A letter from Betty

Hello everyone,

It has been no secret that I am struggling. I know it’s only been a month (in 3 days), or holy cow it’s been a month already since Jacy passed away? I guess it depends on your point of view. There has been more support for our family than one person deserves and I am very thankful for all the love.

The truth is, I was ready to quit writing after the last posting.

I stared at my pen name- Betty

I no longer wanted it.

Jacy called me Betty all the time. When I got to laughing and right before I hit full blown snorting, to my wife, my laugh sounded like Betty Rubble. It is a name I have worn with great pride.

I still don’t hear it, but that’s not what’s important. What is important is she thought that, and that is love, small and insignificant, but love none the less. I felt like as she died, it should die with her.

Quite a few people in our tight reign never have understood my need to write publicly. To express my feelings for the world to see. The reality is the only people seeing it are those who know us or have heard about us through friends.  I started this blog I think in 2011. I started it as a way to communicate my perspective on being a father. A single father most of the time, as my wife was a single parent most of the time as well. You see between her teaching and me being a firefighter not only with lots of time off but gone during the summer a lot because of overtime or strike team assignments, I felt the fathers perspective was important on raising children semi-alone. Of course we were never really alone, there were more times we were all together as a family than not, and what an amazing family my wife and I have been blessed to create.

As I am writing this it dawns on me that she is going to miss so much, and that is tearing me apart.

Little did I know it (the blog) would morph into something completely different a short 2 years later, thus The Face of Leukemia was born. This is where I am struggling. My need to write publicly came about because I felt after looking around on the web post diagnosis there was nothing, and I mean nothing for the spouse of a Leukemia patient!! There was the obligatory stories on how to support your ill spouse, but nothing in regards to what you really will face emotionally and long term if things go that direction. It drove me nuts!

Also let me preface with something if you will. The man I am today is nothing like the man I was before my wife got her hands on me. She worked very hard on this human being, I have never refuted that for an instant! They say:  behind every good man stands an amazing woman.

I say; standing alongside every good person stands a very patient, devoted spouse.

That is because both of you should complement the other. She complimented me every single day by striving to make me the very best human being I could possibly be and she never once quit me. Make no mistake, I never made it easy for her, but she persevered. I love her so much, and miss her horribly. Not having her here when I need help is terrifying.

I digress

So finding nothing for Leukemia spouses, I hoped, no I prayed that if I wrote about how I was feeling, the struggles we both were facing, the highs and the lows, the triumphs and unfortunately the failures, someone, anyone would see it and not feel alone. Jacy supported me in this because after reading a few, then following every single one I wrote she knew in her heart it would help others and really all my wife ever wanted out of life was to help others, each and every day. We had a few that were too much for her to read and near the end she asked if I would stop writing about her all together. It was because as she read my postings she knew her time was becoming short. It was scary and hard to imagine. She had always been such a fighter and coming to terms with what would be the ultimate loss was more than she could bear. I honored that promise.

I feel as though my job is done. I feel dismayed over what lays ahead, and I swear to you, if you are reading this, I have never meant to make anyone cry. I hear that a lot and it weighs heavy on my soul. One of the things my wife loved and hated about me is that I have absolutely no filter. I say what I feel. She loved it because during our entire marriage she always knew where I stood on just about everything. She hated it at times because in the beginning I didn’t know how to temper it, or turn it off for it may create an inappropriate moment. But as with everything she did, she worked hard and rounded my sharp edges. Yet I still feel awful when I know my words or feelings have hurt another through my writings and I think that is the public portion others don’t or will never understand. Because to get to that point you need to put it all on the table and to do so takes away any privacy in just about any matter. I made our struggles very public. So with that, the question which has been hanging on me is; do I keep on? Is there a reason too? Would she want me too?

Do I stop being Betty because the only person who knew me, I mean truly knew me as Betty, called me Betty and professed her endless love to Betty is gone?

Do I carry on with Betty as a remembrance or tribute to my amazing wife?

Do I just keep crying every time I hear her voice in my head telling Betty to come over and give her a kiss because she is proud of me?

Do I keep writing hoping I still have something to say that will help another?

What the fuck do I do?

Seriously where is she to tell me what the fuck to do!!!!

