Angelo promised Jennifer that he would tell the world her story which is a motivation for many women suffering from Breast Cancer and undergoing depression while dealing with it.
I would request all my blog friends to share this amazing story and pass it to anyone suffering from this deadly disease. Jen is a motivation for them.
Just five months after getting married their life changed forever and they faced it bravely. It was battle which was not chosen by them but still they were fighting as mentioned by Angelo. Their life was filled with doctors and tests. Family anf friends failed to understand what they were going through and hence Angelo found out an amazing alternative to showcase their real pain. He clicked every moment with Jen and what she was going through. “We felt that if they saw photographs, maybe that would have a bigger impact than words because a photograph can convey a message that often words are not able to get across,” he says.
He started writing and posting pictures on his blog “My wife’s fight with Breast Cancer” . I am writing this blog but my hands are numb. I have no word s to describe how I feel. I have never been in contact with anyone suffering from cancer but when I saw jennifer’s photo and her eyes full of life it hurt me deep down somewhere. Why did she go away so early? She was beautiful and full of life. She had the best husband in the world who kept up to his promise of being with her till the end. Today Jen is no more with us but their story does not end here. They would forever be remembered as Angelo and Jennifer Merendino. When I have kids in future I am gonna show them this story to understand the meaning of true love and honest commitments.
Their whole life in penned down in the book THE LOVE YOU SHARE. It is an eBook for the iPad and as a PDF for computers. 50% of the net profits from book sales will be donated to The Love You Share, a non-profit organization Angelo is starting in Jennifer’s honor to assist women receiving treatment for breast cancer – http://www.theloveyoushare.org . You can purchase and download the book through his website – http://www.mywifesfightwithbreastcancer.com
Something that would make you cry – TLTYS (Angelo’s words depict the hidden pain in his smile)
“The first time I saw Jennifer I knew. I knew she was the one. I knew, just like my dad when he sang to his sisters in the winter of 1951 after meeting my mom for the first time, “I found her.”
A month later Jen got a job in Manhattan and left Cleveland. I would go to the city – to see my brother, but really wanting to see Jen. At every visit my heart would scream at my brain, “tell her!!” but I couldn’t work up the courage to tell Jen that I couldn’t live without her. My heart finally prevailed and, like a schoolboy, I told Jen “I have a crush on you.” To the relief of my pounding heart, Jen’s beautiful eyes lit up and she said “Me too!”
Six months later I packed up my belongings and flew to New York with an engagement ring burning a hole in my pocket. That night, at our favorite Italian restaurant, I got down on my knee and asked Jen to marry me. Less than a year later we were married in Central Park, surrounded by our family and friends. Later that night, we danced our first dance as husband and wife, serenaded by my dad and his accordion – ♫ “I’m in the mood for love…”♫
Five months later Jen was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember the exact moment…Jen’s voice and the numb feeling that enveloped me. That feeling has never left. I’ll also never forget how we looked into each other’s eyes and held each other’s hands. “We are together, we’ll be ok.”
With each challenge we grew closer. Words became less important. One night Jen had just been admitted to the hospital, her pain was out of control. She grabbed my arm, her eyes watering, “You have to look in my eyes, that’s the only way I can handle this pain.” We loved each other with every bit of our souls.
Jen taught me to love, to listen, to give and to believe in others and myself. I’ve never been as happy as I was during this time.
Throughout our battle we were fortunate to have a strong support group but we still struggled to get people to understand our day-to-day life and the difficulties we faced. Jen was in chronic pain from the side effects of nearly 4 years of treatment and medications. At 39 Jen began to use a walker and was exhausted from being constantly aware of every bump and bruise. Hospital stays of 10-plus days were not uncommon. Frequent doctor visits led to battles with insurance companies. Fear, anxiety and worries were constant.
Sadly, most people do not want to hear these realities and at certain points we felt our support fading away. Other cancer survivors share this loss. People assume that treatment makes you better, that things become OK, that life goes back to “normal.” However, there is no normal in cancer-land. Cancer survivors have to define a new sense of normal, often daily. And how can others understand what we had to live with everyday?
My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness and loneliness that we faced, that Jennifer faced, as she battled this disease. Most important of all, they show our Love. These photographs do not define us, but they are us.
Cancer is in the news daily, and maybe, through these photographs, the next time a cancer patient is asked how he or she is doing, along with listening, the answer will be met with more knowledge, empathy, deeper understanding, sincere caring and heartfelt concern.
“Love every morsel of the people in your life.” – Jennifer Merendino”
The Life of Jennifer Merendino in photoscape