Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given theall clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metasticized to other areas.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My angel

The day that I prayed I would never see has come. Cari passed away this afternoon. It occured peacefully and comfortably in our home. I want to thank all of you who have followed her blog. You have been a source of comfort and strength for my wife through her long struggle with cancer. She started this blog a few years before her cancer diagnosis simply out of curiosity. It is amazing to see how this has developed into such an important aspect of her life.

I've had her blog entries converted to books dating back to her first one in 2005. Each of our children will receive a set. It is only fitting to close with Cari's last words left for our three beautiful children.

Cari's words:

My dearest Ella. I just want you to know that you are the sweetest little girl in the world. You always bring a smile to my face with your bright eyes. You also have a very giggly laugh that I just love to listen to. You are very funny! Also, you are very determined, and can certainly hold your own when it comes to your brothers. You played laser tag the other day and loved it! I love you so much.

My lovely Max. Just like your brother and sister, I love you so much. Such a sensitive big boy you are. You used to cry because you didn't want to get your hair cut because you didn't want to lose your curls. You always look so handsome with your sweaters and other clothes. I can't wait until you start kindergarten and show everyone how smart you are. And you are always so helpful...especially when it comes to setting the table. I also love how you 're always hugging your sister.

My dear Cameron, you are my first born. Oh how you used to cry. That's because you were a mama's boy. I love you so much. There are several books that I want you to read. They are in the reading room. For when you are old enough to read them. I'm very excited about you getting into the gifted program. You are so smart. You have also been so sweet helping me out when there were things I couldn't reach when I was in my wheelchair. You've also been doing great in track and at football camp.

And for all my kids, be nice to everyone.....especially each other.

This letter was left on her computer for the kids. She wrote it just a few weeks ago. Again, thank you for all of your support and please continue to pray for our family.



At 1:46 AM, Anonymous Sarah said...

cCari has inspired me to put 150% of my love into my family as I could see she did the same with yours. Cari was an amazing, inspiring, loving woman and I know that will shine through in your children. Everyone could see how much you love her Melvin. I will send you prayers of strength and love to get through the next phase of your life. Cari's love has touched so many and will continue to do so forever. My heart goes out to you and your beautiful family.

At 5:33 AM, Anonymous Sally said...

There are no words to express my feelings. Our sadness here is great. Cari was such a courageous fighter, just unbelievable. The help and support from you, her mom and dad, your neighbors and friends has been amazing. The prayers on your behalf are like nothing I have ever seen before, and gave all of us strength as we followed her long journey, knowing that God sent her the best people to surround her. Now she has the best gift, peace with her God. No more suffering for her, just for us left behind. May God also grant all of you peace in the coming days, weeks and years at this most difficult of all times.

Love and Prayers,
Aunt Sally

At 6:15 AM, Blogger Fantastic Four said...

Melvin- Our prayers are with you and your family as you go through this difficult time. Please know that we are here for you and the kids whenever you need us! Cari was such a wonderful person and inspired us all, she will never be forgotten! We pray for peace during these difficult times ahead and may God bless his new angel. Love- The Sanneman's

At 7:26 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

Ashford family, God has used Cari to change her little part of the world for the better and forever. No one that knew her, either in person or as simply an online entity, will not be touched by her never-say-never spirit. Cari ran her race here on earth as to get the prize! (1 Corin 9:24) Now she can rest as God's faithful servant and watch her family run their races. All our love, The Moteberg Family (Kimberly from Spa)

At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is so much to say yet words escape me. Although I never got to know Cari well "in person" I felt that I came to be a good friend through her blog. I feel privileged to have spent the past few years with her. She was one of the world's best. Thank you and your family for allowing your lives to be opened up to us. This blog is her legacy to the world, and she has touched and changed each of us that has seen it. May you all find a way through this darkness with the love of family and friends.
My love to all of you,
Cousin Debbie

At 7:53 AM, Blogger connie and rob said...

Melvin, We are praying for strength for you, for Max, Ella, and Cameron, for your families, and for all the friends of Cari who, like me, are devastated that she's gone from this Earth. Love, Connie Bonnie

At 7:56 AM, Blogger IrishMommy said...

Our prayers are with the entire Ashford/Spitz family. Cari loved the song Imagine and it's about dancing with Jesus - I have to believe that is what she is doing now! You are an amazing husband and father. Thanks for sharing Cari's letter. She has touched so many hearts!

