The Cat Liked Me First

by Diana Bennett Wirtz • More.com Member { View Profile }
Life on the beach

I was in charge of finding a room before we left for Mexico the next day and found this wonderful hotel that had a heart shaped bed, heart shaped mirror over the bed, and heart shaped Jacuzzi in the room.  When we got there, we realized it was not particularly classy, but laughed and had a great time.  We found out after we returned that it was normally rented out by the hour, if you know what I mean.

Getting back from our wonderful honeymoon, we settled into a new home in Del Mar. Life was good, I was going to school and Fred opened a new office for his firm.  We bought a house that I totally loved, put in a pool and started entertaining.  Among other people we invited some friends for dinner that had the cutest little two year old blonde daughter. After dinner we were all playing in the pool and Fred was the happiest I had seen him.  He was totally relaxed and two weeks later I was pregnant with our first son.

 Since after six months, I could no longer fit behind the drafting table to do my homework, I took a quarter off from school and went to cooking school.  A year later I was still going to cooking school and design school.  Chadwyck was born, and we had never been happier.  Chaddie was blonde and blue-eyed and the perfect child.  I had not liked being pregnant, so had my tubes tied on the table. Two years later, due to miracle of surgery my tubes were re-attached and Kyle arrived.  Two beautiful blonde boys made us the perfect couple, and we were. I stayed home for a year and went back to work.  About seven months after I started my new job, I was very grumpy. Fred looked at me one day and said you are not grumpy, you are pregnant.  I thought he was crazy, but took a test the next day and Maxx was born about six months later.

We were the perfect couple, going to black-tie dinners, entertaining, enjoying lots of family time with our boys and our friends.  Fred was always surprising me with special surprises.  Our boys brought such joy into our lives; I never knew anyone could be that happy.  I had grown up poor on a farm, and here I was living in a beautiful estate in Del Mar, with a gorgeous and successful husband and three healthy and adorable boys.  We were the envy of anyone that met us, as we were so happy together as a family.  That’s when life changed.

Fred had started getting colds, then pneumonia and we laughed as we always did and called it PPD (preschool parents disease) as we had three boys under the age of five.  He went in for some tests and the doctor told us he had multiple myeloma.  I just figured it was a complicated word for the flu, so one day when we were in Costco I saw a Physician’s Reference and looked it up.   He had cancer and he had two years to live if we were lucky.  I sort of remember standing in Costco crying, seeing my whole world changing.

Fred never complained once in the five years that he lived with cancer. He lived through horrible pain, and never wanted his beautiful sons to know he was sick.  When we rushed him to the hospital he was going on a business trip.  When he couldn’t stand up because of the pain, it was due to having worked too hard in the yard.  He smiled right up to end, so I wouldn’t feel his pain.  He helped the family move to Bainbridge Island, so we could live well on what was left, and we did for a very long time.  He built us the house of my dreams, which I lived in for ten years.

I have never known anyone like him since.  He used to sing “You are my sunshine” in the shower in his off-key voice yet it was music to my ears, because I always knew I was his sunshine.  He was my life mentor and I made him laugh.  His sons were and are the blessings he left behind to help me make it through my life.  It has been twenty years this year, and it seems like yesterday that we were driving down Highway Five letting the balloons out of the top of the Porsche on our wedding day and laughing.

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