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.

Cake and Beer


In honor of Sarah’s late-fiance’s birthday, I’ve decided to write him a letter, man to man.  It’s something I haven't done in awhile, and today, of all days, seems most appropriate.  


Hey man,

So, today’s your birthday.  It’s kinda hard to believe you would have been only 33 years old.  You had way too much left to do.  Hell, you were just getting started.

Anyway, enough with all the “far too young” and “taken too early” crap.  You know as well as I do it’s all cliches and fluff that people spout off when they don’t know anything else to say.  Point is, you got to experience some pretty damned cool things in your life, and with a damned good woman by your side for the last few years of it.  That’s more than a hell of a lot of people can ask for.

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Flipping the Switch

Way back when I started writing here for Soaring Spirits, I had posited a statement that when “my switch flips from suffering to determination, it is simply not possible to feel more powerful”.  At the time, that was related precisely to losing Megan, and wading through the grief until I finally got up off of the couch, wiped the snot off of my face, and got to work.

I felt as if I could power through anything.  A workout.  A stressful day at work.  Chores at the home or a general busy day.  I quit feeling sorry for myself, effectively pulling my widow card as an excuse to be lazy, and breezed through anything with ruthless efficiency.

For the past year or so though, I felt as if I aged 10.  I’m sore, tired, slow, and gaining weight.  I’ve let the doldrums of everyday life evolve into a bad thing, and my determination, initiative, and drive has slowly waned.  

I was “suffering” from complacency, not loss or grief.  

The switch had flipped.

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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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