You Have a Terminal Illness and You're Going to Die

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Real Estate Cafe LLC

Mitch LarsonYou Have a Terminal Illness and You're Going To Die. Piercing words that no human ever wants to hear. Yet, some of the bravest souls I've known have received a death sentence with unbelievable  strength and determination, which hardly seems human at all.

I was a bright-eyed, pony-tailed, 15-yr old sophomore when I met the handsome hunk on the left for the first time.  He was a senior in high school and the captain of the varsity football team, who practically every girl at Royal High dreamed of dating. I too, secretly hoped for a chance to dance with the hunky monkey, but my glass slipper  was  forever missing.  

Lucky for me, his sister was my best friend, so I was invited to dinner practically every night of the week at their house.  My BFF was the only girl in a family of four boys, so her older brother seemed delighted to have another little sister around to tease and torture. I certainly didn't mind... looking at the hunk hardly felt like torture ;-) 

The hunky boy grew into a handsome Prince and married a stunning Cinderella.  They were blessed with four smart, beautiful children and life was good.  That is until about 5 years ago when he began having some alarming symptoms.  At first, he lived with the annoyances as best he could, but before long, they affected his ability to work.  It was obvious he could no longer hide the debilitating effects of his mysterious illness.

After seeing several  specialists, a devastating diagnosis arrived... my childhood friend has MSA, Multiple System Atrophy.  I had never heard of MSA before, but I know now that it's the mother of all diseases, and a deadly cocktail that no one would ever want to drink.  My friend has a terminal illness and he's going to die. 

My heart aches for him and his entire family.  Few words can describe the suffering they have been through in recent years.  Their financial resources have  been completely depleted from rising medical bills.  They lost their home to foreclosure because he could no longer work.  Worse yet, now he is totally confined to a hospital bed and can barely speak, while the family faces a move this weekend with literally no place to go.

My best friend (his sister) and I are in CA this weekend packing the family's belongings to put in storage.  As of this Sunday, we'll be moving the family into a motel.  Normally, I would never share something so personal... but the need here is so URGENT!  This family will have no place to live as of Sunday, August 25, 2013.  If you happen to know of a single-level home available at a super reasonable price in Southern CA (preferably Ventura County), please call me 541-659-1620.  I'm sick at the thought that my friends will be homeless in a few short days!  Your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated. 

The Larson Family

This is one of my favorite pics of the family in 1996.  Believe it or not, Mrs. Claus (who is stunning) was pregnant with their 4th child in this pic... and after 3 boys, they were blessed with a girl ;-)

You Have a Terminal Illness and You're Going to Die ~ Melinda Peterson


Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Sharon Lee 08/23/2013 04:32 AM
  2. Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate 08/23/2013 10:42 AM
  3. Inna Ivchenko 08/23/2013 05:50 PM
  4. Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner 08/24/2013 03:31 AM
  5. Bob Crane 08/25/2013 09:53 AM
ActiveRain Community
California Ventura County Newbury Park
Active Rain Newbies
The Lounge at Active Rain
Almost Anything Goes
Dedicated Bloggers
ventura county
terminal illness
debilitating disease
urgent need

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Tragic circumstances, yet blessed to have family and friends like you supporting them through this ordeal. There are some NPO's that provide housing services temporarily at very affordable terms. Here's a link to a very fine NPO, so contact them and if they can't help, perhaps they can refer you to another organization that could. God Bless you for your love and support. Best wishes for your endeavors and my prayers to that family during their time of despair. 

Aug 26, 2013 05:05 AM #40
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Melinda, what a terrible situation.  Our sympathies go out to all.

Aug 26, 2013 05:11 AM #41
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives


I understand the compassion and the pain. My husband was also given the 24 hour to live death sentence and people will say, it makes you stronger. The truth is, it rips apart the family and shreds their hearts. The family needs help. Bills continue to mound, even after the inevitable. She will be faced to deal with it for many years thereafter. There is not easy solution. Our society believes in the wrong type of entitlement. It's families like this that suffer the most and don't deserve it.

Aug 26, 2013 06:00 AM #42
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Mel, you're as good a cookie as it gets!    With your blood, sweat and tears, friends like you give hope in an impossibly tragic situation.   My thoughts are with you and your friend's family.


Aug 26, 2013 09:55 AM #43
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Melinda, what a tragic story but how lucky they are to have such a special friend as you are to them.  I hope by now that they have found a place to live.  My thoughts are with them and my hopes that things will improve for them.

Aug 26, 2013 10:06 AM #44
Melinda (Mel) Peterson
Real Estate Cafe LLC - Bend, OR
Curator of Happy Endings

Sharon ~ I know that about you and that's what I love about you!

Thank you Joni ;-)  These are precious people and your prayers are appreciated!

