Posted by: shannynmoore | March 13, 2010

The Bravery of “Life Panels”- Mr. Olbermann R.I.P.

I remember a long-ago winter morning phone call. I was living in Halibut Cove. Winter population:  8.

My father had been in North Carolina while his mother was dying of congestive heart failure.

The phone rang.

“Hi, Pop. How are things there?” I asked and braced myself.

“Well, Honey, I’m an orphan…”

Pop was 50.

The past few months, Keith Olbermann has shared the last days of his father’s life with his audience.  His bravery, passion and insistence about “Life Panels” have helped so many understand the truths about the state of health care in our country.  I marvel at his ability to be cogent.  Would I be able to do that were the day to come?

On the same day I signed my new radio contract I learned my mother’s cancer had returned and was “everywhere”.   These last few months have been difficult.  “Metastasize” is the most horrible word I’ve ever heard.  My admiration for Keith’s ability to teach us the lessons forced upon him is immeasurable.

Today, Keith’s father passed away.

Theodore C. Olbermann, Rest In Peace.


  1. Thanks again for your reporting of Keith’s Father’s death. And we are especially concerned about this new news of your Mother’s health. Many prayers will be sent to you and Javin and all your loved ones this evening.
    God bless you Shannyn.
    Mark Cafeo
    and my Sister, Gloria Cafeo

  2. Shannyn, I am so sorry to hear about your mother. Please let her know that she, your Dad, and you are and will be in my prayers.
    –Jeanne in Texas

  3. All of our prayers are with your mother in her time of need. I hope you are able to spend as much time as possible with her to provide comfort.

  4. Your family is in my prayers as well tonight. God bless…

  5. Keith has been a great inspiration over the last few months for many folks. Here’s sincere hope and warm feelings for he and his sister… He has been given a huge gift inspiring folks they way he has and now we all know where it came from….

  6. Rest well Theodore Olbermann. You & you wife raised a wonderful son. You are at peace now & the pain is over.

    Shannyn, you are in my prayers. I lost my mom to cancer as well. The gift from God was that my son & I were there to take care of her & make sure she wasn’t alone. I had just gotten sober.
    It spite of the inevitable there was a lot of love. That was over 20 years ago & I’m still grateful for the experience.

  7. I’m so very sorry to hear about your mother…it’s so hard for us when our parents become ill. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    also with Keith Olbermann on the loss of his dear father, who fought the good fight…may he rest in peace now.

  8. I’m blubbering after reading KO blog…lost my dad 2 yrs ago…it hasn’t been easy b/c we were really close and he was the last parent to leave me after a long illness and me being his only caregiver. Being an ‘orphan’ has a whole different emptiness from losing your first parent, which was hard enough. Some books that helped me (but brings you to tears no matter how many times you read them) were MIDLIFE ORPHAN & NOBODY’S CHILD ANYMORE.

  9. Sorry to hear of your mother, Shannyn. My father has Alz and is in a nursing home. Looking after my mother as best I can.

  10. You’ll always be God’s child. And your Father, as my late Mother said before she died, “remember me and our good and fun moments. And don’t think just because my body has gone, that I have left you too. My spirit, she said, is still alive and will live forever.”
    Good luck to you my friend.

  11. Shannyn, so sorry to hear about your mom. I will keep her, you and your family in my prayers.

  12. Shannyn, prayers are with you and your family.

  13. Sad news about your mom, Shannyn. My thoughts are with you and with Keith Olbermann.

  14. You made me cry.

  15. I am deeply sorry to hear about your mother Shannyn. Thanx for sharing the link to the blog about Keiths father. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as well and Keith and his family during this time.

  16. Shannyn My thoughts and prayers are with both your family and Keith O at this time.We all do the best we can and move on from there as best we can.Sometimes we can only give hugs and love to people in such pain Bless you and yours

  17. Shannyn, A lovely tribute to Keith’s dad and one I understand. By sharing the end of a loved ones life you enlighten others who may not be able to comprehend that experience. I am so sorry for his loss and deepest sympathy to the family.

    When I shared the story of losing Jenny at 24 it was not for me and it could no longer help Jen but it was with the intent of helping others who may have a similar situation and I know that’s why Keith did it.

    I am troubled by this news of your mom and there is little anyone can say to ease the pain I know you are feeling. My mom died of cancer and there is no easy way to get through it. Stay strong and express your feelings because that is where the healing comes in.

    Please know you are in our thoughts….

  18. It is always sad and very hard on love ones when a parent is sick or dying.

    Shannyn you have internal strength, intelligence and a strong beautiful mind…you will be okay and I’m sure your mom knows and feels your warm love for her.

    Keith O and his sister Jenna are strong and beautiful people. They showed that same strength when their beloved mother died a year ago.

    Both Keith O and Rachel Maddow have been keeping the American people informed through their nightly Broadcasts. Both are fact – finders, great investigators and speak out honestly on the Health Care issues. Both are to be highly commended.

  19. Your Mom is in my prayers, the C word is especially scary because its so damned insidious, my best friend who has been cancer free for 5 years still says everytime she goes in for her checkups she worries thats its somewhere, just lurking, ready to strike again….. My husband lost his Dad at the age of 29 and his Mom at the age of 36… He and I have talked a lot about being the oldest generation in his family and feeling like an orphan… I am envious of those who have their parents well into their own senior years… My Mom is the only parent we have left, she lives with me now and I dread the day I have to say I am an orphan…

    RIP, Mr Oberman..

