Kenny’s Run, More Passings, and the Beat Goes On

Tonight after I drove home from visiting my cousins in Victorville, there was a knock at my door. When I opened it, there stood Andree and Peter brandishing big heartfelt smiles and their Redondo Beach Super Bowl Kenny’s Run 2012 badges. This was their third run in Kenny’s honor, the first one being the day before we boarded Continental to Houston for that heart-stopping, telltale month of the melanoma march in February 2010.

How dear of them to honor and pray for Kenny and me. How integral they were in his care during those nine months of trying to halt that never-to-be-forgotten relentless invasion. I speculated that Kenny must have been with them on the run. He always loved training his body through sports and watching others doing their best and perhaps outrunning their last race.

And how perfect to receive of their love in this very tender way after I had been with Annabelle, whose husband of 60 years had died on December 26 of multiple myloma, a nearly always incurable form of cancer. My purpose in being there was to support my cousins, Anna and her daughter Teresa, in whatever way I could—listening, sharing my own experience, making suggestions, looking at pictures and reading articles about Nicky. To everyone else he was Nick. To me, I couldn’t call him anything else but Nicky, ever since as a child I wrote to him when he went off to the Korean War. “Dear Nicky, I miss you and I love you. Come home quick, OK?”

Teresa called me some days before Christmas to tell me her father (“Daddiola,” she called him) was bad, not expected to last much longer. Did they want me to come out, I asked. Oh yes, please can you? The next day I drove out to find them at the hospital with Nicky incoherent and in a lot of pain. They were about to send him home on hospice care. So we all trudged home where a hospice agency met us with a hospital bed and other such equipment. Nicky was worse by the minute, writhing and moaning in pain. The hospice nurse exclaimed that they were ill-equipped to manage his pain so she recommended we put him back in the hospital. This time a different one where he might receive better care. There they cleaned him up and administered some pain medication and kept him overnight until another hospice agency was arranged. This time, it was the Visiting Nurses Association.

This agency really knew what they were doing. By this time in my limited experience, I had now witnessed the workings of as many as four different hospice agencies, and I could tell the quality of care provided by VNA was outstanding. The managing nurse quieted Annabelle’s and Teresa’s fears about giving medication, she assessed the situation and Nick’s condition, and soon after a crisis nurse arrived to manage Nick’s pain levels, which were making him so uncomfortable. By this time he had not eaten in days and was not drinking, so we knew it wouldn’t be long before he took his last breath. I quickly understood my place in this family experience—I was to support them emotionally, to assist them physically as they requested, and to call upon the MSIA ministerial body worldwide to stand by spiritually to help anyone present to release anything no longer needed and to assist in ushering dear Nicky into whatever realm of Spirit was his next “grand adventure,” as Kenny coined it. So when Anna couldn’t watch and had to retreat, I held her in my arms. When courageous Teresa had to administer medications, I stood by assuring her she was doing the right thing. When everyone else was asleep, I sat by Nicky’s bed silently chanting and sending him Light and assuring him we were all there loving him and praying his journey now would be as gentle as possible.

On the morning of December 26, at about 9:30am, I had just freshened his mouth when David, Teresa’s son, noticed he had stopped breathing. That was it, his Soul had ascended, no longer inhabiting his body. The man that was their husband, father, and grandfather and my cousin was gone from this world. Today it’s only been about six weeks since Nicky passed. Anna is still very tender and going through the gamut of feelings one experiences when a spouse passes. Each one goes through grief over the loss of a loved one, their husband, their dad, their Papa, or father-in-law in their own very personal way. And in all that I witnessed, I recalled my experiences with Kenny, grateful for his extraordinary exampleship in leaving this world with dignity, grace, great love, and peace.

I was also reminded that not all hospice agencies are alike. And it’s worth shopping around while all principals are still coherent and able to assess the differences. The VNA team was competent, loving, compassionate, responsive, and seemed to love their work. We couldn’t ask for more. These are the hallmarks of the kind of people I would want around me when it’s my time to go. There’s much more to tell about my learnings and awarenesses between then (Kenny’s passing in March 2010) and now, but that’s still to come.

I invite you to comment on this article in the field below or email me directly at carol.jones43@yahoo.com

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6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    I do not even know the way I ended up here, however I assumed this post used
    to be good. I don’t realize who you’re however certainly you are going to a well-known blogger if you
    are not already. Cheers!

  2. 3

    Forklifts said,

    Wonderful, what a blog it is! This blog presents
    useful information to us, keep it up.

    • 4

      Carol said,

      So glad you found value in our blog. It has turned into a beautiful book all about Kenny’s joyful transition and my experiences of caring for him. Here’s the link if you’d like to take a look.

      All the best to you.

  3. 5

    Thanks for writing this! I visit your blog pretty often and I always feel more
    intelligent afterwards. I shared this article on Facebook and my friends thought it was great too.
    Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate what you’re doing here.

    Sincerely, Your #1 fan! lol 🙂

    • 6

      Carol said,

      So good to hear from you. Thank you for your ongoing support. The blog has become a full fledged book now and if you’d like to share that with your friends on Facebook, it owuld help get Kenny’s message out there to more people. The title is Through Kenny’s Eyes, A Magnificent Journey from Illness to Ecstasy. And in the last three years since it was publichsed it has won three book awards–only one shows on the cover until I redo the cover to show the other two. I’m really not trying to sell books, but I am committed to the message of this book being shared with as many people as possible. You can also find me on facebook by searching for the title of the book.
      Here’s the link to the book on Amazon:

      Again, thank you so much and please feel free to write to me more often.
      All the best to you,
      Carol


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