario.
It was only by chance that I first met Sara, in 1987, while she was out at a night-club with a group of other nannies who were also from other countries, most of them also from Britain. She has kept in touch with a number of them, some of whom are here today. The moment I set eyes on her, I knew she was the one for me. She had big, beautiful eyes that projected a gentle warmth and a purity of spirit. I began chatting with her and we conversed so naturally that the night was over as fast as it seemed to begin. For whatever reason though, after getting her phone number from her, I didn't call her back. It wasn't until I saw her again a few weeks later that I realized I better not let her go a second time. This time, she seemed to be playing a little hard to get, probably as payback for not calling her back the first time around.
Our courtship was typical, lots of time spent together with friends and beginning to think abut the future. Sara and I came from different backgrounds: I was brought up in a large city and had pretty much stayed where I was my entire life, while Sara had travelled to many places by the time she was 18, including emigrating to Canada. But that didn’t worry us – we complimented each other perfectly.
After meeting her family for the first time in 1989 we began to think that perhaps it was time to take the next step. In early 1990 I proposed, and when she accepted, it made me the happiest man alive. I remember how beautiful she looked walking down the isle at the church. She actually told me that she was worried I wouldn't show up, because I was so nervous.
I am so thankful and blessed to have shared 22 years of companionship and commitment with Sara. I'll cherish the special moments, the anniversaries, birthdays, holidays and romantic moments, but perhaps even more than that, I'll cherish all the ordinary moments that we may not recall easily, but that add up to a life spent together, the commitment to work through tough times, to stick together in sickness and in health. I will never again take for granted the ordinary things that are a part of people's every day lives, for the sum of all of those is what adds up to a life spent together.

Sara was foremost a caring mother. Michael and Madison were the most important people in her life, and even in her final weeks, she told me to make certain that Madison's 16th birthday plans didn't get spoiled because of the circumstances that she found herself in. I truly believe that when I lost my job last April, that it was to enable us to spend more quality time together and to enjoy a period of renewal in our relationship. It breaks my heart when I look at the poster that she had made, which is now hanging in our bedroom. It is a collage of all the things that we were planning to do when we were ready to start anew. The courage that Sara showed was awe-inspiring. I never heard her complain, I only saw in her a steadfast resolve to persevere and to never give in. She may have tired physically, but spiritually, she would not be broken.

I will carry her memory in my heart as long as I live. She gave me two wonderful children and 22 years of dedicated companionship and friendship and I will miss her terribly. May you be at peace Sara and God bless you.

Sara's friend Heather Qually sent me these words from the Midrash to contemplate. "I am standing on the seashore; a ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until - at length - she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, "There! She's gone!" Gone where? Gone from my sight - that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and is just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her; and just at the moment when someone at my side says "There! She's gone!", there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "There she comes!"

___________________________________________________________________________________




Edited by ArleneB - Apr 08 2013 at 1:47pm
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TriplePositiveGirl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TriplePositiveGirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 26 2013 at 9:54pm
Dear Courtice,

Your tribute to your wife is so beautiful. I am so very sorry to read of her passing. I offer my sincerest condolences to you and your family. May Sara rest in eternal peace.

Lisa
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 123Donna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 26 2013 at 10:06pm
A beautiful portrait and eulogy.  Thank you for sharing and may your loving memories stay close to your heart forever.

Donna
DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Annie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2013 at 8:16am
   

Norb,     Your tribute to your wife is also a very moving and poignant tribute to You. The Love you have for one and other shows forth in beauty and truth and is a testimony to the blessing of what Marriage is meant to be.   Thank You...Annie
Annie TNBC Stage IIA Gr 3 1cm lesion 2/5 lymph nodes+ lumpectomy,FEC & D 30Rads finished(08/2009) BRCA- Chronic Cellulitis due to Radiation-- L.Mastectomy Jan 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lillie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2013 at 8:34am
Dear Norb,
Thank you for sharing your eulogy and portrait of Sara.  She is one of many Warriors who fought a valiant battle.  You and she are now a part of this wonderful sisterhood/brotherhood for the ongoing fight to conquer Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  
 
Again, THANK YOU for sharing here.  Please post often.  I am so sorry for your loss of Sara.
 
God bless,
Lillie
Dx 6/06 age 65,IDC-TNBC
Stage IIb,Gr3,2cm,BRCA-
6/06 L/Mast/w/SNB,1of3 Nodes+
6/06 Axl. 9 nodes-
8/8 thru 11/15 Chemo (Clin-Trial) DD A/Cx4 -- DD taxol+gemzar x4
No Rads.
No RECON - 11/2015-9 yrs NED
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa P. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2013 at 4:41pm
Thank you for sharing memories of your dear wife, so sorry for your loss of Sara. Your portrait of your wife is as beautiful as she was. Healing thoughts, Melissa
"Hope for more Tomorrows"
TNBC dx August 2009, Age 41, Stage 2, 2cm, 0 nodes Lumpectomy/ACx4,Taxolx4/33rads
Triple Negative Breast Cancer, "I Won't Back Down!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TNBC_in_NS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2013 at 5:22pm
Thank you for sharing Sara with us, sisters & brothers.
 
Sounds like you were made for each other!  It is so great hearing of your 22 years together, having two wonderful children, so blessed you are! 
 
Time heals and the memories never fade.  Keep the faith and know that you have sisters & brothers here that can help you on this "new normal journey".....
Helen in NS
Diag@57TNBC04/092.5cm Lquad 05/09 TCx4Radsx30CT03/01/10 FU03/31/10ClearBRCA- 01/2011 RTNBC BMX 06/14/2011~2013 clear
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Grateful for today Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 27 2013 at 10:55pm
Norb,

Sincere and deep sympathy to you and your family and all Sara's friends.

