Friday, February 22, 2008

Cycle of Life

I have been trying to think what title to give this little chapter. The past month has been one of the difficult things to live through in my life. My dear mother, Doris Kennington started feeling poorly and so my sister scheduled her for an appointment with the Dr. who in turn ordered tests. She was admitted to the hospital and they ran an upper and lower G.I. test along with a cat scan. They discovered a very large peptic ulcer which is usually very treatable. However the treatment nearly killed our dear little mother resulting in yet another hospitalization lasting 8 days. To make this concise, they discovered she had both a bladder infection and kidney infection, she has a scattering of blood clots in her lungs, a very large deep vein thrombosis blood clot in her left leg, two cists on her liver, a deep rattling cough in her chest and the result of all this is that she probably will not survive. She has been gravely ill for the past three weeks and has not been eating or drinking to regain strength and has been in intense pain. I guess she has run out of strength to fight any more.

These past weeks have made us all evaluate her and her life and celebrate who she is. We are so grateful we had a nice birthday celebration for her in August of 2007. We also had the biggest thanksgiving group we’ve had in years for her at her house in November of 2007. The house was filled with 2 daughters and a son and numerous grand children, great grandchildren and some very young great-great grandchildren. It was noisy, boisterous and fun. She was quiet but very happy.

So how do you let go of someone who has been such a blessed part of your life for so many years? Gratefully, those of us who know Jesus depend on Him to show us the way. We now want His peace and comfort for her above all else. We don’t want to let her go but we don’t want her to suffer anymore. Each of her seven living children have been able to come and see her and tell her of their love for her before she goes. Some of the grandkids and their families have come by to see her before she goes and yet others don’t want to see her in the shape she is in now but choose to remember the recent good times. I go by everyday several times a day because I want her to know I love and cherish her and I want to see if I can help make her more comfortable. It is hard and breaks your heart but it part of the cycle of life.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Reflections on Big Familes

Big families are fun and ours is simply exploding. I grew up in a large family. There were 5 girls and 3 boys and we have added 21 grandchildren for mother and I don't know how many great grandchildren or great-great grandchildren since then. I personally have 17 grandchildren and we are expecting one more in June. Holidays used to be especially wild. We would gather at mother's house at Christmas and Thanksgiving and even if all could not be there it was always a wild boisterous group and loads of fun. There would be games going on at tables, football games on the television and if the weather was nice outside, more things going on outside. My sister Joy's five boys were especially interested in wildlife and you could always depend on them to find a frog, or snake, or turtle, or bird or bug or spider or two to keep things interesting.

Thanksgiving 2007 was a celebration of that fact. As many of us that could got together at my mother, Doris Kennington's house and celebrated once again. We fed close to 30 people and with the group that came over later, we had 36 people there. Mother loved every minute. She has always been so proud of her family and loved all the little and big ones. She is proud of their accomplishments and just loves being around whoever can come. We had Neale and Carleen from the Rockwall, Jim & Misty and their three children from Wichita Falls, and Robin and Rodney and their two children from Hobbs, New Mexico. These were the ones from out of town, but we also had a large group from Lubbock to join with us to make this special for mother.

She said that it reminded her of when we were younger when we all had little kids and it was such a mad house at mother's for the holidays. We used to set long tables up in the garage to feel the crowd. I guess we had 35 to 40 people or more in those days. She has been sick lately so we are not sure she will live to see another Thanksgiving so we are so grateful that we went all out last year.

I have talked about what a special person mother is. She is the true martriarch in our family and she is the glue that has held us together all these years. There was always room at the table for one more and always enough food to go around and then some. She started planning weeks in advance and even after she was unable to cook anymore, she always wanted to be sure we were going to have a special day and meal.