Amanda & Joe | Cocktails & Chemo

When cheese makes you cry

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  1. Christy says:

    Beautiful and very well said. Even though I don’t know you or your family, I wish you a very Merry Christmas filled with family and memories.

  2. Karen says:

    You are a gifted writer and in your writing will keep Joe alive in you and your daughters lives. Thank you for reminding all of us that this may be our last here on this earth. Many have lost loved ones. Christmas is not always a Hallmark holiday, it is to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May you be blessed this Christmas with gentle reminders from Joe that he is still with you. Merry Christmas to you and your precious Mira.

  3. s.s.k says:

    Thank you.

  4. Heather Kreuzman Smith says:

    I love you Amanda. You have been in my thoughts daily this season. Seeing pictures of little Mira and reading your posts make me smile. I hope you have the biggest cry and drink the stiffest drink this Christmas. Just know Joe will be with you the whole time, cutting the cheese (yes I said it that way on purpose) and giving you memories to share with everyone so he will be there with you all. Merry Christmas Amanda, Joe and Mira!

  5. Cheryl says:

    Thinking of you during this time! Although it will be hard, may you find joy this holiday season through the eyes of your beautiful daughter!

  6. Melinda Rueter says:

    I know it will be so hard the next few days. I’m also sure you will feel Joe around you and see him in the joy of Mira loving Christmas. If I were there, I would listen to every story you wanted to share about him. I hope you write them down someday. You are an amazing writer. Even though I never met Joe-I feel like I know him through your writings. Merry Christmas to you and that beautiful little girl. P.S. A little Fireball goes a long way 🙂

  7. Cindy says:

    Amanda, may God bless you and help ease your pain this Christmas. Joe is there in spirit even if you cannot touch him physically. When you do see him again, he will have a perfect and healthy body, just as he did when you first met. God has healed Joe completely. Maybe not the way you had hoped for, but in a way designed for him in God’s perfect plan. I am so happy you and Joe had your baby girl. She will always be with you through the rest of your life. She is the best part of Joe and your love story. You are a wonderful person with a wonderful spirit and I love the way you love life. You have had more love in your few years then a lot of people ever get the chance to have. As time goes on, you will see each of your many blessings manifest themselves before your very eyes. Believe.

  8. <3 Again my tears flow as I read this post on Christmas Eve. Imagining what you are going through, empathizing, sympathizing, and just wanting you to know your words are an inspiration to us all, many who can totally relate to this pain. I am wishing you, strength, and Peace, in your beautiful memories of Joe, and as you watch Mira this Christmas, know that joe is 'right there" beside you both, I hope the memories and the Love he left with you both somehow makes it a Merry and a love Filled Christmas. Merry Christmas, Amanda, and baby Mira and…… Joe <3 <3 <3

    • Amanda says:


      I love you. I know that sounds completely insane. I know your pain, just in a different way. My daughter. Every Christmas and Birthday I watch my children, and feel guilt for that little niggling piece of missing and sadness I feel. You are amazing. You are strong….I will say even stronger than me ( and I thought I was practically a super hero). You are Beautiful. You are an incredible mom and wife. There is no right or wrong way to tackle this. I drank many a bottle of wine that first year. Now, on year four. I wish I could say it goes away with time. It doesn’t. It does get a little easier. The choking, suffocating, crushing grief does lessen with each year. The best parts, pasting that smile on your face each morning and playing blocks, or play doh. When you really just want to stay in your same pajamas for 3 days and cry in bed. You have to get up and make french toast. When I wanted to fall to pieces, my 3 yr old needed his spider man socks out of the dryer,….now mommy! Mira is the best bandaid in the world. My bandaids hold my broken heart together every day. And, with time, Peyton, Easton, and Mia fill up the cracks with new happy memories, hugs, and milestones. So, I’ll say it again, I love you, you are strong, you are amazing, you can do this. Sending my thoughts your way this Christmas eve. <3 Amanda

      • Kristina Dunn says:

        This is also very beautiful, I cherish every moment not because i know what your going through because I am a sick person Gastroparesis caused my organs to grow to the size of a 12 year Olds I had a life savings liver transplant 6 years ago I was on life support before and after. It was an emotional rollercoaster my caregiver aka best husband ever never left my side I was there fighting for 30 days. I had 4 children depending on me to make it. My young daughter was 2. I have my issues (survivors remorse is the worst) so many do not make it and i had been spared I will always wonder why God spared my life and children go husbands go and yet i am still here battling daily my new appreciation for life is unprofound and I love more than I ever have I listen before I speak I do it all differently. Everyone could learn something from you and Amanda. Praying for comfort for you all. Love, someone who cares. ❤

  9. Leren says:

    So true. I lost my mom 3 years ago, my dad 2 years ago and my cousin’s wife this past year. A good reminder as we sit with my cousin and his sons, 2 teenagers and a 5 yr old. You are a brave and wise woman! I hope you bought the cheese!

