I was raised by two amazing selfless parents, Robert (Bob) and Rita.
My entire life I have watched my father live by the motto "because I have been given much, I too must give." He never passed up an opportunity to help others. It was completely normal for my parents to open their home to those in need, sometimes even strangers in need. I can hardly remember a time in which they did not have extra people living under their roof.
My father was an Alaska state trooper. We grew up in a combination of Kodiak, Kotzebue, and finally Anchorage, where he retired. My mother had an impressive resume ranging from years of dedicated service with the Alaska court system to working real estate in Kodiak to using her passion for flowers to provide floral arrangements to the residents of Kotzebue.
My parents dedicated their lives to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Our father served a full time mission in Australia in the 1970's. They were sealed for time and all eternity in 1976 in the Manti, Utah Temple.
Their marriage was blessed with 6 kids, of which I am the youngest. As we have all gotten older, all of us have married, and the family has now expanded to include 22 grandchildren.
In 2009 my father was diagnosed with cancer. After a series of treatments early on that seemed to improve his health, his cancer eventually became metastatic in the fall of 2012. From that time we began to realize that the cancer would eventually claim his life. As the years went on he continued to do every treatment that was offered to him, in the hopes of prolonging his life as long as possible for his family. His family was his greatest treasure.
As the years went on, my father's health continued to decline as a result of the cancer wreaking havoc in his body. By May 2014 he was forced to retire, as he was no longer able to perform his work duties at the federal courthouse in Anchorage.
It was February of this year, on the day of our parent's 40th wedding anniversary, that while admitted in the hospital he was told that he had, at most, several weeks left to live.
He was brought home on hospice care, where he died with our mother at his side on February 15th, 2016.
Our parents had tried to make sure everything was taken care of in advance of him passing, most of his funeral expenses were paid for. Despite this, there were unaccounted expenses that emerged after his passing. Our mother had to quit working toward the end of his battle with cancer to be able to care for him, and the financial situation became problematic shortly after he passed.
As we have been saving and trying to raise money for the purchase of his headstone to place at his currently unmarked grave, our family was slammed with another tragic loss.Our mother tragically and unexpectedly passed away on April 25th, 2016; just over two months after our father died.
We are now faced with funding a second funeral in a short period of time. Due to our father's long battle with cancer, and the financial toll it took, our family currently does not have the resources to be able to fund this without asking for help. Many of us took much time off from work in the final weeks of his battle with cancer to be able to care for him around the clock. Time off and extra funds do not currently exist within the family.
We are also seeking to continue building a fund for a headstone. In our little part of the family we have come to call the gravesite "papa's garden," where our children place flowers weekly for their grandpa, and soon their beloved grandma as well, as she will be laid to rest by his side after her funeral.
Our family has faced an extraordinary amount of grief in a very short amount of time, and contributions of any amount would help us tremendously. Any funds donated will be used specifically for funeral and burial expenses.
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