Seven Days of Shiva: Forty-six years of puppy love by Marc Gellman
Seized with grief at the loss of his beloved and vibrant wife, Barbara, after a thirty-year battle with breast cancer, Marc Gellman does the only thing he finds he can do. He starts telling stories. This unique memoir is much more than a tribute to a departed love. Their story shows how a cancer journey seamlessly entwines through a four decades-long love story.
A lifelong raconteur and jokester, Marc spent their forty-six-year relationship making Barbara laugh. He’d do anything to make Barbara’s gorgeous face break into the cute, dimpled smile he first saw once upon a time, in 1964, when a fourteen-year-old boy from Brooklyn met a twelve-year-old girl from The Bronx and they fell in love.
Surrounded by family and friends for seven days of sitting Shiva, Marc recounts his fairytale love story with Barbara, from their teenage meeting in the 1960s Rockaways summer scene, to being early marrieds in New York City, to suburban parenting, and to life as an urban couple relishing their empty nest. Once it appears, Barbara’s courageous, grueling, determined, hope-filled fight against a brutal disease is unflinchingly depicted.
With candor and humor, laughter and tears, Marc shares the tales of a life both wildly charmed and excruciatingly challenging. Theirs is a life full of parties and singing and celebration, and a life of hard work raising three lively children while managing two demanding, deeply rewarding careers. It’s a life of playful adventures and hijinks, of making the most of every silly moment in even the most serious of times. A life of standing up to every challenge together, and dancing close whenever they can.
Observing their singular, remarkable romance through “Shiva Eyes,” Marc uncovers a depth to their love he’d never fully grasped, and a strength in Barbara he’d never fully understood. For all the trials that cancer brought into their lives, he discovers a happily-ever-after born of laughter, devotion, faith, and above all, a teenage puppy love that only grew with each passing year.
Year first published: 2021