Written by son, Gavin Mjelde
Susie Lindquist Mjelde’s oldest son
My name is Gavin Mjelde. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss my mom, but I’m glad I got to spend 20 great years with her. I have lived life to the fullest like my mom did. I have continued to work on various goals such as fire academies, a couple of college degrees, volunteering as a firefighter, and working in the business world. I know these accomplishments would make her proud. The small things are what make me remember her the most. On those days in which I would love to share my big achievements and milestones or just hear her voice and I can’t, makes me miss her even more.
My story of my mom with her battle with colon cancer began during my junior year in high school, right before the Christmas holidays. Living in a bubble as a young adult, I always had thought that cancer was something that happened to other people, but my world came crumbling down from the world that I once knew. Before my mom was diagnosed with cancer I didn’t really know about colon cancer, but now I have a wide range of knowledge on the subject.
My Mom at the age of 44 was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. The following weekends included surgeries to remove a tumor and get her colostomy bag. I can remember when she got home on Christmas Eve, and the day after on Christmas we ended up watching movies since she was still recovering from surgery. While watching a comedy, we laughed so hard that she almost blew her stitches apart. I know that she was in a lot of pain recovering, but she put forth the effort and kept that smile on her face. The next two years and eight months were filled with various cancer treatments, radiation, and chemotherapy. Some worked to slow down the cancer, but the cancer eventually spread to other parts of her body.
During her two and half years of battling cancer, she never gave up hope for a cure. At times it seemed that time stopped; from what it seemed there was always more bad news, then good news. During this time, there were many surreal moments, and the reality of possibly losing her. I especially took on helping out with what I could do by watching my brother and hanging out with her during her chemotherapy treatments. We kept moving and not giving up hope. Through the ups and downs, she always had laughter, humor, and kept a positive attitude. The two and half years with her were a gift; the many times in which I got to talk to and help take care of her.
Her cancer spread to her spine and brain, and it was hard for me to watch her body and mind slowly deteriorate. I can remember the day that she passed away; it was a day like any other in her battle. After a day of work, I came home to find my family upset. My older sister said “Did you hear the news?” which was that she only had weeks to live. I spent the night by mom’s side and she was gone the next day. Her body finally gave into the cancer.
At the age of 46, my mom passed away. But in the solace and grace, her legacy lives on through my sister, brother, dad, nieces, nephews, and extended family and friends.