And a Time for Goodbye


My ten day allocations of living shrunk last week when my team of doctors decided that I was no longer eligible for chemotherapy. Chemotherapy being my only active tool to contain my cancer which seems to be invading more and more of my body. I entered in-home hospice Friday.

I have yet to sing the praises of hospice. The main difference is that I am at home (nice) and that Mike is now a deputized nurse (not so nice.)

I don’t feel good. It hurts to talk (ng tube goes down my throat to extract fluids from my stomach into a cute little bucket.) I have received no actual nutrition since i entered the hospital. Nothing can stay in my stomach with out me throwing up. And nothing can go beyond my stomach. There is no detente in site.

I wont pretend to keep blogging much. I think the above sums up my trajectory. I will soon die. I am not scared but I am truly sad.

Thank you for finding this blog, passing it on. Perhaps it will have a future in another’s hands.

I am not encouraging visitors. I find this a time for quiet reflection.

Much love to all and most especially my care team that formed the night of my diagnosis and has stood by me through it all. And my beloved partner, always – Mike Edera.

Goodbye, marcy

About marcy westerling

I am a long time community organizer with a passion for justice and founded the Rural Organizing Project in 1992. Derailed by a Stage IV Ovarian Cancer diagnosis in spring 2010, I have stayed in treatment since then. I am learning how to embrace livingly dying and hope that by starting a Phase One immunology clinical trial at UPenn in spring of 2013 I will have more time to find the sweet spots of thriving while terminally ill.

163 responses »

  1. Dearest Marcy,
    It is hard to find the words to tell you what I want to say. What a selfless, compassionate, powerful woman you are! Would that we could all make such a positive impact on the world during our lives as you have. I hope you feel a sense of accomplishment for all that you have done in health, and in sickness, and I hope that you understand how much you are admired and loved. We will remember you.
    With love,

  2. Marcy, you are in my prayers, thoughts and meditations. Much love and peace to you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us – your courage is outstanding and your passion for life and tenacity has touched my heart. Big love on your final journey XO

  3. So sorry to hear this. My dad is battling stage four prostrate cancer and was remission for about 2 months….. what you are going thru now no one should…..cancer does suck….I am a melanoma survivor… will be 10 years for me in Sept…………..I do hope you find peace………you are in my thoughts……….

  4. Hi aunt Marcy,
    I love you very much and am incredibly saddened to read your last post. I don’t have the right words to encapsulate what you have meant to me since I was small, and what you continue to mean to me now. Your unique honesty helped me when I needed it as I was growing up, and your constant supportive presence and your love has always been a cornerstone in my life. I am so glad I’ve had an aunt like you to show me the best ways to be in the world.

    All the Ederas will be with uncle Mike as he celebrates and remembers you always.

    Dad’s waiting for you.

    “All goes onward and upward…to die is different from what anyone supposed. And luckier.” -Walt Whitman


  5. Oh Marcy Dear Heart, I promise you that relationships never end, they just change.
    Always one of your second-sisters, always loving you,

  6. Dear Marcy,

    You have given so much, as a friend, an activist, a writer, a lover, an inspiration to so many. May you truly appreciate your life and gifts as you prepare to leave it. Wishing you peace, and a new adventure…

    With love and sorrow,
    Tina Frost

  7. Dear Marcy–Carol Newman “turned me on” to your blog a few months back & I have always been touched & strengthened by your persistent faith. (I’m a cancer ‘survivor’). I thank you for sharing your journey with your readers. As Kara from ‘Mundane Faithfulness’ blog has recently passed into the arms of her Maker…her blog continues on. You, too, will continue on in our hearts long after you are gone into Eternity! May hospice keep you in Perfect Pain-free Peace as you make your final earthly journey! xo–bonnyG
    As your Christian friends believe:
    “,,,following Jesus is, in one sense at least, like entering the door of an alien spaceship.
    When it takes off we will have no control over our destinies, no clear idea of where we are going, and no option of returning. Either we trust the captain of the ship or we don’t go.”
    Adrian Plass
    I send you the Light of the World!

  8. I am sad to hear your sadness and hope you are given as much hospice care that you want. I have seen hospice care able to give you more time to be with those you love. My love to you both, Bon

  9. Marcy, you are so loved and I believe you will continue to be pure radiant love. You are forever in my heart. I love you.

  10. Marcy, I wish you all good things as you leave this world and learn the secret of what comes next. You leave a huge wake, my friend. You showed us how much you love being here in this world. I expect you will embrace the next one, too. We will be along soon enough.


    livingly dying wrote: > a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ marcy westerling posted: “My ten day allocations of living shrunk last week when my team of doctors decided that I was no longer eligible for chemotherapy. Chemotherapy being my only active tool to contain my cancer which seems to be invading more and more of my body. I entered in”

  11. Oh, Marcy, Iā€™m so sorry; my heart aches for you in your own sadness. As your life here has profoundly touched and changed so many others ā€” far more than you shall ever know ā€” so, too, will the world be forever altered by your passing. Thank you, thank you, beautiful one, for sharing your life in the way you chose to. The magnitude of your courage, candor, generosity, commitment and indomitable spirit is immense, like a brilliant star, and will continue to be a source of light for us and countless future souls. Love and peace to you and all your beloved.

  12. Love and peace, Marcy, and as much comfort as possible. You have lived wonderfully well and made the world a better place. Your organizing skills, your fierce determination and your amazing generosity of spirit have been gifts to all who’ve known you. We will shout “presente” when your name is spoken and that will be a pledge to carry forward your work work and your way of being.

