By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Sharing the Journey from Bereaved to Shining Light Parent
Wilma Fellman's validation with her son Jeff through Mark Anthony

Wilma Fellman's validation with her son Jeff through Mark Anthony

  • Posted
    • Dec
    • 5
    • 2023
by Elizabeth Boisson

Jeff and his wife, Jasmine, Mark Anthony

Jeff, my 42 year old younger son died 4 years ago, on Mother’s Day weekend. He was larger than life, touching everyone he me, as evidenced by the 600 people who attended his funeral. He was a hand full to raise and it never seemed to end. A bright, extremely verbal young man, he also battled learning disabilities that required him to learn coping strategies to get through the challenges of school. Not surprisingly, he hated school.  I advocated for him throughout the painful 12 year process and breathed a sigh of relief when he found himself in a career he loved, with a wife he loved and two daughters he loved. Done deal.

At 36 he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Neuroendocrine Tumor Cancer or NET Cancer. Good news/Bad news:  It’s manageable.  It has no cure. And so began a 6 year battle with this “manageable cancer” that meant weekly blood tests, shots, medicines, procedures and scans.  Not new to challenge Jeff met this new one head-on. He’d be sick to his stomach, driving to a business meeting, pull off to the side of the road and vomit, and continue to the meeting.  He’d pick up the girls after school, following a day spent in chemo. He spoke to groups of young adults on the importance of things like disability insurance and life insurance even at young ages. He taught martial arts to police departments, adults & kids and competed himself. He owned a gift store and managed it with a partner. He loved planning trips with his wife and kids. He LIVED!  He lived with all his being! Nothing could take him down!

I was a part of his support system.  We were called “the Tribe” by the cancer center because many of us attended each and every meeting with him.  It was probably annoying for them to have to find places for all of us to sit but over the years they came to appreciate that we were all in this together. They commented that they had never seen as devoted a family as ours. Some folks were there by themselves which hurt Jeff to his core.

I’m a former high school English, Speech and Debate Teacher, a former Counselor for challenged adults, and a Writer....but I also told myself that if I’m a good-enough mother...I can keep him alive.  If the Tribe keeps our eyes on the prize, he will get better and defy the odds. Second and third opinions, traveling far to discuss new procedures and clinical trials became our life. I refused to see Jeff as he was, skinny and pale. I refused to think about the what if’s. We pushed on.

Jeff died with all of us in the room 6 years after his diagnosis.  He was barely speaking, in horrific pain, and suddenly grew silent. This was it, we were told. We waited. We were past the pain, past speaking, just waiting.  With his adoring wife by his side stroking his face and head, he slipped away. And although we were waiting all day for this to response was to scream, “Somebody help him.  He can’t breathe.” My baby was gone. The battle was over. Cancer had won after all.  Maybe we didn’t do enough? Maybe I took something while pregnant that caused this cancer? Maybe if we had just......  I was angry. I spoke with a religious leader and demanded answers. I was told that “Cancer is science.  It’s not personal.” It felt personal. We were being punished for something.

It’s now 4 years later and I recently heard about the HPH group. I attended a special evening with Mark Anthony on December 5th and listened as he spoke with other parents. Then I FELT Jeff! Mark was speaking with me.  Jeff was speaking with Mark! Mark began to state very specific facts that were sooooo Jeff! I started to shake. My baby was here tonight!  He was cracking jokes that made Mark say Jeff was “quite a character” and he’d like to have a beer with him! That IS Jeff.  Jeff told Mark about his grandparents greeting him...and his grandma’s obsession with purple, something she was famous for! Jeff told Mark I was a writer! That all my daily issues with electronics are Jeff doing as fooling around! YES! That IS my boy!

He told Mark to tell me he’s ok now.  He wasn’t deteriorating, but rather shedding this body to move toward light. The specifics that Mark told me were undeniable. Jeff was here tonight. I couldn’t stop shaking for nearly 2 hours following this event. This was life-altering for me. I miss Jeff with every breath I take every single day. But I also believe he needed me to know he is ok and still has his amazing sense of humor! He wants me to get outside more and spend time where I love to be. I will do that. I will smile as I do that. I will never stop missing him...but I will also never stop smiling.  MANY thanks to HPH for this opportunity of a lifetime, and bless Mark Anthony for sharing his gifts. 

~ Written by Jeff's Mom, Wilma Fellman

Please watch the YouTube video by clicking here.  

Support Us
Scroll back to top