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you,your beautiful children, her mom, dad and family. Cancer was what brought Cari and I together, and the strength and love she showed through her fight never ceased to amaze me. She taught us all so much, how to be courageous in the face of uncertainty, how to love with all our heart, how to live life to the fullest, and how to laugh and enjoy even the smallest things in life. May God bless you and your family and give you peace. And know that she will always be looking down upon you as your beautiful angel.
Nancy Anderson

At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May God's peace embrace the Ashford/Spitz family as you find your way through this time.

A song came to mind that reminds me of what Cari might say to comfort all of you.

Mark Harris - Wish You Were Here
From the album The Line Between The Two

I wanted to tell you how closely I've kept
The memories of you in my heart
And all of the lifetimes that we had to share
Live even though we're apart
But don't cry for me
'Cause I'm finally free
To run with the angels
On streets made of gold
To listen to stories of saints new and old
To worship our Maker
That's where I'll be
When you finally find me

No don't you be weary cause waiting for you
Are wonders that you've never known
Just hold on to Jesus, reach out for his hands
And one day They'll welcome you home
And that's when you'll be
Finally free
Finally free

I wish you were here, I wish you were here

And all of the dreams that you treasure
Will soon come together
And that's when your sorrow will find tomorrow
And you will rise again

At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May God hold you, bless you and keep your family high as you experience a new journey. Cari has been in my thoughts and prayers many times throughout her journey. She will not be forgotten. She truely has touched so many lives in so many ways. Hold fast to memories. God bless each of you.

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Kate said...

I imagine Cari, her blond hair flying, running with that huge smile on her face and surrounded by angels. She is strong and free and has no pain, no anxiety, no weakness and no ravaging disease. She is whole and complete once again.

Godspeed Cari, your strength through this fight amazed and humbled me. Your spirit will shine for all of time.

The family will be in my prayers.

Kate Selner

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melvin, you are an incredible man! Your love, devotion and care for Cari and the kids has demonstrated what true manhood is about. Max, Ella, Cameron know, all the days of your lives, that you had a Mom who utterly loved you with all she had. Cari's parents, thanks for your humble, servant hearted care for Cari-you are an fantastic example of how a parent can keep loving kids-even when the kids are an adult. We are praying for an unusual measure of the peace of Christ during these very difficult days.

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am so so very sorry for your loss melvin. i am so sorry.

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Jaye said...

We are continually praying for you and your family. Cari was a great friend to my sister and to me and such a fighter! These words have always helped me in times like these and continue to do so:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melvin and family -

I'm so sorry you lost your Angel. I hope you have some confort in knowing she is with all the other angels and with Jesus she so much loved. Cari was an unbelievable fighter and loved her family so much. She always had loving words for her husband and best fried. Our prayers are with you and the children. Dave and Pat Harry
Franklin, Indiana

At 9:17 AM, Blogger jkhenson said...

Still praying for all of your family. Very, very sorry for your loss. Many hugs and much loving care from God to you all.

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Cari's sister and all I can say is that through our lives together...our love for each other has grown and I am going to miss her deeply. The source of comfort that I do have is that she is in heaven in the loving arms of Jesus...and I will be with her some day too.

Love you Cari....Melvin and the kids too!!

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Lisa Como said...

I met Cari through Woodland Hills just months before her diagnosis and we got together a few times throughout that summer. I also have two boys and a girl who are close in age to your children, and my husband is also a doctor, so we had a lot to talk (commiserate??) about!

My husband and I have continued to follow Cari's journey through the blog and at church -- we had the great honor of praying with her a couple of times at church.

The tears came instantly last night when I read comments that indicated that Cari had died. All of you are in our prayers and in our thoughts as you grieve and remember and learn a new life.

Lisa and Jason Como

At 10:05 AM, Blogger JJ said...

What a tremendous loss. Prayers for the family. My tears are keeping me from saying any more.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Mama Pea said...

Melvin - I have been a silent reader of Cari's blog for some time now. You and your children were blessed to have her in your lives . . . and she was deservedly blessed to have you.

Cari's parents are also angels having demonstrated a parent's love to the ultimate degree.

I know you had huge support from other family members and uncounted neighbors, friends, and acquaintances which is a testament to you and Cari and the children.

My thoughts and prayers are with you through this most difficult time.

At 10:15 AM, Blogger Kim said...

I don't know you all personally. I came to find this blog through her friend Andrea's blog and Cari's story captivated me. I have been following for over a year now and prayed so hard that she would beat this awful disease.

