My Carmen

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When I first met Carmen almost 19 years ago, I thought to myself, wow that girl is pretty.  She was stunningly beautiful.  She was so pretty I thought to myself, don’t even think about it, you’ve got no chance.  Little did I know, she was severely blinded by love (God’s handy work) and so she gave me a chance.  To this day I’m not quite sure why she went out with me as I’m sure there were many guys after her.  But I wasn’t going to complain or question it.  As I got to know her better, I began to realize that she had the spunk, energy, uniqueness, and the personality to match her exterior appearance.  In other words, I had hit The Jackpot.  Inward beauty that matched her outer beauty.  I had it all in one person.  I realized looking at our wedding photos, that I became the guy that other people would say (including me), how in the world is she with him?  Yes, I became that guy, the envy of the block and I was very proud of it.  A friend recently asked me why my eyes looked so swollen in some of the pictures.  He asked if I was crying that she said ‘yes’ to me.  Probably.  I could never get over how beautiful she was.  At the same time she was so humble about it.  Whenever I would tell her that, she would insinuate that I was insulting her and making fun of her.  But I believe deep inside she enjoyed hearing it as much as I enjoyed telling her.

Carmen and I dated for about 6 years and married for 12 ½ years.  As with any couple, we had a few rough patches in the beginning.  In my immaturity I thought myself blameless in our struggles, but looking back now, we were both so young and naïve about how things worked in life.  I just didn’t understand her enough in the beginning to help myself from fighting with her.  However, I can say that each year was better than the prior as we really got to know each other.  I don’t feel we really had to “work” on our marriage.  It just came naturally for both of us because we enjoyed each other’s company so much.   The arrival of our girls just made things that much more special for us.  I loved the fact that she wanted to quit her job and stay home with our girls.  Nothing gave her more joy than raising them, and nothing gave me more joy than watching her with our girls.  If the feeling of the word perfection can be defined, it was what I felt every night when the girls were in bed and our house was at peace.

As with everything else, all good things must come to an end.  Her stint with cancer ended on December 18, 2013.  The second her pain ended as she breathed her last, mine began.  People say words cannot describe the pain and they’re right.  Words cannot describe it fully.  However, as I thought about how I’m going to write this post to honor her and plainly because she wanted me to, I realized there is one word that comes close.  That word is “half”.  Everything feels like half now.  Jokes are half as fun, sports are half as interesting, and the house feels half empty even though she was 1 of 5.  The person that coined the term “better half” to describe their spouse probably lost theirs.  Carmen was my (much) better half.  I just hope time will be kind to me and my girls and accelerate the healing process.

Carmen and I were so appreciative of all those people that invested so much of their time, emotion, effort, and prayers especially in the final few weeks.  She was so amazingly strong and fought ‘til the very end for me and the girls.  I truly admired her strength, courage, and determination.  She will be missed more than she will ever know.



14 thoughts on “My Carmen

  1. Oh what a lovely message and sharing this with everyone Jack.Great thing is that what wonderful memories of Carmen you hold with you forever.Everything you wrote about your lovely wife is such a message to me what true love between you and her exsited.God Bless You and your precious daughters. This touched me so much.Again if there is anything I could help please let me know.May you be comforted in Gods mercy and Love.Sincerely Stella Ordonio

  2. Jack, You picked the perfect pictures of you both, they show the life and love that flowed between you. I have felt this loss so many times, my heart aches for you and the girls. My first husband died in a car accident, I was 5 months pregnate with my son. While we did not have the time you and Carmen did, it has been 40 years, and never a day passes with out my thoughts of him. The emptiness is devastating, but I have found over the years, losing my loved ones, that remembering the joy, the love, the laughs, the hugs, still brings tears some times, but for a brief moment it brings the best comfort too. Carmen knew how much she would be missed Jack, that is where she drew her strength and fight from, it isn’t the letting go of life that is hard, it is the leaving of our loved ones, and the pain that it will bring them that is hard. For that she fought her hardest, for you, for the girls. Please Jack, keep us informed on you and the girls, I feel so connected to your family through these post. I see Carmen in the little faces, and they are so full of life. You will find comfort in holding your girls, they are your blessing. Carmen will live on with you always in your heart, in your memories, in your pictures, in your ever lasting love, no matter what life brings, you will always have her. This I know from experience. My words won’t help. I am glad I found your blog on Carmen, knowing her a little through your post has been inspiring. Hug your girls, much love to you all. Pam Hendricks

