Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I miss Hope

I got home tonight from a city council meeting with my neighbors being sweet enough to watch the kids and put them to bed. After walking my neighbor half-way home I immediately came back into the house and started to walk into the bedroom. I started to think about if Hope would be asleep with the TV on, asleep with the light on and a book in her lap as she tried to stay awake until I got home, if I would wake her up and tell her about my day or not (sometimes she loved when I did that and other times she would get mad), and then I turned the corner and the room was empty. It was not until then I realized she was not here. I haven't worked much in the last 2 plus months so I was totally out of my city council late night routine.

I love you so much and miss you Hope. I haven't sobbed in days so I think this was just what I needed. Every time I start thinking I've got it all under control something like this pops up. Like I said in the Hope celebration, it's the little things you miss the most. It's amazing you work your whole life to achieve certain goals and Hope and I exceeded all of ours, but now this house that seemed so perfect for the four of us seems so ridiculously big and empty now minus only one person. Rochelle, Ann-Marie and I are meeting for dinner and many, many, many drinks tomorrow night so we can hopefully help each other without distractions. We talk multiple times every day and it seems to help each of us at times, but I think for the first time since Hope's ultimate day of comfort that she so badly deserved it will be the first time the three of us have got together.

My project received unanimous approval tonight after a tumultuous Planning and Zoning board meeting (I know to most this is the engineering nerd inside of me screaming for attention when you'd rather go to an insurance seminar) and it did not even give me the first bit of joy. I even had the council laughing with one of my corny jokes which is not always easy to do in the serious world of local politics nowadays. I think once again my only point is that I miss Hope, and I know I'm not even close to alone in the feeling.

P. S. My quest for hearing personal problems from family/friends has overwhelmed me a bit in my last blog, I'm sorry to hear that we're all screwed up in so many ways that we have to search out the things that give us joy. Just make sure when you find them, you suck the marrow out of every moment because you just never know when it might all go away inexplicably.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Superbowl Anniversary

Just for the record, I do have the express written consent from the NFL to use the Superbowl phrase as long as nobody actually wants to see a copy of the letter. Yes this coming Superbowl would have been my dozenth (that's not a word) anniversary with Hope. I'm almost as upset that the Pats won't be there as much as Hope won't (maybe not quite). Two FSU studs (Darnell Dockett and Anquan Boldin) are on the Cards so I'm rooting for the upset if anyone cares. My Aunt Lois and Uncle Cliff from New England will be staying here over the weekend providing an additional helpful distraction. I also thought Sunday would be a great opportunity to teach the kids about gambling on everything from the coin flip to the score after each quarter to how many times Ken Wisenhunt trips over his headphone chords, excessive drinking (nope wait, they've seen that already), excessive comfort food eating (ditto), and hilarious beer commercials hopefully they won't get. Those of you that work with me will know who I'm talking about, but one friend was so excited about the Superbowl because the first commercial for the new Transformers movie is coming out (I love that people know ridiculous things like that nowadays).

As far as the boys and I, I'm so focused on taking care of the kids and the house (Hope's two main loves in her life and keeping the house clean was a close, close second) that things like bills and work are really starting to get ignored. I got up early this morning to catch up on bills (I don't even have a driver's license right now because I haven't renewed it yet) and instead I was putting away the last of the laundry and blogging. I will not let myself to to work today until I get the bills paid. I have a stack of thank you cards I haven't even opened to send out and I don't even know where to start with those because I have so many people to thank.

I feel fine most of the time now, but except for taking care of the boys I've just lost my inner drive that always made me succeed in the past. I can't explain it, I just don't have "it" anymore and I'm not sure how to find it. I'm hoping it's just part of the natural "holy shit" I can't believe this has happened and in time "it" will come back. I'm sure I'm somewhat depressed, although I don't feel like I am. Not much makes me feel good except being with the boys and friends, yet I need time away from them to catch up on other priorities. Friends have been absolutely amazing, I know at anytime we could have a dozen volunteers here to pooperscoop if we asked. It's a great feeling to have so much love around us, I can't tell you how much I feel it every time I walk into the boy's two schools, work, a friend's house, or here with the boys.

I do have one complaint for our family and friends though. I get the feeling everyone is afraid to talk about themselves anymore, especially anything negative. Just knowing your lives are screwed up too really helps me out. Please don't be afraid to tell me your fish has cancer and the treatments are not going well, your invisible friend is considering leaving because you just don't look at him (or her --- I like my naked invisible friend) the same way you used to, or your Mom (or fruity Dad --- wait what does that say about me?) is joining the David Hasselhoff cult (Hoff cult for short if you're in the know). Your screwed up lives and problems really help me find something to do and give me one more reason to look past those past due notices.