This morning I awoke from a dream. It was such a great dream! She and I were together, walking hand in hand, the kids were small and running around through a forest. She was telling me all about her day at the Montessori school and how the kids emotionally filled her gas tank and how she loved each and every one of them as her own. In the middle of the conversation she looked at me, held my face and told me just how much she loved me and how she appreciated that writing about her was helping so many others. I was confused because I didn’t know (in the dream) what she was talking about.

When I awoke at 5:30 this morning, as though someone had hit me in the face. I laid there and cried a little because the dream was so real and she wasn’t there next to me. Then I began remembering the dream, and feeling sorry for myself until I came to that portion in the woods. The recollection was powerful and strong. She was talking to me, not at me, or with me, but to me, Betty her husband.

I listened.

So Betty is going to stay around for a while if you’ll have me? I’ll probably be writing about how much I miss her, figuring out who I am and trying to unlock the mystery of how we move forward from here without quite possibly the best person I have ever known in my life by my side. I really do hope that if this blog still reaches just one, then I suppose my job is done.

Also for those wondering I have set a deadline for a finished product on “the book” for the end of December. Figure maybe that’s a sign for a good new year. Lord knows this cursed family needs a least one. And again in the New Year we will begin the process of starting a Jacy’s Army foundation. Starting with scholarships and we’ll see where it goes from there, but I absolutely refuse to let the random acts of kindness my wife performed every single day, disappear form this earth.

Know my fellow AML. Leukemia, BMT friends you are not alone, these are real emotions, real feelings, and although in the end it didn’t turn out the way any of us had hoped, it can still turn out well for you and others just like yourself.

If you enjoy reading this blog, then take what you can, make it your own, and pass forward the love. Because really isn’t that why we are here on this earth? To help others?

God bless you all,

Jacy’s Betty……..

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15 thoughts on “A letter from Betty

  1. I am so glad you have decided to continue as Betty. Your writings have helped me in more ways than you could ever understand. Thank you Jacy, for sharing your Betty with the world.

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  2. I enjoy your blog even though I have never met you I knew your beautiful wife. Please don’t stop writing it’s your words and I feel it helps others with their struggles in life ❤

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  3. My dearest James……Betty to Jacy,
    you must realize by now, most of us love reading the writings of Betty,
    mostly because you helped us remain close to Jacy. You are the best person
    who knows her and her thoughts, her hopes and dreams. You and Jacy were so
    blended together it was hard to tell you apart. With her moving on, leaving us behind…
    we need you to help with that continued connection, your help for us to hear her heart in you.
    I miss her smile, and need to see and hear her smile in you….Betty.
    Carry on….. ❤

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  4. Mary Ann said it well James – you helped us all connect and remain close with Jacy and we looked forward to reading your posts.

    I have appreciated your truth and honesty.
    I also wondered at times if you needed to put it all out there as a way to help deal with all that was happening and heal your heart – I figured it is still that same now that Jacy’s shining light has passed (maybe all of your PTSD training over the years guiding you…?)

    If you would be so kind as to continue to write, you are helping all of us now as well. We look forward to your words, your stories – our little connection to Jacy as well.

    Betty, we still need you.
    – Jen

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  5. Yes I’m one who only knows you through “Thet call me Betty”, yes I’m one who has cried and yes I’m one who loves your family through your writing. Please never feel bad you have caused tears in me. Those tears have shaken me out of any “poor me” times. The tears have helped me to forgive, to be more gentle and to squeeze the man I’ve been blessed with (40+ years) a little tighter.
    I am a 10 year BC survivor and still have issues because cancer likes to keep me reminded that it was part of me. So as I went into my 4th surgery to reconstruct my “girls” Jacy through Betty was part of my strength. Part of my recovery and positive look instead of poor me is because of your family. A family I hold dear to my heart whom I’ve yet to meet face to face.
    I sometimes feel like a stalker as I read your posts and respond often but no I’m just me and I care. I will always have you in my heart. Big virtual hugs, Debbie

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  6. I cry because I share your pain and feel so bad for your loosing two beautiful.and wonderful wives. Just know I’m here to help in any way I can.. What else are Mothers for?

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  7. James, please continue aka Betty. Your eloquent writing is wonderful to read, and your references to Jacy keeps her very much alive in spirit – every time I think of her I see her magnificent smile which still shines for me, and hopefully for you, the kids and all your followers.

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