Cancer Sucks

28 April 2002

Well I am out in NM once again — this time for good I think. Dad was diagnosed last week with terminal metastatic bladder cancer. Stage 4. I think he has been sick a long time. I can remember before LKs last deployment (well over a year ago) I told him that dad looked like he was just full of cancer. I guess I knew more than I thought. I hate it when I am right. He is taking it well. I am sure he has known a long time as well. I just can’t understand how it went undetected for SO LONG and the VA in NM picked it up on his routine transfer physical. Fucking VA doctors in Virginia didn’t want to bother with him I guess. What can I expect — I mean these are the same people that LOSE living patients and find them dead on the property weeks later. LK has to head back in few days then I will be here all alone. The hospice has been great and dad’s brothers are coming out. But they probably won’t stay long. I just hope I can continue to be strong for daddy. He deserves it.

Melody Ann Merckling Gibbs

16 February 2002

Carlsbad N.M. – Melody Ann Merckling Gibbs, 55, died February 5, 2002 at Carlsbad Medical Center.

She is survived by her husband, 1SG Thomas F. Gibbs, Jr. (Ret) and countless loved ones. She touched everyone she knew and to list them all would be near impossible. She was born January 8, 1947 in Columbus, Ohio. She was the daughter of Theus M. Merckling and the late Maurice L. Merckling. She was a Westerville High School graduate, class of 1964. She was a lifelong member of the George L. Berhens Chapter #504, Order of the Eastern Star. As a girl she was active in Grange and Jobs Daughter’s. She married Thomas in 1980 and they traveled wherever the U.S. Army took them. She made every duty station
home but felt the most comfortable in the desert and longed to return. In November, 2001 that dream was fulfilled, and even though it was a short time lived it was the happiest of her life.

Hers is a wild magical spirit, she did exactly as she pleased and spent her life helping others. She had planned to start an all species rescue with her daughter within the next year. The plans for that rescue are still in the works and her spirit will live on with the help of her husband, daughter and son-in-law.

A simple private service at the residence will be held for family and friends. We will scatter her ashes over the desert that she loved so much.

Now What

15 February 2002

Hi all. I apologize for my recent silence online. I have not been able to get to a computer until today. We arrived around 2300 on Monday night – after a quick visit to the house and change of clothes we went to ICU to visit Mamma – Her vitals had been stable until I arrived – although the nurses said that they were falling it wasn’t enough for them to even note it in the records yet. When I got there, she was unresponsive, but I know she knew I was there. We took her off of the fluids as they weren’t helping and decided to let nature run its course. Her oxygen level dropped to 13%, and she started to turn blue, and I just told her she HAD to hang on and wait for Daddy – we had called him in, and he was on his way, but she HAD to wait on him. Her O2 levels started to climb then – this is how I know she knew I was there. = )

She let go of this life on Tuesday, February 5th at about 330am surrounded by loved ones. She was never in any pain, and when her body gave out it was swift and quiet. We could have put her on a life support system and kept her body alive, but the damage proved too high. She would never have come back to us. We did for her what she wanted – we let nature take its course. Mamma was such an independent woman that she would never have wanted to spend her last days depending on a machine. – Unless of course, it was a computer that had free online bingo *grins*

She will continue being an amazing force in my life as well as the lives of those she touched. I just keep telling myself the three things that my Mamma spent her entire life pounding into my brain …

1) Everything happens for a reason
2) Everything works out for the best
3) You will never have any more than you can handle

I wanted to thank you all for your kind words, well wishes, thoughts and prayers. I know that Mamma hung in there until I could come and say goodbye and for that, I will always be grateful.

If I am not around for a while longer I know you all will understand… we are all having a hard time with this, but we realize that she wouldn’t have left us if we couldn’t have handled it.

Mom is gone…

8 February 2002

We made it out to Carlsbad about 2 hours before my mom died.
I had to be the one to make the final decision to let her go. Her kidneys were shutting down and the scans were showing no activity in her brain. The stroke was a major one. Once I got to the hospital the nurses had told me they were just about to call because she was going downhill and if we were going to put her on life support now would be the time. I am numb. I can’t cry because I need to be strong for dad and I don’t think it has hit me yet.

This is all just so crazy. Just Friday night I spoke with her on the phone – complaining about LKs dad. She seemed fine. I don’t know what I am going to do without her.