Colleen's Journey

Wake me up…

It’s getting more and more difficult to blog because mom’s condition is deteriorating quickly, and frankly, it’s not always easy to sit down and write about.  The last two weeks have not just felt like a roller coast, but rather a tornado.

On Wednesday, we found out that the pleuralodesis she underwent on the right lung was not as successful as they had hoped.  The surgeon told her he was no longer enthusiastic about doing the left side.  Wednesday was an emotional day for many reasons; and ultimately, mom decided that most of the loose ends in her life had been tied up and she was too tired to be further beat up by more chemo, surgeries, and procedures.  She let us know she wanted to go home and live out the rest of her days trying to maximize her comfort in the presence of her family.

On Thursday, Mom was signed up for hospice.  Her dear friend, Rene, agreed to be her hospice doctor and had everything set up for her.  Before Mom was discharged from the hospital, her bedroom had been prepared to suit her needs.  Everything was seamless.  Nicole rode with her in the ambulance on the way home.  At home, she was greeted by her loving family – all of us were overwhelmed and overjoyed to have her back in her own home.  After more than two weeks, Mom was reunited with the man of the house, George (her dog), who loves and missed her as much as anyone.

Hospice has been great so far.  Mom is finally comfortable and can breath better now than she has in weeks.  I can’t tell you how nice it is to see.  It is affording her a little window of time to say her goodbyes.  I am so grateful that she was able to get home from Kauai and the hospital so she can share a few last moments with her close family and friends.

This morning, a priest is coming over to read Mom her last rites.  Seriously?  So, she’s dying?  No…surely this isn’t OUR mom dying.  I had this story written in my head for years and this was NOT how it ended.  I know this is real but I can’t begin to tell you how surreal it feels.  I’ve dreamt this more times than I can count.  Each time, I woke barely breathing with tears streaming down my face.  The pain I felt when I woke was immense, but I was relieved to find out it was only a nightmare.  When am I going to wake up?  If someone can make that happen for me, now’s a really good time to step in.

While I am waiting to wake, I am going to continue to focus on all the blessings I have in my life.  I realize how cliche it sounds, but it is the only way I can function like a normal human being.  I am grateful to be Colleen’s daughter because she is truly the most kind-hearted, loving, graceful, compassionate, and caring human being I have ever met.  I am grateful for my sisters – they mean everything to me and so does the relationship I have with them.  I am grateful for the loving, supportive and all-around amazing men I, and my sisters, have brought into our lives and family.  I am grateful for my son, who is the most important reminder that my life will be meaningful and worth living after my mom is gone.  I am grateful for our wonderful extended family.  No doubt we share each other’s pain and will catch one another whenever we stumble and fall.  I am grateful for my friends – their love, support, and open arms are constant reminders that I am not alone.

Now, if one of you could please just wake me up, I’d be eternally grateful.



  • Paola Werstler

    Dear Michelle,
    What grace, what love, what an honor to have met all of you at the beginning of this journey. Thank you for achingly sharing your mom’s moments, your family’s moemnts with all of us. I catch myself wanting to call so frequently and hesitiating….what if i interrupt a conversation? a hug? i send prayers, love, and courage…i hope to be a part of colleen’s dream’s success. You, Nicole, Danielle, and Billy, are amazing. Colleen is a heroine who produced strong, fabulous and beautiful daughters…the world is grateful! I am too! xoxo

  • Julie and Pat Farrell

    Words can’t express how we feel after reading the post. Your mom is a beautiful lady and how lucky you have been to be a daughter of Colleen. We’re sure you girls will continue to live your lives through your moms influence. Love and prayers to all of you!

  • Jodie Nagy

    As hard as it was to do, thank you for writing this post. Know that everyone who reads it is sending love and strength to all of you. It is comforting to know that Colleen is at home where she wants to be and that every one of you will be there with her, surrounding her with all the love she can handle. She is truly a spectacular human being and everything that she is, will continue on in all of you.

  • Linda Ross

    With tears in my eyes and much HUGS and LOVE coming your way (all od the girls). I appreciate the courage of your mom. I will miss Colleen deeply. I thank God for the opportunity to have had some of the great hugs Colleen gave. I am hugging her now in my heart . With all my love to you all, Linda

  • Connie and Les

    Oh Gosh Michelle…My heart is breaking for you all..but I know you all have each other and that is TRULY a blessing. Someday I will tell you a little story that will help understand that you are not alone and there is light inside this very dark tunnel for you.You all have been such a blessing and a bright light in your mom’s life. She is so lucky to have you there with her now. Les and I will always have our home open to you whenever you need a neighbor or a friend. You will ALWAYS HAVE OUR SUPPORT..XOXO..ALWAYS BEAUTIFUL LADIES..