Your little Ella was born on the exact same day as my little guy Preston.

I am so deeply saddened today for you and your children, your families. I know there are no words to comfort at such a time, but please know Cari touched me and made me realize that one must learn to find the light and the positive in everyday because everyday is such a precious gift.

May you find comfort in knowing you have gained a forever guardian angel. God Bless You Melvin, your beautiful children and may God comfort Cari in his arms where she no longer feels any pain.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger unzen said...

With tears in my eyes I am so sorry for your lost. She will be so missed. I pray for peace for the whole family.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Libby said...

Melvin, Cameron, Max and Ella,
Cari blessed so many with her friendship and love for each one of you. We will miss her so very much.
The Peterson family

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Jana said...

I only knew Cari through her blog but it was obvious that she was an amazing wife and mother. I am so sorry for your loss and will continue to pray for your family as I have for the last 2 years. Peace and love to you and yours. Rest in peace, Cari.

At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying for your family to find comfort and healing. I knew Cari only through her blog and I am crying about this as if I knew her in person. That's a testament to what a warm, wonderful personality she had, it just shines through and makes everyone feel like they knew her. A truly sad day.


At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading Cari's blog for quite some time but have never commented-I'm so sorry for your loss. Cari has been in my prayers for a long time and her story and life are an inspiration. I pray that God will fill your family with his peace and comfort.

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I never met Cari, I have read her blog for over a year, and have been inspired by her determination to keep life as normal as possible for her family while fighting for her life. She was an incredible woman and her passing is nothing short of tragic. I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you all.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger TRUTH SHARER said...

Oh - my sweet Cari - now I know I will meet you in heaven one day! I know you are rejoicing in God's presence - happy and whole again - without pain and you have traded His HEM in - for HIM!!!

My heart goes out to you - Cari's family, who are left behind. As sad as you are for her loss - be happy for heaven's gain! She is where she was destined to be - taking hold of her eternal life in Christ!

My loss of my husband only gives me limited knowledge of what it is like to lose a loved one - but I have never lost a child, or a parent.

I will continue to pray for each of you and may God continue to use Cari's life for His good and for His kingdom purposes!

Blessings upon all of you now!

Choosing JOY,
[JESUS - For His Name's Sake]

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusts in Thee.
Is. 26:3 [KJV]

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Caro said...


I found Cari's blog not long after she had started it, and her personality and obvious love for her family drew me in. Even though she was fighting cancer, she always thought of others. She reached out to my sister after my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and continued to pray for her. She was truly one of a kind. I am so incredibly sorry.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Mz.Elle said...

Oh Cari..I am so saddened by this news.

I met Cari through my friend Carolyn. Even though Cari was ill,she emailed me and commented on my blog,trying to get to know me better. She was such a bright
light and I so wished for a different outcome. The world has
lost someone very special.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

I am just one of the legions who silently followed Cari's journey and was really hoping that this would not happen.I, too, have battled triple negative breast cancer. What a wonderful woman!!!I enjoyed her descriptions and pictures of your beautiful children. Repeatedly she mentionned her intense love for and appreciation of you. You will miss her so much. TNBC is so unfair.

At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never had the privilege to meet her personally Melvin but I sure enjoyed her blog entries and hearing about her wonderful kids, her love for you and her family. What a courageous woman and I'm sure she has made you all very proud. I will miss hearing her funny stories and her vivacious spirit. Please know I will be praying for you all and that you are deeply cared about as we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. May you experience HIS compassion and comfort like never before.
Laura in Indiana

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous RP said...

I met Cari on the day of her passing through a friend who was mourning her death. I knew Cari for a minute, and it mattered. Her blogs show me a strong, charismatic, loving woman...someone who'd make a great captain of a team. Therefore, I am making Cari the offical captain of my personal AZ 3-day breast cancer walk. Her name will be @ the top of my breast cancer honoree roster, and she will be named, Captain Cari.

May you find peace and comfort in knowing she has surrendered to her earthly suffering, but her spirit lives.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger BabelBabe said...

am thinking of you all, and wishing you peace and strength.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger mi said...

May you have peace and comfort as you get through this terrible time.

Although I've never personally met Cari, I've followed her blog for years. She was kind enough to comment on my ramblings as well. She was clearly such a wonderful person, and even her virtual presence had a positive influence on people she had never even met. I can only imagine how she enriched the lives of those around her.

Thank you for being kind enough to post this news, Melvin. It can't be easy. I wish you much comfort.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Kelli said...

