Dori would have been 45 today. We miss her tremendously.
Dori basically ran the Christmas production in our house. I would buy the tree; she did almost everything else. Last year, I fled our house, taking the kids skiing with my helpful mom joining us. It was the right call. This year, we're staying here. It is still bizzarre and surreal not to have Dori in our lives.
Last night, I purchased a bigger tree than normal. We will decorate it later today, with my mother's help. It is a proud blue spruce, prickly like some family members and aromatic. Will loves the smell.
The kids and I are doing OK. It's almost like you have to start over, after such a loss. The shock doesn't wear off very easily. Then you get to deal with all the layers. Disbelief, anger, exhaustion ... It's a long list. Waves continue to pound the shore, to this day, 18 months after her passing.
I'm most proud that Kathryn and Will are doing so well in school. Kathryn's singing is a joy, and she turned into a good cross country runner this fall. She likes to run now, go figure. Will is playing two sports now, hockey and basketball. He scored two goals in last week's hockey game and made All Stars. He scored 13 points in yesterday's basketball game, helping keep his team in the game. They are joys to raise.
Dori left a tremendous legacy. She was the leader of our family, on so many fronts. Now she is remembered in special ways. Last month, I ran my 11th half marathon, raising more than $10,000 for Gilda's Club Nashville, the cancer support group she loved and that I still frequent. This week, I received a letter from Vanderbilt Ingram-Cancer Center, stating the $35,000 Dori Brown Discovery Grant is yielding promising results - researchers believe they understand how a mutated gene in AML attacks good suppressor genes. A second Discovery Grant in her name funded by friends will be used for targeted drug therapies that don't have the side effects of chemo. The Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation, a group we support, also continues to report good progress with their technology.
That's how I'm taking in a day in which I don't have my wife and the mother of our children. It doesn't take away the hurt or sadness, but it does provide some optimism for our journey here. I know she has to be smiling right now as I type these words. I love you, Dori, and I miss you still.