Saturday, July 28, 2012

Finding Strength

I have been thinking of what to say to everyone as the next phase of my life starts without Marsi.  It is hard to know how to feel.  There are some things I need to say, though I don't know how to express them. I hope this blog entry is not a far cry from the emotions I shared as Marsi was dying and gives you all a glance into the soul of a husband suffering the loss of his wife.  I feel so numb right now and my path forward needs me to get this out.

I have lost Marsi to breast cancer. I did all I could to help her survive. I supported her, comforted her, loved her, and cried with her. I was her punching bag, errand boy, taxi driver, and nurse. I helped her pick doctors, hospitals, surgery’s, and drugs. I didn't leave her when the moments became unbearable. I didn't give up when medicine failed us. I couldn't give up when Hospice was called. I held her when the pain became intolerable. I had to watch my beautiful, strong, amazing wife deteriorate and die, with no way to stop it. I felt so scared. I felt so angry. I was so helpless. Yet people tell me how amazed they were at my strength.

I have thought about this for a few days now and I feel the 'strength' I put forth to survive this long, horrible ordeal, simply came from love.  The boundless love I have for Marsi, as well as her neverending love for me.  Love had given us strength.

I cry. I hurt. I now have a void in my life that I will never be able to fill. Marsi is gone, though I still wait for her to walk through the door, kiss me goodnight, or call my name. The bed feels foriegn without her next to me and the house is too quite without her laughter. She had a brightness about her that made me feel good about myself. I was the lucky one she called husband. So when she was diagnosed with cancer and everyday normalcy was shattered, it was our love for each other that gave us the strength to fight.

Love gave us strength and this strength became courage. We both decided that we must remain positive and live each moment we had left, as we fought this cancer together. Darkness and fear could have easily crept into our lives, but we helped each other through it. For the kids, for the family, for our friends, and for ourselves, we fought through it. Never giving into any negativity or fear that the cancer would win. Marsi still had a life to live and she lived it. She lived it all the way to the end.  She did what she had to do, what the doctors told her to do, and she moved forward.  She enjoyed life and grabed every moment, every second.  Even as her body started to slow down.  I comforted her and stood by her, making sure she wouldn't drown in the darkness and depression that circled her. But honestly, she also did the same for me.

Now, as my angel watches over us from heaven, I still have to be strong and find the strength to move on.  For myself, but more importantly for the children.  Harrison and Madison are fragile now, having lost their mother so young.  This loss will effect them, how could it not.  But with the foundation of love Marsi and I established for this family, our children will be fine.  How could they not be, they have their mothers strength.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Memorial Service for Marsi K. White

Please join us for a memorial service honoring Marsi Kay White on July 28, 2012. 

Location will be:

Foothills United Methodist Church
4031 Avocado Blvd. La Mesa, CA 91941

Services will begin at 11:30 and following, we would like everyone in attendence to join us in celebrating Marsi's wonderful life.  Details will be offered after the ceremony.

Thank you all for your strong voice in supporting Marsi, the kids and I through this fight with Cancer.  I know she will continue to touch us all in some way and her memory will live for many lifetimes. 

God Bless


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Final Gift

I sit at my computer screen, 42 hours later, thinking.  Thinking about a gift I was given by my dearest Marsi.  It is not a tangable gift, not one to hold and cherish or to look at or share, but one made of pure love by someone with nothing else to give.

Marsi had grown sad these past few months, being unable to help around the house or care for me and the children.  She was scarred of death and how quickly it was approaching.  How everything was being placed on my shoulders to carry the family through.  She would thank me often, for being "The best husband" or "Superdad". I can still her her voice telling me just how much she loves me and how she knows the kids will be OK when the time comes for her to go to heaven.  I blew off these moments, thanking her with a smile or a kiss, thinking only of me and how hard things are and what needed to get done.  Forcing myself to become mechanical and less emotinal, because crying or screaming would not be efficient.  What I missed in this was Marsi slowly releasing herself and entrusting me with the care of her children. That I was a good dad, husband, father, and that her little ones would be fine in my care.  I wish I had talked to her more about this.  Thanked her.  Told her that I will die for them no matter what.  Taking for granted she knew this since I was their father.  Not thinking of a dying mothers worry for the care of her children.  But I will tell her now.  Our children will grow.  They will laugh and not want.  They will become fathers and mothers themselves.  I will make this happen for you my dearest.  And I will be OK. I promise.

It is 4 AM Friday, July 13th. Marsi is now in a drug induced coma.  The pain so great she could not bear reality.  I went to write in Marsi's blog, because I was angry.  Angry because all I could do was mask her pain as she awaited death.  And I felt this was wrong.  This seemed unfair.  So I wrote the blog TIME, thinking about how fast her disease had progressed to bring us to this point where I would rather her go to Heaven, then remain with me on Earth.