Dear Ashford/Spitz Family,

We are so deeply sorry and I truly believe that Cari has left her imprint on earth as a person we should all aim to model after and I have no doubt that she will be doing the same in Heaven. Thank you for sharing her with us and may God's embrace bring you strength and peace forever and always.

With love,
Kelli and Brian Cadwell (neighbors)

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Julie Juba said...

Melvin - I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful wife. I will keep Cari and your family in my prayers. May God uphold you with His arms, and provide you with His comfort and peace.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Tim, Nikki, Caleb, Ellery and Anissa said...

Dr Ashford, I am so sorry for your loss. I have followed the blog since I heard about it. Cari seems like a wonderful person and my heart breaks for your family. You are in my prayers. Nicole J. RN, United Station 2300

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Tim, Nikki, Caleb, Ellery and Anissa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Nancy Ingham said...

Dr Ashford & Family,
I'm so sorry to hear about Cari. My prayers go out to you and your beautiful family. I pray for courage and strength in the days ahead.
Nancy Ingham RN Station 2300 United

At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melvin - the Children - Mom and Dad.  Words cannot express my feelings.  My family prays that God grant you peace to endure each new day.  Cari was an Amazing Mom and Wife.  In addition she was an Outstanding Teacher and we love her.  She inspired my daughter on so many fronts and has contributed to what she is today (Nirel).   Please give the children our love and warm wishes.  We will keep you in our prayers.  The 'Morris' Family

At 5:38 PM, Blogger KC said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I knew Cari to be a bright and caring teacher who loved adolescents and their literature.

I know she loved her family immensely, and I'm inspired by the courage with which you all fought her cancer.

Peace be with you. I will continue to pray for you all.

At 5:48 PM, Anonymous Aunt Sylvia said...

Such a beautiful tribute for a beautiful person. We love you very much. All of you, including Cari's dad and mom, are in our prayers. Love Aunt Sylvia

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous steve smock said...

God speed cari

At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. The news was truly heartwrenching. As the mother of small children and married to an amazing man, I cannot even imagine saying "goodbye". Thank you for sharing her letters. So many of us learned from Cari to truly appreciate LIFE. I only met her once (I am Tom and MaryBeth's OC neighbor.), but I have followed her blog for about a year. I frequently found myself reading her "archived" entries because she was truly an inspiration as a daughter, mother, and a wife.
Hang in there. So many people are praying for all of you.

"I'm leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So, don't be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27)

Take care,
Bernice Adair

At 6:46 PM, Blogger daliagoj said...


Melvin-My heart goes out to you,Cameron, Max,Ella and the whole Ashford/Spitz family. Cari was true source of inspiration to many around her. Getting to know her during her tough fight made me better person. She had the most beautiful personality and smiled with her eyes. What a joy to have met her. May her ray of light shine upon your family. She will be missed but never forgotten. Know that we are here to help you in any way we can. Love Your friends and neighbors Dalia Jensen and Family

At 7:16 PM, Blogger Kristin Ott said...

Dr Ashford I have been reading Cari's blog now for over a year and learned so much from her of her strength and fight that I will carry with me. I am so very sorry for you and your family that words cannot express. Thank you for sharing her letters to the children with us. Peace to you and your family.
Kristin Ott Rn St.Johns OB

At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a silent reader as Cari and I have a friend in common and was diagnosed with breast cancer right around the same time.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Shalynne Barr said...

Melvin our heart and tears go out to you and the family. I am inspired by Cari's strength and the courage that she showed. She always thought of every detail, even down to leaving letters for the kids. She was a wonderful example of a mother. The tribute that you posted was wonderful. We will continue to pray for your strength.

Love Ya,

At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melvin, and all of the Spitz/Ashford family,

We are at a loss for words that could possibly express our feelings. I wish that I, and of course Auggie, could have known Cari better- but what we know never ceased (and never will cease) to inspire us. To all of you we send our love and prayers.

Gwen and August

At 8:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for you and your families loss.

At 9:24 PM, Anonymous Marta Gilbert said...

I worked with Cari in New Jersey several years ago. I have been following her blog, and I have been deeply touched by her courage, determination, faith, and her love for her family. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you and your family.

At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am so sorry for your loss! We'll all truly miss Cari! I remember when she first started the blog and I used to read it at work, people thought I was crazy always laughing out loud! She had a wonderful sense of humor! I think I'll remember her most for her faith and her strength! She was an amazing young woman! As always you, the children, and Cari's family are in my prayers.

