June 17, 2013, - 10:28 am

MUST READ: A Military Father Says His Last Good-Bye

By Debbie Schlussel

Father’s Day is over, but this “leftover” is very much worth your time. I don’t always agree with writer Mitch Albom, but his Father’s Day column, yesterday, on the life and good-bye of Lt. Col. Mark Weber is a must-read. It will put a tear in your eye. I saw Lt. Col Weber on TV and heard him on Albom’s Detroit radio show, but even if I had not, I’d still have been extremely touched by this. You’d have to be a block of ice not to be. The beginning of the end:


Lt. Col. Mark Weber and With His Wife and Kids

Fathers are often bad at good-byes. Some find them awkward. Some find them silly. Some just figure, in their work-focused way, that there will always be time for one later.

Mark Weber was an exception. He had a long chance to say good-bye. He was a career soldier, a lieutenant colonel in the Minnesota National Guard, awarded the Bronze Star for heroism. In 2010, he was on his way to a high-level position in Afghanistan, under personal request from Gen. David Petraeus.

He stopped to get a physical. And everything changed.

Tests showed, astoundingly, that 75% of Mark’s liver, the surrounding lymph nodes and intestines were strewn with cancer. Although he’d felt fine, he was only 38, and he had been running several miles a day, the doctors shook their heads.

Read the rest.

Buy Lt. Col. Weber’s book, “Tell My Sons: A Father’s Last Letters.”

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7 Responses

I bless Colonel Weber. I bless his family. There are still American men out there.

That said –

What I want to know is why is America still sending National Guard troops overseas to fight wars the U.S. Army is Constitutionally designated to engage? In my humble estimation Washington seeks to use up all the good men in the fifty states, and not their own soldiers. Like hunting out all the genetic studs to weaken the herd.

And I question how many tours Col. Weber deployed for; and if on those tours he came in contact with Cancer causing agents.

Jack on June 17, 2013 at 11:20 am

No one knows why some people get terminal cancer after a lifetime of staying fit. Its a shocking story! But it also reminds you of the wisdom, love and courage our fathers exemplify. The death of our fathers only heightens our appreciation and esteem for them.

I hope Lt. Col Weber’s kids come to realize they have a had a great Dad – something that needs to be remembered for the rest of their lives and for all of us, the need to show gratitude to our fathers should be every day of the year, not just one day in the summer.

No – I differ with Debbie that its the beginning of the end! Our parents live on through us and death doesn’t end the relationship, it simply changes it. They’re still with us and I really believe it. Its never a “good-bye” and their father is wrong – there’s more reason to be closer to one’s parents than ever knowing they want to see their children be happy and have the lives they deserve.

Just one of the many reasons to honor our fathers.

NormanF on June 17, 2013 at 11:57 am

I read this yesterday, and I rarely read Albom. I was very moved by this. I lost a close friend on Saturday from lung cancer. She was 52 and never smoked a day in her life. She was diagnosed this past February because she was starting to have difficulty breathing while she taught her Yoga class. She started chemo and radiation to combat it, but it ended up literally eating her alive. It spread everywhere, including her skin. It reached her brain in late April and she died Saturday in the care of hospice. Once it reached her brain dementia set in. In the end she had really no idea who her family was…It has been a horrible 4 months, and might as well be a sudden death because the family never really had the chance to come to terms with it.

My friends parents both died very young, also with cancer. Through this particular experience, I have been mortified to learn of the stigma associated with lung cancer. People assumed she smoked, did not take care of herself, and blatantly say things aloud that should be kept to themselves.

I believe that if we carry the gene, it is what it is. I have learned from this that we have apparently learned to discriminate against lifestyles.

I am glad this man had the time with his children.. Wonderful, touching story all around.

sharon on June 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I found the piece touching. There’s no way I’d react like that were it to happen to me – I couldn’t begin to witness the pain that others would experience in such a situation. At best, I might make my farewell posthumous and in writing

Infidel on June 18, 2013 at 3:07 am

Life is so wierd and the older I get,the more I notice the absurdities.

Here’s a guy,livin his life,feelin fine and a routine doctor’s exam turns his life upside down.

One day you’re yellin at the kids and takin out the trash,the next day you’re makin you’re final plans.


That’s why I’m afraid to go get a check up.I’m 55 and i don’t need to hear anything like what his doctor told him.
It seems to me that as soon as you find out you have something,you go downhill fast.

ebayer on June 18, 2013 at 4:03 am

His family and America were so fortunate to have him if only for a short time. Beautiful Debbie. Thank you.

Naomi R on June 18, 2013 at 9:07 am

This is why we must stand up now.

Pray Hard on June 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

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