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Apr 3, 2024

If you marry, and mark your day with ceremony, you might include these wedding vows:

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death do us part.

Half-easy to recite, but fulfill—a Sisyphean effort.

Widowed guest co-host and author Jarie Bolander joins us. 

Jarie’s book is titled: Ride Or Die: Loving Through Tragedy, A Husband’s Memoir.  

Jarie’s memoir, a poignant tribute to his late spouse Jane, is a testament to the power of love and commitment those exact wedding vows embody. 

Here’s the set-up…

Friday, the day after Christmas 2015.

Married less than two years, Jarie and Jane are San Francisco’s young attractive power couple. Jarie is 45, a Silicon Valley engineer, entrepreneur, seven-book author, podcaster, blogger, and working on another start-up. Jarie is a highly functional introvert.

Jarie’s spouse Jane, an outright extrovert, runs the public relations firm she founded. A quenchless zest for life fills Jane, a 35-year-old fireball.

Jarie and Jane work on making a baby.

But after two miscarriages…diagnostic blood tests become routine.

Now, the day after Christmas—after spending a few hectically fun-filled days at Jane’s parent’s house, it’s time to drive the thirty-five-plus minutes home to San Francisco.

Jarie looks forward to getting home midday and relaxing a bit before their restaurant dinner date.

But Jane insists on having her next routine blood draw today. Jarie protests why Jane can’t wait until the next week because it’s barely the day after Christmas AND it’s a Friday.

The walk-in-no-appointment-necessary laboratory is on the way home. It’s quick.

Blood drawn.  

35 minutes later, Jane and Jarie arrive home, unpack, and put their luggage away.

Jane’s cell phone rings. An unknown caller. Jarie says ignore it.

Jane answers because restaurants often call to confirm reservations.

The restaurant is not the caller--the medical facility calls.

Jane’s blood test results signal concern. The caller wants Jane to test more NOW. Please come into the hospital via the Emergency Room entrance.

Jarie and Jane enter the ER entrance. And straight away,  escorted into a curtained section.

Not even 6 minutes pass, two doctors enter.

After introductions, one doctor asks Jane do you know why you’re here?

Jane says, because I was told over the phone my blood test was abnormal. The doctor agrees. 

The doctors also ask about the small patches of red dots on Jane’s tummy. The red dots appeared after the last miscarriage—severe cramping often bursts tiny surface blood vessels.

Jane asks why, what about the red dots—and the doctors say they need an opinion from the on-call oncologist.

Oncologist? Why an oncologist?

One doctor says, well, we’re not exactly sure, but it looks like you might have…leukemia.

Jarie’s book is the first I’ve read written from a widowed Man’s viewpoint.

Jarie’s memoir NAILS it. So much echoes my own once-upon-a-time story.

Jarie hands you his heart, his fears, his perceived failings. Weaknesses. Strengths. Obsessions. Addictions. Things you only tell your therapist. 

Jarie’s experience might parallel yours. For example, as men, we were raised to be protectors, not caregivers. An old-fashioned male archetype? In our DNA?

Jarie painstakingly details his caregiving odyssey. 

Losing himself in Jane’s sickness, he copes by numbing. Alcohol. Pot, Caffeine. His therapist doesn’t know to what extent.

Jane’s health declines. Jarie can’t protect Jane. His self-perceived failure persecutes him.

And from diagnosis to death, not even 18 months pass.

Kindly observe what happens after Jane’s death.

Because Jarie continues his lionhearted pilgrimage— through grief and anger— to find himself, and love again. 

Link to Jarie’s website JarieBolander.com where you can purchase his book and learn about everything Jarie.

Thanks for listening.

Join us for part 2 of 3.

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