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It’s rain-snowing as I write. Thirty-eight degrees. The kind of day to stay in your PJ’s and sit by the fire. Never mind it’s April in South Dakota. So what shall I do first on this fine Saturday?

Since my books, Marv Taking Charge, arrived last week, I think I must deal with the personal orders now. Which are located at the Box Number that I posted. Which is a ways from my home. Which the weather is telling me they can wait until Monday, which is probably when you’ll read this.

So I go to my closet. It’s also a good day to do a washing. I see in the pile an older robe I’d thought I may donate. I have a new one–a soft blue. But back to this one, the old gray one with white polka dots. I start to pull the belt out of the loops. A belt loop stops a loop in the belt

And I remember:


To: All Family, From Kathleen, Date July 17, 2018

Another restless night for Dad (and in turn, Mom). Both were up 4:30 to 6:00 a.m. Then back to bed. Mom woke up around 9:30 to find Dad fully dressed on the couch. He said he got up at 8:30. Front door was open, his chair outside. Mom had her bathrobe belt pinned to the bottom sheet on his side of the bed and had wrapped it around him and wrapped the other end around her hand. He still managed to escape. Mom is completely spent. Lots of tears. Overtired. He’s not the man she knows him to be and not the person he would want to be.

Marv Taking Charge: A Story of Bold Love and Courage, Deep River Books, 2023, pp. 183-184.

My hands freeze with the knot stopped by the loop. What was I thinking? I cannot give this robe away. I must keep the robe with the knot in the belt. To remember.

I get dressed. Clothes draped over a chair from yesterday will work. Leggings, sweatshirt, socks. I’m not going out, so shall I wear slippers or shoes? I scan my three-shelf, white bookcase that serves as a shoe rack. I spot my sister Esther’s shoes. The ones she was going to wear on her first visit to me in SD. She didn’t make it. She died six years ago last week. Cancer. Complications after surgery.

I decide to wear her shoes. I’ve been keeping them as a memory. She was right. They are cushy. I spring out of the closet, ready to face the day. And I come to my study to talk to you…

Marv Taking Charge: A Story of Bold Love and Courage is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or me. If you would like to buy directly from me, you may send a check for $15 to:

Lois Roelofs, 5013 S Louise Ave, Box 232, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 57108-2268

All my proceeds, except for S/H, will be donated to Marv’s hospice, Avera@Home – Hospice Sioux Falls.

About the book: Lois Roelofs always knew that Marv, her husband of fifty-five years, had strong convictions. So when he was diagnosed with “very aggressive” small cell lung cancer, with a few weeks to a few months to live, she accepted that he wanted to die on his own terms―refuse chemo, choose quality of life over quantity, and die at home. She tells their story in a mix of personal notes, family and friend emails, and public blog posts written during Marv’s illness and her first months as a widow. At the time, she could find no personal accounts of refusing treatment and living with the resultant uncertainty.

I’m hoping to see some of you when I travel with books to MI and IL during the first week of May. If you or a group of friends would like to be added to my itinerary, please let me know at caringlessons@gmail.com! I’d love to see as many of you as possible during my week in the Midwest. Please make sure it doesn’t snow…