Story Of A Love Note


Many of you know the lovely Karen Sutherland, an honorary blogger in our blogosphere. She is always so generous and supportive on our blogs, taking the time to write heartfelt comments when we post.  For those who are not familiar with Karen’s story…she lost her beloved husband Hugh and was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and uterine cancer – all at the same time. She has borne her illness and her widowhood with grace and courage. I recently checked in via email to see how Karen is now and was so happy to hear how well she is doing.  With her permission I am sharing her response to my email below, as I know that many of her online friends will enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Dear Marie,

Thank you for thinking of me and taking the time to e-mail.  yes, i am very happy with how all has turned out with the mammos – AND the PET-scan!  it came back clean – no sign of any malignancies!  so i am NED for both the MBC as well as the uterine cancer.  at the last visit to my oncologist, i was astonished at how he was prepared to discuss what we could do if there were to be recurrences.  though i should have known asw he is so sensitive, and would have anticipated that would be on my mind – especially since i am alone now, and feel so much more vulnerable.  so not only do we have a Plan B, in case herceptin stops working, we also have a Plan C.  a truly dear and glorious physician that practices the ART of medicine.  i am so fortunate.

i received your last e-mail just a day before i was leaving for a 4 -day get away to be with my children and grandchildren at the shore.  my heart was so conflicted – thrilled to be able to finally see my grandchildren playing alongside of the ocean, but so incredibly sad that Hugh would not be with us; he was so looking forward to having that experience with the little ones.  but here is a little story that helped ease my grieving; since i have had little or no hair for the better part of a year, i’ve had no need for any hair accouterments.  but as i was packing my make-up bag i needed a small elastic hair band to wrap around a bunch of Q-tips.  i thought i might find one in the small wooden box i kept hair pins and barrettes in – hadn’t looked in it for ages.

inside was a small folded notepaper – it said:


i love you.  ease into our vacation.  i can’t wait.



he wrote that note to me just a short time before our last vacation together to visit kids and grandkids in MA, then treat ourselves to a week in newport, RI to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary.  encouraging me to “ease” into getting ready was about when i started packing i always got side-tracked, like a whirling dervish – like, oh, this closet is so messy, better tidy it up, or, these bureau drawers definitely need organizing, or i better rearrange this pantry.  by the time for departure, i was sooooo tired. he knew i just could not resist the “nesting” urge, but still wanted me to share happy anticipation.  the note was written just 9 months before he died.  it seemed so meant-to-be that i found it at a time when i was thinking of how hard it was going to be without him being with us this time – and forever more.  it made me cry – happy and poignant tears, remembering  it was what made us feel so happy to get away, and so happy to come home.  and i knew it was a message from him to let me know that he WOULD be with us.  and he WAS with us.  i carried it in my pocket and showed it to my family and the dear friends that joined us on the shore holiday – they all felt the same way.  it was a great comfort to all of us.

i hope you have a happy and safe arrival back to dublin.  and thank you for your kind thoughts and for checking in on me.

much love,

karen xoxo