April 7, 2024

Dear Mitch,

After your death, I was numb!

I believe this happens to people, so preparations can be made for the funeral. I went through the motions. I could feel my body didn’t have much time left before it would collapse under the heaviness of your death and what preceded it in the nine months prior.

Visions of the last couple weeks come flashing back to me.

I noticed you were not looking well coming from the bathroom, taking you to the ER, finding out about your hemoglobin being so low, being told we had to go to Fargo by ambulance, calling Lexi to come to the ER because I did not know if she would see you alive again, and Father Jarad being with us in our time of need.

I remember how cold it was in the ambulance, knowing that for you, it would feel even colder. You would not fall asleep because the pain was keeping you from slumber. That and the fact that you were scared to fall asleep. You were scared you wouldn’t wake up again.

At the hospital in Fargo,

the wonderful staff is helping you and being so attentive to all your needs. The moment the doctor told us you had days to weeks to live. We knew it, but to hear it still felt like a fist in the gut. We were both grateful for the doctor not giving us false hope and just coming out and telling us what we didn’t want to hear. There was compassion in his straight-forward manner about such a difficult prognosis.

The phone calls I made

to family to tell them to make travel plans because time was not on our side.  I can still here Kris stating no, no, no and crying into the phone.

Driving you home from Fargo. When we got home, there were signs in the yard—one in the front yard and one in the side yard. You asked Matt to back up so you could read the sign that stated Honk for Mitch. We could hear all the people who were embracing us in their arms as they honked when they drove past our house. Many people told me they specifically changed their route in order to do that each day.

On Monday morning,

you asked me to call everyone and ask them to come to the house. Your parting words stated you were ready, you were not scared to die, you thanked everyone, and you told them you loved them. The father-daughter “dance.” Renewing our marriage vows.

Sitting with you in the back bedroom, we didn’t need to say anything, just as long as I was near you. You loved the second sign just as much as the first. This one you could see from your hospice bed which read, We love you, Mitch!

The stillness of the world when you took your last breath.

I never knew silence could be so deafening! Knowing, but not completely understanding, how this was going to be life-changing with a treacherous road ahead.

Going to Nero’s Funeral Home to pick out everything, writing your obituary, and walking into the floral shop to pick out your flowers. I did not have to say anything. Diane said NO! and I had to nod my head. Yes. She crumbled at the news. I gave her permission to do what she thought was best for your flowers because, by that time, I couldn’t make another decision.

After your wake and funeral,

I asked you if I did a good job for you, and you said yes, it was perfect. Except for the visitation—too many prayers! I laughed out loud because, during the prayer service, I thought you would think the same thing.

After the funeral, I was blessed to have family members take over the thank-yous and finish the loose ends. I had nothing left to give. I slept like I hadn’t slept in years. I ended up with COVID later that week. I had a hard time breathing due to illness and then cried uncontrollably until I couldn’t breathe. That was scary!

When the numbness goes away,

all that is left is rawness, aching, yearning, loneliness, desolation, and pain so intense and succumbing that it can scare you at times. When you think it can’t get any darker, it does.

Trying to keep a pinhole of light alive,



Did this letter resonate with you? I would love to hear about it! 

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    1. Nancy,
      Thank you for the prayers and hugs. I think of you often with the death of your mother. It doesn’t matter how long a loved one is in your life, it is always to soon!

  1. Reliving this time with you in this letter definitely brought tears to my eyes. You are a strong person, even thou you may not feel it at times. I am so sad to hear about your son. I will keep him in my prayers and may God bring you strength as you go thru this journey with him. All my love to you..

    1. Barb,
      Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. It is just what we need right now. I am grateful Zach is home with me so I can be there for him the way a mother would want to be.

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