Surmounting Death

On Christmas Day, 2018, my wife Elizabeth underwent a three-and-a-half hour operation to remove malignant pancreatic cancer from her pancreas. The operation is known as the Whipple procedure. Part of her pancreas was removed, along with her gall bladder and some sections of her intestines, and a new hookup of her internal organs was implemented. A week later, she was up and about, and we attended a large New Year’s Day celebration.

This was the beginning of a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer that ended, with a stroke, on December 8th, 2020.

In 2020, Elizabeth and I were in our 50th year of an amazing and wonderful marriage, and we were also moving, along with hundreds of millions of others, through the mire of division and chaos of an America also in a death struggle with its own identity and future.

A time of deep transformation.

For America: Who are we? Where are we going? And for myself: How to come to grips, finally, with the loss of someone so close and so beloved as to be my very self.

These are the themes many of us are encountering.

I’ve put together the experience of our fifty year marriage, as well as our struggle with the cancer and a diary of day-to-day thoughts about what we were going through and what our country was going through, into a book, titled “Capricorn & Cancer”. I’m the Capricorn, and Elizabeth was the Cancer, and we were in many ways total opposites, and at the same time we created a marriage that brought us together in an amazing way as one.

The battle, for me, as for America, was to find a way forward. That’s what this book is about.

It is a book of love and marriage, of life and death, and a book also of hope and vision and joy.

Together, Elizabeth and I lived our experience and wrote this book for you – as a gift of love and encouragement in the dark hours.

There is always a way through.

“Capricorn & Cancer” is now available online as a paperback and ebook from , or as an ebook from other major online booksellers.

James Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of eleven non-fiction books.

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