  10. Peg Warriner says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. It opened my eyes to paying attention to others and how to respond to their needs. You are an awesome person. Joe and Mira are lucky to have you in their lives. Enjoy your new traditions and I pray the new year will bring you peace.

  11. Jan Graefen says:

    Amanda, know that many of us who know you, Joe and Mira only through your writing are still with you in spirit. I will have a toast to the love you and Joe shared–and then say a prayer for peace and strength for you in the coming days, weeks, and months. Joe is with you and Mira always. Merry Christmas.

  12. David says:

    Your writing is really beautiful. Wonderfully, tragically beautiful. Part of what makes it special is the mix of hopefulness with the sadness, and it’s my Christmas wish that the sadness in your life will diminish as the hope is fulfilled. In the meantime, I’d be happy to pour you a drink.

  13. Robyn Wilhelm says:

    Just beautiful and so honest and true. Merry Christmas. I will hug my husband a bit more tightly, thank you for the reminder of what is most important.

  14. Kathryne says:

    So beautifully written. I cry every time I read your blog- sometimes sad tears, sometime tears of hope, or just tears of how your have depicted this insanely hard situation. I have never gone through anything like this, but I have lost loved ones, and hope you can find some sort of joy and/or peace even if just for a moment this holiday with your family and beautiful little girl.

  15. Judy S. says:

    He is not forgotten. He matters. Even to strangers like me. Love to you, sweet Amanda & Mira.

  16. LuAnn says:

    Joe’ life mattered. Don’t ever feel otherwise. You are different because of him and Mira is here because of him and both your lives will change others because of him. He goes with you. He is apart of you always. God bless you. Peace for your heart:)

  17. Lauren says:

    “The sting in your heart as you plaster a smile on your face”…”I want to feel like he mattered, that life is not just going on without him.” These words are very well said and are my thoughts exactly after having lost my son last month. Thanks for sharing with all of us. I’m very sorry for your loss. I don’t know how it feels to lose a spouse, but I can imagine the heart ache. I hope you made it through the holiday season okay. Thinking of you and your family.

  18. Stephanie Weaver says:

    I just saw a post of Mira on instagram and it made me think “let me go catch up on ‘cocktails and chemo’!” I cannot begin to imagine the sadness of going through your first Christmas without Joe! Reading the blog, watching the memorial and crying my eyes out for you, seeing your posts on Facebook and instagram….it all reminds me to live every day with a grateful heart! I am so inspired by your love story, your fight alongside Joe, and the life you are living now that he is no longer by your side. Words offer no solace for your pain…but please know you are always in my thoughts and prayers. You are carrying on Joe’s light beautifully! Thank you for that! Lots of love and hugs to you and sweet Mira

  19. Tasha says:

    I was laying in bed with my 2 kids this morning (5 yrs & a 9 month old) I was exhausted from a few 12 hour shifts (I’m a nurse) and a little annoyed that my kids won’t let me sleep in just a little. I reached over to just scroll thru Facebook and I saw that a couple of my friends liked this blog chemo and cocktails. I clicked on it and just kept scrolling.
    The kids wanted breakfast, the nerve didn’t they know I was completely engrossed in this story. I put the phone up until the baby laid down and my son played Xbox. I started reading from the beginning of your blog and grabbed every second I could in between play time and naps to finish it.
    I’m truly sorry for your loss. You guys have told an amazing, real, inspiring story. Thank you for sharing your journey and reminding us all what really matters in life.
    You’ll get negative people on here but please don’t let them deter you from sharing the rest of your journey! Someone may really need to read your blog posts!
    I never read blogs but for some reason I read yours and I’m glad I did! Thank you! Keep on keeping on, you’re an amazing wife and mother!

  20. Mary Ann Evans says:

    Amanda, my heart truly breaks for you and your daughter. Life matters in so many ways. I wish all couples who struggle could see your love story. Jumping in feet first knowing you may not have Joe for long. May your love for Joe be returned in others showing their love for you and Mira.
    Your optimism in the face of such sorrow, is so inspirational. Please keep writing your journey.
    Your Mira will be so happy someday to read of this great love story.! Prayers are with you and hoping 2015 will give you peace and comfort. God Bless.

  21. Sue says:

    It is now December 15 2015 and I hope that your year was a little easier. It is now the holidays once more. I know for me the holidays are always the same. They have gotten easier, but I still miss my husband more at this time of year than any other time. Even tho he passed in March. I try to rush through the holidays, even after 11 years. I still have not learned to slow down and enjoy every moment. I am working on it…. Your story it so true and very inspirational and so true. Thank you.

  22. Janet McGraw says:

    This is the blog I reread the most. It’s not just Christmas. It’s every single thing everyday. It’s been a little over a year. My son’s slippers are still by the front door along with the empty can of Sprite he was drinking. The bulb of his favorite cheese is still in the fridge…