Love you much, Auntie Nita

P.S.: I tried to call you. I know you're tied up, but I'll try to reach you again soon.

At 10:22 PM, Blogger Marsha said...

Cari's family,

I have never met any of you but I have prayed for Cari daily for over a year since I first "found" her blog. My prayers will continue for all of you as you grieve the loss of this wonderful woman.

At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melvin, Mr and Mrs Spitz, Dana, Scott:
My deepest condolences to you all. Cari is one of the most inspirational people I have ever known! I am so sorry she has left us, but my heart is lighter to know her suffering is now over. I have known Cari since childhood and want all on this blog to know what a truly remarkable person she is. I will keep all of you and in my prayers. Cari, I love you and miss you much already.

At 6:03 AM, Blogger LH said...

I'll miss her.

Love to Cari and to all of your wonderful family.


At 7:42 AM, Blogger Shannon said...

I've been trying to decide what to write. Nothing seems fitting.
Cari was such a neat person in so many ways. She'll be SOO missed. Remember that it is okay to talk about her, and share the memories of her together.

I am so glad Cari wrote letters to each of the kids...they will come to treasure that letter as they grow up.

I will be continuing to pray for the entire Ashford and Spitz families in the months and years to come. Comfort and Peace!

Two songs that may bring you some comfort: Smiling Down, and Wish You Were Here.

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Jeanne said...

I have read Cari's blog for a long time. She was such an inspiration as she kept her sense of humor all the months that she was sick. It has helped me so much to read her blog in my daily life with my own two sons and daughter. I pray every day for you, the kids, and your whole family. Your kids are blessed to have Cari and you.

Jeanne Baldwin, a good friend of Dana's

At 1:45 PM, Blogger TJ said...

I too only became to know Cari by blogging. From the first time I visited her blog, I couldn't stay away. She was such an inspiration and the love for her family was extreme. I will continue to pray for the family. Her last words to her children are so wonderful and inspiring. They were very blessed to have Cari as their mother. I am so sorry for you lose.

At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Through a friend of a friend of a friend, I began reading Cari's blog just after her first diagnosis. My husband and daughter, who often heard tales of your children as well as Cari's bravery and myself are all so very saddened by your family's loss. Please know you're all in our hearts and prayers.

At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family. She was such an amazing and caring person. She touched so many people.

I had her as a teacher for English and reading. I would never have made it through high school or college if it wasn't for her.

I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing the letters and your family's journey on the blog.

Grace Brelje

At 1:40 AM, Blogger wiferhood said...


My heart grieves for your and the children. But I rejoice for Cari because she is safe in the arms of Jesus. Thank you for writing the final post for Cari. She loved you with an uncompromsing love. And you loved her the same. Your marriage was a reflection of Christ's love for His church. If possible, you would have laid down your life to spare Cari's.

God has a purpose for this situation. Although we do not understand why, He has Cari now. But she will live on through your children. Trust God no matter what. Lean and depend on His love and guidance to help you through the days, weeks and months to come.

We love you more than words can express,

Dayna, Little Fred, and Taylor

At 7:36 AM, Blogger RuthieJ said...

I am so sorry to hear Cari lost her valiant battle, but now she's at peace and pain free in heaven. I'm praying for consolation for her family. She was and will continue to be an inspiration to all of us who read her blog.

At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is truly amazing to see how many lives Cari has touched through her blog. She was an extraordinary person who I have always looked up to and I definitely want to live my life by her example. I find comfort in knowing that her and mom-mom are now together in heaven.

Aunt Mary-Beth, Uncle Tommy, and Melvin your stregnth during the last two years is something I truly admire.

Sending myl ove to everyone!


At 10:46 AM, Blogger nan said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. I've been following Cari's blog since I was diagnosed myself with breast cancer last August. She will continue to be an inspiration to me. Blessings...

At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Erin Bell said...

I am praying that you find comfort. God Speed

At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Stephanie Wright Kitchin said...

My prayers are with you and your family during this sad time. I grew up in Oak Park in Richmond which was across the road from Crestale which is where the Spitz's lived. I remember Cari being so kind and having a great smile. I lost a friend on the 14th of Sept. to cancer and he and his wife kept a blog. I am so impressed by your willingness to share your journey with cancer. You children will treasure this forever. Thank you for reminding us how important is it to love one another and to put our trust in the Lord. I just learned of your family's journey, but from the several entries that I have read, your family was full of love for one another and for the Lord. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your blog.
God bless you and your family
Stephanie Wright Kitchin
Richmond, IN

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Beth Fisher Beatty said...

