Mike Welker

Three months after my discharge from the Marine Corps, at 22 years old, I met my wife Megan, on December 10th, 2002. The very next day, I was drawn like a moth to a flame into dealing with a long term, terminal illness. Megan had Cystic Fibrosis, and after 8 years or declining health, she received a double lung transplant, and a new lease o life. Our daughter Shelby was born in 2007.   In early 2014, those recycled lungs, which had brought our little family three years of uncomplicated health and happiness, finally began to give out.  She died from chronic organ transplant rejection on November 19th, 2014 while I held her hand and let her go.   I'm a single father and widower at 34 years old, and no one has published a manual for it.  I don't fit the mold, because there is no mold.  I "deal with it" through morbid humor, inappropriateness, anger, and the general vulgarity of the 22 year old me, as if I never grew up, but temper it with focus on raising a tenacious, smart, and strong woman in Shelby.  I try to live as if Megan is still here with us, giving me that sarcastic stare because yet again, I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

She Didn't Have to Be

20170506_113440.jpgMegan loved being a mother.  If there was one thing, one goal in life she had, it was to create a little girl like Shelby.  For 7 years, she doted on her, relishing taking her to school, feeding her creamed peas, changing diapers, reading to her, and in effect spending every healthy moment she had with her.  Even when she was admitted to the hospital, roughly 5 - 8 times a year for three or four weeks at a time, she wanted Shelby there.  Nothing would perk her up and make her smile more than to see her peanut waltzing through the hospital room door, saying “hi mommy”.





She was proud beyond words (still is, I imagine) at who Shelby was.  I half assume that the only reason she joined the PTA, and chaperoned different school functions was so she could show Shelby off to the other moms.  I mean, i sure as hell didn’t have a desire to sell popcorn balls in a school basement to three dozen other mothers as part of a “fundraiser”, but Megan, damn, she would have been leading the endeavor.  

Like so many of these posts go, there's a summary of something in my past with Megan, followed by “Then, she died”

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Mother's Day - A Year in Review

(So, I wrote this last year on Mother’s Day.  I tried and tried to write this week, and the more i did so, the more it read just like the below.  So instead, I’ve decided to re-post it, with an update on what has changed, a year later.  A year further from losing Megan, and another year growing with Sarah.

I’ve underlined in parenthesis my updated perspectives and thoughts.  It’s an interesting examination of what a year can bring...or not bring)

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  • donated 2015-12-01 10:03:57 -0800

  • commented on Food, My Old Friend 2015-08-14 10:34:45 -0700
    Great writing Kelley! I’m not going into various diet plans, because they all work differently for different people (PM me on facebook if you want to know mine, it would jive with your goals and worked EXTREMELY well for me).

    What I will say is this…cravings are natural. Changing a diet (especially one based on pasta and carbs in general), while not as extreme as losing Don is still a life changing event. You can try to substitute things, but it’s never the same. You hit the nail on the head; you’re grieving the loss of the foods you love.

    Keep at it! Results take time, but once you start to see some progress, it will get that much easier.

  • commented on We Have a Widow's Voice Baby! 2015-08-12 07:16:22 -0700
    Congrats Kerryl!

  • commented on Hey Bud 2015-07-08 05:34:37 -0700
    Thank you all so much! I guess that I am a little overwhelmed by the effect I seem to have had. To me, Drew was, is, and will always be a part of Sarah, and she wouldn’t be who she is without him, just as I wouldn’t have been the same person without Megan. This was evident to me, so writing about it seemed simple.

  • commented on Optimism 2015-06-24 05:00:53 -0700
    Thank you for your words Jane, and sorry for your loss. You’ve summed it up very succinctly. While your husband was sick, you were right to remain optimistic until the very end. In fact, until roughly 24 hours before we were forced to remove Megan’s life support, I still held out hope that she would pull through. While it can make it much more “sudden” feeling, in the long run, I can not imagine living in fear for 12 years. We lived life as full as we could, and when the time came, she was able to die as a happy, proud mother, knowing she left one hell of a legacy.

    For the record, your “live and have fun” statement is, in my opinion, the best way to honor his memory.


Of the many titles I've held (Marine, Husband, Engineer, Brother, Son, Uncle), the one I am most proud of is "Father"
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