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.


1097 and Counting

Three years is not an insignificant amount of time to be in a relationship with someone.

 

Three years is how long Megan and I dated before we were married.  

 

Three years is how long Megan was “healthy” during our relationship.

 

Three years is how old Shelby was when her mother was carted away in an ambulance, on her way to an unknown future.

 

Three years is how long Sarah and Drew were together before his death.

 

Three years ago, Sarah and I met.

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Finance Department

Through our twenties, Megan and I (well, mostly me) got into a mountain of debt.  Cars, trips, entertainment, and just plain “things” were being spent upon all the time.  There were quite a few medical costs sprinkled in there too.  By the time we hit 30 years old, we were at our wit’s end with bills.  Megan’s disability prevented her from working, and besides that, she had her hands full with a toddler either way.  

It had become so stressful to manage money.  It was beyond overwhelming to sit down and process numbers and balances and interest rates and minimum payments.  I had relied upon Megan to do most of this for quite awhile, but it came to a point when it overwhelmed her as well.  Some bills slipped through the cracks, late charges piled up, credit card bills became ridiculous (to be fair, mostly by my own doing), and there was even a moment where we feared our electricity would be turned off.

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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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