Nick and I were married for 5 years but hell hath no fury like an early onset of a rare, terminal cancer. I was 15 weeks pregnant when we found out that Nick might not make it long enough to meet our baby.
With a VERY real possibility of less than 6 months left to live, we were forced to discuss the impossibly hard stuff. Sometimes, I flat out refused to hear it. But, thankfully, other times I let my heart soften just enough to listen. With tears streaming down my face, I would set my jaw, and SOAK UP every. single. word. Because deep down I knew that, someday, it might be VITAL that I remember.
The following words and final wishes are that of my late husband, Nick Magnotti, who passed of a rare Appendix Cancer at just 27 years old. These are his words, paraphrased; His thoughts, summarized; And his love, spread clear out in the open, for all to see. I share it here because this.. THIS is how he lived; OPEN, RAW, REAL & FEARLESS.
“To My Dearest Love,
Firstly, and MOST importantly, LIVE. YOUR. LIFE. TRULY live it. And, PLEASE, do NOT feel guilty for living your life just because I’m not here to live mine. Don’t let days waste away or opportunities pass you by because of fear. You have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to be afraid of and you have EVERY DAY of the REST of your whole life AHEAD of you. If God chooses to bless you with another day, then, it’s your DUTY not to waste it.
Remember that PEOPLE matter more than anything else. More than money or a nice house or good clothes. Remember that we had it wrong for a while… That those late hours at the office did nothing for love or eternity. We’re lucky, you and me, that we get to see this side of things now, before too much of life has passed us by. Don’t forget what we’ve learned.
I want you and our girl to have fun; I want you guys to laugh, and to smile. I don’t want you moping around and missing me too much. So, take her to Disneyland, take her camping, don’t save all our money, spend it on experiences and memories. Do the things that I would have wanted to do with her. Take her to Italy, make sure she learns to fish, teach her how to love the world, and how to love God. Bake cookies, travel, make messes, learn new things, paint, explore, hike. And, for goodness sake, try not to worry. Smile at her ALL the time, even when life is hard, so she knows that it’s okay to smile, even when things are tough.
Cling to God, baby. CLING HARD to Him with all your might. You can’t imagine how hard this has been for me to let you go. It breaks me to know I won’t be here for you. But, ULTIMATELY I know that I can TRUST that God has you and that He will care of you. YOU WILL BE OKAY. And, this TRUTH has given me IMMENSE PEACE and INSANE FREEDOM; Freedom to LOVE YOU NOW and go when it’s time.
I know it will be SO HARD, at first. That it will HURT so bad. So, when you are in more pain than you can imagine; Tell God about it. Turn to Him. Try not to turn around and run the other way. Turn to Him and He will turn to you.
I want you to remember me, but don’t remember me for this hard stuff. Remember the good stuff. Remember that I honestly feel BLESSED, even with this pain, these tumors, and this hospital bed. I feel blessed because I got a chance to this life, because I have you, and because I have God. And, if I can feel blessed, then so can YOU.
Don’t remember the sucky stuff we’ve been through these last few years, unless it helps you. Instead, remember all of our jokes, the belly laughs; Remember my hugs and our first date. Remember that the happiest days of my life were spent with you. That my all-time favorite days were the day that I married you and the day I got to meet our little love for the first time. I’ve lived an amazing life, baby, and you gave me that! So, don’t feel sorry that it’s over, because I’m not. I am just so THANKFUL that it happened.
And, don’t miss me too much, because I know I will be around. I don’t really understand how it works, but I just have this deep-down feeling. I just know that I know that I know that I’ll still be here, in a way, and that our love won’t be severed by death. So pay attention to what’s around you. Look for me when you need me and be comforted when you see signs of my love.
AND, finally, I know you won’t want to hear this. And, you may not want to think about it right now. But, I want you to remember this… It’s VERY important: Do NOT close yourself off from love.
There is someone else out there for you. I don’t know how I know it, but I do. There is another love of your life out there… Another guy. And, as much as I know we hate this right now, I need you to know that I WANT you to find him. I know you and you have TOO MUCH to give to be alone for the rest of your life. You were made for relationship, baby. So, PLEASE don’t give up on finding love again. I want you to be OVERFLOWING with “happy.”
I promise you, my love, that no matter what I will always, always love you.
The words Nick spoke to me weren’t necessarily presented to me in one long letter, like I’ve recorded it here, now. Rather, they were whispered over pillow cases in early morning hours, in deep gravelly truths as he squeezed me so tight that I could’ve sworn we were the same person, in conversations with eyes locked as I pumped another round of medication into his veins, and in promises breathed, hushed, and willed to form prayers.
PS. Nick DID get to meet our baby girl, “our little love.” He fought hard and raised hell to spend 8 precious months with our little girl, whom we named Austyn Elizabeth.