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Mark Severson in memory of his Wife Brenda

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Sev, from the AzBilliards forums has fallen on some difficult times. Fellow members of AZB reached out to me about starting this to help him out.

For those that may not be familiar with AzBilliards, its forums are the longest running and largest community of billiards fans on the internet, having been online for nearly 20 years. Mark (Sev) has been an active member of those forums for well over a decade. Like many communities on the internet, we are also a family. While we may bicker back and forth about some things, the members are also there to share in each other’s successes and setbacks. Members, when learning of Mark's situation came to me and expressed a sincere desire to find a means to help him through his time of trouble.

This is Mark's explanation of his situation.


To begin, I would like to thank the individuals that set this in motion prior to reaching out to me about wanting to help by creating a GoFundMe in my name. It was most unexpected, and came as quite a surprise. That we have never once met in person makes it all the more extraordinary. The sincerity of their concern and generosity is appreciated more than mere words can describe.

Writing the following has not been an easy task for me.

The past year and a half has been tragic, emotionally volatile, rife with anxiety, stress, and loss.

Shortly after the 2020 election, my wife Brenda noticed a small lump on her side which had previously not been present. We suspected it may have been a hernia.

The lump rapidly began swelling in size. This necessitated an emergency trip to the hospital. After an examination and initial test results, she was rushed to emergency surgery.

What we as well as the doctor’s initially thought was a hernia, in reality turned out to be a 3lb tumor on the outside of her colon, which had breached her abdominal wall. At that point, a partial colostomy was performed. After the surgery the doctor told us that had we waited another 24 hours she would not have survived.

While the surgery was successful, it was followed by the oncologist giving us a diagnosis of stage four cancer.

This to say the least the diagnosis was a complete shock and more than a bit distressing.
There were no lifestyle decisions such as smoking, fast food, or junk foods being consumed that would have created the situation. We always took care to buy quality products, and we stayed away from chemical additives in food whenever possible. To say we were stunned by this diagnosis would be an understatement.

Brenda did not want any drama where her condition was concerned. She did not want to inflict continual worry or anxiety on either her friends or family. Her desire was to shield them for as long as possible from what was most likely to come.

So it was decided we would keep her condition close to the vest. Both family and friends were by and large unaware of her condition. Even those that she confided in were still not aware of its full extent.

Only two other people outside of her doctors were fully aware of the situation. They were invaluable to both Brenda and myself. I will never have the words to thank them enough. I needed somebody to confide in. Brenda understood. At some point the three of us will meet in Florida again and celebrate Brenda’s life.

Based on her knowledge of chemo, its possible side effects and her age, she elected to choose her own path for treatment. In the end, the imagery and lab tests showed the treatments we were using were working in areas where the cancer had metastasized. Unfortunately, the cancer had made its way back into her colon, causing it to die, which in the end caused her passing.

At least I have a measure of comfort in knowing our efforts, though not successful, were not in vain. There is generally no good outcome when it is stage 4. Brenda chose to follow a path she believed was best for her. I supported and walked beside her down that path till the end.

After recovering from her operation, Brenda elected to return to work. However, over the course of time, she decided it was best to retire so that she could dedicate herself to her treatments. This further strained our finances, but was a necessary sacrifice to make.

As time passed, it became necessary for me to dedicate more and more time to her and let my work lapse. In the end, I became her caretaker. Her strength and conviction that she would overcome never wavered. Her strength and will power were enormous. Indomitable was the word used by her niece.

Mere words can do little to describe my personal pain and anguish.

On her last day at home, two of her closest friends were sitting with her while I was out. They talked and just sat with her while she slept. When I returned, I became aware that she had been afflicted with aphasia. It was then that I called 911 and had her rushed to the hospital.

Not knowing exactly what to do, I reached out to her sister Dawn, who is a nurse in PA. She rushed down and was by our side till the end.

Brenda rallied once. She asked me how long she had to stay. I could only tell her that I did not know. When she saw both Dawn and I at her bedside, I am sure it was then that she realized that the sun was about to set. It was shortly thereafter that she began to let go.

It was within this small window of time Brenda’s siblings, and other family began calling to say their goodbyes. It was simply heartbreaking. Their love for her, and her love for them was deep and unconditional.

As you can imagine, her passing was a hammer blow to all our friends and family. The phone calls I had to make were simply heartbreaking. The impact of the news of her passing was crushing.

I learned recently from one of our family members, with whom Brenda had confided in towards the end, that her biggest fear was not knowing if I would be okay if she had to leave. I was dedicating everything to her, and she was only concerned about me. Words escape me when I think on her selflessness and love for me.

As you may already have surmised, my fiscal house is in disarray. In the past, I have always had a certainty of my ability to maintain fiscal viability. Now I am uncertain. As are the times we are entering. The latter will pass, but it is between now and then that I am unsure of.

With that comes the uncertainty of whether or not I will be able to keep our home.

Unfortunately, I am by and large alone here and dealing with the aftermath on my own. The current situation is less than optimal, but I will have to deal with it as the days go by.

I am still unaware of the full extent of medical bills I may have to pay. It is just another boot ready to drop. Once she entered in hospital hospice, all later expenses were paid by Medicare. It is the expenses prior to hospice care I am not sure of at this time.

This past year just seemed to go from one tragedy to the next.

Brenda lost her mother prior to Christmas. The nursing home dropped the ball in informing the family. We did not know until nine days later. We only became aware of her passing when her stepfather went to the crematorium to sign papers; he had thought they were for finalizing arrangements for when Brenda’s mom’s passing actually occurred. Both the people at the crematorium and her stepfather were caught flat footed.

Then her aunt, her mother’s sister, passed about a month prior to Brenda.

One particular day Bert called Brenda and told her the doctors said she only had a few days to live. Brenda was shocked. It was a heartwarming phone call. They laughed, joked, talked of the past and then said their goodbyes.

Two days later she was gone. Unfortunately by this time, Brenda was not up to attending Bert’s private ceremony.

Circumstances led us to have the funeral service to be held for both mother and daughter, with a dedication being given to Bert as well. It was beautifully done.

As you may imagine, it was a very emotional time for everyone.

Over the course of the past year and a half, the hits just never seemed to stop coming. Continual stress, anxiety, along with an entire array of other emotions have left me drained.

And now here I am, with an uncertain future, and the person I loved the most in the world is no longer by my side.

Every day I find myself turning towards her to share something new, but she is no longer there. I miss her so very much. There was so much left to do, so many things left undone, and so many adventures yet to be had...never to be fulfilled.

To say the situation sucks would probably qualify as the understatement of the year.

Like many. I often find it difficult to either seek or accept help when it is offered. However circumstances change, sometimes it becomes necessary to reevaluate one's perspective.
The decision to put my situation, and what Brenda and I went through in the public square has been a difficult one for me. And I am not entirely sure how Brenda would feel about it, but I suspect that if the result is mitigating what was her biggest fear, that she would be pleased.

Thank you.




  • Anonymous
    • $10,000 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $500 
    • 1 yr
  • Chris Hightower
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Mark Kaufman
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Andy Nebrigich
    • $20 
    • 1 yr

Organizer and beneficiary

Mike Howerton
Avondale, AZ
Mark Severson

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