Diagnosis +3, Departure

Thursday morning, May 14th.

Marilyn’s breathing became more and more labored through the day with increasing congestion. Her color changed. Her muscles became slack. It was clear her spirit was ranging widely. Friends heard her speaking to them clearly while they were elsewhere – they believe she was callling them to her side.

Looking at her around 4pm (I think) something in my heart spoke out: “She will not last the night”

Her few living relatives were called, the extended family already en route were warned to be fleet.

Evening came and she began to breathe slower and slower. She had not eaten or drank since early Tuesday, she could not draw fluid from a straw or chew and swallow.

Our friends gathered in her room as the agonal breathing began at approximately 11pm. In minutes her breaths were coming further and further apart until finally they were tiny gasps minutes apart.

crest_robertsonI kissed her and wished her godspeed, fine warrior woman that she was. She had put the Robertson clan pin on me at our wedding and I called out to those brave people to make clear her way, one of their own was returning. I called the departed scions of clan Wray to answer their motto of just and true and attend her also.

Her last breath came and the pause stretched and stretched. At last it became obvious she had gone.

I had no tears left, we had spent so many days and nights together in the hospital as she fought cancer, fearing her death then that all I could feel was relief for our shared suffering’s end.

She asked me not to grieve her but to go on and live my remaining years filled with joy that she was walking with Jesus now and that our shared salvation meant we would one day be rejoined.

Goodbye my wife, eleven years was barely time to realize what a godsend you were to me. Every day in the light with you was special.

Every moment I remember you is too.

In a month we’ll gather at our special places in the mountains to scatter your ashes so that your corporeal being will rejoin the earth that loves it and surely love will spring up again.

Since Love is the surest sign of the presence of the Divine and your gathered friends will be feeling their love for you burning brightly, I know you will also attend with our Savior by your side.

In that most perfect of cathedrals I will bid you final adieu, O Wife and begin the journey to my own gateway, knowing I will find you waiting there with our clans gathered to celebrate.

Fly high little bird, I will watch the skies until then.

Marilyn Wray 2003

I encourage you to also view these pages: (image click to enlarge)

Marilyn at one month

My little ballerina

Marilyn as Shirley Temple

Marilyn and Kiki

Cowboy kids


Chloe and mom

Big Mama’s Posse

22 thoughts on “Diagnosis +3, Departure

  1. Doug, I send you love and light and I send the same to Marilyn. What a brave soul she was and I am glad that her path crossed mine, even though for such a brief time. I cannot imagine how much you will miss her. You were such soulmates. I will stay in touch and will bring you nourishment when you are ready for it. Take care of you and let others give you the love you need now. Much love,

  2. We miss her deeply. I would never have seen the glorious hiking paths in Estes Park if Marilyn hadn’t cheered and bullied us all up there — even though it was tougher going for her than for most. It was her courage and spirit that got me there, nothing else. Because of Marilyn I’ve spent more time outside, seeing, experiencing, benefiting from the beauty of this world. And that doesn’t count the many good indoor times. Brave, bright being! Go with God.

    1. Take some time today to be with your beloved, seek joy and do nothing ‘productive’ – let your hearts fly as high as you can – if you are lucky, you will hear her voice above you.

  3. Doug,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I know that your words will help others that are facing their own personal trials. Please call or email me anytime (seriously on the anytime as I keep my cell by my bed). Hospice is great but, your friends and community are here for you too. Let us know what we can do when you are ready.
    Peace and Much Love,

  4. Doug – – what more can I say than our hearts bleed for you. There’s not much Diane and I can do from this distance but whatever it is just ask and we’ll do the best we can. Call anytime. I’m glad Marilyn’s suffering is over, share yours with the rest of us and let us give you what ease we can.

  5. Hi Doug,

    Our many conversations have led me to believe you are a very good man (just and true as your family motto goes) and so although I never met your wife I know she must have meant the same to you.

    My deepest reflections and future unborn thoughts are with you thanks to your journal. I agree with Jonathan your words will help others that are/have and will be facing their own personal trials.