The boys are doing great although on and off sick most days right now but whose aren't? I'm looking forward to feeling better each week as I approach my 3rd one without Hope in the flesh, and I'm looking forward the pooperscoop party at the house. Thanks to Dave Tom the keg is flowing again (yes we did kill the entire keg at Hope's celebration --- by the way some friends were counting at the service and they estimated almost 500 people were there, what an amazing testament to Hope) and thanks to the Transformer junky the Rocky doll (I mean action figure) will be fixed soon too. My boys and I love you all, know we are extremely lucky, and look forward to a Super week. Happy anniversary Hope, I know you love me like Oprah and chocolate, and I know you will be there with me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Boyz in the Hood

I know we don't live in the hood (like in Satellite Beach for example --- sorry Dave Tom) but there's a line in the movie I've always loved and repeated from Ice Cube that people just don't know, don't show, and don't care what's going on in the hood. In my hood the overwhelming love and support has just been astonishing and I can't thank everyone enough. I've been getting 10 to 20 letters a day with some of the most heartfelt love from people I would not have ever expected.

Alyson wrote one of the sweetest diatribes about my family that blew me away, my cousin Jessica who've I've grown up always admiring (by the way I still have squatter's rights on your house since we tried to build a fort on the property 30 years ago so Kurt and I would not have leave you guys during visits), two different friends' mom's including a poem that really helped me and a dog groomer to come to our house, and Hope's mom after Nathan's basketball game on Saturday gave me a saying that nailed Hope and how I've been feeling like nothing else. I know I'm forgetting so many others off the top of my head, but thank you one and all for the love and support.

Many of you have asked me about Sybil, the singer at Hope's celebration that did Amazing Grace and a few other songs. She's local with gigs every week and I have seen her personally dozens of times. Her website is http://www.sybilsings.com/. Please go check her out, restaurants/bars are hurting right now and there's nothing more healing than music for the soul. My two cousins that played guitar and sang are 2/3rds of a band in South Berwick, Maine so if you're ever up that way let me know and I'll hook you up with them. There last gig was in front of 120 women so don't feel too bad from them up north braving the frigid cold.

I mentioned the Boyz in the hood because my boys are about the only thing getting me through each day. We can all learn so much from them as they live in the moment like no one else. We have had sad moments together like when I showed them Hope's box of ashes and read them letters Hope wrote to each of them. I found a father's day card I had forgotten about that has Hope's voice recorded saying she loved me and I was a great Dad that she had to have done right before her last tongue surgery because she never spoke like herself again. Rochelle told me she calls Hope's cellular phone (I don't even know where it is by the way along with her wedding rings, one of which is a family heir loom) just to hear her voice. Ann-Marie posted some pics on her facebook of us wrestling in the grass in her front yard from Saturday. Unfortunately on top of everything else Reese has over a 102 temperature tonight so I'm giving him some extra loving. Thank goodness for my training from Hope, Tylenol, Motrin, Tylenol, Motrin, repeat lather and rinse.

That's the other thing helping me get through every day, is so many wonderful friends. When I'm watching MMA, out to dinner, or just grabbing a beer unless we're talking about Hope it's an incredible distraction. When I'm not distracted it's still so hard because everything here reminds me of her and it's all the little things that really get to me. I still kind of feel dumb and numb a lot, although I recognize it's less now then it was immediately following the celebration. I love sports but just cannot even sit and watch the NFL playoffs. I've never been much of a sleeper and I'm getting more sleep now then anytime in my life but I still always feel tired. I'm really looking forward to getting back to work full-time, so far only two half-days hitting a few meetings/conference calls. I really can't thank team civil enough for taking care of things basically for 3 out of the last 7 months as I've missed so much work.

Being alone at night when the kids are in bed hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be. There's so many things I want to get done but everything takes 10 times longer than they used to. I have been doing everything since June as far as the house, kids, work, etc. so that part has not been too difficult. Although until now I always had the fallback of Hope being better real soon and taking things over again. I keep everything in the house like Hope is alive, and I can't figure out why I'm still doing that. I still use the far towel rack, far sink, keep her shampoo, razor and toothbrush out, keep the remote in the bedroom on her side of the bed, still light the candles like she always did, but I'm sure that will all evolve with time.