I am deeply saddened for you and your families loss. I went to high school with Cari at RHS and ran cross country and track with her. SHe was a truly vibrant young women! She was like a big sister to me! I had no idea she had been sick. Today on facebook someone posted her blog site and she has received many wonderful comments and prayers to your family on there.She will be greatly missed by all and has truly left a legacy to be proud of behind...What an awesome wife & mother. Praying for you all to find peace and comfort from the good Lord above.

At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Stephen Fasnacht said...

I have not heard about Cari's illness until now. I was friends with her back in high school. She was always sweet and always smiling. Even though I have not seen her in 15 years and little bit of my heart got ripped out by this. Life just is not fair. My thoughts are with you and the kids.

At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was shockedd to read of Cari's passing in our paper in Richmond, IN.. Cari & I graduated together here, and grew up playing soccer, even ran a few races together. Although we had not seen or spoken to each other in a long time, Cari was always a beautiful person, and as I read all the comments, from people that didn't know her personally even... she touched so many lives while she was here, and that is a testament to the kind of person she was. My heart goes out to all of her family & friends, as well as my prayers during this difficult time.

Kristen Alter Cole

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Cynthia Hoens said...


I have known you, Melvin, and Cari, since you were a first year resident in 1997 and getting ready to marry Cari. Cari was teaching Enlgish in South Brunswick. Every time you would talk about her, your face would light up and would simply glow. I knew right then that you and Cari were soul-mates. When you were graduating in 2001, Cameron had just arrived and all of you were heading out to Minnesota...
Over the past few months I followed Cari's amazing blog, thanks to Mike Maurice, (you can totally tell Cari is an English teacher unlike myself) and had a chance to catch up with her via email. Never once did she ever say "I'm done or it's time to give up." She lived for you, her children, and her family. She refused to let that go, despite all of the pain and caustic treatments.

Her tremendous strength and love, simply humbles me. For all the days I get up, grumble about the most mundane things, I will forever stop and think of Cari's smile and amazing endurance.

There are no words I can say to ease the pain of your raw visceral loss. I would be lying if I said time heals all wounds…instead it’s simply a scab. But I do know this…grieving has no set time limit and certainly waxes and wanes. When you feel as though you have nothing left, turn to your faith to carry you through. Hold your children tight, they need know more than ever. Reach out to friends and family anywhere and everywhere, if just to talk. Keep Cari’s journals going; writing is cathartic. Love and prayers surrounds you now and forever.

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Cynthia Hoens said...

Shinning Star
For Cameron, Max, and Ella September 26, 2009

When you walk into the night
take the time to sit and rest
I am the star up in the sky…
look closely now and I will shine

Do not cry
babes of mine
unfortunately it was my time.
I shine brightly in the sky
and watch you all
as nights go by

Since I left you dears,
I am always near
forever there

I feel your love surrounding me
and this remains forever with me
So watch the stars and you will see
that shinning one is only me

Cry not my babies
for I am free
from all of the pain
that riddled me

The sky is my home now
just look and you will see,
that shinning brightest star is me.

But all around me are other stars
we once were down on earth
but now we gather here
as a group together, we light up the night
so you and others won't lose your sight

So as all of you gather under the nights sky,
close your eyes and you will hear a voice that comes from deep within,
softly saying,” I never left you
my little ones and never will, my love will go away, except get stronger as the days pass”

“I am a thousand winds
that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight
on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the
morning's hush
I am the soft uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight.”
May you all find comfort in these words

At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Amy Crowe Secrest said...

I too went to Richmond High with Cari, and didn't know she was ill. I hadn't spoke with Cari in years, but can still picture her beautiful blonde curly hair and wonderful passion for life. I found out about Cari's passing this morning. What an inspiring blog.

"What cancer cannot do...It cannot invade the soul, suppress memories, kill friendship, destroy peace, conquer the spirit, shatter hope, cripple love, corrode faith, steal eternal life, silence courage"

Deepest Sympathies
Amy Crowe Secrest
Gilbert, AZ

At 3:08 PM, Blogger cg said...

Melvin and family

I am heartbroken by your loss, I fell in love with your family through reading Cari's blog over the last couple of years and always looked forward to each one of her entries, photos and stories of her life with you and her children. She will be missed in my home and I wish you and everyone in your family peace and comfort in the days to come.

