3 Months Out

It has been 3 months since Anne passed away. The kids and I continue to have good and bad days. It feels as if the bad days are getting a little further apart, and the good days are less muted. I have thought about writing something on Sixintheworld, but I didn’t want to do it on a bad day and the good days all feel overly busy. Today is a good day and I am currently sitting on a cross-country flight, which makes this a good time to share.

I don’t claim any extra insight into how to handle the death of a spouse and mother now that we are going through it. In fact, I am continually surprised that we do handle it. I told a friend, I thought we were much better at deciding how to handle the cancer than we are at handling Anne’s passing. Cancer brought us all together in a number of ways; it was humbling and a fight. We grew together, put our gloves on, and fought like our lives were on the line. Anne’s literally was. What would you call what we are doing now? Living? Surviving? It feels less like a choice and more like something innate. I know it will take time and, fortunately, we have each other. The most shocking realization to me is how much life goes on. Anne was our world: before she was sick, she took care of us and after she was sick everything we did turned to focus on her. I knew life wouldn’t end if she passed away, but I have been surprised how busy our lives have become, the almost normality of days and the funny things I do to remember Anne.

This is where I always expect to find her.

Holding hands

When she couldn't do anything else, she still held my hand

I can’t speak for the kids as they have their own ways to remember Anne, but I have found myself doing a handful of things to remember or reach out to her. I have purchased everything in her Amazon cart, I am working my way through her bookshelf, reading books she talked to me about. Note to others, “Don’t start with Crossing to Safety. Angle of Repose is my favorite novel, and Anne is who had me read it. With our shared love of that book, Stegnar felt like a great place to start. The person sitting next to me on the plane, as I sobbed my way through the final chapters of the book didn’t think it was a good choice. I listen to her playlist(she only had 1 playlist, why would she listen to something other than her favorites.) I read her notes in her scriptures, I have put aside a specific time of the day to think about her, and I have continued to take a picture around sunset everyday, a practice I started at the beginning of the year.

Everyday a different sunset.

We remember Anne all the time, but the reality is most days and time is busy spent living our lives. In July, McKane and I were able to attend a tiny but amazing conference in Jackson Hole. It is a new kind of conference where the attendees all put together the agenda on the fly and share their expertise with the other participants. I have been before and knew what to expect but it was a shock for McKane. Before he knew it he was on a panel discussing being a teenager in our age of technology. Mac did great on the panel and throughout the conference, meeting amazing people and representing our family very well, I am sure Anne was watching and was very proud of him.

Ready to run the Snake River

I am doing what my doctor ordered and getting my self back into shape and fully engaging with work. I am still on the board of Rhapsody and help out a few small companies but the big change this year is I have a great and exciting day job. I work for, what I would call, the worlds most audacious company, AEG. They state bold visions and then make them happen. (Next big step Football in LA) I am building a small tech team inside AEG called axs.com. We have our own vision and will use new technologies to change the live event business. We have a lot to do and a big hill to climb, but the journey is rich with unique experiences. Last week I had the opportunity to hang out with the Stanley Cup, tour a room signed by every artist who has played at a major venue in SF over the last 30 years, and, in case you think it’s all fun and games, I also had to work on preparing to take over the ticketing for 2 of the 3 busiest venues in the world.

In August, the 3 younger kids all went back to school. Each goes to a different school with different schedules. Dax is helping out in the short term. Oxford didn’t allow him to just take a semester off, but, rather, are having him return exactly a year after he withdrew to be with Anne. He has only 1 1/3 years worth of school left before he can sit for his degree. This state of limbo is hard for him. He is still busy; he has studies and papers to write for school, he is tutoring Kieran, he is running the Oxford Starcraft Society from afar and is writing and potentially doing some consulting about competitive video gaming. Kieran is back in swimming and is way better at League of Legends than a 12 year old should be. Asher is on Malibu’s travelling soccer team and has taken up dance. McKane is embracing his senior year, prepping for college. He was recently named a National Merit semifinalist and is taking a full load of APs. His goal is to pass 1 more test than Dax did. Had Dax known Mac would shoot that high, I am sure he would have taken more, but at the time 11 felt like plenty.

Asher doing that soccer thing

Getting by on top of a mountain

Short of not having a mom in the house, our lives are as normal as they have been for a few years. I bring all that up to say that, even though we each have days where I am sure we would like to stay in bed and days where we each lash out in anger, sadness, or frustration, we are moving forward. We are living, we are surviving, we aren’t thriving yet and we aren’t travelling. Someday we will. One of the books in Anne’s Amazon cart was a travel book entitled, “100 Journeys for Your Spirit”. I smiled when I received it, Anne and I had had hit about 20 of them, and I’m optimistic that there are still another 80 for the kids and I to do at some point in our lives.

Life does go on.

34 thoughts on “3 Months Out

  1. I enjoyed reading the update, especially your routine to remember Anne. I called you a couple of weeks ago to catch up. Let’s talk soon.

  2. I’ve been following this blog for 5 years and never left a comment. I always think about you guys and have told many people about you guys. Thank you, so much, for living life to the fullest and sharing your thoughts and lessons with the rest of us.

  3. Thanks for that beautiful post, Tommy. We love you guys so much and continue to pray for you everyday. I still break down every so often, and at the temple dedication yesterday all I could think of was Anne and that I am lucky she us part of our eternal family.

  4. Very moving moving post. Thank you for continuing to share a glimpse into the world that your family shared with Anne.

  5. It warms my heart… no, it warms my soul to read these words of love and dedication you and your family continue to share. I had not heard that Anne had passed away until reading this post. Thinking back to a lost loved one of my own family, I cannot imagine expressing things in just three months. Every living thing processes the loss of a loved one in their own way, and reading your process is comforting. It expresses love, respect, and the ability to allow life to manifest in front of you.

