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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Monday, September 30, 2013

The Post I Wanted Never to Write

My last posts in March 2013 came at a time of increasing hope in our family.  Encouraged, I was hoping to become more regular with this blog again.  Everly's cancer had responded so well to chemotherapy in 2012, but then over the winter tumors had started growing and spreading again.  We were beginning to participate in a clinical trial at M.D. Anderson in March, and the initial results were very good.  This trial focused treatment on the liver, where most of the cancer was active.  This treatment was very demanding on us, with trips to Houston every few weeks and lots of clinic visits.  In May, we took a cruise Everly had been wishing for, and it was a wonderful time for our whole family.

While we saw initial good results in the liver, little by little the cancer began to grow in Everly's backbone and spread elsewhere.  In June, we changed directions to try to treat the cancer in her backbone, but during that time the rest of the cancer, especially in her liver, grew rapidly.

In the short span of a month, we went from hopeful about steady progress to realizing it would not be beneficial to continue treatments.  The Everly and I explained this to our children on July 10, and at the end of that week she came home to hospice care.  All of us were able to be with her during those days, and we spent many hours sitting, talking, singing, and hugging one another.  Everly grew less communicative as her liver was failing and the toxins in her body began to make it harder for her to move, speak, or do anything.  She had made peace with her life and her death, and she told us she was ready to go on.  As hard as that was and is for us, we did our best to love and comfort her through that trial.

After only six days in hospice, Everly died at home on the morning of July 18, with all the family present.  She was able to leave behind her pain and struggle and to gain blessed rest and joy in the presence of God.  We are grateful for her life that continues to shape and direct us as we seek to go on with the lives she so thoroughly blessed.

If you want to read more about those days, my reflections, and other people's appreciation of Everly, you can go to the CaringBridge site where I did my writing for the past few months.

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