A Sad but Liberating Goodbye …
It has been quite a while since I wrote on Stan’s CaringBridge site and a lot has happened in that time, but the most significant event was his passing on Jan. 15, 2019.
Stan fought a valiant fight against his colon cancer over the past five and one-half years. His hope and determination to win this fight remained strong, probably until his visit to the Mayo Clinic in November. His insurance company approved for his records to be reviewed at Mayo and to pay for the two of us to go there so Stan could be tested to see if he could qualify for a clinical trial. His liver enzymes were high enough to preclude his participation from those trials, however. It was there that we learned that his cancer – already in his liver, lungs and bones, was also in his abdomen.
The abdomen site made sense because it had been accumulating a lot of fluid that had to be periodically drained; periodically being about weekly when they would remove 3.5 to 6 liters of fluid each time. The Mayo oncologist said the fluid was similar to what you would see with blisters that develop to cover a wound, in this case, the spread of cancer.
Coming home from Mayo’s Minnesota clinic was a sad journey and it wasn’t until then that Stan began to feel the end was not far off. His daughter Allison astutely wrote recently that he was someone who was either fighting for something or against something his whole life and in this case he was fighting against the inevitable. He would do small things to assert his independence like go to Patty Ann’s Cafe in Kiowa several times a week by himself for breakfast rather than give in.
He also spent time making sure I would be okay in ways that I am only realizing now. We used to make fun of how he would use duct tape to fix anything and everything. Well, he gave me a Sirius Onyx portable radio unit for my car for my birthday and he secured the wires down with duct tape. The tape eventually began to curl up at the edges though, so just a couple of weeks before he passed he got some Velcro and spent an afternoon securing the radio unit down with Velcro and more duct tape.
He did other things like order a motion detector light for outdoors, a couple of heavy duty flashlights and some Wi-Fi-enhancer pads that I don’t understand, too.
He made a number of contributions to organizations that were important to him. He got his will and life insurance in order to make sure everyone was provided for. And in a reflection of how his faith in God had grown over the past few months he ordered some religious publications for his children.
Finally, he kept a record in his phone of all the bills for which he paid each month with notations of websites, log-in information and when the bills were last paid. He wanted to make sure everything was in order before he left us.
His celebration of life was no exception. He made sure his kids and I knew what music videos he wanted to have played during his service and who would conduct the service. He even helped prepare information for his eulogy. He knew where he wanted to be buried in a country corner cemetery near our house that reflected his love of nature and the place that he loved.
Somehow, everything he wanted came together and that was in no small part due to the efforts of his children and sisters, our neighbor Jeff Franken, and the members of the Elbert County Board of County Commissioners, Kiowa Creek Community Church and the Kiowa Ladies Aid. Members of my home church, Peace and Christ Episcopal/Lutheran Church helped out with the reception, too.
There were about 100 people at his celebration of life representing his colleagues from Walmart, friends of mine and his, neighbors, and family. It was a beautiful service and you could feel the sense of community as those from diverse backgrounds and localities joined together to sing the chorus to “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
Stan’s passing was a quick one, but one that was hampered by the discomfort of the fluid buildup in his abdomen and the difficulty that created in his breathing. He started with hospice on the 4th of January and they provided oxygen to ease his breathing. They taught me to drain is fluid and on the 14th they began to administer morphine to expand his airways a bit and add some comfort.
By the next day, he was up in the morning watching some of his bluegrass television recordings and then he went back to bed to sleep. His sister Sonjia arrived from California that afternoon. By 8 pm, he had gently and quietly passed on. All was well. He was ready and he had done his best to make sure we were as well.
His obituary follows:
Stanford "Stan" Wayne Shelly
DECEMBER 15, 1958 ~ JANUARY 15, 2019 (AGE 60)
Stanford (Stan) Shelly, 60, of Ramah, CO passed away peacefully at home on January 15, 2019. He was born on December 15, 1958 in Ashland, OH to the late Stanley and Margaret (Plank) Shelly. Stan graduated from Parkway High School in Rockford, OH in 1977. He attended Oregon State University and later graduated from the Ohio School of Broadcasting in Denver, CO. Stan was “The Zamboni King” at Walmart in Elizabeth, CO. Prior careers include truck driving, delivering WIC food products, working as a grain examiner for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and a paper carrier for a number of years. He was also a member of several environmental conservation organizations.
Stan thoroughly enjoyed hunting, fishing, horse racing, and dog breeding and training. He delighted in listening to bluegrass music and was an avid fan of The Ohio State Buckeyes football team, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Colorado Rockies. He was quite a card player, outdoorsman, and lover of nature. Stan was a loyal friend, employee, and dedicated family man.
He is survived by his lovely wife Beth (nee) Little of nearly 14 years, sisters Sandra Shelly of Bluffton, IN and Sonjia Shelly of Davis, CA; daughters Amie (Beau) Hale of North Canton, OH, Allison (Daniel) Laidig of Mishawaka, IN, and son Lucas (Heather) Shelly of Statesboro, GA. He was the proud grandfather of Nolan, Elijah, Jude, Thomas, Sophia, Marshall, Gabriel, Christopher, Emma, Levi, and great-grandfather of Claire and Cayden.
In addition to his parents, Stan was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents and nephew Mikel Suman.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Izaak Walton League, local little league organizations, The Rocky Mountain Cancer Center at Sky Ridge, or Pike’s Peak Hospice.
DONATIONS MAY BE MADE TO:
Pikes Peak Hospice
2550 Tenderfoot Hill St., Colorado Springs CO 80906
Izaak Walton League
707 Conservation Ln Ste 210, Gaithersburg MD 20878
Sierra Club Foundation
2101 Webster Street, Suite 1250, Oakland CA 94612
National Parks Conservation Association
777 6th Street Ste 700, Washington DC 20001
Rocky Mountain Cancer Center at Skyridge
10107 RidgeGate Parkway #200, Lonetree CO 80124