Shannon Morrow, 1957-2014


My beautiful wife passed away today, February 2, 2014. Above is one of the last pictures I took of her prior to her diagnosis with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She was such a wonderful person, so full of love, and we were so in love with each other. What a wonderful life she has given me.

I just want to republish the note I wrote to my family today:

Dear family,

By now I believe everyone has heard, but I need to let you all know that Shannon passed away peacefully at 9:37 AM on Sunday, February 2, 2014, in our room at the City of Hope Village.

I woke up at about 7:00 or so after a long night of being as vigilant as I could and discovered that she was still breathing, although it had become more labored than before. Each breath was very shallow and they were spaced about 3-5 seconds apart. I snuggled with her again for a while and then got up, sat next to the bed, and spoke to her about our family and our life together. I picked up the book she’s been reading and read her a chapter. Then I put it back down and just talked to her and stroked her skin for quite a while.

Company was coming, so I got up and cleaned the apartment a little bit, ate some cereal for breakfast, and then sat back down close to her to wait for her brother and sisters and their spouses. Robin, Carol, Candy, Melanie, and Ken arrived at about 9:30, as I recall (not all of today’s events are exactly clear to me, so I hope you’ll forgive any inaccuracies), and I stepped outside to call the hospice people to see if they could give me further guidance on her care in this new situation of unconsciousness. Very shortly afterward somebody came out to get me and tell me the end appeared to be coming. I came inside and she breathed her last. Our children started arriving very quickly and we watched her gradually grow cold. In time, people came to take a report and other people came to take her away.

She’s gone. The love of my life, the mother of my children, the lovely woman who shared everything with me is gone. I’m beginning to feel the permanence and the separation already. The family has rallied around to keep my mind occupied and that has been very comforting, but it’s quiet and late now and I feel very alone. All the kids are coming to Nevada this week and my mom is coming next week and the company will be helpful, I expect. But I also know this next little while will be excruciating. But I’ll survive it somehow and so will the kids and other family members who love Shannon.

I got her computer out this afternoon and logged into her Facebook account to let her many friends know what was going on. I’d like to share what I wrote here:

— Start of Facebook quote —

This is Shannon’s husband Michael.

I’m devastated to announce Shannon’s death this morning from acute myeloid leukemia. She passed away at 9:37 PST this morning, February 2, 2014, surrounded by her siblings, our children, and me.

Shannon spent the last year fighting this difficult disease. She was diagnosed on February 21, 2013. We spent the majority of the year at the City of Hope in Duarte, California, where she received a stem cell transplant in May. Unfortunately, her leukemia returned in early August, and she spent the remainder of 2013 receiving regular chemotherapy treatments to keep her in remission while we waited for a second stem cell transplant. She was hospitalized again on December 26 with pneumonia. After a few weeks of treatment near our home in Nevada, she was once again transferred to the City of Hope, where we learned this past Wednesday that the leukemia had spread from her blood and bone marrow to basically fill her body. At that point, our fight was over. She was put into hospice care on Friday and she passed away peacefully in her sleep today.

Shannon was a gifted person in many ways. She loved and was loved by all. She befriended those who had no friends. She served those who needed help, no matter who they were and no matter what they needed. She dedicated her life to caring for others and she has accumulated a large group of lifetime friends everywhere we’ve lived. The people who love me do so because they first loved Shannon.

We celebrated 35 years of marriage this past December 28. Shannon was the finest wife and mother and the sweetest companion I could have ever wished for. Her dedication to service started in her own home. She spent her life making our children and me happy in every possible way. I have lived a life of great contentment because of her.

Our past year has been one of happiness and joy for me as we have been privileged to spend all our time together. She took my hand and walked down the difficult path of the cancer patient without complaint, without showing the true level of her pain, and with complete devotion to me. Some of the sweetest moments of my life have been spent here on the hospital grounds during her attempted recovery as we walked hand in hand through the gardens, talked about everything under the sun, and just enjoyed being together and in love. She continued to love and serve me to the end and her calmness these past few days about her imminent death has given me the strength to accept what had to be.

Per Shannon’s request, there will be no funeral services. We were blessed to be able to spend time with our family over the past few days to say our goodbyes and express mutual love. Extended family and friends are spread out all over, making it difficult to gather in one place to pay respects. I request that, instead of attending a funeral for Shannon, her friends honor her memory by befriending someone who needs a friend, serving someone in need, and expressing your love for your family in word and deed.

Many thanks to the numerous people who have reached out to us during this difficult trial. We love each of you and hope you join our family in finding peace and happiness in the memory of this wonderful woman, Shannon Morrow.

— End of Facebook quote —

I’m spending one more night in the Village. Tomorrow morning, we pack up and head home without Shannon. I hope the children are okay. They’ll always be our children, but they’re not children anymore; they’re adults who are standing right beside me as we grieve the loss of their mother. Each one has spent a significant amount of time comforting me and holding me. How I love each one of them. I haven’t lost everything. Together, Shannon and I brought these four wonderful people into the world, did our best to teach and train them and make them feel loved and cared for, and then let them go to amaze us with their talents, creativity, and capacity for good. Each one is a wonderful person and all will carry a part of Shannon with them. They’re a living tribute to her goodness and love.

This will be my last daily update. Please remember Shannon in your hearts. She is worth remembering. Personally, I’ll never move on, but I will move forward and keep my commitment to her to live happily. I invite each of us to make and keep that same commitment. I love each one of you and treasure the support and love you’ve given us both during this past year.

I love you, Shannon Morrow. Please be mine forever.



Thank you, Shannon, for everything you have been to me. I’ll miss you terribly. I already do. But I promise to be happy and to love you forever.

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