calliemm is based on my families very personal story and has evolved over time with us. It is dedicated to the memory of my amazing husband, the father of our children — Brendan Maloney, after losing him to cancer in August 2017.
I’m Callie and I have always loved the written word, both to read and write. Journaling comes easy to me and is a tool I have used for decades to record, release, and remember. I started blogging to share our family adventures with extended family and friends in a more entertaining way. Allowing them to enjoy our children’s growing years even if they lived far from us.
In 2014 my husband Brendan, became the focus of our story and this blog, when at the age of 42, he was diagnosed with a rare cancer called undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma, our children were only ten at the time. We began using calliemm to more easily keep our family and friends updated on his treatment. He managed to survive a very aggressive cancer for three years, after being diagnosed with a 7cm tumour in his right femur and multiple metastasis in his bones and lungs. He did so with a strength and grace that left me in awe of the exceptional human being that he was.
This space, calliemm.com, became the place our family, friends and complete strangers came for diarised updates on Brendan’s progress. It was also a space where we could all come together to surround him with community spirit, love and strength when he needed it the most. All posts are still available to read, or in some cases reread, with a collection of archive posts from an old format still being added, keeping the whole story in one place. I hope Bren’s story; of love, strength and resilience, good humour and unlimited hope against insurmountable odds, helps you if you in some small way when you need it the most.
My children and I now have a deeper understanding of how important it is to enjoy life and not take things for granted. We know that spending time with loved ones is the most important thing we’ll ever do. We have experienced on a very personal level, that death is simply a moment in time. All that comes before that moment is living as is all that comes after.
We are doing all we can to honour Bren’s memory, as we take on life without him. A part of doing that will be one day writing my families cancer story — the whole story, from my perspective. Cancer, is a multifaceted experience not only for the patient, but also for those of us who love them. Every facet — a story unto itself.
Image below: Tyra, Baden and our dog Otis, enjoying our favourite place in the world, the beach, with their Dad…just down the road from our house. It was Bren’s last summer — and we miss him every day.