  • Lanie

    Oh, the memories your words bring back. I cannot express the depth of my sorrow for all of you. It isn’t fair to lose your mother in this way. I am grateful that you are blessed with the presence of Hospice. They made my mom’s last days so much more bearable for her. We kids, and grandkids still bear the scars and some days are still surreal. And it’s been almost 6 years. You are surrounded with love and prayers. Hold tight to one another and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Much love and light to all of you… especially that Colleen’s transition is peaceful and you can all be there to lift her up to the place where pain and disease are no more, and she is restored to her beautiful, vibrant self. Prayers and Brightest Blessings… <3

  • Anne Pearson

    Dear Michelle, I wish I could wake you up from this terrible dream. Your mother is truely one of the most loving ,kind, caring and truely sincere women I have ever met. Although I have only known her for a few years she was so loving and supportive to me during tough times. You and your sisters are so truely blessed to have such an amazing mother. How blessed is she to have such amazing children and family to be with her during this time. Please tell her I love her so very much. God Bless to all the family. Much Love, Anne

  • Dawn Clark

    My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you all. Colleen is one of the most inspirational women I know. I am thankful for the time we worked together and I am better for knowing her! You all are very strong and inspirational women and my prayers will continue to be with you. It breaks my heart that you all have to go through this!

  • Caroline Worthen

    You truly have an amazing mother, Michelle…it’s not surprising she has raised such wonderful devoted daughters. My heart is breaking for you…I do wish I could wake you…
    I will keep you all in my prayers .

  • Kathy Wilson

    Dear Girls, I am Casee’s Mother in-law and Michaels Mom. Please that you and Mom have been in our Prayers, I wish so much this was a nightmare and we could wake you. I remembering be in your home for Casee’s Bridel shower, your sweet Mom was so welcoming. Were also so glad your family shared in our celebration for Michael and Casee in Mexico. I am so happy that you have had time to spend with your Mom. Thank you for sharing your lives with us through the blog, I feel honored to have shared in Mom’s journey. Please know we will continue to send prayers and positive thoughts your way. All our love to you and the family.

  • Denise Wachholz

    “…what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?” Gibran, Kahlil, The Prophet

    Trust, it may seem she is going, but she will always be as near as she is now, and even nearer. And you will see her again, and find her perfectly healed.

    I know this is true, even though my heart breaks along with yours. I pray that God will surround you all with His comfort and peace.

  • Kathy Peterson

    My love and hugs to all of you…what an amazing group of ladies…in one family. My prayers go out to all of you. Love to you dear Colleen…:)

  • alison perrault

    my prayers are with you all. your mom is amazing. you kids are all amazing. she has been blessed with wonderful family and she has been so strong. i have been amazed to read how she is accepting this last chapter and it’s inspiring to say the least.

  • Claudia Pina

    Michelle, I have been reading your blogs for a while and am just in awe of you and your sisters strength. My heart goes out to you and your sisters. This is a difficult time and all I can say is that it’s in Gods hands. I will pray so that God gives you the grace to continue life no matter how difficult it may be.
    Dominus Vobiscum

  • Denise Kuehn

    To all of you ,I send my prayers and love your way.You are amazing daughters and have taken such great care of your mother. I know she has felt blessed with all of you.I will continueto keep all of you lifted in prayer!!!send my love

  • Tricia Ginis

    Michelle, Pete, Nicole, Billy and the rest of the family,

    You have all been in my thoughts and prayers. You have an amazing family and your love and devotion for one another is overwhelming.

    With love,
    Tricia Ginis
    (and The Solel Preschool family)

  • Suzanne Allen

    My love to all the family. You all are the most incredible and loving people to know.
    I am honored and cherish the times together and will always be there for you all.
    May we all become better because of the love and beauty that Colleen has brought to our lives. There is not an hour that goes by that I don’t think of her and want to hold her hand. Suzanne Allen

  • Sharon Price

    With many tears and a few smiles I read this Blog for the first time . . .
    Your are my Hero Colleen . .
    Nicole, Danny, Michelle and Billy you make your Mama proud
    I Love you all . . . .