  20. Breast cancer. Two words when coupled become the most dreaded words in the English language. Followed by that M word.

    Keep your chin up, kiddo.

    Olbermann has done us a great public service by his forceful opinions re health care, death panels and s’error palin. It was on his show where I first listened to you. And hope to continue listening to you on your mother’s journey thru some scary territory.

  21. Just wanted you to know that your mama is always in my prayers. Peace.

  22. almost 11 am monday on the east coast and google cannot find the mudflats blog… nor does your link open it. is she down?

  23. I am so sorry about your mom. My mother died 3 years ago and my other mom, Aunt Midge died last week.
    I hate cancer. I can’t stand the people who would politicize this health care debate.
    If you look at who is railing against POTUS Obama’s plan, they are all rich and able to pay for their health care.The republicans in Congress get their health care for free.
    How many of us regular people can say that???
    My mother’s MD sat with us and drew up a living will before she was released the first time from the hospital. Thank God he did.
    My mother assumed that all would go well.
    It didn’t and her worst fears came true, she was dependent on a vent, would be either in a hospital or Nsg. home for the rest of her life.
    She became much sicker and could have been preserved in a coma, but because of that conversation we knew what she wanted.
    I become furious to the point of hatred when I hear sarah rail against the death panels.

    • Did you watch Olbermann a couple shows back when he was talking about his dad asking him to kill him?
      When he said that the insurance companies were the REAL death panels, I yelled “YES!!”
      That is the truth. Denial after denial for what is ‘medically necessary’. When I heard Sarah Stupid Palin saying that the government will determine who gets care, I said, ‘they already do!’
      My mother fought an insurance company for years for ob services. A woman’s insurance company actually denied her coverage for delivery because it said her pregnancy was ‘pre-existing’ because she had been pregnant before.
      So, I totally agree with Keith. The REAL death panels are the ones who hold the stamp.
      People are going to get sick and die. But no one should lose their homes, their savings or their dignity because of it.

  24. This time is hard, no matter your age. Loosing a parent is just terrible and heart wrenching.

    KO has a strength that he has shared with all of us by the telling of his dad’s story. If just a few can better understand, all the better.

    Know you, your mom and family are in my prayers and thoughts as you move through this. There are not enough hugs, kind words or thoughts to take all the pain away, but hopefully you will find some of these do help you.

  25. Dear Shannyn,
    I am deeply sorry to hear of your mom’s health. I have been thru it all, so, believe me .. I know! My thoughts and prayers to you and your family! Thank you for posting this re: Keith’s Dad. I already left him a comforting msg. What I would like to say here is that you are truly wonderful to be able to do this for Keith while your heart is breaking. May the Lord Bless you both! We are soo lucky and so blessed to have the both of you! Much Luuuuv!! Akiiki (first time to post on your site altho I have always had you in my bookmarks and frequently visit…. I have to… you restore my sanity)!!

  26. Dear Shannyn,
    My mother died from GBM4 (brain cancer) almost 7 years ago. She had amazing insurance (shocker). She also had Alfac for just 6 months and I had no problems what-so-ever with them. I suggest everyone get their cancer policy. It was about $20 a month. But it allowed her to seek alternative treatment that was very expensive.
    What was a shock was the co-pay for her oral medications. The insurance company paid for all but about 200.00. The actual prescription was over $9,000. My husband is a Pharmacist in a hospital. And there is NO EFFING WAY those pills cost enough to make to justify the charge. insurance companies get away with it because it offers a ‘cure’ to cancer. And people will mortgage their houses for these pills.
    My mom’s cancer was limited to just her brain. So, she had moments of lucid thought. I remember we were sitting in the doctor’s office and she read some paperwork that said ‘oncology’ on it. She said, ‘that means cancer! I have cancer??” She had been receiving treatments for about 4 weeks at this point. These moments were few and far between.
    But once she saw an EOB (my mother was an insurance reimbursement specialist for a physician group) for her medications. She started crying. She said, ‘how the hell do people without insurance or money buy these pills?’ She answered herself and said ‘they dont. They die.’
    She was so right.
    So even with her limited abilities, she knew that drug costs were outrageous.
    She was just fine one day and the next she had a brain tumor that fingered over her whole front brain. The day before she was diagnosed, she felt dizzy and said that food wasn’t tasting good. That was the only symptom.
    And her doctor diagnosed her with depression. I demanded a scan because something about her wasn’t right. And the doctor said, the ins. won’t pay for an exploratory scan without..blah blah blah.. I said, do the effing scan. And a few hours later I was staring at the most evil film I ever saw.

  27. God bless you and your family, Shannyn. You are an amazing woman and your mother surely is, as well. I lost my mom to cancer 30 years ago and it remains among my most difficult experiences … but built in me a foundation for great compassion. It’s amazing how that works. I will pray for you, your mom and family.

  28. Ms Moore-
    There’s nothing I can say here which hasn’t been said by others.
    Metastisize IS about the suckiest word there is…

    If it helps , reach up and stick your hand in the breeze from the south…
    It’s carrying warm wishes from SE AK… best wishes for you and all your family for the days ahead.
    Grab hold if you need to…

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