I've always strong-willed myself through every situation in my life but this is the first time I just can't do that. I think I'm learning way more about myself than I ever wanted but hopefully in the end I'll be stronger for it and most importantly a better Dad. Nathan always says I know how you feel Daddy when he sees me crying, but does not get upset. Reese always follows Nathan's lead on how he reacts. The other night I was upset and Nathan said I know what will make you feel better and he gave me the pink boa from Hope's closet that she won for being the top fundraiser at the Relay for Life. By the way Rochelle is keeping the Hope for the Ta-Tas name alive in Hope's memory so I'll send out more information about that down the road to hit you up for walking and fundraising. Everyone has been touched by cancer and research is the only way our children's children won't have to experience what so many of us have had to endure.

Nathan is so sweet, he told me last night that he knows it's harder on him then Reese because Reese just doesn't understand all of this. Then he sat there for a moment and said, Dad I think it's hardest on you though. He's only 7 and one of the most thoughtful human beings I've ever met (not just kids, I really mean all human beings). We talk to Mommy every night before bed and sometimes during the day depending on what we're doing. I'm so grateful to all of our friends and family, grateful for all that we have but especially the Boyz in the hood that Hope gave to me. I can't wait to feel like me again, but I know I'm already making progress.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Funky Cold Medina

I think Tone Loc put it best, the funky cold medina when he said it can make you bring home a Sheila and the body is all a mess (or however it goes) but that Sheila can be a man. That's how I fell right now, like I brought home a man with my funky cold medina and there's no "wild thing" for a long time to come. I'm typing the blog for therapy. I don't talk to any docs or even friends/family too much about my feelings, so the blog is my only therapy at this time. I'm not doing it for pity but for myself to hopefully feel better and maybe one day down the road have a record of how I felt that I can share with my boys. Feel free to stop reading any time, I'm not doing this for anyone but myself now.

I feel funky all the time, it's hard to explain. I can't quite complete anything, everything I do complete takes me 10 times longer than it should. I have no feeling of accomplishment, no feeling of satisfaction, no matter what I complete or forget to do. For the last 9-1/2 years I have run my own company making split decisions at the blink of an eye all day with no worries about consequences because I knew in my heart it was always for the best and I could defend every one of them. I lived my life the same way, every decision was final and easy to make. I knew it was right because it was the decision I made. Hope hated to argue with me, because even when I was wrong I so certain in my belief of my own intuition or decision-making that I had to be right.

Now I question everything, I have the hardest time deciding whether to organize the desk and files, watch TV for a bit, go for a run, blog, return phone calls, catch up on bills and mail, or something else. I feel like I'm drunk but do not enjoy the "woo-hoo" alcohol can sometimes bring. Everything is an overwhelming task from kids to meals to calling back friends. My body feels great, I've finally had time to run again but my mind feels like it's been run over by a Mack truck. I'm looking forward to nothing, can't even look beyond the next day or sometimes the next few hours.

I feel like I should be crying much more, but when I do all I want to do is stop. I sobbed like my arm was just caught off twice today, but only for a minute or two each time. It seems like it should be more often, or at least not so sobbing. Tonight when I tucked the boys in we talked to Mommy and hugged her stuffed animals. I cried again but not so hard this time. Reese fussed a bit, but didn't get too upset. Nathan stayed calm and just said I know why you're crying daddy and it's going to be okay. A few nights ago I got upset after watching the Hope DVD from the ceremony and Nathan brought me the pink feather boa Hope won years ago as the highest fundraiser for breast cancer. He said, this will make you feel better Daddy. It didn't, but Nathan's caring sure did.

The funeral home called today and I'm afraid to call them back. I feel tired all the time but probably would not sleep. I feel like I'm not doing a good job with the kids but that's my only priority. I think the funky cold medina has a catch on me and it's too late. I haven't watched any news or sports in many weeks so hopefully the Pats are cruising in the playoffs and Celtics are still holding onto the best record in the league and close to matching their previous 19-game hot streak. But really none of that even matters.

The only time I felt like me today was when I was handling a few work phone calls, but otherwise feel like a turtle on his back that can't get up. I don't want to go back to work, but at the same time know I need to at least somewhat more than the past. I think I'm in for a long roller coaster ride with no carnie to tell me when to step off (they have large hands and smell like cabbage if you remember Austin Powers). I think I just need peace and quiet, lots of family/friends around, more quiet time to gather my thoughts, less quiet time to get back in the game, another drink, no more alochol, another friend or brother to talk to, no one else to talk to, a shrink, a blog, or just stop talking all together and then I'll be just fine and back to the old me.