Oh Gayle... my heart is heavy with sadness, I wish there was something more that I could do.  MSA is a cocktail of MS, Lou Gerhigs and Parkinsons.  You know that I personally witnessed the devastating effects of MS with my Mom, but it was easier to handle over the course of 30 years.  My friend is deteriorating quickly, which makes it difficult to fully wrap your mind around it and accept it.  There is no easy path or answers here ;(

Thank you Alexandra.  I've received a few personal emails from lovely rainers in and out of the area offering to help.  It warms my heart ;-)

"I am praying an "angel" will bring a miracle"... Me too, Gary!  Thank you!

Welcome back Scotty... we've missed you!  Thank you for your heartfelt encouragement!

It is indeed Nancy... we're hoping for a miracle... thank you!

Just a few short years ago, my friend was happy, healthy, strong and quite able to support his family... Gary. 

We don't have anything promising yet Kathy, but we're not giving up hope! 

I believe in miracles too Wanda!  Thank you for joining me in prayer for this beautiful family.

Aug 26, 2013 04:40 PM #45
Melinda (Mel) Peterson
Real Estate Cafe LLC - Bend, OR
Curator of Happy Endings

Thank you Tammy.  I've had little time in the past week to read any posts on AR, so I have no idea what you're going through.  You can bet I'll be visiting your blog to see what's up.  In the meantime, I'm sending love and prayers your way too ;-)

Inna ~ Thank you so much for the re-post!  If we can get the need out there, I know someone can help meet it... I believe!

Thank you for taking the time to read this post Karen... and especially for the reblog.  This couple went to church regularly for years but they had to stop due to his condition and several moves.  We're hoping that perhaps enough people will see the posts and can somehow help ;-)

Helen & Larry, I've received a few calls from people in the area.  Nothing has panned out yet, but we're still hopeful something will.  Thanks for your kind thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by Kathleen (thanks to Karen too).  I was thinking to myself today... if every person on AR donated $1. to this cause, just think of what we could do for this family.  That's the true power of social media... it only takes a spark to get a fire going.

I truly appreciate your thoughts and prayers Geri... and I'll pass them along to the family ;-)

I hear ya Brad... still no place to live.  Southern CA is a very expensive place to live.  Fortunately, this family is getting good medical care from Los Robles Hospital, so they really don't want to leave the area, as it's taken a long time to establish their health care here.

I believe in miracles... Beth.  Thanks for believing too!!!

Bette ~ I haven't done anything that any other caring human being wouldn't do for their friends... but thank you kindly for saying so ;-)

Patricia... The Patron Saint of Real Estate... that made me smile ;-)  Thanks Sweetie!

Aug 26, 2013 05:01 PM #46
Melinda (Mel) Peterson
Real Estate Cafe LLC - Bend, OR
Curator of Happy Endings

Thanks for your heart-felt thoughts Ralph... I truly appreciate them!

I truly appreciate the reblog Bob!  We haven't found a home for these folks yet, but we're not giving up.  

I know what you mean Andrea... words seem trite when the need is so great.  Although, my faith is increased when complete strangers show how much they care.

HiTricia ~ Yes indeed, I'm referring to Royal High School in Simi Valley.  Thank you for reaching out and offering to post this on FB... the family appreciates it too!

I echo your thoughts completely Mary... those three words are very powerful indeed ;-)

Thank you Dana!  There are no solutions yet... but I'm meeting some people, with very big hearts, here for the first time.

I appreciate that Marti.  There's got to be someone out there who knows of a place available for these folks.

Thanks Jane!  They are a beautiful family... inside and out ;-)

Isn't that the truth... Shannon!  Thanks for your prayers.

I appreciate your kind thoughts John!

Aug 26, 2013 05:14 PM #47
Melinda (Mel) Peterson
Real Estate Cafe LLC - Bend, OR
Curator of Happy Endings

Theresa... thank you for all the prayers!  My BFF's name is Theresa too!

So true Travis... although it's never easy to lose a loved one. 

Christi ~ It's easier to count one's blessings when you see the difficult trials this family has had to endure.  

A great suggestion Dorte... thank you!

I completely agree Terry!  I wish they didn't have to worry about that, but that happens to be the cruel reality at the moment.  They're in a motel... praying for a miracle!

Thank you for the link Kimo... and for your kind thoughts and prayers.  I will pass it along to the family.  We have several people looking into various resources available in the area.  

We appreciate every kind thought, word and prayer offered here... Ruiz/Miller Team ;-)

Patricia ~ No one truly knows or understands the depths of despair until you've been there... wading in it knee deep.  You're a woman of great compassion... and now I know why!  Thank you for always shedding light in a sometimes dark world ;-)

Brian ~ Thank you for your sweet thoughts and for your private message of encouragement too!  You truly know how dear this family is to me... and how much I'd really like for them to experience a miracle.  If I had a magic wand... you know I'd wish it all away... in a heartbeat ;-) 

I appreciate that Lora... I wish I could move a few mountains for these folks... they're so appreciative!  