At 6:50 AM, I finished the blog and headed down to our bedroom where Marsi awaited me for another round of pain medication.  I climbed into bed next to her, to lay with her and look upon her face.  To steal another moment and enbrace another memory.  But Marsi was gone.  She had died in her sleep.  Taken to heaven while I write in her blog.  I think Marsi whispered the ending to me, knowing it was time for me to let go and her pain to stop.  And now it had.  She is with God.

For the living, it is 7:40 AM and we are in agreement that death was a blessing, but that does not make it any easier.  Tears, grief and sorrow followed that morning.  Hospice came and walked us through the moments until her body was gone and the healing could begin.  No service date has been set, instead we decide to wait and thank the lord that Marsi went quickly and her suffering was at an end.

It is now 10:10 AM and I have just realized Marsi's gift.  A gift to her family, but more so for me.  A gift of release, to have her free of cancer and in no need of any care.  I think she heard me crying and questioning god why she must suffer.  I feel she let go when I layed next to her, so she could free me and allow me to move on.  Her body had failed her and it was her gift to save mine.  She did not want me to worry anymore, to put myself last as I cared for our family.  She knew how it hurt me to see her in pain and how I would do anything to help her through it.  So she gave me her last gift, to free me from my commitment of care and left this Earth, before her suffering would become unbearable. 

With god in heaven she roams now, in a new body and free of pain.  Cancer has been cast out and she is at peace.  I know she is watching over us, making sure we are OK.  Madison, my eight year old, asked me last night if there are good ghosts and if mommy was now one of them.  I replied 'yes' and that from heaven she will always be watching over us, protecting us from anything bad that may come.  Madison smiled and walked into our bedroom where Marsi passed and asked if Harrison and her could sleep with me tonight.  She said she wanted mommy to know we missed her, but that we would be OK.  That if all three of us were together, no bad ghosts could get us, because mommy would protect us from her place in heaven.


Friday, July 13, 2012


I just recieved 4 hours of sleep, because Marsi needs medicine now every four hours, day and night.  I haven't slept more then 12 hours in the past 72, due to the curcumstances of my life right now, but that is OK.  I will take the time later to catch up on my sleep, though my family worries. Time to me now is a luxory and Marsi has so needed me to spend it with her these past few days. 

I think time is a precious gift for each of us to use as we see fit.  It is not infinite for us and it is, by some, expendable, but how should we use our time.  I am told that an average adult needs 8 hours a day of sleep to function normally.  That is a third of our day and that only leaves 16 hours of time in a day to use and enjoy.  So how should we spend our time, when we only have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, and 672 hours in a month. 

Six hundred seventy two hours ago,  Marsi was still undergoing chemotherapy and had high hopes that the cancer could be managed and a normal life would still be reached.  A new symptom had arrose, where the cancer had spread to her abdominal cavity and draining procedures were started, but overall hope was high and life went on with all the normalcy you muster, living with cancer.

One hundred sixty eight hours ago, Marsi's brother and his family arrived from Portland to spend some time with her. She was so happy, time seemed unlimited, though she was nervous about an upcoming surgery for her catheter and how it would make her feel.

Twenty four hours ago, I remember saying "I love you", as I normally would, everynight, for the past 18 years.  I then closed my eyes to sleep, happy to be next to her, knowing she was safe.  The last thing I remember was Marsi looking at me with that beautiful smile, the one I had seen so many times before, taking it for granted now as a normal close to my day.

A few hours later, time stopped.  It stopped being normal.  It stopped being a friend.  It stopped being wanted.

For lack of a better word, Marsi is now trapped.  Trapped by a body ravaged by cancer and a body too tired to go on.  Her mind is still working and screaming to live, but it can't find a way to comunicate anymore. Her body has failed. 

Marsi awoke a few hours after going to bed.  Eyes wide, mouth open, calling for help.  Nothing could come out, nothing was happening, her body no longer cooperating.  Pain and malfunction is what has taken over, so Hospice and family are now in charge of her, as well as me.  Pain meds are being given to her in liquid form now and Marsi sleeps.  Between pain meds, we get an occational word or sentence. Love is exchanged and tears are plenty, but the pain is too intense for her, so these moments are truly seconds as she drifts away, back into the landscape of her dreams.  My heart hurts now because I so need to keep her close.  To hold her. To watch her breath. To just be with her.  But I must be strong, so my heart is broken, because I know it is time for her to go, needing her to suffer no more.  Now is the time for her go to heaven and I must find a way to survive.

Marsi has always been the stong one, as her battle with cancer has proven.  She would tell you right now not to cry or grieve for her, but to live and hold true to making memories in your life.  Love, kiss, laugh and dance.  Make moments with each other everyday and enjoy the best of your time.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Dancing is something we all do in some way.  Be it for fun or be it for competition, we love to watch it and we love to partake.  Be it at a wedding, a school dance, or at home to the radio, we all feel good when we move around and shake what mama gave us!  This is something Marsi and I loved to do.  It brought us together, made us one. I could see the smile on her face as  I would twirl her around and the giggle that escaped as she tryed to catch her feet.  We all have moments like this, a memory of an event where you and your life partner threw caution to the wind and just moved on the dance floor, uncaring of the looks of appreciation or horror that came from the crowd. Just the two of you is all that mattered. A moment created that means so much.

