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.


Resolve

As I pulled into the parking lot to meet Sarah, a bit of anxiety crept into my chest.  I wasn’t positive that we would be taken seriously, or that my feelings were valid in any way.  I felt like all of my past, and the stress that I had was absolutely my fault.  It was as if I alone was the root cause of any problems in my life, and thusly, I either have to fix them, or die a lonely old widower.  The fact that I was at this place after such a short amount of time proved to me that I’m broken and should be avoided.

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Words as Weapons

scars.jpgIt’s no secret lately that I share my outlooks, experiences, and emotions with ruthless integrity, perhaps bordering upon over-sharing that information.  Private anecdotes become public, once a week, as I write here.  The quiet grumbles or “bad moods” that friends and family may see me in become soap-box seminars when it is in digital form on the internet.  They morph into baring my very soul for all to see on a blog, when in person, the only indication of stress or deep thought may be the distinct lack of my underlying sillyness.   

Suppose that it is the anonymity then, that brings forth this behavior.  Barring Sarah, no one hears or sees my “grief” emotions via an attentive look in the eye or a cupped ear.  It is only through your screen, dear reader, that I share my life and its many complexities.  A simple electronic series of ones and zeros that organize themselves into something that a grieving person may need to read, even if it is only a “me too” thought or a “wow, at least I’m not THAT bad” comparison.

My writing here, initially, was simply allowing a bleeding wound to flow freely.  Allowing it to flow into the deepest corners of the room and drip onto anyone nearby.  I let the pain out by screaming it to the world.  As time has progressed, the bleeding has slowed...the wound of Megan’s actual death is all but closed.   Writing has become more of an examination of old scars.

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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.

    Mike

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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