FB Cover PhotoMy name is Jacqueline, but pretty much everyone refers to me as Her Royal Highness Princess Jacqueline. I’m a regular mom, sister, daughter, and friend (except for my royal title). Joy is my middle name and I’m embarking on a journey to live up to that name by finding joy in everything – the horrible, the wonderful, the mundane, the exciting. I hope to make the world a better place by living a life of happiness, gratitude, and joy.

In March of 2007, my husband, Brian, was diagnosed with stage 1B melanoma. He had surgery to remove the tumor and some lymph nodes. The lymph nodes tested negative and life returned to normal…or so we thought. On February 10, 2012, Brian’s melanoma returned and his new diagnosis was stage 4 metastatic melanoma with no hope for a cure. Tests revealed it was in his liver, right lung, spleen, and adrenal glands. I had to quit my job in order to care for him full-time and begin to say my goodbye.

Although the prognosis was not good, we decided from day one that cancer would be our “beautiful struggle,” and we’d let it make us better people. Brian always had an infectious personality. I hope I have caught just a little bit of it, and that I can take the exuberance he had for life and keep it going for the rest of my days.

After just 112 days of battling cancer with grace and dignity, Brian passed away at 12:07 a.m. on May 28, 2012, surrounded by those he loved. Now he is just part of something bigger and mysterious. I am on my own, but far from alone. Through his journey to death, I found life and found my voice.

I believe love, happiness, contentment, and joy can be found in any circumstance. Finding those treasures can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort and even the scars we receive from the beautiful struggles we endure in the pursuit.