Colleen's Journey

Rocky VII

As you know, since mom’s ovarian cancer diagnosis, the last five and a half years have been a whirl-wind. However, through it all, we knew our mom was super-human. We had higher expectations for her than nearly anyone else who faced similar circumstances simply because she is fiercly determined and made us believe any outcome was possible if she willed it to be so. We were right to feel that way, and frankly, I for one lost sight of this hope and perspective in the last few weeks. Shame on me.

Mom was discharged home on hospice on January 24th. Our expectations for her quantity and quality of life on hospice were low. Mom was sleeping constantly, did not have lung capacity to talk, was too tire for visitors, and was taking significant amounts of pain medications just to get through the day. To be honest, we thought she would live one week, two at the very most – her medical providers, family, and friends who visited her all concurred that we were dangerously close to the end.

Well friends, while we were busy trying to be “realistic,” we frankly should have never lowered our expectations of our Super Woman.

As Nicole mentioned a few days ago, Mom started to feel a little better. We weren’t sure if was just a temporary “energy surge,” which we had heard could happen with hospice. First she started coming out of her room and wanting to sit at the dinner table, hang out, pay bills, and participate in our activities around the house. She had talked for days about wanting to go to Aaron Brothers to pick out a custom frame for our new family photo. We honestly never thought this outing would be possible, but were committed to making it happen if she ever felt good enough to go. Well, Tuesday, the impossible became possible. My sisters and I were terrified as we prepared her medications, oxygen, and other equipment. We were nervous for no reason. The trip went great! She picked out her frame and did a little more shopping while we were there.




When we got home from Aaron Brothers she was absolutely spent. She went to bed and stayed there pretty much until dinner-time the following evening.   When she came out on Wednesday evening, she wanted to watch Zero Dark Thirty which had been generously provided to us by an old family friend from St. Mary’s.  It was awesome!  She nearly made it through the entire movie!


On Thursday, Billy C., Pete, George, and I walked mom up to La Grande for breakfast.  We put her in her wheel chair and made sure to bring plenty of extra oxygen.  We sat there for nearly an hour.  It was so nice and honestly felt so “normal.”  It was truly a beautiful and memorable morning.  Despite her big morning, she had plenty of energy that night and used it having dinner and discussing the latest news headlines with all of us girls, our husbands, and kids.  That too felt so normal.



This morning, we took her to the Camelback Inn’s off-site banquet hall to check it out. She is considering this venue for her memorial service.  I realize how morbid this sounds.  I also understand that for most people this would be an off-limits topic.  However, my sisters and I are grateful that our mom is telling us exactly what she wants for her services.  When the dreaded time comes, we will not have to guess and we consider that a gift.  No doubt it will be beautiful and a great time.  She wants us to celebrate her beautiful life and that is exactly what we will do.


So, the moral of the story is, while we know her ultimate fate, our mom is not going to leave this world until she is good and ready to do so.  She told me this morning that she had decided it was “mind over matter” and that she made the conscious choice to get out of bed and go live.  Trust me, we know it is not that simple or easy.  But there is a lot to be said for the fact that we did not ever think she would ever spend any significant amount of time out of bed again – we certainly never dreamed we would run errands or go out to our favorite restaurants to eat.  I am so grateful for her persistence and determination which has afforded us more precious moments and a few more laughs.  I feel so blessed that I can be there to share them with her.  I hate to be greedy, but I’d like this to last a while.  We promise to keep you posted.

Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement.

With love, Michelle

  • Pamela

    I love this story! Never underestimate the power of a woman with a mission ~ Colleen is actually a Super Hero and someone, please, get her a cape!

    Much love to you all ~ Pamela

  • Jimmy, Imelda, Richard, Rayna, Hart

    Fabulous! How exciting to hear you all had a joyful week. We ♥ U guys, have a great weekend.

  • Brittany Wright

    So completely amazing.

  • Dawn Clark

    That is such wonderful news and proof of what a strong and magnificent. woman your mother truly is! My thoughts and prayers are with her daily

  • Joe Cundiff

    Thank you guys for keeping us all up to date with your blog entries. Your Mom truly is a miracle. You’re all in our prayers here in MN and we hope these blessings of more time with Colleen continue for as long as they can. -Joe & Krissy Cundiff

  • Heidi Bartlett

    Truly inspiring! You have one amazing Mom on your hands. 🙂 And, on the more morbid note, having lost a parent myself, I couldn’t agree with you more on having your Mom tell you her wishes for when she’s gone. Nothing will make that time easy, but you will be able to focus on the love & support of all those around you instead. Hugs to you and all your family. Keep up the awesome work, Colleen!

  • Lanie

    I am literally sobbing with joy at this news. Cherish every second , they will lift you up and carry you through the dark times. But for now… don’t forget how to play. 🙂

  • Denise


  • Gary & Amy Johnson

    “Do not go gentle into that good night…
    “Rage, rage against the dying of the light….”

    Dylan Thomas would be proud of you, Colleen.

  • Kathy Hamler Thompson

    You girls are truley blessed Your mother is lucky to have such strong beautiful daughters. Your Mom is amazing and such an inspiration to us all to never give up and to live life to the fullest. Thank you for sharing your story with us all. God Bless you with many more good days. Love and prayers being sent.

  • Karie Dozer

    You are so amazing for doing all this. It’s so nice to know what you have been doing all week! Great job, all of you.

  • Aunt Kay

    When my mom passed (Aunt Minerva) We had a Mexican style party for her! those of you who knew her know she was a party animal even at 86! She was there in spirit I know.

  • Sue Erhard-Knick

    Go Colleen!!! I’m so glad that you doing better and enjoying your wonderful family!! I have always known you were determined & now your amazing & inspiring!!! Love, Love , Love you.

  • Pat and lou schneider

    Just wanted to let you all know you are in our thoughts and prayers. Knowing your mom we are not surprised she is doing this her way and that’s how it should be. I know she is very
    happy to have such a loving family

  • Heather W.

    This is wonderful to hear!! Colleen you look so beautiful and happy!! Love you 🙂

  • Jim and Joan Roney

    Dear Friends, You have such a wonderful family. Jim and I think of you daily and keep you in our prayers. Job well done Colleen!
    Jim and Joan Roney

  • So happy for every joyfilled moment you all are having together. You are making some very special memories. I am glad your Mom is sharing her wishes with you. It takes the pressure off you guys and give her peace too.
    We are thinking of you.

  • Jeane Marie

    Hey Colleen’s crew,

    So glad I made it back in September to be with your wonderful mom and my dear friend and see everyone whose lives I participated in, even if it was on the fringe.

    I know she has many friends in her life, but I only have one friend like her.

    Love to each of you. You are the light in Colleen’s life. You are a reflection of her goodness and love.

    Please give her a hug for me.

    Jeane Marie

  • Sherry Coltman

    Way to go Colleen…no Superwoman can EVER be kept down for long. Enjoy and hugs and our love to all theDrurys. You are always at the top. Of our prayer list. Blessings, Sherry and Don Coltman