Cindy Delano, of Dodge Center, died Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in a room full of people she loved, and who loved her. She had just turned 54.

Cindy Rae Johnson was born Sept. 2, 1965, the daughter of Barb and Lionel "Shorty" Johnson. She graduated from Dodge Center High School in 1984.

She married Mick Delano in 1985. They had two daughters, Cortney and Brittaney, and later divorced.

Cindy was a born caregiver, with a heart for others; it only made sense that she would become a nurse. She worked at Mayo Clinic for several years, then did private care so she could still attend all of the girls' activities. She never missed a game or concert.

The Delano house was the one their friends went to, and Cindy loved being a mom to them all.

But eventually, it was the job she loved that was her downfall.

Like so many people - those you know and those you don't know - Cindy struggled with addiction to opioids, prescribed to her after a back injury. She worked hard through rehab programs, but much of the damage had been done.

In the end, her body simply couldn't fight any more, and she slipped away.

Cindy's love for her family never wavered, even as she worked to control the disease that confronted her on a daily basis. Her face lit up when she saw her grandchildren, even on her darkest days. They were her light and her joy.

We would ask that those who wish to pay tribute to Cindy do so in their own private way, by refusing to ignore problems and by bringing to light the need for more resources for mental health research and treatment. If you can give one person a sense of hope and caring, it would be a gift to the family.

We write this not to dishonor her memory, but to shine some light on an illness that is taking the lives of far too many. If we allow shame, guilt, or embarrassment to turn sicknesses into a dark family secret, hiding in the shadows, everyone loses.

No one wanted to be healthy more than Cindy. She just didn't know how - and she didn't want to make anyone worry about her. Our comfort now is that she is no longer fighting, no longer afraid, no longer hiding.

Cindy is survived by her two daughters, Cortney (Brad) LeVan and Brittaney Delano (Gabe Fate); three grandchildren, Cooper, Rory and Emma; her mother, Barb (Ron) Post; two sisters, Diane (Bill) Thiemann and Brenda Peterson; two brothers, Jeff (Kelly) Johnson and Rick Johnson; and many cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her father, Shorty; and two brothers, Steve Johnson and Scott Johnson.

Her funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church in Claremont, with the Rev. Doug Walters officiating.

Visitation with the family is an hour before the service.

Memorials are preferred to the family.