Once I figure out the right combo I'll let you know for future reference. In the meantime I think I'll just try to power through each moment. I'm all alone feeling like there's nothing here for me worth living for while I'm surrounded by more love from friends and family than I could have ever imagined, with two giant reasons to suck the marrow out of every moment with our boys. Maybe with just a little more time along/with friends I'll start to be the old me again. Maybe he's lost forever along with Hope, and I have to find a new me that is a loner with an angel on his shoulder ready to take on the world again. Either way, tomorrow is the next step towards being me again for better or worse. I'm going to try and go to work which means a shower, brushing my hair, and god for saken pants again. I'll try some funky cold medina to get me going in the morning, thanks Tone (by the way the all-time greatest Tone Loc moment in history had to be in Ace Ventura --- which by the way was also Dan Marino's greatest glory since he could never win the big one).

Good night Hope, I love you like water and I hope you give me the strength to keep up the good fight like you did on Sunday when I spoke in front of 300 loved ones. I don't think anyone has the answer, I have to seek my own path to find it. I just hope I find it for the boys and my own sake.

Monday, January 12, 2009


We were all amazed at the unbelievable showing of love and support for Hope during her celebration of life on Sunday. Most esimated over 300 people attended. The church said they have never seen anything like it before. I only wish everyone that came was comfortable and could see and hear everything said. Will (Hope's brother) brought down the house with his unbelievable words and heartfelt sentiments. Sybil Gage, along with my cousins Brad Martin and Joe Long were incredible with their music under the toughest conditions of space and their own feelings of remorse.

Thanks to all that attended, tried to attend, wanted to attend, and that came back to our house afterwards. We had an amazing celebration of Hope through music, love, prayer, and food/drink. I was not struck down despite using words like penis and vagina due to my inexperience in church. The turnout blew us all away, and Hope was given an amazing send-off like she deserves. I love you Hope, like water (Oprah, David Bloom, chocolate, and Kirk Herbstreit) and I'm wiggling my fingers at my eyebrows. Wow, what an amazing celebration of a single life. Hope is the perfect word for you now and forever.

Just Jake.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Only Hope

My brother and I were trying on some new clothes Hope's mom and brother/sister-in-law were kind enough to purchase yesterday for the boys to have something more sophisticated to wear than jeans when I went looking in their closets for shoes. To some Crocs, flops or Nikes just don't say I'm dressed up and respectful (this is coming from a guy that has not put on a pair of pants or used a hair brush in about 7 weeks) so I agreed to find some shoes. As I'm going through Reese's closet I find two pairs of khakis, two button-down dress shirts, two belts, and a tie that Hope had to have ordered.

They (of course) fit perfectly and I just lose it. I start thinking only Hope the master planner of all planners would have ordered the clothes she wanted for her boys to wear to her own life celebration. Hope I know you'll be there with us watching, your boys will be looking dapper just like you wanted. Me, I'm trying to see if I can even find pants and a shirt with some buttons but Hope gave up on me dressing as nicely as the boys a long time ago.

I think everyone knows, but just in case we are celebrating Hope's life at 2 PM (I suggest getting there about 1:45 PM) on Sunday at the Cocoa Beach Community Church at the intersection of 1st Street South and Highway A1A (this is the church we were married in). Then we are inviting everyone back to our house in Melbourne at 4283 Turtlemound Road (from US 1 take Post Road to the end, turn right and we are the second to last house on the right). We are going to celebrate a one of a kind woman today, only Hope.

- Just Jake.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Heaven's Gift

Heavan received the greatest late New Year's gift this morning. Hope passed away peacefully with myself and Sister Joan, a nun that has been visiting us over the last few weeks. I wasn't planning on even going by this morning but for some reason I felt compelled after dropping Reese off at school. Hope's mom was already there having spent the night and Rochelle just happened to stop by, our long time friend and midnight nurse advocate I've mentioned previously. They were in the hallway when Sister Joan was telling Hope to go to God and a bunch of scripture stuff that I was only half paying attention to (come on now and admit all you dutiful church goers you do the same thing sometimes).

Hope had not opened up her eyes in days (basically she had not moved in days at all), but then suddenly opened them like she had just discovered my third nipple (a weak Friends reference) and stared into my eyes. She knew I was there by my voice and holding her hand for a long while. In the briefest of moments, she let me know she was at peace, happy to be moving on, that she loved me, and that we would always be connected. Her eyes were as beautiful as the first time I met her in 9th grade in the Jefferson Junior High cafeteria (of course on that day I was holding Heather May Combs hand --- anyone have her number?), and then she closed them and stopped breathing.

