I often like to think of Candice being captured in all her beautiful moments. The picture to the left was taken a year ago while we were basking in the gorgeous Aruba sun. Things can change suddenly and no matter how nimble, nothing prepared me for this loss. What has kept me strong is the enormous love that I continue to feel from Candice.
Today, Candice's ashes were placed in her final resting place. This has been a three month process for me and a journey that was very personal as I wanted it to reflect my undying love for her. I felt strongly that Candice's service was so beautiful that a private internment was best, and so Candice's dad, Aunt Maureen, my dad and myself were in attendance.
I am happy that friends and family now have a place to visit on their own time and in their own way. The cemetery is large so a map is helpful. Candice's Marker is located very close to the main entrance (between section X and AA). When entering the gates, veer left (stay on the far left when it splits- on Consecration Ave.) You will come to the first left on Magnolia Ave - turn on to this road. Candice is on this hillside on the Alpine Path.
Although Dennis and I said a few words today, I was very moved by a letter that Auntie Maureen addressed to Candice (sharing with her permission) and a poem my father read written by my great grandfather J. Wilson McKearin.
LETTER FROM MAUREEN
Here we are on a beautiful day to lay you to rest in this beautiful spot. Stephanie made sure it was the perfect place. She looked at several spots here in Forest Hills Cemetery and after much deliberation and soul-searching she decided this was the spot for you. Here on Magnolia Street… pretty cool, right? She also designed your stone. She did an awesome job, it's pretty perfect isn't it?
The last 3 1/2 months have gone by in a haze. It's hard to believe you're gone, hard to wrap my mind around it. You have left a void. A hole in the world... not just in our world but in the world of all your friends, coworkers, and extended family. I'm sure you know how they all stepped up to help when you were in the hospital and how they have continued to do so even now. Reaching out to me, your dad, and to Stephanie. They have kept your Facebook page active because they need a place to say hi, I'm thinking about you, I miss you, I love you or I saw a rainbow today and it made me think of you. You have people running around JP wearing T-shirts and bracelets that say I Heart Candice... strangers shouting to each other, "I heart Candice, too!" Your amazing wife and those amazing friends together raised over $14,000 in your name for pancreatic cancer research. Amazeballs!
But back to that void... sometimes it feels like you've been gone forever and other times it feels like just yesterday. I think about you all the time... I hear something on the news and wonder what you would think of it, see a movie and wonder if you'd like it. I know you wouldn't be happy with the Supreme Court after last week's decision and I wonder what you think of Orange Is The New Black season 2. I know you'd be happy about David's promotion but sad that they have to leave their little cabin in the woods.
I know you're proud of Stephanie... the way she's handled everything, made the hard decisions, gone back to work and most importantly she's taking very good care of your memory. She recruited the I Heart Candice team to run in Westborough, she designed the I Heart Candice T-shirts, she's one heck of a fundraiser! Her blog is an incredible tribute to you and to the love you shared. That blog has also been like a lifeline to your many friends and family... those who are nearby and those who are scattered across the country.
Candice, our world is a darker place because you were always our shining light. Maybe we can fill that void a little bit at a time. With a happy memory, a funny story, or a Candice witticism. Hopefully it won't always hurt this badly. But for now I try to face each day with the same strength and courage that you faced each of those 37 days in the hospital. You were pure dignity and class.
Like the song says, "you showed us how we're supposed to live and now you showed us how to die."
I love you sweetheart, and I always will.
POEM READ BY MY FATHER -
THE GIFT -by J. Wilson McKearin
God sends us gifts;
such lovely things
to make the world seem bright:
The brooks, the birds,
the flowers, the trees,
the stars that shine
The gentle rain that
cools the earth
The snow so soft and white,
That glistens in the
Like jewels flashing
The scudding clouds that float
On the deep, deep sky so blue;
But the sweetest gift of all
Is a little girl like you.