Posted by: Ken Wheatley | August 15, 2010

11 Months

It’s a strange place to be. Generally, eleven months is a long time. And at times it has been. The days and hours drag on. Little memories appear, disappear, only to reappear again later, at some unexpected time.

And other times, when a random picture appears on my screensaver from a trip we took, her departure seems like hours ago. The immediacy of our relationship is brought back to the fore and the tactile memory of how it felt to touch her hip in that photo, or how it felt to have our heads touching seem like only moments ago.

I attended a(nother) funeral yesterday. A few weeks ago it was a friend/colleague that I served with in the FBI. Chris Meyers. Brain aneurism. Yesterday it was Michael Dwayne Jago. A young (51) colleague at work who had a massive heart attack on August 5th after working out at our gym. He looked to be in excellent shape – trim, fit, full of energy, didn’t smoke. Seemed to do all the right things. He was able to make the one hour drive home, talk with his son for a few minutes, and within less than an hour or so of being home he was rushed to the hospital. Apparently, he passed enroute. His wife, who was at work, never made it to him in time.

So at his funeral his son was retelling the explicit details of how Michael passed. Hmmm…more detail than one would have expected, but it definitely painted a vivid picture of what the son, and Michael, went through in his final minutes.

Of course, I couldn’t help but become lost in my own private reflection on Sheila’s last days, hours, and minutes just 11 months ago. I can see her face, and hear the sounds very vividly.

When we were home in bed at night I would put my head on her chest so I could not only hear her breathe, but I could listen to her heart beat. The sounds of a heart beat reveals the “personality” of what’s going on with someone at the moment – distress or relaxation for example.

So when Sheila was near the end, those last few moments, I put my head on her chest and listened to her final heartbeats. Relaxation. Finally…

I love you, Sheila.



  1. Hi Ken,

    My name is Paola Osuna and I am the tennis coach at Sweetwater High School in National City. On July 17th, my mom was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer that has spread to her liver, vertebrae, and brain. She is 57, has lead a healthy lifestyle including playing tennis and has never smoked. My husband notified me of the article posted on I would LOVE to sign up for the tournament and would probably be able to get several tennis players from the southbay are (eastlake, bonita, otay ranch area) to sign up for the tournament. However, I was not able to find information regarding sign ups. Can you please contact me with info at Thank you so much for putting this together!

    Take Care,


  2. Paola,
    I sent you a separate email responding to your post. So very sorry, again, for the news about your mom….

  3. ken, so sorry about your fellow colleague….very sad. but, i am very pleased with what this blog and sheilas, and the u.t. article as well, as what the tennis tourney and the the lca lung walks have aided in awareness of lung cancer………..and of course, all the friends and family by word of mouth and facebook and other means of communications………..its everywhere and it will not stop until a cure iis found…….by the grace of humanity as well as the grace of God together.!


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