mother's wish is granted
Education high on priority list for former Ripley County resident
Wanda English Burnett - Editor
From the time Sharon (Cox) Klusman was diagnosed with cancer, she
had one hope - to see both of her small sons, Nicholas and Christopher,
graduate from high school. That was in 1993. Recently, Seymour High
School Principal Greg Prange upped the graduation date just a few
weeks for her youngest son, Christopher, and in a private ceremony
from her hospice bed, she was granted that wish
With family members surrounding Klusman, her son in cap and gown,
Principal Prange, along with the schools guidance counselor,
Randy Fife, her final goal was reached as the diploma was granted
in a full fledged ceremony.
Simply not knowing how much time his wife has left, Klusmans
husband Nick approached Prange to see if a ceremony could be arranged.
He was totally impressed with the principals response. You
tell me when and where. Prange told the family. He then proceeded
to get the cap and gown, signed diploma and give a speech with remarks
addressed to the graduating class of 2007, including Chris.
The private ceremony did much more than give a dying mother satisfaction.
It renewed faith in people and brought forth a story of hope and
Klusmans husband Nick told the Osgood Journal the battle of
cancer had been long fought by his wife, who has endured a number
of cancers, surgeries and treatments over the past 14 years. The
Klusmans make their home in Seymour and are both formerly
from the Ripley County area.
Working as a nurse on the surgical floor for the Columbus Regional
Hospital for 31 years, Klusman only gave up her position there when
she could no longer perform her duties. Actually, when cancer invaded
her spine and she couldnt be out on the floor
she was transferred to desk duty. But, 18 months ago, she had to
give up her work altogether. In December of 2006, she told her husband,
no more treatments - this is it. She then resigned that
cancer had won and she would peacefully and as near pain-free as
possible, spend her final days at the Hospice of South Central Indiana
Inpatient Facility in Columbus. There she is surrounded by a host
of hospital family and friends she has made during her
career at the hospital.
They are so good to her, Nick praised the hospice team.
They completed the graduation with pomp and circumstance including
decorations and yes, even a graduation cake! The Klusmans thank
the hospice facility at Columbus, saying they now know first hand
of the important work that goes on there.
Although Klusmans life is slowly shifting, Nick said she told
him, its like Im slowly sailing away...to a different
part of the world. She has a strong faith that leaves her
with no doubt shes drifting toward a better place.
Shes taught us so much, Nick said softly close
to tears, to always be positive...shes planted a seed.
He noted that while his wife expresses worries about her family,
a mothers natural instinct, shes not afraid of
death. Shes ready.
The Klusman's eldest son Nicholas, graduated from IUPUC and is employed
there as a computer technician. Shes real proud of him,
Chris has been accepted at Northwestern University in Lima, Ohio,
where he will pursue a career as an automotive and diesel mechanic.
Unless a miracle of greater proportions than any doctor could perform
transpires, his mother will not be at that graduation. But, one
thing he knows, shell be there in spirit - in the hearts of
all of her family.
Klusman has a sister, Pam Johnson and brother, Tony Cox, who live
in the Osgood area and two sisters in Versailles - Carol Rudolph
and Cheryl White. Her mother, ImaJean Cox Cook, lives in the Osgood
Sister-in-law, Marilyn Cox of Osgood, said, Shes one
of the best people I know. Even while she was going through everything,
she still put her family first. She explained that as a nurse
who had seen numerous oncology patients, Klusman knew what was happening
to her own body and would gently tell family members what to expect.
She is incredible.
Klusman never lost sight of the importance of education as she struggled
with cancers that would eventually invade her entire body and leave
her immobile in a hospital bed. She graduated from Jac-Cen-Del High
School in 1972 and went on to nursing school in Columbus. Her husband
is a graduate of South Ripley.
Lying in her bed she can breathe a sigh of relief as she gazes at
her youngest sons photo as he proudly clutches the coveted
diploma. Education is a top priority - even as Klusman slowly leaves
At this time of year when Mothers Day is celebrated followed
by numerous graduation festivities, one mothers love, a principals
quick response and the love of family and friends, will be a story
that will long be remembered.
Sharon (Cox) Klusman is surrounded by her family from
left: son Christopher, who graduated from Seymour High
School a few weeks early in her hospice room, husband
Nick, and eldest son Nicholas, who has graduated from
IUPUC. Klusman's dying wish was to see both of her sons
graduate from high school. When her cancer progressed,
Seymour High School Principal upped the graduation date
for her youngest son last week.