Roni Schwalbe’s story

At age 65, Roni Schwalbe of Chaska had a beautiful marriage, two adoring daughters, grandkids that worshipped her and a vision of life's precious moments ahead. Cancer wasn't on the agenda, but she accepted the dianosis with grace. When she couldn't swallow, get out of bed or withstand the pain anymore, she received a gift from her family - Ridgeview Hospice.

At age 65, Roni Schwalbe of Chaska had a beautiful marriage, two adoring daughters, grandkids that worshipped her and a vision of life's precious moments ahead.

Cancer wasn't on the agenda, but she accepted the dianosis with grace. When she couldn't swallow, get out of bed or withstand the pain anymore, she received a gift from her family - Ridgeview Hospice.

Duluth was one of mom's favorite spots, perhaps for its endless horizon, rocky cliffs and historic lighthouses, but certainly for time wll spent together.

We know mom's cancer diagnosis was grim. After surgeries, tests and a period of time we called "the calm before the storm," mom learned her cancer had spread. Our adoring dad tirelessly showered her with love and never left her side.

But caring for mom at home got complicated. Managing medications, tenderly moving her to and from her hospital bed and facing scary emergency situations made us all feel uneasy. Treatment was beyond grueling. When mom said, "No more. I'm sick of being sick," we understood. Then we cried.

Her stoic, no-fuss attitude gave us strength to keep it together. The mental, physical and emotional drain gently faded thanks to Ridgeview Hospice. It allowed us to be daughters again, and my dad, a husband without stress or worry.

Peace entered our lives that we know mom felt as well.

Chaplain Helmar was a marvelous confidant mom cherished, and her nurse, Gwen, was a faithful caring angel mom didn't expect. The Marie Steiner Kelting Hospice Home, where mom spent her final days, was everything we needed at the most difficult time in our lives. We believe our mom lived as long as she did because of the loving support from Ridgeview Hospice.

We treasure the honest talks we shared with our mom - about how to face the end. She gave us peace in our hearts we'll never forget.

Roni's daughters, Buffy and Natasha, share memories in honor of their mom:

"Our mom weathered a wicked storm no one deserves. But through it all, she stood firm, guiding us and always shining in the darkness like a lighthouse."

Although a rare, aggressive kidney cancer took her life to soon, she continues to be our beacon of light. To us, she was more than a mom. She was a best friend, caring listener and supportive coach full of endless hugs.

Mom encouraged us to explore and do things together. We traveled as a family often, usually every summer, visiting several states."