Accepting the Unacceptable Alone
Copyright © 2012 JoAnn Flanery
Cover photo: JoAnn with Christine at five months
To my daughter, Christine,
who taught me how to live in the now
and how to say “I love you” without words
On October 19, 1982 I learned the true meaning of the word ALONE. My husband died in my arms of a massive heart attack the day after his thirty-ninth birthday. Not only did I have to face the unacceptable fact that he was gone, but now I was left alone to raise our severely mentally and physically handicapped daughter Christine.
While trying to adjust to his death, Chris and I had to move across country, away from supportive family and friends, in order for her to continue getting the special services and training she needed.
We settled into our new life in Arizona quickly and I truly thought our problems were behind us—we would finally live happily ever after. Little did I know that my biggest challenge was yet to come; a routine mammogram turned out to be anything but routine. I had breast cancer. Once again my life stopped and was replaced by unimaginable fear, surgery, and the treatments that followed.