Published: December 22nd 2015
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Christmas Blog Letter - 2015 December 21, 2015

Dear Friends and Family,

This has been a difficult letter for me to write as I review the past year’s events; for those who may not know, John passed away on May 4 of metastatic prostate cancer, peacefully at home according to his wishes. We were blessed to have had fifty years of wonderful adventures together raising two amazing children who have given us three amazing grandchildren: Erika and Jose’s son Daniel is ten and live in Austin, TX and Matt and Megan live in Antigua, Guatemala with Lorelai Pearl (Lola, age 3 3/4) and Cash (age two).

Last year’s letter ended by saying we were leaving for Chile and Antarctica shortly and indeed, we did just that. We spent six days on our own in the Lake District of Chile and eight days with a group of travelers from all over the world touring the Antarctic Peninsula via ship with zodiacs

going ashore twice a day. We fulfilled our bucket list of visiting all seven continents!

We were home for ten days and then drove to Austin where we had preplanned to spend three weeks living in an “assisted-living environment” knowing that we both had terminal illnesses and needed to look at our options. John was taking serious meds to help his pain and we were glad to be back home; after three weeks of “ups and downs” we learned that chemotherapy was the last option…which John denied. He chose hospice at home which enabled him to have professional palliative care several times a week and assistance, if needed, 24 hours a day. Thus began the “Parade of Love” as described by his brother Buzz who along with his other brother, Bruce, and nephew Mark (and all of their wives, respectively) were first to visit. Daniel and Jose, of course, high school friend, Bob Baldus, cousins Bill and Peter, Will & Margie, Bob & Diane, friend/nurse Connie, Teddy & Jeff, elk hunters and fishing buddies, TNC and church friends, and neighbors. Thank you all and forgive me if I have missed anyone.

Erika came almost every-other weekend and helped me immensely and Matt came home beginning the second week of hospice straight from a business trip in Ethiopia and stayed ten days before heading home to his family in Antigua after being away for almost five weeks.

The beautiful end to this story is that the day John died, we were all around him, Erika and I by his side and Matt and Megan via Skype talking about the good memories when Matt said, “Mom, he’s stopped breathing” and then Megan said, “Now his eyes are closed.” We feel he knew we were all there and could finally be at peace.

We’ve had Celebrations of John’s Life in both Colorado and Wisconsin which has brought some closure to our grieving. It was very healing to hear from friends far and near who told of his impact on their lives and how special he was to them. He will be missed by many!

Our family has decided to rent my house in Boulder and after much decluttering, many trips to the thrift shop/resource recycling, interior painting and exterior deck and upper balcony repairs had been made, we were ready to pack up a trailer with my things and drive to Austin, TX, where I have been living with Erika and Daniel since mid-October. I have been made to feel comfortable and loved but have recently learned of a vacancy at one of the senior living communities which John and I liked very much. I am writing this from Guatemala where I have been since 12/12; Erika and family will join me here on 12/23. When I return to Austin on January 3, 2016, my email and cell will stay the same (303-517-8440) but this will be my new address:

Mary Humke

4409 Gaines Ranch Loop, Apt. 536

Austin, TX 78735

Blessings to one and all and prayers for a more peaceful world!


5th May 2016

We miss you
All is well in Boulder. Ran into Jean L. (at Marshall's:-) Thanks for the lovely birthday and anniversary cards!!

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