Your eulogy for Sara was so sincere and heartfelt.
What a beautiful woman!
May her loving and caring spirit encircle and support you now and always.

Sara, may you rest in Eternal Love and Peace.


Grateful for today............Judy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote courtice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 28 2013 at 5:43am
Thanks to all of you for your kind words and warm reception, I wish that I would've been able to contribute a wonderful story to this site such as 'Snickers' NED thread, but I'll perhaps chime in from time-to-time with updates from my volunteering with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and things like that. Perhaps I could even give updates about Sara's friend, Heather Qually's, own battle with cancer, I'll have to check with her first. I'm not even sure if Heather also has tnbc or another form of breast cancer, but I'll find out.

Yes, Sara was a wonderful, beautiful woman and I miss her terribly. I can't seem to pay her enough tributes, lol, she's constantly on my mind.

Thanks again all,

Norb
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SagePatientAdvocates Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 29 2013 at 9:33pm
Dear Norb,

what a lovely tribute...thank you for gracing our pages with your beautiful words.

You have my sincere condolences.

warmly,

Steve
I am a BRCA1+ grandson, son and father of women affected by breast/oc-my daughter inherited mutation from me, and at 36, was dx 2004 TNBC I am a volunteer patient advocate with SAGE Patient Advocates
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arabella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 05 2013 at 7:58pm
Dear Norb,

Thanks for coming over here and posting such a wonderful tribute and your beautiful drawing of your lovely Sara.

I wish I had words of comfort that could magically heal your pain.  Hopefully, holding Sara closely in your heart as you are doing will help.

I hope you continue to post and share with us as you mentioned above. 

Wishing you the best in your volunteering with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.  I know that there are those who will benefit from your kindness and also from your experience with this disease.

Wishing you peace,

Kaye
Dx TNBC 1/2013; age 63; 1.1 cm; Stage 1, Grade 1(?); lumpectomy clear margins; ALND -; severe SEs to first TC and treatment stopped; radsX25; BRCA -
Recur 6/2015 Mastectomy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote courtice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 07 2013 at 2:01pm
Thanks Steve and Kaye, I really appreciate your kind words, makes me feel much better after having a somewhat emotional day today. The raw emotions come out of nowhere after stretches of doing fine.

Edited by courtice - Apr 07 2013 at 2:02pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote courtice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 19 2013 at 11:19pm
Sara's birthday is on Monday, so I posted and ad in the local paper yesterday and all her co-workers from where she worked are talking about the ad on Facebook, I'm so glad of that, they can't say enough kind things about Sara, they really loved her as well. I'm so stoked about that.






Edited by courtice - Apr 19 2013 at 11:24pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote denise07 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 20 2013 at 12:28am
Daer Norb,
What a wonderful tribute for your beautiful wife so very sorry for your loss there is not one word that can express to you how I feel sorry just does not seem to be enough.
God Bless...
Denise
DX Idc 10/07,st2,gr3,2/6 lymphnodes
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 123Donna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 20 2013 at 11:26am
Norb,

A beautiful tribute for Sara.  I've found that Facebook is a great way for all of us to remember those that have passed.  I have several friends that are gone but we can still post on their FB page.  It's nice to see they are not forgotten and gives the family comfort in knowing others loved them too.

Donna
DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Grateful for today Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 22 2013 at 4:00pm
Norb,

Caring thoughts being sent to you and your family today, Sarah's Birthday.
May you feel her love and spirit surrounding you today.


Grateful for today............Judy

Edited by Grateful for today - Apr 22 2013 at 4:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote courtice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 23 2013 at 1:38pm
Thank You Denise, Donna and Judy, your messages mean a lot.

I talked to Sara's parents today on the phone and Jim, her father, recalled how 47 years ago they proudly brought her home from the hospital. It must be difficult for parents, perhaps even more so, to lose a child. The cemetery also had the inscription on the niche completed on time for her birthday which was nice as well. I will post a pic of that when I have them available.

Thanks again,

Norb
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote courtice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 24 2013 at 6:28am
A picture of the niche and in the other picture, my two kids, Maddy and Michael, on the left, and my bro Ed, and my sister-in-law, Elonda, and my niece, Brianne. Elonda was Sara's closest friend, and has given me a lot of help with all the paper work that needed doing, in addition to having helped to take Sara to treatments and with bathing her, washing her hair and things like that in Sara's last weeks.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Annie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 24 2013 at 7:51am


Dear Norb,   Thank You for posting. I truly believe that Love does overcome all, how nice that you engraved that on the stone. You could not have done better.

               It breaks my heart to see the pictures of your daughter and son, it still must be difficult for them. I remember I was 12 when my Father died.

              You have two wonderful looking children Norb and your brother and his family must be such a source of consolation. Its wonderful that Sara had such a helpful and caring friend in Elonda.

              Take care of yourself and God Bless...Love, Annie
Annie TNBC Stage IIA Gr 3 1cm lesion 2/5 lymph nodes+ lumpectomy,FEC & D 30Rads finished(08/2009) BRCA- Chronic Cellulitis due to Radiation-- L.Mastectomy Jan 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote courtice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 26 2013 at 10:42am
Thanks so much Annie!

I do have a lot to be thankful for, including having spent half my life with someone special and to have a part of her live on in my children as well.

All my best to you, I hope all works out for the best!
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