With her apnea I wasn't sure if she really stopped because it takes her a long time to get going again, but she didn't start back up this time. I called out to her mom and Rochelle, and then one of the nurses came in and confirmed she had begun her journey to heaven to become an angel. I was never sure if I definitely wanted to be there at the end, but now I am grateful to Hope that she waited and I have renewed faith in God, more than ever in Hope, and even the nun that just happened (or was it fate Ann-Marie?) to come by while I was there and talked her through going to God. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a bit pissed at the big guy but the 3 Wisemen in Florida (there are 3 more in Knoxville, TN) will be just fine.

As I've said so many times, we are still some of the luckiest people in the world with all the love and support we've had from friends and family. I have already picked up both kids from school and told them individually about Mommy's new job, angel and protector for the 3 Wise boys. Their extremely different reactions were absolutely fascinating to me as each knew this was coming through our many conversations and crying sessions in the past. Last Friday I told them they would not see Mommy again after our last hospital visit.

So now what??? I know the next week will be overwhelming like the holidays were with loved ones all around. We will plant a tree in the backyard with a bench and a butterfly garden I think, and spread some of her ashes. She and I always felt like our house was a dream come true, we were thankful for everyday we spent here together in her best and worst days, and for her to be here "in the flesh" was something she and I always wanted. I'll keep the rest of her ashes in the house so that when the boys don't need their old man anymore (and I Hope to be an old man) we can spread our ashes together.

I found a couple of days ago my Father's Day gift hidden in one of the drawers of our desk (I was looking for tape). Her surgery to remove half of her tongue was 2 days before Father's Day so we spent it in ICU (by the way I'll always remember and thank Uncle Bruce for calling me Father's Day morning as I didn't even realize it was to wish me a happy one) and Hope always said we would celebrate when she was feeling up to it. Unfortunately she never felt good enough again, but that wasn't because of lack of effort on her part. The necklace is two intersecting infinity symbols like you see in celtic jewelry that I think she meant to symbolize endless love. No matter what happens in the future we will always be together and a family.

She did promise to haunt me and in fact our sink, toilet, and bath pipes are gurgling unexplicably right now. I just Drano'd them but will probably have to call a plumber friend (Erin if you're reading this please let Mark know I'll be calling). Maybe Hope will stop messing with me and I won't have to call. Maybe it's just her way to tell me I'm full of sh*t with these blogs. She would always call me out when it was needed. We are still working on finalizing details and I will update later, but at this time I think we will have a celebration of Hope's life on Sunday at 2 PM (if there's an NFL playoff game on at the same time I'll DVR it and everyone can watch it at our house after the celebration) at the same church we were married in to come full circle, the Cocoa Beach Community Church. If you want to come and need to travel far I wanted to give as much notice as possible. I think we'll invite guests back to our house afterwards.

The plumbing (or Hope) is still gurgling at me so I'll need Mark or just enjoy Hope haunting me already (she never was one for wasting time). Thanks and love to all of your for helping us get through this, I have a newly restored faith, and Heaven has the greatest gift I can imagine that we mortals were lucky enough to enjoy for 36 years. I had over 21 years, Nathan 7, and Reese 4. It's not enough but we cherished the moments like it was 1999 (I'm not only a closet Neil Diamond fan as I admitted in earlier blogs but also Prince, but only Purple Rain). We love you Hope, and thanks.
- Just Jake.

P.S. If you're Facebooker, and it appears most of the planet is, I've been very creepily pretending to be Hope for some time now so feel free to send messages to Hope and the Wise boys through Facebook.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


If you read my last blog you would see we were under siege from family, friends, and hospice help over the holidays and the weeks leading up to them with more love and support than we could have ever imagined. Now everyone has had to go back to their own homes as school and work starts up for so many and Hope had to go back to hospice for good on Christmas eve. She will never sleep in her bed, call for me from the back bedroom, or watch a TV show with both boys cuddled up with her again as she loved so much and I enjoyed being a part of. She has steadily declined at hospice with temps over 105 degrees, bed sores, apnea where she stops breathing at times, all bowel movements have ceased eliminating use of the stomach tube, and basically just total shutdown of the human body.

