BLOGATHON 2006 ENTRY #39: In Memoriam

Reporting From Glendale, California.

The reason Loren and I were up in Chico last month was because his mother was in the last stages of cancer. She had been battling it for a couple years now, and by this past June it had consumed most of her body.

When we arrived, she was slipping in and out of consciousness because of the pain and because she was heavily medicated with stuff that didn’t seem to help very much. She was sometimes coherent, sometimes not, though she did recognize who I was when we first got there.

By night time, any trace of who she was had disappeared, and she started to continually moan in pain, even though she was being given heavy doses of pain medication on a very tight schedule. I slept in the home office that night and could hear her moaning from the bedroom.

The following day, when Loren and his father stepped outside for a bit, I sat with her, holding her hand, as she continued to moan. I completely lost it. I had never before been in such close proximity to someone who was suffering so much. And I did not know why it had to be that way, and, as much as I wanted to pretend that I had healing hands, the reality of the situation was too much for me to bear.

Dorothea Schneider was one of the most loving, giving, and vibrant people I had ever met. She truly had a way of looking at life with child-like wonder, and she was always interested in learning new things and making new friends.

Loren and I would often imitate her voice in an exaggerated way, making it high-pitched and enthusiastic, and it made us laugh. But that was the perfect representation of her bright personality. She and Loren’s father accepted me into their family, as their de facto gay son-in-law, before my own family would accept my homosexuality. My mother came around, of course, and she and Dorothea hit it off. My mom now considers Loren her second son.

It’s painful enough to watch someone die. But to watch someone die fighting is even worse. Because you want to fight with them. But you can’t because you know that it’s a losing battle. All you can do is just hold their hand and hope that it makes even the slightest bit of difference.

She passed away the second night we were there. Although her death was devastating, I think everyone was relieved that she was no longer in pain.

Loren and his family are holding up.

He gave me a collectible ceramic dragon that belonged to her. It’s cute. You look at it, and it makes you want to believe in magic.


This entry was written during Blogathon 2006 (held from Saturday, July 29, 2006, 6:00 a.m., through Sunday, July 30, 2006, 6:00 a.m.) in support of Bread for the Journey. A total of $383.92 has been raised so far. You can still pledge money RIGHT NOW through Monday, July 31, 2006. Sponsor this event by clicking here RIGHT NOW. And here are full details about my involvement in this event.


  1. I think it's important to believe in magic. It's an essential part of my world-view, there need to be things that cannot be explained or contained.

    I've enjoyed reading your blogs today. Just 5 more hours, you can do it!

  2. Thanks, Donovan.

    The magic's inside you! (See: Dolly Parton's "These Old Bones.")

  3. alfredo7/31/2006

    just got around to reading your blog entries. this reminds me so much of what we went thru with my mom back in 1990. it's weird no matter what kind of cancer, the people go thru the same motions. you're right how devastating the loss may be, but glad that they're no longer suffering. thanks for sharing and my heart goes out to loren and u. <HUGS>