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.

How-to: Mother's Day

As Mother’s Day approaches, I always tend to think of Megan a bit more.  Many everyday things become somehow intertwined with a memory or anecdote about her, simply because she was Shelby’s mother.  Even mowing the lawn brings thoughts about the fact that she had to close all of the windows in the house due to the smell of fresh cut grass making her cough.

Megan is never far from Shelby or I’s memory.  If I had a nickel for every time Shelby began a sentence with “Remember when mom...” I’d be a millionaire.  She hasn’t seemed to look any deeper into Megan’s death than humorous stories or zombie jokes though. I mean, she’s only 11.  Her mom has been gone for almost 4 years now, and her biggest concerns are getting to ride her bike and the newest novel in the book series she’s reading being released to stores.

It makes me wonder when the other shoe is going to drop.

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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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