Sunday, April 25, 2010


In my eighth grade year I played Captain von Trapp in our school's version of the play The Sound of Music. Near the end of the play, just before they escape Nazi Austria, the Trapp Family children sing "So Long, Farewell." It's a long goodbye.

This blog was about my experience as the spouse of someone with cancer. Sue was diagnosed with multiple myeloma on May 1, 2009, and she died of complications from the cancer on March 29, 2010. Sue's eleven-month struggle with multiple myeloma was, it turns out, a form of long goodbye. My blog might have ended in March when Sue died, but I have been doing my own version of a long goodbye. To my way of thinking, some things relevant to the cancer experience of the non-cancer spouse have happened in the month since Sue died.

It seems that people who live through wars experience the horrors of war, but also often look back on the war years fondly. I'm not sure why that is, but I think it must be, in part, because such experiences are intense, and a lot of memorable living gets packed into a little time. During the Battle of Fredericksburg in December of 1862, Robert E. Lee said: "It is well that war is terrible - otherwise we would grow too fond of it." In some sense this past year with Sue's cancer was a little bit like that; It was terrible, and I wouldn't wish it on anybody; But at the same time it was intense, some of it was good, and a lot of living got packed into a short window of time.

I've enjoyed blogging this experience. It's been better than having a psychotherapist, and cheaper. I've appreciated your comments and prayers more than I can say. I've appreciated being community with you, and you being community with Sue and me. But as Harrison Ford told Gene Hackman in the movie "Witness," "It's over! It's over!"

There are a lot of ways to say goodbye. So long, farewell, aufwiedersehn, and audieu, among them. But adieu best expresses my sentiments here. Here, I bid you adieu in both the fond farewell sense, and the permanent farewell sense. But also, I bid you adieu in the sense that the French used to use it: "Adieu vous commant." [From the latin "ad" (to) and "deus" (God).] I commend you to God. (See


Anyone who cares to correspond with me is welcome to try, provided you understand the rules. Sometimes I'm slow to respond. Sometimes I don't respond. I'm mostly retired from active law practice, so I'm not soliciting legal business, nor will I be likely to accept it. If you correspond with legal questions your correspondence to me will be protected by attorney-client privilege, and I will protect your confidences. But merely corresponding to me with your legal questions will not obligate me to respond, nor will it create the kind of attorney-client relationship where I am under any obligation to respond to you or to advise you or to protect your legal interests. Such a relationship would require a written agreement between us signed by both of us.

With that disclaimer, the author of this blog, George E. Harper, can be reached by email at: for general correspondence, or at for legal correspondence.

Also, I did start another blog last November, the first time I thought I was through with this blog. The subject matters of my new blog are more scattershot and less compelling. Still, if you are interested my new blog can be found at

Thank you again. And again, adieu.