I haven’t talked much, if at all, about this here on the site, but the last year has been perhaps harder for me than it has for others. On top of battling the same pandemic that just about everyone else in the world has been facing, for the last year Super Awesome Wife, aka Jessica, and I have been fighting an even more personal battle. In June of last year, after going in for treatment on a strange lump, Jessica was officially diagnosed with endodermal sinus cancer of the vulva, or yolk-sac vulva cancer. It’s a particularly rare, particularly aggressive, form of germ cell cancer. Since last June, Jess has bee going through a number of treatments, in the hope of getting things under control. Unfortunately, last month, we discovered that the cancer had moved from its original location in Jess’s groin, into her lungs. Yesterday, after a very hard week in the hospital, Jess passed away in her sleep, at 25 years old.
In preparation for this event, I have been doing a lot of advance writing. There are 23 reviews already written, which will be posted daily for the next 23 days. After that, I hope to keep writing more, but I genuinely don’t know. But right now, I want to talk about my wonderful relationship with my Super Awesome Wife, Jessica Lynn Headlee.
Jess and I met in the summer of 2013, at the sci-fi convention Shore Leave. She was working as a time keeper for the panels, and I was there as a plus one for my dad, who was attending as an author guest. We were introduced by a mutual friend, and were infatuated with each other almost immediately. After spending that entire weekend together, we exchanged contact information, and began texting on a near daily basis, separated at the time by a roughly six hour drive.
During those early days of texting, we got to know a lot about each other, and my hobby of collecting action figures was a topic that came up, almost by accident one night, when I mentioned I was updating my database with some new pieces. This led to the inevitable question: “how many do you have?” I was, admittedly, embarrassed by the answer, which was at the time just a few shy of 2400 pieces. I went vague, answering “a lot.” “A lot’s not a number,” came the reply, “what’s the actual number?” So, I figured I might as well be honest, and I told her the exact number. Her response changed my life: “That’s not that many, and I’ll fight anyone who thinks it is.”
Before Jess, I was always embarrassed by my collection. It brought me joy on my own, but I sort of hid it from people, because I thought it made me weird. Jess didn’t see it that way in the slightest. More than that, she loved it. She asked more questions about what figures I had, asked for updates if I got new ones, and asked if I ever did anything cool with them. I had just started taking photos of them, and she asked if I ever did anything with those. She even wanted me to send her photos of them occasionally. Her full support of my hobby was a major part of the confidence boost that got me to actually launch this site, and she was a faithful reader during those long-distance days. We would officially become a couple in December of 2013, and that was when she really doubled down on the support, going so far as to buy me *more* figures, a completely insane concept to me at the time.
Jess and I moved in together in the fall of 2016, after deciding the long-distance thing was getting to be too stressful for both of us, and that we wanted to see each other more than a single weekend per month. Being around me and my collection on the regular didn’t slow down Jess’s desire to support my hobby. In fact, it rather sped it up, and even got her to start amassing quite a collection of her own. We started to collect certain things jointly, and she even started writing reviews of her own. She would also add her own commentary to my reviews, point out which figures she liked most, and even tell me what silly nickname a certain figure was to have in a review.
In the last year, with restrictions due to the pandemic, we had periods of not being able to see each other. She had a selection of her own figures (actually an entire collection of Ratchets, to serve as her own little medical team), which she would take with her. I was also to send her photos of new additions while she was gone, and to talk to her about them in great detail when we spoke on the phone. It was important to her to remain as invested as possible, and she truly did. She made me feel supported. She made me feel valid. She made me feel loved, unconditionally. She was one of the most amazing people I ever knew, or will ever know. She had a capacity for love and an excitement for life that I don’t believe has an equal. And she was a fighter up until the very end. But now, she is finally at peace, and is suffering no more. She was my very favorite person, and my very best friend. She was truly Super Awesome. And there are no words to describe how very much I am going to miss her. But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.