Aug 26, 2013 05:27 PM #48
Adele Tamburo
Weichert, Realtors - Hoboken, NJ
Making Home Ownership A Reality!

Melinda I am so very sorry to hear your story. I wish I lived in California and could help. I hope your plea finds some much needed help.  I lost my husband at a very young age so I can feel your friends pain. I can however pray for everyone. Good luck.


Adele Tamburo

Aug 26, 2013 10:03 PM #49
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I hope this will make you smile.... oddly enough last Saturday when I got home from the memorial service for Ryan I turned to ActiveRain to be destracted and cheered up.  I clicked on face after face of people with wonderful positive attitudes and there you were with this story about your dear friend and her brother and his family.  And in it's own way I was comforted... none of us are ever alone in our grief even in the moments we feel we are.  I'm still praying for your friend's brother and his family. Big Hugs from Georgia for you.

Aug 26, 2013 10:33 PM #50
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

So sorry to hear of your friends terrible illness. How very sad.  Surely there are resources to help them?  Hoping and praying they found someplace to go.  You're such a good friend for them.  Prayers!

Aug 27, 2013 03:39 AM #51
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Aw Mel, it's hard to understand when something like this happens. I send many prayers to the family and I'm so glad you are part of their lives. Keep us up to date...

Aug 29, 2013 01:49 AM #52
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Mel... I'm speechless... at gasp with any thought or thing to say. It's my most dreadest fear and I have lost so many friends this way or another... Blessings, Prayers, good Karma in every direction for all concerned. We, no matter the path as it goes are fortunate though, in our darkest hour, to have friends such as you...

Aug 31, 2013 03:27 PM #53
Melinda (Mel) Peterson
Real Estate Cafe LLC - Bend, OR
Curator of Happy Endings

Adele ~ I'm so sorry for your loss at such a young age.  I'm also deeply saddened for the loss my friends are experiencing too.  I too, wished I lived closer ;-)

You're as sweet as a Georgia peach... Tammy!  Someday I hope we'll have a chance to meet.  Thank you for making me smile today... and every day that I read your blog and comments.  You might live in Georgia... but you've got a heart the size of Texas ;-)

Thanks Jan.  Right now, they're still in a motel while we find them a home.  The tough part is they have such limited resources... and Southern California prices being what they are, it's difficult to find a cheap rental in Newbury Park (he needs to stay there for medical care).

I appreciate that very much Debb.  I hope you had a spectacular time in Colorado... would love to catch up soon.  I'll be in Bend at the end of the month... any chance you might be up there visiting the grandkids?  A rendezvous would be fun.

Oh Rene... me too!  So many have experienced tragic circumstances in life.  I guess it's true, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.  Although, it seems when one is in the midst of such heavy sorrow, it's difficult to see what good might come out of such unfortunate circumstances.  Thank you for your kind thoughts... it put a smile in my heart this morning. 

Sep 01, 2013 03:39 AM #54
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Agent

Mel~ I remember seeing this post, but I guess I didn't read it until now. I love the Christmas photo. Thanks for sharing it with us. I'm praying for the family. May they feel God's love surrounding them during this difficult time.

Oh, I hit the suggest button on this post too. Not sure if it's too late or not, but it never hurts to try!

Sep 18, 2013 06:52 AM #55
1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK
Read your featured post about the website that you're set up to help this family. You're following your heart and I am sure they will be blessed by your efforts.
Sep 18, 2013 11:39 AM #56
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty, Martha Hilton, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Melinda, this truly is sad. I do hope the family finds a home soon!  I will keep your friend and family in my prayers.

Sep 19, 2013 11:32 PM #57
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Melinda, Just read you piece here. I am so sorry. My mom just past away from an incurable disease. It is never easy. 

I spent 5 years in a cancer center and I have many  sad memories of these type of conversations. The diseases are bad enough, but the financial burden that can accompany them is just terrible.

These kind of stories should never happen, we should be able to take care of our sick and not have them loose everything.

Good luck and wishes.

Sep 23, 2013 11:02 AM #58
Judy Kessler

Hi Melinda,
I don't know if you will get this post. I have been sending prayers, messages and even a little money to Mitch and his family You have not updated his condition and I am concerned. I am sure it is not good.
I have been quite ill myself but nothing compared to what Mitch is going thru.
Please post an update or contact me. I really care.

Jul 03, 2014 08:49 AM #59
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Melinda (Mel) Peterson

Curator of Happy Endings
You have me at Hello!
Spam prevention

Additional Information