  3. Hahaha your eyes really do look swollen and Carmen really was stunnning. Don’t worry Jack, during college she mentioned countless times when she had butterflies in her stomach, before she went on dates with you 🙂 as you felt you hit the jackpot with her, she knew you were her knight in shining armour!
    What a beautiful post… I’m sure you’ll be seeing bits and pieces of Carmen in your girls and although some dads may be impatient with female drama, I am certain you’ll embrace every bit of it. I’m trying to guess which one of the girls will be fashionably late to all gatherings, which one will be your personal shopper at Nordstrom’s and which one will have a sweet tooth….

  4. I am so very, very sorry Jack. I have been reading your posts since last summer when my daughter-in-law had the same diagnosis as Carmen. She died on 28th Oct. I applaud your determination to find help for Carmen wherever you needed to look. And so sorry at the result. I just hope that eventually your lovely 3 daughters will bring you peace and then joy again. You’ll be feeling it for Carmen as well as yourself. And she was truly, truly beautiful.

  5. Jack, my condolences to you and your family. My mom ended her fight with cancer on December 14, 2013. The services, and the holidays were extremely difficult, and even now it’s hard to concentrate. Stay strong for your girls and know there are lots of support and assistance available for you and the family. Remember to take care of yourself and know that Carmen is watching over all of you as your newest Gaurdian Angel.

  6. Your description of Carmen is perfect!. A Godly woman blessed with stunning beauty, a quick wit, a clever mind, a passion for teaching, a devotion to friends, and a selfless, all encompassing love for you and your beautiful daughters. Cameron’journey will continue to inspire people with hope, determination, and strength. We hung on your words, prayers, and ability to let our incredible God lead you on this path.

    • You have the gift of expression through your words. Thank you for sharing your deep love, admiration, hurt, loneliness and soulful request to God. Carmen will be missed so much and it’s still unbelievable yet real. She inspired us and your journey together has brought us closer to God. She is the strongest and brightest person I’ve met and she shined bright throughout her fight.
      We are praying for you and the girls Jack. We pray the God leads your family down a path of understanding and peace. Thank you for letting us in on your experience Jack.

  7. Still thinking of you, and Carmen, Jack. I don’t know you but I feel I do from your writings. I hope you are getting the support you will be needing……… With loving thoughts.

  8. Hello Jack:

    I came here looking for answers and read everything you have posted. I’m so sorry to hear about Carmen. She was a wonderful woman, wife, and mother. My mother was diagnosed with the same, signet ring cell carcinoma, in April. It is now December and she is fighting the good fight still, and holding on. I pray everyday that God will bless her with health, or at show us his plan, but as of late, it is day by day and the doctors are running out of options. Thank you for sharing your story; I don’t feel as alone now. I pray for your family, and ask that you please keep my mother and family in your prayers. Thank you for sharing again.


  9. I just found your story while searching for information about cancer. My husband was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer five months ago today. Your wife was beautiful and so are your daughters. Your story helps me to let go and realize God is in control.Thank you for sharing and God Bless you and your beautiful daughters.

  10. Jack,
    I am just beginning this same journey with my wife. She is 41 years old and has just been diagnosed with signet ring cell adenocarcinoma. I am terrified of the outcome, but know the odds are not very good for her. Thank you for the details of what you went through, it helps me realize that my kids and I will be able to continue and be OK if and when the inevitable comes!

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