Thank you sharing her letters to the children with us.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I met Cari through her blog a few months before she had discovered the lump in her breast.
I have talked with Cari through email a few times. Enough to feel as though she were a friend.
I would read Cari's blog while at work. I told Cari that she filled my days with laughter while reading about Ella, Max and Cameron.

Your family has such a void in your life now. There is no way around it. The journey that your family has traveled the past few years have been filled with so many ups and downs. You need time to rest, mentally and physically. My heart breaks for you all. Truly. I know loss. We lost our son, Joshua, 6 years ago.

Trust in God, even on days when you can't utter a word, only a moan from the depths of your soul.

We all will miss Cari.

At 4:37 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

Cari was a wonderful friend to me and she has and will continue to inspire me to be a better mother, friend and wife. She's touched so many lives with her beautiful spirit, her sense of humor and her loving nature.
Melvin, Cameron, Max and Ella and all of Cari's family- you will continue to be in my prayers during the months and years ahead.
I pray that God brings you comfort and peace that can only come from Him.

At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beloved Family of Cari,
What a loss--I am so sorry. . .
May Jesus give you the strength to do the hard work of grieving.
Covering your family with prayer and standing with you in Resurrection Hope,
A Michigan Pastor

At 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was Cari's college roommate at Indiana University. I can remember when I met Cari, she instantly befriended me. Cari was very special to me. I can remember when I first met Melvin in Boston while visiting Cari, the fall of 1995. We talked about what a great guy Melvin is! Cari honored me by making me one of her bridesmaids. And honored me again by being one of mine. I also have fond memories of visiting Cari and Melvin's home in Minnesota back when my husband first got his job with St. Jude, the fall of 2003. Cameron was their only child at that time. I thank the Lord for God's grace poured upon Cari. It is evident that she was surrounded by many loved ones in her final days. I so wished I could have been there, but I know we will meet again in heaven some day and be able to worship our Glorious King together!
With much love, but God's grace alone,
Christy Dowell (Ropp)

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Syd said...

I am so very sorry to read about this. I came over here via another blog written by a wonderful lady who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She too is courageous like Cari. Blessings to you and your family.

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Angela's Kitchen said...

Cari was a wonderful friend. She inspired me to be a better person and taught me to be a better friend. She touched us with her kindness, her humor, her grace and joy. My kids loved her so much - she always made time for them even for the smallest thing... Her love of life and her love of her family shown through everything she did... I feel so blessed to have known her.

Melvin, Cameron, Max and Ella - you will continue to be in our prayers during the years ahead.

At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

may peace be with you

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Rosalyn said...

I too,was pretty much a silent follower of Cari's blog, only commenting occasionally, but totally enjoying and learning from it
I am Cari's Mother-in-Law. My entry is late, because I have only now mustered up enough strength (I wish I had Cari's strength), too read all of these wondeful tributes. I will miss Cari forever. She and my son were perfect for each other. My heart goes out to all of us, but especially to Mary Beth and Tom,I cannot express how deeply sorry I am. I know that no thanks are necessary to you for caring for your daughter or the children, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking care of my son, being there and helping to keep things together with him. No one can ever know how much you have done, or how much of a help you have been.
May it help you to know that I appreciate you, Cari could not have been the kind, loving, strong, courageous,God fearing,spouse, parent,educator,friend etc.... had it not been for the values that you exhibit and instilled in your children. God bless you, you have my deepest sympathy and you will forever be in my prayers

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Cynthia Hoens said...

I hope that the messages left here have left you all with a bit more peace during this difficult transition.

All of the nurses and doctors at St. Peter's University Hospital, in New Brunswick NJ, have asked me your address. Many of them have cards they would like to send with personal notes.

If you could send it to my email address at Cynthia.hoens@villanova.edu or via Facebook everyone would greatly appreciate it.

Love and prayers to all

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous NancyS said...

I'm in total shock. RIP Cari. I will pray for your family and friends and hope to see you one day. I know God has you in his arms.


At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have struggled for weeks to try to think of words of comfort for all of you. The tremendous loss is beyond words, yet I feel Cari's spirit is alive each time I reflect on the photos you have posted.