    Ray Rodriguez

  6. Doug, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of greatest loss.

  7. Doug, what a beautiful picture of Marilyn, your love and life together you have drawn. Thank you for sharing. I am sure the power of that love will comfort and sustain you in the days to come until the Earth you both so obviously loved will work its healing magic. I am echoing Jonathan’s sentiments. Love and light, Deb

  8. Dear Doug,
    I’ve been at a loss for what to say/write all day & will just start anyway:
    I am so sorry for the huge void Marilyn’s passing leaves in your heart and life….. Your wisdom & your palpable love blow me away. You truly embody “just & true” & make do your clan ancestors proud. I once heard “Kindness to ourselves is the cornerstone of healing” Try to be extra kind to yourself as you begin the long path of feeling, dealing and healing.
    You are a gift as Marilyn was a gift.
    grace & healing to your breaking heart,

  9. Hi Doug, What a beautiful sharing thank you so much for your insights. The last talk I had with Marilyn was just a few weekends ago after you had helped her get her plants in the garden. So was so excited to have her garden ready to grow. I know she had a beautiful love for you and you for her. I am thankful for you both that she did not have too have much pain and suffering, and I know she is in a place of peaceful rest.
    If there is anything you need or anything I can do, food to bring, listening ears know I am here for you. Please let me know.
    What Shari says above so rings true I know that rest and time will help. Take Care of yourself and those kitties I know you all will miss her presence.
    And Thank you for setting up this beautiful place for us to be able to share with you and each other. Blessings and sincere hugs, Diana

  10. Doug: Please accept our deepest sympathy for your loss. Having just lost a son, we really know what a hole it leaves in you. The pain of your loss will slowly fade away but much more slowly than most people realize. At first it is a day by day survival and you will want to keep her things around you because they were part of her. Then slowly you will begin to release some of her belongings and with each piece, it will be another piece of GONE, as one of my friends, a bereavement counselor, described it, and another step toward releasing her to her God. You will probably cry at odd times and places and I encourage you to do so. I suggest you write her a letter and then go back to it and amend it whenever you feel the desire and need. Gradually that need will diminish but to start with it is a good way to tell her the things you didn’t get said or things you want to reiterate because you feel the need to do so. My letter to my son, John, is still in my computer.
    May you find peace with your God as she has found peace with hers.

    1. Lee, bless you for the sage and heartfelt advice, I promise I will follow it. This posting is part of that process. Will see you soon.

  11. Doug,

    I found out a few days ago about Marilyn and made a promise to myself to come visit, only to find out today that it wasn’t to be. I’ve had the honor of meeting both of you and witness first hand the love you have for one another. We will miss her. Our prayers are with you. If there’s anything we can do, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Amanda and Ashley

    1. Spend a day simply seeking joy with your loved ones, in that seeking you will create more joy in the world to offset my sorrow. I have been spending time talking with friends about my life with Marilyn and laughing and crying as needed. Eleven years is a very long time when you see it day by day. She’s woven into the fabric of my life and won’t ever be completely gone. Come visit if you like, I’ll be home this week.

  12. Dearest Friend,

    Everyone at Luna Beach Resort in Roatan sends their blessings and love. Dave, Jason and I are also so sad for you and wish there was something we could do, but time will help the most.

    You both have been wonderful cheer leaders for us and you love and friendship means the world.

    May God Bless you both!

  13. Uncle Doug, I just wanted to tell you that I’m so sorry to hear about Marilyn’s passing. Marilyn was a wonderful person and a wonderful wife to you. I want you to know that if there is anything I can do, please let me know. I would like to come up this weekend and visit with you if you’re up to it. I’m planning to attend the memorial serivce you have arranged for Marilyn which sounds beautiful and perfectly suited, since you both loved the mountains so much. Please email me if you’re up for company.
    Love you,
    Your niece Deana Jo

  14. Hey LIttle Brother, I dont have any words, just my love. One day at a time, remember all the good times. I will for sure try to make the memorial service if at all possible.
    Love you more than you know
    MIssy & Ed

  15. Doug: Please accept my deepest sympathy and condolences at this time of your life. Grief is, of course, a natural process, and you must make that journey. Along that journey though, always take time to celebrate Marilyn’s life and all that she shared with you and others. I wish that I could offer you more than words at this time, but as you know, the distance is great. Please know that my thoughts are with you.

  16. Doug, my heart goes out to you, my friend. Your shared stories of Marilyn are wonderful and inspirational, and I know you will move forward in this life celebrating her life and how much she blessed you and others.

    I can’t imagine how difficult a time this is for you, but please know that you are in my thoughts and I’m here for you if you need anything at all. I’ve always believed that what makes life precious is death, and while I know that sentiment doesn’t make things easier for those who have lost, I do smile knowing that Marilyn will live on through you and others that loved her.

    Take care of yourself.

  17. Doug – words escape me but my thoughts are with you. Marilyn will never be “gone,” but just in another space, lighting up the room with her loving heart. Take time to heal, dear friend.

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