However being the warrior she is, she is still hanging in there as I just left the hospital a bit earlier tonight. I and many others have asked her to move on selfishly but she needs to decide when it's time. Since we started asking her to move on I have seen just through her still being around some miracles such as her mom, brother, both sister-in-laws, her dad, and others including two of her best friends coming around to being at peace with her imminent passing. I told her tonight that I now understand why she has hung on so long and that this was her one last selfless act to everyone that loves her. I told her how everyone is now at peace and when she's ready she has already done more to repair broken relationships with family and friends then the best ever Oprah show by simply hanging on so long.

Both boys told me yesterday they did not want to visit Mommy anymore. While that saddened me deeply, when I saw her today I realized that was the best possible decision and that my children are smarter than me on this one. Although Reese did ask if we could go to the hospital to the potato chip machine and then come home. I often cry in front of the kids and with them so they know it's okay. Nathan often asks if I'm sad and I'm always honest with him about how I'm feeling at that moment. He always says the same thing, "I can tell Daddy." Thanks to Hope, we have two amazingingly (probably not a word, sorry Anna and Tina) sensitive and well-behaved boys that want nothing more than to please their parent(s) (I hate that I typed it that way).

We never use the past tense with Mommy, I still keep the TV remote on her night stand, I still put my towel on the far towel rack, I still sleep on my side of the bed, and I just finished a load of laundry from the hospital with her underwear, bras, pajamas, etc. that I put away like it was just another load of laundry. Everything is different, yet I'm trying to keep it the same. It's indescribable how to explain what a broken heart feels like, but it's sort of like being numb, drunk, a little sick all the time, food doesn't taste good, and you feel dumb about everything. You shake loose of it for brief moments, but they are very brief. You do laugh sometimes but feel guilty when you do so, you feel like you should be with her for every breath, but after doing so for 5 weeks you somehow know it's better to be with your children instead. You know you don't have to be there for the final breath, but want to so badly. You feel guilty for not crying more, but when you do all you want is to stop.

And then you hear your child's voice, a cry for help to transform a new toy (that was for you Jamie), a request for white milk and chocolate milk with way too much chocolate milk, or just look through your clouded, red contacts into your childs' desperate eyes and you realize why you were spared but never can understand why Hope wasn't. I received more e-mails, phone calls, holiday cards, and had more conversations with family/friends that love Hope telling me they are and have been praying for Hope and our family. While I appreciate all the love and support, and I strongly feel that no matter what the format any positive thoughts are helpful, if there was a divine, just being listening and responding to all prayers there is no way we would be in this ultimate outcome. I do believe in heaven, that God created life, I believe in karma, but I also now believe in the chaos theory in that no matter how good of a life you lead (and there was no more pure and helpful soul than Hope's) you might not be blessed enough no matter how much positive prayer, vibrations, or karma you receive/give to be spared by the wrath of cancer. If God created life, did God create cancer, AIDS, the bird flu, deformed or under-developed children, the Yankees, Dolphins and Lakers, or are those just side effects created by man for being impure?

Is it because I have not attended church for almost the 1900th week of my life as of today, or is it that even if you attended 5000 services you still might not understand it? I have no idea what kind of response I'll receive to this blog, but please just look at yourself internally and make sure that no matter if you do or don't pray, do or don't go to church, do or don't give to charities, that you look inside and make sure you have no regrets. The only thing I know for sure is that Hope had none, she lead the most pure and godlike life of anyone I have ever known and still suffered the most unkind and inpure injustices.

Please don't condemn me for these questions and thoughts, just look internally at your own and make sure you are taking care of what's most important. Does that better house, fancy meal, spotless floor, or other eccentricity even matter, or does just knowing deep down you spent the best of your time on earth helping, loving, healing, being positive, and most importantly unconditionally loving children matter the most? Hope has zero regrets!!! I'm sorry this one turned sermony (probably not a word either), but because I've heard so few of them in my time I guess I felt like I should try my turn at one. I am lonely since the kids are at my Mom's tonight and instead of catching up on 6 week old bills I am blogging and apparently feeling sorry for myself and mankind (and womankind --- that was for you Mom) in general. Yes, I'm lonely but according to everything that's right I should not have to be.

I tell everyone that I talk to how lucky I feel, even through all of this. My children are healthy and happy for the most part, I have amazing friends/family that would do anything to support us, and I am okay with not understanding the big picture. I can admit that, ask questions, and hopefully not alienate the ones I love and the ones that love Hope. Hope is the purest emotion I can imagine, and the most fitting description for my wife. While I anticipate at any moment receiving a phone call that Hope the person will no longer be with us, I know that Hope the purest emotion will not be going anywhere in this family. I love you Hope, go to God when you're ready and please put in a good word for me as I may need it.

- Just Jake.