Today is a Gift

The Bauer family of Hornepayne, Ontario. David (far right) shares his experiences with grief and moving ahead after his wife, Bonnie (far left), passed away from cancer in October of 2012.
The Bauer family of Hornepayne, Ontario. David (far right) shares his experiences with grief and moving ahead after his wife, Bonnie (far left), passed away from cancer in October of 2012.

The cancer journey is one that can be difficult and unpredictable, sometimes ending in loss. David Bauer, of Hornepayne, Ontario, has experienced this tragic part of the journey as his wife Bonnie passed away in October of 2012.

Bonnie Bauer was a respected teacher, dedicated mother, devout Christian and beloved wife of David. After feeling ill, and advocating to have some tests done, the Bauer family’s cancer journey began in April of 2009 with Bonnie’s diagnosis of stage 4 breast cancer. After battling for nearly 3.5 years, Bonnie’s journey ended in October of 2012 when she passed away in their home with the support of David, family and help from caregivers. However, after Bonnie’s passing, David’s journey continues each day as he grieves her loss while continuing to raise their family.

Throughout Bonnie’s treatment there were difficulties, ups and downs, and unexpected twists. As a regional patient who had to travel a lot to receive treatment, there were also added complexities in seeking care that she and David had to keep in mind as well. Some of those added responsibilities, aside from treatment and travel, were their three young children who needed to be cared for, including their son who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Now with his eldest daughter away at university, and two teenagers at home, it goes without saying that David’s hands have been full for the past 3 years.

Aside from the passion that he has for his family, David’s other strength during this time has been to face his grief, and advocate for his health and state of mind by seeking support in his community and through Regional Cancer Care Northwest at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).

“I take things one day at a time, one hour at a time, and one minute at a time. Sometimes I feel like I am going through the motions – like a hamster running in its wheel. But, I have found a lot of comfort and help in linking with Supportive Care Services. I needed someone to talk to who was neutral, and Heather from Supportive Care has been a huge help for me,” explains David of his continuing experience with counselling offered by Supportive Care Services at TBRHSC.

Since David retired early to care for Bonnie, he has also had to find things to do to keep his time occupied and productive – that is, other than his full-time job as dad. He has found solace in his faith. He continues to meet with a men’s Bible study group on a weekly basis, and also meets a group of friends for coffee every morning. He continues to be very close with his father-in-law and has a good relationship with his sisters. “True friends are a rarity these days and when you go through a rough time in life you discover sometimes who your real friends are. I have been blessed to have several real close friends and to have them close by when I needed their friendship and support,” adds David.

David’s life has changed since losing Bonnie, but he continues to forge ahead the best way he can. “Some days it just seems like it was yesterday. But, every day you need to choose to move ahead. For myself, I need to keep moving ahead and try not to look back too often. My wife Bonnie and I always liked the saying ‘yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift’, and I think that’s so true.’ says David.”

Your support of the Northern Cancer Fund continues to help families like the Bauers when faced with a cancer diagnosis, by providing state-of-the-art equipment to treat and research cancer here at home. To make a gift, please go online at or call (807) 345-HOPE (4673). Thank you.