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December
23
2020

December 23, 2020

Friends and Family, 
 
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we write to inform you that Mary passed away this morning. She did not suffer and passed peacefully in her living room, surrounded by her children and husband – just as she wanted it.  We can assure you that our last week with Mary was full of innumerable moments of significant depth and connection that we will cherish forever.  Each day we would read the many messages posted to Caring Bridge and texted/emailed to Mary.  She loved hearing them, and I can also assure you, they gave her strength in a time of need – in fact, after nearly every reading Mary would remark “thank you”, a sign of her gratefulness to the comment’s author.  As a family, we repeat that sentiment now: thank you – your kindness and love for Mary is felt and appreciated.  
 
The time was further highlighted by watching a YouTube documentary of Mary’s beloved Glenwood Springs, and a final zoom call with all eleven of her siblings.  It was a special time.  Mary made sure to communicate a final message to her family, which was simple yet profound: “I love you and support you.”  We will forever feel the same way.    
 
We are hurting.  We have lost the focal point of our family.  The days, weeks, months, and years ahead will be difficult as we deal with this irreplaceable loss.  In the immediate future, we will grieve as a family.  We will recount the many memories of Mary’s legacy with joy, and we will help each other through the sadness.  
 
We also know, somehow, life will go on.  As we are forced to re-engage the world and push forward with our individual lives we will do so with a renewed commitment to our personal callings – in Mary’s honor.  Indeed, this time has reinforced to us just how much Mary’s legacy will continue in this world through her children and the traditions she has established with her family.  She will never be forgotten, and we hope to continue to make her proud.  
 
Equally, perhaps now more than ever, we look to the next life with a renewed intensity in anticipation of the day when we get to feast and fellowship with Mary again in all the ways that she loved.  We look forward to the time when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there will no longer be any death, mourning, crying, or pain, as these things have passed away.  We look forward to the day we get to see Mary again.   
 
Until that day we will carry her spirit with us.  As the song goes, we know that when we find ourselves in times of trouble our Mother Mary will come to us – and in our hours of darkness she will be standing right in front of us, speaking her words of wisdom that comforted us so often throughout the course of our lives.  And as hard as it may seem, we will try now to let it be, and to carry the good forward, as we know this is what Mary wants of us. 
 
Love always, 
The Buchbergers 
 
PS – More details to follow about memorial services.  We are tentatively planning on having one in Cincinnati and one in Colorado, but deciding on the ideal time in the midst of COVID will be challenging.  Please be patient with us as we try to workout the details. 

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December
17
2020

December 16, 2020

Hi Friends and Family!  Just a quick follow-up message to say please feel free to make a comment and we will read it to Mary.  She is currently very fatigued but does have moments where she is alert - during these times we read her your comments and she really enjoys hearing from everyone.  Thanks!

December
16
2020

December 16, 2020

Friends and family,

We are writing to update you on Mary’s current status.  Unfortunately, Mary’s health has declined significantly over the past week and we have been advised that it would “be a miracle” if she made it to Christmas.  As such, it is with a very heavy heart that we deliver this message to you – we continue to appreciate your thoughts, prayers, support, and love.  It means the world to us, and I can tell you it means everything to Mary.  A chronological recap follows below. 

Thanksgiving at the Buchberger house was a precious time.  While Mary was not one hundred percent, she was still the focal point of the day’s activities enjoying a little bit of cooking, some eating, lots of managing, and an abundance of loving.  We spent the entire day together as a family while also enjoying a surprise (socially distanced) visit from the Pittman family that came with a special choreographed song and dance in Mary’s honor which she enjoyed.  It was a sweet time.  

The week after Thanksgiving, Mary had multiple doctor’s appointments which she attended without issue.  She was struggling with fatigue and a decreased appetite but was still functioning relatively well.  However, starting the week of Monday, December 7th her fatigue and decreased appetite escalated.  This resulted in a trip to the hospital on Saturday, December 12th during which imaging studies revealed that Mary’s metastatic disease had significantly progressed in her liver and lungs.  After extensive input from the Oncology team, and after talking things over with Mary, the decision was made to return home and transition to hospice care.  As previously mentioned, it is our understanding that Mary’s time is limited – as such, we are making the most of every moment and doing our best to ensure that Mary has everything she wants and needs, and is constantly surrounded by the people she loves.  

We hurt – despite this, we are making a concerted effort each day to think about Mary’s legacy, to laugh with her when she is laughing, and to cry when the moment calls for it.  And, while Mary’s body is breaking, I can assure you her spirit is not.  There are still multiple moments each day where Mary’s independent and defiant personality shines brightly – and these are the moments which bring us life during this difficult time.  Perhaps it is most appropriate to finish with a direct message from Mary herself:

 “I know this comes too late, but I just want to thank all my friends and family for their  love and support over the years.  I will love you forever.”  - Mary

Again, thank you all for everything.  We will be in touch.  

Love,
The Buchbergers  

November
21
2020

November 21, 2020

Hello family and friends.  I thought it would be good to have a site that you can go to periodically and check on my health.  I will post updates as significant ones become available.  Here goes my first update.

Unfortunately, I do not have good news.  After being on chemo for over three years, I have become resistant to the chemo.   They have me on the strongest chemo possible, but the cancer has continued to spread.  We will not make any decisions during the holidays but we have a couple of options to decide on after the holidays. 

The first option is a clinical trial.  I was accepted into a clinical trial in LA but my oncologist felt that my body might not be able to handle the treatment.  The treatment included about 6 new chemo and an immunotherapy drug.  I tend to agree with him as I am struggling now on the current treatment - so to add new chemo drugs plus an immunotherapy may be too much for my body to handle.  I am going to see the clinical trial coordinator at UC next week and we are going to look at a clinical trial starting at UC in the upcoming months and others he is aware.  I will let you know how this goes.

The second option is to stop chemo and live out my remaining months at peace and without all this poison.

Those are the main options.  I appreciate everyone checking in on me.  Hope everyone is staying safe with covid.  I will post updates as I get them.  Next up, I have a scan scheduled for December and my clinical trial appointment next week.  Have a good Thanksgiving.

Love, Mary