Tuesday, April 7, 2009

LIFE


A little about my life:
I felt the need to write some of my thoughts to you. I did tell YOU to try writing your feelings down so I am going to try.

I don't claim to understand life and why things happen. I do feel it is a waste of time to try to figure it out or make sense of any of it. I do know we are given choices. It is up to each and every one of us to choose how to respond to what life gives us. I have told you before that I don't believe in passing judgment on another person. I try very hard not to do that. Am I perfect? NO...

I grew up with a very ill Mom and watched her go through hell/pain all my life until 1987 when cancer took her away from me. The greatest gift she gave me, other than life, was that she showed me strength. She fought for her life when she was only 22 yrs. old to be able to raise her 3 children. Not only did she raise us but she was able to meet all 5 of her grandchildren. She prayed to be able to raise her children. We saw her go through so much pain and humiliating situations but she persevered. For whatever reason she had to die in excruciating pain. Fair? Not hardly. A purpose or a reason for it?????? Maybe someday I will know the answer. All I know is her strength gets me through every difficult situation. I heard her once, after she had passed away. She told me "Kelli, don't you know I am always with you?"
I had the most wonderful brother anyone could ever ask for. He was my best friend, my brother and my rock. He too showed me the meaning of strength and faith. He fought until the bitter end. My sister and I were blessed to be present with him during his last 2 weeks and care for him. What a blessing for us. It was the best time my sister and I have ever spent with one another. Strange isn't it? I believe that was a greater power at work.

Then there was good ole Dad. He was so much like what you describe yourself before your injury. He lost his ability to function to alcoholism. Prior to their divorce my Mom always knew he would find a way to make ends meet or things work. He could do anything. Mechanic, carpenter, plumber, electrician, truck driver and anything else he set his mind to. It was difficult for him being married to my Mom with her so ill all their married life. And of course his alcoholism.

He became unfaithful to my Mom who was incapable of meeting his sexual needs, as if she didn't feel bad enough, right! She had a colostomy on one side of her belly and a ureterostomy on the other side of her abdomen. She had to wear 2 bags for her bodily functions. She really felt feminine. Then Dad left her for a woman 20 yrs. younger than her. I listened to my Momma cry every night for what seemed like years. She did overcome though. Strength, determination and faith!

Dad, his alcoholism, smoking, genetics and fate caught up to him. He was living on the street more or less in Kansas City. He was a pitiful site. So my Uncle decided "we" needed to do something. We, really meaning ME. Somehow I was fortunate enough to find a social worker at the Division of Aging that bull shitted the king of bull shitters and he was put in a nursing home in Kansas City. It was an awful place but he had a roof over his head and food regularly. Then my Uncle decided to move my Dad back to our home town. Not only did he move my Dad back but he moved his new found nursing home girlfriend back to our home town. She is a another story.

He kept drinking of course but his brother and sisters felt better knowing he had a roof over his head, food to eat and they could see him. Then he found out he had throat cancer. I was again blessed with the ability to care for my dying parent. Throughout those weeks many old wounds were healed between us. We had serious talks and many laughs. I was right beside him when he took his last breath.

Yes, I have lost 3 of my closest family members and I feel blessed to have been with all 3 at the end of their lives. Would it have been easier to have been hundreds of miles away, my sister says it isn't easier. I have to take her word for that. I feel so fortunate to have been with all 3 at the end. I was able to care for them, talk with them, talk to them and to forgive many things.

I guess I have seen excruciating, under medicated pain and felt the helpless and hopeless feeling. I have seen them suffer needlessly and inhumanely. However the lesson I learned was how strong my family was and continue to be. I have been taught strength, determination, to have faith, hope and to take one day at a time. I was also taught compassion and empathy.

I could dwell on the why's of all I have witnessed and what each of my family members suffered. Does that get me any closer to an answer? No. If I had the answer would it make a difference? I think not. Anyway I look at it I was taught valuable lessons by being given the opportunity of being present with my loved ones at the end of their lives. For that I will always be grateful.

Faith, Hope, Love & Laughter!
Kelli

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