Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Today I had the opportunity to film for a show called World's Strictest Parents. The premise of the show is to take 2 difficult teenagers and place them in a home with more discipline and rules for 5 days- sorta like Wife Swap. Anyways, as part of the show, the host parents and teenagers participate in a service activity. Which is how I was involved- I spent the day with the Coopers and Vicki and Caleb at the Ulman Cancer Fund's offices. The kids spent the afternoon doing various activities around the office- cleaning, organizing and stuffing information packets for people who need resources for young adults with cancer. I was there to help, and also to share my experiences with cancer, and Dan's story.

I didn't know what to expect- it was really a last minute opportunity. Being that it's Valentine's Day, and the anniversary of a very difficult weekend for us last year... I was happy to spend the day doing something productive. And it was cathartic to talk about what happened to me, and to us. I know it's a hard story for people to hear... no one wants to meet someone and learn about loss. It was very exhausting- I found it a little difficult to slip "hey I was engaged and my fiance died of cancer" into casual conversation while unpacking boxes. But there was a moment when I wasn't aware that I was being filmed, and talked very candidly to Mrs. Cooper about my life. She asked me how I could be so strong, and as I like to say- I had a great teacher.

Two years ago, Dan hung a huge sign across his office (I was working across the street at the time) wishing me happy Valentine's Day. He didn't spend much money at all, and it was the best gift I've ever received. Last year, Dan was too ill to pull off his normal over-the-top ideas. In fact, we were out briefly, and he didn't have the energy to make a stop to get a card. It was then that I knew he probably didn't have much time left. That night, we spent several hours in the emergency room trying to rectify issues with the drain they'd placed in his stomach. I guess that is the real meaning of a day like Valentine's Day- just sticking by the person you love no matter where you are. It was a tough day... I miss him terribly, and it hasn't subsided one bit. But I thankful to have these opportunities to share our story of love and commitment. It hurts, but it helps at the same time.

The picture above is from a photo essay I was asked to take part in for the Ulman Fund a few weeks back. The idea was to show young people affected by cancer. I was so happy that they chose the above picture. I am honored to have my life associated with Dan's, and I know he will always be a part of me.

This was my quote to go along with the picture:

"Watching someone you love live with cancer taught me that you can't look back at the past with regret, or fear that the future will be filled with dread. You have to live every precious moment with the appreciation and wonderment of what you've been given."

So I never imagined my "big break" in TV would come this way, but I hope someone will see it and be inspired so that Dan's legacy will continue.

Happy Valentine's Day.


Anonymous said...

Dan's legacy will always continue Meg. And that is thanks to you.


Anonymous said...

Happy Valentine's Day Meg.

-Becky Arnold

Obsessedwithlife said...

Awesome-can't wait to watch!

Anonymous said...

Love that picture! Love you!

Ruth said...

Thought of you and Dan on Valentine's
Dau and sent a card. Keep on!
Love, Rtun

patrice said...


Can't wait to hear more about this show...called you yesterday--will be around all weekend, hope we can catch up. Thinking of you lots as we get into a hard month. Love, Patrice