Mary Anne

July 10, 2017

No Regrets. We all want a life without them. In the fall of 2006, my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and he had never smoked. After many tests lasting an entire day, we met with the oncologist that told us his prognosis- one year. it was in his lymphatic system.

After the initial shock, my husband and I decided to face this situation head on, as we did every challenge in our life. We have four sons and the younger two were in 1st grade and Kindergarten.

How much do you remember about your father when you were in Kindergarten? Not a lot, I have a few spotty memories of my Dad from early childhood. So I made it my mission that we were going to make the most of the situation and create wonderful memories for our children to cherish this last year with their Dad.

My husband had an incredible “glass is always half full” attitude and would respond when people asked about his prognosis, “you can’t ask why bad things happen, when you don’t ask why when the good things happen. ” We told people we were going to prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and plan to be pleasantly surprised.

We prayed to God for courage and strength to lead our family to face the challenges ahead. It wasn’t easy, but sometimes you don’t know how strong you are until you have to be the strongest person in the room. We tried to see the good in the situation. I had been transformed into the eternal optimist when I met my husband in 1995. His glass half full mentality had rubbed off in a big way.

I had been through the divorce from hell in 1993 and had been left bitter and negative. God sent this man to me to love me and cherish me when I had been broken and abused. Now I had to help him see the positive in this- How many people get to know what they will die from and when they will die? How many get to have a definitive time frame to right their wrongs and say goodbye?

He did this in the 16 months God gave him with his disease and taught my boys and I how to live in the process. It wasn’t easy. Every day we try to do our best and when we go to bed at night we thank God for the day and the opportunity to make a difference. If we are lucky enough we wake up and get to try all over again.

More about MaryAnne Saag

I'm a free spirit. I hate rules and legalism. I love art and nature, music, the beach and dogs. I like to garden, take pictures and read. I tend to speak my mind and have a rip-the-band-aid -off approach to life. (Brace yourself, this might hurt.)

    1. Mary Ann: A beautiful story. What courage you had, I know it was not easy, but we have to have the strength and courage to get through everyday. We get strength through our children and our family. I thank God everyday for the opportunity to have another day with my family and friends. I was lucky I got to hold my husband and tell him I loved him and some day we will be together again. It was so hard to let him go, but I know he is in God’s hands. Tears are coming down as I try to write this. Hugs to you my friend. Gail

      1. Thanks Gail for your kind words. I cherish the fact that my boys and I were there when Ben took his last breath and watched his transformation as his soul left his body. It was the most beautiful moment I have ever experienced. It was so hard to let him go when we had planned on a lifetime together, but I know that I will see him again for all eternity and I can wait for that. I find comfort in the wonderful faithful friend I have to share my life until that day comes.

    1. Thank you so much Mary Anne for sharing your story and beautiful tribute to your amazing husband. Ian so honored and humbled you shared it. The courage, strength and faith you display is both an example and a beacon of light. Your story has touched me deeply and I will carry it always in my heart. Thank you for blessing us with your story. ❤️

      1. Thanks Liz. Your blog is so important to son many! Uplifting and humorous, inspiring and on point for this era we live in. So glad our paths crossed many years ago when I was in my prime at VSA arts!

    1. Living the life with you at that time brought us together as friends for a lifetime….
      Love ya

      1. Love you both Joann and Doug! You have been there in the best and worst of times and I love you for it! Friends for life!

    1. As you continue to live with the empty glass, you spread, for others, the the drops of love that had filled it up and still fill your heart, to the brim.

    1. I had no idea this happened. So strong people can be. As my husband snores super loudly tonight I might not kick him to stop and thank God he is here with me. Or I might do both.

    1. Beautiful Mary Anne. Thanks for sharing your story. Ben was a wonderful man and you all had wonderful impacts on each other lives. Your love and dedication to Ben and your boys and your strength are inspirational to me. <3

    1. You were blessed to have that once in a lifetime love with Ben. This is a beautiful story and he was a beautiful soul.

    1. Mary Anne, Thank you for sharing your story, I learned how tough life can be when i lost my youngest son. I was not as strong as you, I would pick up anything I could get my hand on and throw I high as I could. I wanted to hurt God as he had hurt me.
      Father Hugh was the person who reminded me of Gods love and helped me endure the worst pain I have ever known. You are stronger than I was, and I admire you.

      1. Larry, thank you for sharing so honestly. I’m so sorry for the loss of your son. I can’t imagine the depth of your grief. I’m thankful God sent you someone to remind you of His love and help you out of the pit of despair. We all handle grief in our own way. Thank you again for sharing. ❤️

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