Marsi and I still dance.  With weeks to months left, as told to us by the Oncologist, we still dance.  Unfortunatly it is not the fun carefree type of dance that we would break out at weddings or events that made us laugh and live, but a more subdued dance that has meaning only to us.  When Marsi needs to use the restroom, I carefully pull her out of bed and into my arms.  She is unsteady and fearful of falling, but I know I have her and will lead her.  We walk and shuffle together through the bedroom, in a kind of rhythm, her forward and I back, moving to the restroom at a steady pace, a steady beat.  In a strange way, these moments of dance give me a kind of happiness and warmth as I remember better times with my girl.  I share this with Marsi as a smile, a quick kiss and the words "I love you" are whispered between us. Her smile makes me happy, a moment of magic like old times, and then we are back to reality as I help her sit down once we reach the bathroom.  We still have one more song on the way back to the bed and then she lays down to rest, exhausted from our dance.

To update you all on Marsi's current state, she just had a catheter put in on the left side of her lower belly yesterday. This will allow us to drain the fluid that builds up in her abdominal cavity.  The fluid comes from the cancer that now lines her abdominal wall.  Organs in our body have the ability to drain this fluid if the cancer is on an organ, but when it is on the abdominal wall, there is no natural drainage system available, so the fluid builds up in her abdominal cavity, needing to be drained by long needles or a specially placed catheter.  This obviously is no pinic for Marsi, but as I stated before, she is the strong one.

Today we sign papers, officially placing Marsi on hospice care.  I know this is the best thing for her, but it is still hard to accept or believe.  The kids will not accept that the end is approching and I often find myself questioning and wondering if there is anything else for us to do, to help her fight.  I want the kids to be right.  To find that miricle. To bask in childlike innocents and know mommy will be around forever.  It is all so unfair!  It is all so wrong!  Hospice will help Marsi now on her road to heaven.  Hospice will help the family move forward, as well.

Thank you to everyone who wrote a comment to Marsi and I at the end of the last blog entry.  I do read them and cry, and thank the lord we have such wonderful friends and family.  I have started to read them to Marsi and she loves hearing your kind words and memories.  Today, along with hospice beginning, I hope to video tape Marsi being with the kids and catching her smile a few more times.  She has touched all of us in a positive, wonderful way and know her memory will live on in all of us. 

So next time you dance, look your partner in the eyes, flash them a smile and tell them you love them, because memories can be cherished forever.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Fight. To engage in battle or in single combat; attempt to defend oneself against or to subdue, defeat, or destroy an adversary.

Fight to destroy an adversary.

This is what Marsi has been doing against cancer for just under three years.  Fighting to not let cancer destroy her spirit and strength.  Fighting to maintain her time on this earth as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and woman.  Fighting to slay the dragon, as she would say to me often, as we talked about still growing old together.  My wife Marsi, is a warrior.

I wanted to write in her blog today to update everyone on her condition.  Marsi so loved sharing herself and her battle with breast cancer through this blog that I did not want anyone to be left wondering what happen to her, as she has not been able to continue to write herself. 

The medicine Marsi takes to keep the pain of cancer at bay has taken away her ability to see clearly and type on a keyboard.  The cancer also has continued to grow, spreading across her liver and abdomine, as well as now being more prevalent in the lungs.  Over the years, Chemotherapy seemed to have some affect against this terrible cancer, but with the cancer spreading to the liver and the liver being the organ that filters these harsh chemotherapy drugs from the body, Marsi's liver and body could not keep up the fight anymore.  So today, with the recommendation of Marsi's Oncologist, we are looking into Hospice care.

Comfort and time is so precious to us now.  We now understand that in life, it is the small things that matter the most. Holding her hand as she lays in bed, a quick soft kiss or smile from her beautiful face.  This is my gold.  This is my treasure.  Strength is what she tells me I must have.  Strength for my children, my family, and for myself to not let her passing destroy what we created together.  Strength she tells me to have when she is the strong one.  But I know I will have that strength and the kids and I will survive, because of all our wonderful family and friends.  Family is the rock that gets you through it and friends are what keeps you from going crazy.  To all our family and friends that have been there for Marsi and I, in anyway through this terrible fight, please know that we love you and thank you for everything.

With all this said, please comment and offer support through the comments section of this blog, so I can read them to Marsi and see her smile.  Being positive and keeping the will to fight is everything to me and I need my girl to fight as long as she can.  She is my strength, my love, and my world.  She is my beautiful bride. 

With all my heart, with all my soul, with all I am, I love you Marsi.      ---  Steven