The Aulger family of Texas had much to celebrate last Christmas. Mark Aulger, 52, father of four, had just been told he beat colon cancer. In a home movie on Christmas morning, Mr. Aulger is shown on video playing guitar, providing festive music for the Christmas morning celebration. In the video, Diane Aulger, 31, is very pregnant with the couples fifth child, a child that would be born two weeks early so that her father could meet her before he passed.
Mark Aulger, after being told he beat cancer, was admitted to the hospital on January 3, unable to breathe on his own. Doctors informed him that the eight months of chemotherapy he went through ravaged his lungs and was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. “We thought he could get on steroid treatment and oxygen and live for years,” Mrs. Aulger said. On January 16th, doctors told the Aulgers that treatment would be fuitle. “He was awake and alert, himself. I really didn’t believe the doctor [at first].” Mrs. Aulger said. “It’s basically like his lungs were soaked in concrete. They couldn’t inhale or pass oxygen throughout the body, he was in essence, suffocating to death.” The doctors informed Mr. Aulger that he had about a week to live.
The next day, doctors came in and asked Mrs. Aulger when she was going to have her baby. On January 18th, in a delivery room that was larger than normal, Mark Aulger rested in his hospital bed, there for moral support as his wife delivered their fifth child, Savannah Aulger. Mark was the first person to hold little Savannah after she was born. Mr. Aulger’s oxygen levels were quite high, so he took the advantage held his newborn daughter for 45 minutes. Mrs. Aulger said, “Him and I just cried that whole time.”As Diane recovered from giving birth the next day, Mark tried to hold his daughter again, but was only able to last about a minute. “He just couldn’t take it.” Mrs. Aulger said.
Mr. Aulger later slipped into a coma. Whenever Savannah cried, Mark would shake his head and moan. A few times, Mrs. Aulger placed Savannah on her dad. “I put her on him when he was in the coma a few times and his hand would move toward her.”
On January 23rd, surrounded by his wife and children, Mark Aulger passed away in his hospital bed, holding his baby girl in his arms. “The kids still go on as if dad is really still here. Mark was a very funny guy,” Mrs. Aulger said. “My kids still tell jokes how they would when he was around. He would have been a wonderful daddy to Savannah.”