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.

Let it Be

It’s one of those “jumbled” days, where it feels like I have nothing worth sharing with the world.  Alison shared the same sentiment in her writing this past Wednesday.  I’m approaching four years of widowerhood, and I’ve been writing here for three and a half.  What else am I to say?

I don’t have a birthday, anniversary, significant holiday, milestone, sign or trigger.  In the past 7 days, and for at least the next 14, quite literally NOTHING has or will happen that brings poignant thoughts of Megan and her death.  I’m on cruise control right now. In times like this, as Alison mentioned, music is a tool to be used to bring inspiration. More specifically, one song.  “Let it Be” by the Beatles. Even more specifically, the album version, versus the single version.

That very particular composition, to me, it one of the greatest pieces of music ever created.  I have listened to that song since I was a boy, and even at the innocent age of 10, it would bring tears to my eye for no apparent reason other than the sheer beauty and emotion it conveys.

So, on a day like today, where just the act of writing about widowhood is difficult to find inspiration for, I’ve put the song on repeat.  I’ll write about the mental journey that the song takes me through, each and every time I hear it nowadays. I’ve thought about this premise for awhile, and after a recent visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, just up the road in Cleveland, it is fresh in my mind.

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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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