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.



  1. Very beautiful. Marsi is love, and that love never leaves.

  2. Beautiful. I spent a while out in the yard yesterday watering the flowers and talking with Marsi. Remembering how so much Marsi enjoyed bright colorful flowers! At the same time several butterflies flew by me which are symbols of my grandma who passed away of that evil cancer! But yet they will always be with us and surround us! For all the beautiful flowers in the world they direct me to Marsi now, for every butterfly that passes that is my grandma saying hi. It is such relief for Marsi, but yet so difficult for the ones left on earth. I am so thankful she is out of pain and in her heavenly body, dancing free of pain! Strenght & XOXOXO to you all.

  3. simply stated, BEATIFUL.

  4. May God's love just envelope you and those precious children. We are all better people for knowing Marsi. We continue to keep your family lifted up in our prayers.

  5. I am so sorry. Where she's gone is a better place. God bless your family.
    The Ternus family

  6. Steve your so awesome! Marsi had the best care with you and your family helping her through this terrible end of her life with cancer. With all the love that you had together will help the kids and yourself get through this. Your soccer family love you and will be here for you always.
    Love Your Soccer Family

  7. Steve, I'm friends with Carrie Horning, that's how I found your blog. I'm very sorry for your loss. I lost my mom 3 years ago, and I miss her every day. I wanted to let you know that you and your children will be in our prayers, and yes, Marsi is watching out for you and in a pain free place. I had never seen her passing as a gift, thanks for letting me see it this way. God bless you and give you His peace that passes all understanding.

  8. Steve, Thank you for your amazingly, beautiful words. Marsi KNEW you'd be a FANTASTIC father (and husband), that's why she picked YOU to marry. She showed us how to be strong under ALL circumstances, and she has now passed the torch on to you. She knows your beautiful kids will grow up to do AMAZING things because of you two. My heart sends you peace and strength to carry on. You have your very own angel who will be with you and the kids always. Know that I will continue to keep you all in my prayers. The most precious gifts are things that can't be measured. The gift of love you two share is rare, can never be measured, and will never end. Rest in God's arms...He understands!! Kristi

    1. I am very touched by Steven's blog on the Final Gift... Although I did not know this lovely woman, I am very moved by your blog and God bless you in capital letters for sharing this beautiful blog about her with all of us. I am an ovarian cancer survivor and have been a Hospice volunteer in the past years.. I am very moved by the relationship you and Marsi shared together even through the heartbreaking last moments of her life.. I agree with Anonymous in that your relationship is very rare in this world of ours and it is truly a gift. When my little brother was taken from this world at 25 by a drunken driver, he left behind a wife and two young daughters. My brother's widow was given a little book to help her get through the grief and to share it's words with her daughters.. It was written by Og Mandino and is called "The Gift of Acabar" and has a very profound message to share with young children who have lost a Mom or Dad.. It will help with the healing and it helped me in reading it myself. God works in mysterious ways and I've no doubt that you and your children will be okay.. With parents like the two of you, how could they lose.. God bless you and your family and know that the brightest star above will be watching over all of you... Thank you for sharing your very touching and heartfelt post with all of us.. Lynette in San Diego

  9. Wonderful words to share your experience through this tough time. I am thinking of your family today and hopeful that your healing will be gentle and that Marsi's strength will shine through you all!

  10. Steve your children have her strength. Hold each other as close as possible and share Marsi's strength. Much love to you all. Kyle, Esther, and Javier

  11. She's dancing with her Lord in heaven now. I hope you and the kids find comfort in that.

    Please let us know when you will have services to celebrate Marsi's amazing life.

  12. Absolutely beautiful Steve. Marsi was one of a kind...A strong, strong woman. You will raise the children with the love of you both. I was shocked to say the least, but knowing Hospice (my MOM passed 2 yrs ago) they did the best for her ever. You have probably gotten the card I sent by now, you 3 enjoy it and remember Rob and I love you and the the beautiful children the 2 of you created. Love, Rob and cousin Mary.

  13. Steve, your words are such a blessing. Thank you for sharing your last moments with Marsi. It was painful to learn that Marsi is no longer with us physically but in Spirit she will never leave our hearts. I see so much of Marsi in you and know that her strength is felt in your willingness to carry on and be the Father she always knew you would be to those beautiful kids of yours. Many prayers and blessing to you and your family during this difficult time. Blanca

  14. Dearest Steve, you write so eloquently of blessed Marsi and the love she has left for you and the kids. That is right, because she will always be looking down on your with peace, unending love, and a smile. You are an amazing man, and she knew what luck she had had in marrying you. You are one in a million. We are all blessed to be your friends. Should you need a sub, please call me. I will be there for you.
    Much love,

  15. Dear Steve,
    Thank you for sharing these most difficult and poignant memories. I believe it helped all of us who are connected to Marsi and you and your family to help release her spirit and provide the wind beneath your wings. Though it is difficult now beyond anything, over the moments and hours and days and weeks and months and years that follow, Marsi will be with you in so many ways. So many ways that you may not yet be accustomed to but with your heart open you will feel and share yet even more love over time. I will always be here for you, Maddie and Harrison, and Cooper. When you're ready for a healing touch session, for you or your family members, just call.
    With love and support,

  16. Well put Steve. I cannot imagine what you have gone through and are going through. Friends and family will be there to support you.
    My family sends you their condolensces.

  17. Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there, I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow;
    I am the diamond glints on the snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
    I am the gentle autumn's rain.
    When you awaken in the mornings hush,
    I am the swift uplifting rush of
    quiet birds in circled flight, and
    I am the soft star shining at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there, I did not die.

  18. Dear Steve,
    I met your lovely wife at the Julian retreat in May. She was fighting with all she had to stay with her family. Marci seemed to have the wisdom of someone much older, her eyes sparkled with knowing and compassion. We ate dinner together and she spoke of meeting you, marrying you and her wonderful children. She felt gratitude for her life.

    In our brief time together, she seared a place into my heart memories, and I will carry her with me, as I continue to advocate for other survivors.

    My sincere condolences.
    Jean Di Carlo-Wagner