I followed Cari's blog throughout my own fight with breast cancer. Cari and I were both diagnosed the same month and she was a couple of weeks ahead of me in treatment. I silently (and faithfully) followed her blog postings and she silently (and unknowingly) mentored me along the road to recovery. When Cari relapsed in August of 2008, it rocked me to my core and I reached out and connected with her for the first time via email. In true form, Cari sent me a glorious email filled with positivity. We shared our stories and our hopes with one another. She even posted some photos of my team from the 3-day walk I participated in last year. She also posted photos of Ella wearing the cute "Pink Ribbon" legwarmers I sent.

My family and friends have followed Cari throughout her journey and joined me in prayer for her recovery and comfort. Please know that we will all miss your beautiful wife, mommy, daughter, sister and friend. Cari truly left her mark and the ripple effect of her love, strength and example will be felt for years.

An old Persian proverb reads: "The darker the skies, the brighter the stars will shine." You have many shining stars in your life. Keep watching them and they will guide you through this completely unexplainable part of your journey.

Much love, Dana in Canada

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Phebe said...


I've finally found the courage to say a few words... (learning to take a page from Cari and put on my "BIG GIRL hat")This has been the hardest thing for me, so I can only imagine what it's been like for you and the kids. Having Cari as my sister was the grestest! Thank you for bringing her into our lives. She was just as her name says :CARIng", and not just to family, but to everyone. What a rare quality! Cari's mere presence just wanted you to be a better person, to be more loving and compassionate. She had a way of making you let go of drama, or at least put it on the backburner for awhile, and not even knowing it. What a woman! I smile just thinking about her :) Cari will be forever missed. For you, Max, I have prayed, and continue to pray, my sincerest prayer for your strength and faith. Kiss those babies (and take one for yourself, too) & rest assured that everything will be alright. God has taken control of the situation even before we knew what the situation was. All my love, now and always,

At 2:43 AM, Blogger HearMe2008 said...

Holy Cow!!! This totally inspired me.. The family is definitely in my prayers. I know its been a while since she passed but I just came across her blog today.. I'm so sorry for y'alls loss.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger sprinkles said...

It is now December 2009 so I don't know if anyone is still reading this but I wanted to comment.

I stumbled upon this blog a few days ago and read the last post first. When I learned that Cari had passed on, I wanted to hear her story.

I started at the very beginning and finally finished the last post just this evening.

I never knew Cari but reading through her posts made me feel like she was a really good friend. I enjoyed reading about her family and felt like I came to know them as well.

I knew Cari only through her blog but I can't help crying about this as if I knew her personally.

Thank you for sharing her journey and thank you for also sharing her final letters to her children.

As I said before, I don't know Cari. But her blog has touched me in so many ways. I am on the local Relay For Life committee and will be making a luminaria in honor of her for the 2010 Relay.

I will miss reading Cari's posts and will miss hearing about the family and seeing pictures of the kids as they continue to grow.

Please know that I will continue to keep you all in my prayers. I wish I had something profound and meaningful to say to express my grief and to help you deal with yours but all I can say is that I am so, so very sorry.

Cari was an amazing person who touched many lives.

At 10:09 PM, Blogger Pedro Garcia Millan said...

I hate to break it to you grampa, but the moloch axis demoniacs have taken over your sweet America with a so-called democratic tyranny. I know, i know it's hard to believe that both Democrats & Republicans are one-and-the-same piece of poop, but it be true.

You see, these malignant men & women worship & serve the demon moloch and do his bidding. They blew up a few buildings and killed a few thousand good people and blamed it on some Arabs (90% of which are alive & walking free in the middle east) and thereafter they imposed the Homeland Security Department & passed the Patriot Act to further control the citizenry.

They are also chemically spraying in a grid pattern up in the sky over every major city, thus poisoning us with heavy elements and blaming that on global warming to further tax us with their cap & trade policies.

The time has come for GOOD to STOP Evil because IF Good does nothing then Evil has already triumphed.

I sometimes wonder WHY when i pray to God to wipe off the face of the earth all of the occult (which includes the moloch axis demoniacs obviously) he does NOTHING????? Why do you thing that is grandpa?

Let me know WHAT you think and thank you in advance :)

Have a GREAT new year in 2010.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot believe how a year has past since Carrie's passing. I still visit the site and look and pics. I stil don't understand why a life was taken in her prime, but I know it's not for us to understand. God blesss you and your family and I pray that all of you are doing well.

At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello dear Melvin & children, please write something on the anniversary of Cari's passing and let us know how you are all doing.

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Someone named Phebe has claimed to be Cari's sister, yet she writes a letter addressed to "Max" as if that were her husband's name. She did it twice, so it was no mistake.

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