    My thoughts go out to you and your family.

    — robbie

  6. Tears of sadness turn into tears of joy reading your words. Asher’s smile, which I see about every day at Webster since I’m there all the time, reminds me that Anne is still with her, the boys, you and all of us. She left us her family, her legacy. What an amazing gift.

  7. So glad to hear you are all taking those crucial steps towards your new “normal” as a family. While there is no such thing as minimalizing your loss, I’m glad you are all finding the strength to go forward. That’s a huge accomplishment. I will continue to keep you all in my prayers.


  8. Been thinking about you guys a lot, Tom. Good to know your hearts are broken, but still beating. Very inspiring.

  9. Tom, Everything else seems so small compared to what you have gone through and what you are dealing with. I always respected you and it grows..as I think about you, read about you and learn from you..

  10. Thank you for sharing. I can’t imagine how difficult this year has been…may the days to come bring you peace and joy.

  11. So inspired by your strength,Tom and inspired by the amazing children you and Anne have raised. Anne is with you, watching and guiding and smiling. May you all continue to find peace. Sending love and thoughts from Georgia.

  12. It’s been over 2 years since my mother has passed and I went through some of the same things your family has experienced. I find a lot of solace in this post because it is comforting to know that I’m not alone with feeling like this. And that life does go on. It may be hard, but it is beautiful.

    All the best to you, your family and friends.

  13. Thank you for sharing your journey of moving on. We lost our first child this year and are watching my Mom fight the fight of her life right now too. Your blog is inspiring on so many levels and I just want to thank you for being open and honest through this trial.

  14. Well said Tom. Life is definitely a different journey for each of us and I know your newfound journey is one your sweetheart Anne approves of each day.

  15. Somehow we missed the previous two posts about Anne passing away and the news just hit us yesterday. We’ve been quietly following your blog for the past three years and hoping that you’d have good news at some point about your fight with cancer. Being doctors, we both knew that would be tough, but still hoped. So we got it all together yesterday, easier to swallow with your update after three months. Why did we miss it? Your blog and a couple other family blogs about RTW travel have been our inspiration to take a similar trip, we were in Madagascar (off the web at that time and most of the time even now, in Europe, on the 11th month of travel). And then we went to South Africa, so I reread some of Anne’s posts from five years ago including this fantastic one, http://www.sixintheworld.com/2007/04/02/paradise-found/. Now we’ve been to some of those places and it is much more familiar.
    We never had a chance to thank you for being such an inspiration, we do it now and we wish you all the strength and all the best, Ileana & Mihai

  16. Hey Tom,

    I love the update and wish you guys the best in the future. When you do start travelling, I think you should still post on Six in the World since I’m sure she’ll be with you no matter where you go. There’s still so much more to life to see and I’ll have to check out that “100 Journeys for the Spirit”.

  17. Thank you for sharing this very poignant and honest update about life. Your blog continues to be an inspiration. Best wishes on your new journey.

  18. Tom, although we have never met, we have been following your blog since 2009 from Australia.
    You and Anne have inspired us so much. Because of Anne’s dream of taking a Year off, our family of 4 children also got to experience a year long RTW in 2010.Thank you.
    We continue to pray for you and the children,
    With much love, Paul, Amanda, Caitlin, Georgie, Ashlea & Michael.

  19. I want you to know that I am so impressed with how well each of you are handling this. You are constantly in my prayers and I am so moved by how you are continuing to take sunset pictures. I had hoped those would continue. I love each one of you so much and I miss Anne beyond words. She really has left us better than she found us. Hugs and Kisses.

  20. Pingback: Getting through the milestones « The Family Trifecta

  21. It’s bizarre that every time I think of looking at your blog, you’ve written something new. Nobody grieves in the same way, you just have to find what is least horrendous for you. Thoughts and hopes for more good days than bad days from us always.
    CRFS xxxx

  22. I have followed you guys since the beginning and have never posted. Life has been busy and I haven’t checked out your site for months. Yesterday your family popped into my head and I just had a feeling that Anne had passed away. I have sat and read your recent posts and tears are pricking in my eyes and I have lead in my heart. We are strangers I know, but if strangers who live thousands of miles apart can send love and strength through the cosmos – and that love and strength can help. Well, I am sending and I pray that you are receiving. Your journey has inspired me in many ways. I, like so many have dreams of countries that I have only read about. My life is complicated and not what I wish it to be right now, but one day I hope to tell you that I too have done what you did. You are so blessed to have had such a wonderful marriage and family and so many wonderful memories. I will keep sending you love and strength xxxxx

  23. My husband and I have two young daughters and we often talk about all the places we want to explore as a family. I was daydreaming today and typed travel the world blog into google, that is how I landed here. My heart aches for your loss. Thank you for documenting your travels and story, I can’t wait to read more.

  24. I just found your blog, laughing and crying, we are also 6, I am dreaming about taking the kids around the world. Now more than ever you inspired me to make memories that last. Thank you, we will read your new posts and can/t wait to see if you have plans for Norway!

  25. Diana,

    We are planning on getting to Norway this trip. We don’t have the exact dates yet but it will be sometime in May. We hope to go to Bergen and see the fjords. I am glad you are enjoying the blog. It might sound silly but it also makes me laugh and cry as well.


  26. Not so close to Bergen, We are in Rjukan, the mountain Is Gaustatoppen, 3 hours away from Oslo, give a sign if you want our telephone number, would be happy to see you all.

  27. Great post Tom. I loved reading it and sorry for your loss but you have the courage to continue what you do and for that Bravo. You have a beautiful kids.

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