Tony Snow's death packed a particularly hard punch to my gut this week. Because during the past year, Tony had been warmly and graciously corresponding with my precious wife Denise, who had also been battling cancer. When Tony found out about her diagnosis, he asked for her email address so they could exchange words of inspiration and advice.
They did. And she relished every word. Here was my wife, a frustratingly liberal-leaning woman and wife of a conservative radio host, sharing a bond with a fellow cancer fighter, one of the giants of conservatism. It was proof that a life-threatening disease is the great equalizer, a reminder that there are more important things than Democrats and Republicans. Denise loved Tony. She admired his faith, his optimism, and his "live-for-the-moment" approach to life.
I imagine right about now, they are arguing politics face-to-face. Because my beloved died almost two weeks ago.
It's awkward to tell others that your spouse has died. Everyone becomes so sad and sorry, and you just hate like heck to have to break the news to someone who hasn't heard the news. It's as if you just know that you're about to cast a pall over someone and you wish there was a way around it.
I suppose that's why I've taken so long to write this column. When I first wrote about my wife Denise's diagnosis of endometrial cancer last year, I guess I brought you into my family's fight whether you liked it or not. And now that she's gone, I feel somewhat obligated to finish the story.
Sharing bad news with strangers is most certainly a selfish act. Over the last year, I've noticed that a sense of comfort occurs from opening up to others. Since I'm a professional communicator, I think I instinctively cling to doing what I do best, even in times of crisis and turmoil. And I have been inspired and uplifted by the goodness of others.
I watched Chris Wallace's amazing tribute to Tony this week on "Fox News Sunday." On tape, Tony often spoke about what a gift it was for him to receive the love and support of thousands, millions of strangers. I, too, have taken great solace in the kindness my family and I have been receiving during this difficult time.
So please forgive me for opening up to you about saying good-bye to the love of my life, my Denise, my sweet, precious, funny, big-hearted best friend. But I think it might make me feel a little better to be able to tell you about this amazing, wonderful lady.