By JAY LOVENGEAU, Associated Press ReporterThe family of a woman who battled breast cancer is sharing a story of how the disease took a physical toll on their marriage and how they survived.
Larkin Love Larkin, 63, was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in December 2015.
She said she began feeling ill at night in December and was hospitalized in May for a week before her death.
The hospital told her it was due to a “stress-related disorder.”
The couple’s daughter, Laura, who was 12 at the time, and their granddaughter, Ella, now 14, attended Larkin and Love’s memorial service Tuesday.
Larkin told the crowd the family is grateful for the outpouring of love from friends, family and strangers who helped them through her illness.
“My heart is so full, but it’s been a very difficult, difficult journey for us,” Laura Larkin said.
“I can’t believe this happened to us.
I know it’s not the first time that we’ve had to go through this.
We are very blessed that we have had such support.”
Larkin was diagnosed at age 35 with stage 4 breast cancer, which she says she fought for over two decades.
She lost the use of her legs in 2012 and has since struggled to work.
She said her cancer diagnosis had a lasting impact on the relationship, and the couple have spent the last eight years in mourning.
Laura Larkin Larkin says her mother had been battling with breast cancer for the last decade, and said it was hard to leave her husband, who had battled the disease for the past 40 years.
“It was hard for her because she was the reason that I had so much strength to do this and not have it,” Laura said.
“She was a fighter and a fighter was not going to let her go without fighting.
She was a warrior and a fight was going to come.”
Laura Larks father, Ray Larks, said he is grateful to the people of Washington who shared the love and support for Larkin.
“This was just about the love of my family,” Ray said.
Larks husband, Robert Larks Sr., also served as a lieutenant in the Army during the Vietnam War.
He was stationed in South Vietnam during the war and is now a retired Army colonel.
Ray Larks says he has spent years trying to support Larkin financially.
“We’re trying to figure out how to help her,” he said.
Larks’ mother died in 2014, and his mother and sister, who live in South Dakota, are battling breast cancer.
“I think we have lost the support of our entire family,” Laura says.
“The family is in mourning.”