|September 1, 2019
Clint Eastwood's advice in "Dirty Harry" that
opinions, like certain body parts, are best kept to
Marie Howes (1943 -2019)
My wife of 53 years passed away at the family
lake cabin in Minnesota, surrounded by our nine children, at
sunrise on Sunday, August 25, 2019 after struggling with
cancer for several months.
The obituary is in the newspapers, and can be
seen on our travel blog
Hazel and I traveled in our motorhome on a regular basis for
the past 10 years, logging over 100,000 miles, it was a
great experience. When she was diagnosed with cancer this
past Spring, all plans for travel were put away, we moved
into the family lake cabin, making those 40 mile one-way
trips to see the doctors. Tests and more tests, radiation
treatments, a trip to the Mayo Clinic, where three doctors
told us thyroid cancer was normally slow-moving, but this
one was especially aggressive.
When a CAT-Scan
revealed a new mass that wasn't seen in the one taken just a
month earlier, Hazel was hospitalized and radiation
treatments were to begin again. It was at that point that
common sense stepped in, with the medical team admitting
they couldn't get ahead of this one, recommending Hazel be
transported back to our cabin by ambulance, a hospital bed
was set-up in the living room with a good view of the lake,
and nurses came in to help us attempt to keep her
comfortable. I asked the doctor, "how long", and
received the standard answer "six months".
call went out to our nine children, who came rushing home to
be with her.
Hazel lived 6 days.
has passed since Hazel died, my son Tom, who came in from
the Washington, D.C. area, has been spending time with me
here at the cabin, keeping me company and providing great
support. The funeral is Tuesday, six of my sons will serve
as pallbearers, my son Jim, an operatic tenor, will sing, my
daughters Sarah and Annie have been working non-stop, along
with my sister-in-law Laura, to arrange the funeral,
purchase the double cemetery lot (I finally know where I'll
be spending eternity), and I couldn't have survived the week
Today, I thought maybe I should start
moving Hazel's clothing and personal possessions from the
motorhome into the lake cabin, so that the family could go
through them, decide what they would like to keep, and what
they felt should be donated to the Salvation Army and
Goodwill. It took me all afternoon, almost all of what she'd
accumulated in life was in that 30 foot class A motorhome,
packed in the closets, under the bed in containers, and I'd
even added an additional clothes rack back in the bedroom,
an area we always called "the captain's quarters".
through Hazel's bedside stand, I found a small notebook.
Most of the pages were blank, except for this, written in
You've been with me about 2 weeks
now, I'm so glad you're here. I'm going to do my best to
grow a wonderful body for your wonderful spirit to live
in for a lifetime. I'm your mother and I welcome you and
will do my best to love and protect you in your
Sometimes I'm probably going to be
grumpy, and I hope it's not often, I'm sorry about those
times. I'm going to enjoy your time with me. It's good
to have you so close and always here when I do the
dishes or sweep the floors, or go for a walk or read, or
snuggle up for the night, you're always here warm and
safe with me.
I told your daddy about you,
he's excited that a new little person will be coming to
live with us.
With emotions running high, my first thought is
this something that should be read at the funeral on
Tuesday, but I immediately realized there was no way I could
get through it, I'd be a mess by the second sentence.
was no date on the page, the notebook cover was missing, and
I had no idea which of my children Hazel was talking to.
Perhaps she was talking to all of them.
Air Aviation Referral Service
responses, and will be glad to post them here. Email your
|This article was picked-up by
fark.com website, seen by hundreds or even thousands of
readers, many of whom left encouraging comments.
beautiful thing to share with your family and friends. Im
so sorry for the passing of your beloved wife. I only knew her a
short time, but felt such a connection with her, you and Sarah.
Im not a total stranger, but if you want to me
read something on your behalf, I would be honored. Im sure
there are many that would like to share your and Hazels
loving words. I understand your basket case status. Please
continue to reach out, as you are so famous for. I am working
the booth at the fair today, and will be thinking and praying
for you and your family. Patty - St. Crox
From someone who is not very close with the
whole family as yet, but would like to be, thank you for the
manner in which you have chosen to celebrate Hazels
amazing life and legacy, Ron. The discovery of this handwritten
account of Hazels most intimate feelings towards the
impending birth of one of your children
and most likely
equally applicable to all of them, is really the cherry to cap
off the numerous and astoundingly eloquent accounts of Hazels
life that you and Tom and your children have been compiling
since her untimely death on August 25th. Hazel was already
larger than life
and your shared memories and many attempts
to capture her wonderful essence and the impact that she had and
continues to have on all of your lives, is a wonderful testament
to a life well lived. Kevin - Orlando, Florida
just want you to know I am up praying for you and your family.
My heart aches for all of you. Have been thinking for several
days now how Hazel is with your precious baby Michael giving him
hugs. Hazels notes made me feel I should share. I can only
imagine how painful this is for you. Will continue praying for
all of you. Gerry - Mitchell, SD
very beautiful indeed. I think it was to all of the children.
Vicki - Ashville, NC
thoughts. Dave - Mohave, Arizona
feel honored just to have been with Hazel on one of her last
days. It is one of the most beautiful expressions I've read of a
mother's love. It exposes Hazel's heart. Jeanette
- Avon, Minnesota
I liked the comment on
fark.com website from the person who said that letter will
make him try to be a better person for the rest of his life.
There were many kind comments. The best of the internet showed
up it seems. - My Son Tom
like something that a first time mother would write so Im
guessing that its from late 1966 for Glenn. -
My Son Joe
To know her was to love
her, she made everyone feel so special!! I'm finding it very
difficult andI can just imagine how bad it is for you and the
children. I so wish I could have been with you yesterday. No
doubt She had a great send off. I would love to call you would
you please email me your telephone number. God bless you all you
are certainly in my thoughts and prayers. - Hazel's
93 year old aunt Fidelia in Halifax, Nova Scotia