365 Days

One year ago last night, my wife Connie died of ovarian cancer.

In many cultures, there’s almost a mandatory mourning period of a full year after the death of a loved one, and I now know why. It has to do with anniversaries: “Oh, last year this time we were celebrating something together. This year… I’m doing it alone.” Those add up, and they take a toll on you as that horrible year drags on. But with the merciful passage of time — and it’s true: time does heal the worst of wounds — those little aches, those pangs of shared memories, fade and lose their sting. This year, I’ll remember an occasion from last year and this time, it will involve just me. Not as painful.

I have spoken many times about how my friends all over the world rallied around me and helped me get away from this most personal tragedy, so I’m not going to repeat any of it other than to say that they collectively gave me a reason to carry on living: not that I was going to do something foolish like cap myself, of course, but they got me to do things that helped dull the pain of memory, kept me busy, and above all made me realize that I still have so many things to live for. The alternative was for me to sit in a one-room garret and stare at the walls — which my friends, as they told me in no uncertain terms, were not going to allow me to do. Instead, once I’d taken care of the soul-destroying minutiae of death, I sold the house, traveled, and did the sorts of things which reminded me of the things I hadn’t been able to do before, but could now do. I did those things, and I will do again.

It’s called living. Life goes on after death and now, one year after that most profound tragedy from which I thought I’d never recover, I’ve come out from my period of mourning with renewed purpose, renewed hope for the future, and a renewed determination to live my life to its absolute fullest. That feeling, that intention, is not something that happened suddenly, or just this morning; it’s been a gradual process which began at some point (I have no idea when) and grew stronger and stronger as the year went on.

Now it’s been three hundred and sixty-five days since Connie died, and if you’d told me then that I’d be feeling the way I do today, I’d not have believed you.

Now, at last, I think I’m healed (although of course there may well be the occasional twinge of pain — I’ve felt a few just writing this post). All I needed was to get through the horrible anniversary to put the seal on it, and thanks to the boundless support from my friends, my family and my Readers, I made it.

Now it’s time for adventure, time to live again.

And if you’ll all indulge me, I’m going to continue to chronicle some of those adventures on these very pages. That is the real reason why I started blogging again — there’s no point in having an adventure when you can’t share it with anyone — and it’s only when I wrote this post that I realized it. (And by the way: a huge round of applause for Tech Support BobbyK, without whom I’d be snarled in incomprehensible Gordian techno-knot,  and you wouldn’t be reading any of this.)

So stick around: I’m going to drink deeply of Life in the years to come, and you’re going to share it with me. Enjoy the journey, because I most certainly plan to.

In Memoriam:

Constance Mary (Carlton) du Toit
14 May 1958 – 3 February 2017


  1. Kim, as I was midway through the 2nd year without my wife, I asked my friend and grief counselor, WTF? “You said the 2nd year it got easier.” He replied with a strait face, ” I lied to not depress you”. We had a long talk about that.

    The 1st year you are running away and kinda punch drunk and in shock. Your mind cant cope so it avoids, makes excuses, and everything gets jumbled up and makes little sense, so you just stop trying and float.

    The 2nd year is much worse. The reality of your loss and its rippling affects really sinks in. Your brain is now working again and excuses don’t cut it, and it squeezes the crap out your heart and sanity.

    Just keep thanking the people that pick you up when you fall apart, and always answer yes when people ask to join them in whatever..

  2. Kim, you have described it very well.
    The Bride went to see if Jesus needed a hand last July.
    Bounced off the walls for awhile, drank a little too much whisky at times, no real friends to talk with, and slowly realized I was being selfish .
    It’s not about me or how much I miss her. It’s about her not having pain anymore.

    I can just jump in the truck and go, I can go bug the kids, spend all day at the range, and grow a mustache that she hated.
    We will make it.

  3. Lost my other half about a year and a half back. We had almost 50 years together. Black times for a while. These days go by and just every now and then I remember something we did together and it hurts again for a while.

  4. Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. Good and bad has all been good. My wife is a 5-Year cancer survivor who has consistently demonstrated better than any Right Stuff. And believe me, at times she needed it to maintain an even strain with me for 13,140 days!

  5. Kim,

    I’m glad if I had even a small (less than 1% I’m sure) part in helping you pull through this.

    I’m saddened still that you had this to get through.

    Connie’s words helped when my dad passed and I still go back and read them on occasion. I’d like to think I helped return the favor.

    Looking forward to reading more on your adventures (or anything else you want to post on).

  6. Not an easy process. I adopt your reasoning about anniversaries; I trust year 2 will be easier.
    Crikey, a lot of people would have lives the poorer if you dropped your bundle. We owe a debt to you, and the KdT support team.

  7. Yes, one year can help. I have not lost many close to me but then ones that are gone are missed. You will recall them at odd and various times.

    It will be interesting reading your journey towards what you might find. I look forward to sharing it with vicariously through what you put on these pages.

    The journey, as always, continues for us left.

  8. You’ve done very well sir. When my wife and i married, I promised to stay until one of us died…it’s been a tough road, because I always figured that I would be the one to sicken 1st…for that past, now, 6 years, my wife has been very ill. I suspect that she’ll be the 1st to go (unless I kill myself off w/a massive heart attack by overwork). That’s a tough road to follow, but I”ll plod on until one of us dies…

  9. I’m only acquainted with you through the different blogs down through the years, and it is hard to come up with anything useful to say. Allow me to note the guts you display, and the fine example of manliness you set, not so common things these days. May God keep and bless your beloved and yourself.

  10. Kim,
    Very well said sir. Selfishly I’m glad you are blogging again, but I remain saddened by the circumstances under which you resumed. Best wishes for continued healing as you progress on your journey of living life to the fullest.
    All the best,

  11. I write this with tears welling and a frisson of the triste. As for you, I count Connie as among my friends and will miss her bigly as time goes on. I was somewhat amazed to find (from the caption to the photo) that she was younger than I. I always kinda felt like she was a big sister — older and wiser from all the experience of life, the universe, and all that.

    Glad to see you’ve survived the first year and, as well you should, thrived through it. All the best for here forward.


  12. I’m glad to hear it’s getting better. I miss her, too.

    If you ever pass through this way again, a meal’s on me. Time of day will determine the meal category, of course.

  13. Well said.

    May the next year treat you better still. Can’t even imagine going through that, and don’t want to.

Comments are closed.