Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. Oscar Wilde
Today, January 24, would have been Richard’s eighty-fourth birthday. Last year we celebrated with a small group of friends at one of our favorite stopping grounds, D’Angelo’s, in Fort Lauderdale; it was a fun-filled evening that everyone will always remember. One of my favorite photos from our story, ‘In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey was snapped at D’Angelo’s last year. Anticipating those delicious Petit Fours, you see us both peering into the box, as if we are playing a game of peek-a-boo. While I forget how many Petit Fours were in the box, I do remember that by the next morning, the box was empty!
This week comes the word that our story, ‘In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey’ has been nominated by the Sun-Sentinel for Pulitzer Prize consideration. I think it is fitting that I share this information with you today on what would have been Richard’s eighty-fourth birthday. Both modest, yet very accomplished, Sun-Sentinel journalist Diane Lade and photojournalist Carline Jean told our story in a very loving way that has touched over 400,000 people worldwide. I am thankful because the story has provided me with a very special memory that will last a lifetime.
Those who knew Richard knew him to be a private person. For him to agree to do the story was his gift of love, care, and commitment to me. I return it two-fold. I am reminded of some sage advice that I have received along the way since Richard’s life transition: ‘The feeling of missing him will get softer, but the love you shared will always be strong.’ I think of these words of wisdom quite often, especially today on his birthday with this special news, reminds me how strong love can be in one’s life.
My faith tells me that I will see him again; my mind tells me that he is forever pain-free; my heart tells me that he is right next to me.
I thank Diane Lade and Carline Jean for telling our story through the lens of love, care and commitment as that was the true story of our life together. In my book, they have already won; they also won Richard’s heart along the way, too. For without their demonstration of professionalism, along with the love, care, and commitment they showed to us on this journey, Richard never would have felt comfortable, especially over the last few months, to continue with the story as the cancer took over his body.
Richard said to me just a few weeks before he made his life transition, “Diane and Carline are going to have quite an end to their story.” That Sunday afternoon on March 9, 2014 when Richard made his life transition, he waited for Diane and Carline to arrive in order to say his goodbye to two people who he allowed into his heart. Richard let very few people into his life, and in his way, by this very deserving nomination, Richard’s love, care, and commitment, continues to give back to the people he loved, cared and trusted the most.
Congratulations to Diane, Carline and the entire Sun-Sentinel Staff who worked on this project.
Diane Lade and Carline Jean will always have a special place in my heart.