January 2, 2024

Dear Mitch,

I have to admit, there are times I am frustrated and upset: the anger phase of grief. Even though the feelings fit the anger phase, I’m not feeling mad as much as I am frustrated, and filled with soul-wrenching sadness.

How many times did we hear medical professionals state,

“I can’t believe you walked in here and how good you look; from reading your file, I thought you would be coming in on a stretcher.” After surgery you went straight home, not to a rehab center. Other people, who have had a more difficult recovery from surgery, are still here. I am elated for them but it seems to deepen my sorrow.

Everything you endured to give yourself more time here with us,

even if it was just one more month or day, just didn’t work. Sometimes I get angry, and really just SAD, that you had to go through all the pain, heartache, sickness, fatigue, and just not being yourself, to gain only a measly nine months! That is all we got after your diagnosis. You never won a reprieve after the surgery. Your last months on earth were worse than any place in hell as far as I am concerned.

We knew our time with each other had drastically diminished

after our doctor visits in April of 2021. At first we were hoping for a good five years; then after the radiation, two years. In January 2022 we prayed to have the summer which quickly turned to spring; by February we just wanted as many days as we could get.

When it was time for your horror to end,

it went so fast! It turned on a dime. People who hadn’t been around you had difficulty believing what the family was saying. It just couldn’t be; they had just seen you. When I had to take you into the ER the last time, we knew we weren’t coming back home with you on the mend. We knew it was the beginning of the end.

In the ER and in Fargo, when the medical professionals heard your hemoglobin was at four, they were all in awe that you were still alive. None of them had seen a person still living with hemoglobin that low. You beat the odds again, so why?

I think the answer is that you had some unfinished business,

the kind all of us hope we have before going to heaven. You had people you needed to see in order to tell them your peace. Before going to the room where hospice had set up, you thanked everyone and stated you were not afraid. I can still see you between your brothers, Kelly and Kenny, who were helping you to the back room. You asked them to stop so you could turn around and look at all your friends and family you loved so dearly, for the last time. We all knew you were not coming out of that room alive, once you lay down.

You had already been transitioning early that morning by not eating. All the pieces to your final breath went on hyper-speed once in that room. You were waiting for Zach to get back from Rapid City so that you could be surrounded with all your family when the time came. Zach arrived Friday night at 8:30, and your last breath was at 12:32 the next day. The moment Zach arrived your breathing quickly changed, until there was no more. There was peace in that moment, but oh, the sorrow!


I will love you til my dying day!


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  1. I relate to so much of this. I feel so numb the last few days. Hard to finds the words. Thank you for writing this. It all helps me do much.

    1. Mary,
      I hate that you can relate to this because then I know how much pain you are going through. I’m glad my writing is helping you, if for nothing else, to know you are not alone in how you are feeling.

  2. You dear sweet soul – thank you for sharing your heartfelt healing journey with the cyber community. I appreciate you.

    1. Luann,
      Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate all the love and support you continue to give me.

  3. I am crying my eyes out Nicole. I would have anger and so much frustration too, why so much endured only to end so fast. I can’t quit crying. You are so strong and so loving. You had the best love, doesn’t happen often and you will be reunited. I saw an interview with Reba McIntyre regarding losing her band in an airplane crash. She said I am a Christian, I believe in God but if I get to heaven I will ask ‘why.’ We love you dear brave, strong girl. ❤️

    1. Marianne,
      I guess I was right cuing the tissues. Wow, that is amazing for Reba to say that. What a painful experience to go through. One death is hard but her whole band, most bands end up being like a second family. That would have been a tough one to get to the other side and live life again. Sometimes it’s not enough to accept that it was God’s plan. You still want to know why?

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