  13. Marcy, Thank you for sharing your journey. For those of us a little behind you, you have helped light the way. Thank you also for trying so hard to live with new treatments. We will all benefit from what’s been learned in the trials. All the best, Rochelle

  14. Marcy, thank you blessed soul for your great gifts to this world and to me. Your courage is inspiring. I am in Illinois attempting to support my father in his last days. Your words today bring sadness to my heart. I know your spirit will join other great spirits and continue to connect with us. And Margaret said it well, we love you. You will forever be in our hearts

  15. I don’t even know u a lot-but i know of your work and your character. I know of your humanity thru these writings. Thank you for sharing your intimate thoughts and your being. Peace

  16. May the next chapter of your journey bring surprises and delights. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  17. Dearest Marcy,

    You’ve moved and inspired the many readers of your blog with your courage, with your strength and with endless positive attitude despite the difficult journey. I send you love and wishes of comfort.

    Warm hugs,


  18. I posted earlier, but still, even tonight, you are on my mind, Marcy. I am sending as much love and light as I possibly can across the pond from Australia for your final journey XOXO

  19. Marcy, thank you for sharing your story so eloquently. It’s such a gift. I’m so sad that your time is winding down. So many will miss you greatly, including myself. Sending love and prayers for a peaceful and comforting journey.

  20. You have truly been an inspiration. Thank you for allowing us into your world. Wishing you and your family love and peace. Jai Bhagwan.

  21. Marcy, thank you so very much for sharing your story. Your strength, positive nature, and continuing lovely nature have been such a joy. You have brought hope to so many people. I wish you the best – comfort, your friends and family around you, and a smooth transition to a land of joy, of meeting once again with those who have gone before, and finding peace. Love to you, Marcy. Leiah

  22. Marcy…I am so saddened by your news! You fought so hard and with such courage…please know I’ve been rooting for you from the sidelines for a very long time. I pray for peace for you and your family and that you will have no pain (physical or emotional) while you are living out the rest of your life. You will be missed so much!

  23. When activists gather you will be there. When struggles for justice are engaged we will say Marcy Westerling, Presente!

  24. Thank you, Marcy, for all that you have done for me and all the livingly dying folks that have followed your journey. I don’t want the end of life to be sad for you, however, I understand. You have worked so hard to overcome the cancer and once more, the cancer has won. I hope that all your wacky ways of living with cancer will keep touching people until we realize how the power in our own bodies is really the source of our healing. Have fun where ever you go next. Save a seat for me in the rowdy section. Love, Judy F

  25. Marcy vive, la lucha sigue. Always, in my heart, in whatever words I manage to write about your incredible life, in the arc of the universe, which, if you reach up and grab it, together, and pull, like Marcy always has, bends towards justice.

  26. Love for you always. Thank you for the love and brief friendship you showed my sister Julie. Your presence made a great difference for her in her last months. You are cemented into my heart. Life does not end, it changes.

  27. Love and peace, Marcy, and as much comfort as possible. When your name is spoken, we will insist, “presente!” and it will be a vow to carry forward your work and your way of being in the world.

  28. Dear Marcy,

    While your body is failing, your essence is being refined during the process of dying.

    May you become ever more your true self.

    May you approach this next adventure with your irrepressible spirit of engagement.

    May you rely on your loved ones gathered around to serve you during this once-in-a-lifetime transition.

    I am cheering you on, dear Marcy.

    And will hope to “see” you soon.

    big hug, Stephanie

  29. i dont know u but u sound like a very strong realistic no molly coddling bullshit type of woman. i wish you peace on your journey wherever it is that we go when our earthly journey is over

  30. Dearest Marcy,

    May your heart wishes dance on colorful wings and your spirit sing out in the divine weaving of the veils. You are with me for good and for always even as the world shifts. I am filled with gratitude and love and so many Marcy moments with lessons and laughter.

    Blessings of peace and finally comfort for you dear friend and mentor.
    Que le vaya bien!
    with love, and to Mike and your team as well,

  31. Dear, dear Marcy. Warm and gentle Bon voyage hugs. You are forever in my heart. Thank you for inviting me to walk along your path for a short time. Love, Sylvia.

  32. Marcy, You have been an inspiration to so many, myself included. I am grateful for the opportunity to get to meet you last year at Camp Mak A Dream and to follow your journey this past year. May God be with you and your family. Spread your wings and fly my teal sister goose! Love, Karen in Montana.

  33. Dear Marcy, thank you for sharing the highs and lows of your journey. I hope the end of your earthly journey is peaceful. Hope to know you again someday. You will be held in our hearts and memories for a long time.


  34. Hi..What a wonderful woman you ate for taking time to share your story..
    I’m a 2 year cancer survivor of ovarian cancer stage 2..
    I don’t know why I am..But I can only believe I have work yet to be done..I’ve been a caregiver 15 yes..I just completed Hospice training class for volunteer..
    I along with friend who is caregiver just got done caring for a woman with pancreatic cancer stage 3..she passed away last month..I felt so honored to care for her during her end of life journey..
    I am on planning committee for our relay for life willits calif.and Survivor chair..
    Bless you Marcy<3

  35. Marcy. thank you. Whatever your spiritual persuasion may be, I respect and honor: mine informs me we are all so very connected and will converse again in amazing, light filled ways we can only imagine. Your approach to life has been extraordinary. thank you.

  36. Dear Marcy, I came to your blog while researching for my brother who has stage IV lung cancer. I found it very inspirational and it helped no-end as I tried to grapple with my feelings and my fears. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are an extraordinary woman.

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