Kennis, Sounds Like Dennis

This coming Sunday will be the 12th anniversary of Kennis’ death. Much has changed since that fateful day in early November of 2000. There are times when it all seems surreal. My life has changed a lot in twelve years. I am not the same person that I was back then, and yet the beginning of November always brings back the memories.

(Today I am pulling some posts from my blog archives.)

Remembering Kennis…

 

Knoxville, TN, as seen from the top edge of Ne...

Knoxville, TN, as seen from the top edge of Neyland Stadium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My late husband‘s brother mentioned to me the other day that this weekend would be difficult for him. You see, my late husband and his brother were twins. Their birthday is this coming Sunday. If my husband had lived he would have been celebrating his 44th birthday. His birthday coming up, has allowed me to remember… I have a picture of him from his 26th birthday. It was him eating a piece of hot fudge cake at Darryl‘s restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee. We were newlyweds (2 1/2 months) at the time. Goofy and laughing–with no idea what was ahead for us. I guess it was better that way. The not knowing…

Time went on… and I also remember his last birthday. Kennis and I and our children along with his parents, had gone to a seafood restaurant in Dandridge, Tennessee. We had a good time that night. He was celebrating being 34, in the midst of a chronic illness and an incurable heart disease. I remember us all riding in the car back home. We had a nice evening together. Little did any of us know how soon life as we knew it, would change. I’m glad we didn’t know what was ahead of us. I guess it was better that way. The not knowing…

Three weeks later Kennis died. Just 3 weeks into his 34th year….and life changed for all of us that knew and loved him.

“Beginnings are scary. Endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. So, when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.” (Hope Floats)

I wrote this blog two years ago as a memorial to Kennis. It was a hard blog entry to write. The memories were very vivid. I still remember them as if they just happened yesterday. It does not seem possible that nearly a decade has gone by.

For those of you that are new readers to my blog, I warn you this blog will be difficult to read…..but, it is me, being real.

 

 

In Memory of Kennis—

DISCLAIMER: Be aware that this blog entry will have some things in it that might be difficult or painful to read.

Back in August I did a blog about the memory of my husband’s late wife, Nancy.  Now, it is my turn to do a blog entry about my late husband, Kennis. This Tuesday will not just be election day, but also the day that marks the eighth anniversary of my first husband’s death.  Honestly, I can hardly believe eight years have gone by. It seems like a lifetime ago.

In late October of 2000 I was vacuuming in our living room. Vacuuming like a mad woman. My life was out of control. My husband was chronically ill. He was dying. We had a lot of medical bills. My life revolved around taking care of him….. I was vacuuming and keeping things in order because it was something I had control over…when everything else was so out of control.  On this particular evening my husband said to me in a premonition of what was to come, “Dawn come here and sit with me. The vacuuming can wait. Sit here with me because you know I won’t be here forever. I’m dying.” I in an angry voice replied, ” No, you won’t! I don’t want to hear you talk like that.” ” Yes. Come and sit over here with me.” Little did I know how quickly his words would become my reality……..November 4, 2000 was a Saturday. Kennis was brought to the hospital by me, the afternoon before with extreme pain. (He had a chronic heart condition that he had been diagnosed with the year before at the ripe old age of 32 years and 8 months) He was okay that morning and we talked and laughed. Some of his family visited and we watched the University of Tenn. play against the University of SC. After the game everyone left and it was just the two of us. Things seemed okay… Kennis called me over to his hospital bed, reached his arms up and pulled me close. “You know I love you, right?”, he said in his deep mellow voice. ” Of course”, I replied as I gazed up at him.  Moments later my husband yanked his IV’s out. I didn’t understand. I remember being confused as I stared at the crimson stains on the white hospital sheets….his voice echoing in my head….” I have to get up. I have to get up NOW! I need to exercise. I can’t just lay here. I have to run in the hallway!” I grabbed the nurses button and started screaming, ” Help me! Someone help me, PLEASE! Dear God, HELP ME!” Nurses came running in to Kennis’ room asking him questions like, “What is your name? Who is the president? What day is it?” Sometimes he answered correctly, sometimes not. I said, “What is the matter with him?” (I later found out lack of oxygen made him talk out of his mind.) They just shook their heads….and got some new sheets. Kennis laid back down….but not for long. He got back up. He was screaming at me. I KNEW something was terribly, terribly wrong. I screamed again as this time, my husband slumped over in the chair next to his bed.  His eyes rolled back. All I could see was the white of his eyes. At that moment I knew my husband was gone. I stood like a statue staring at him, my feet felt like I had concrete in them. I couldn’t move…even as the nurses and doctors crowded into the room yelling, “He’s coding!” I vaguely remember a nurse leading me to another room on the same floor to wait. As I waited, Kennis’ mother and father arrived. They had no idea what was going on and were escorted to the room I was in.

Much later the emergency room doctor and Kennis’ cardiologist walked in. The emergency room doctor looked directly at me….and I know how hard it must have been for him…. “Mrs. Satterfield we lost your husband. I’m so sorry. I worked on him for 45 minutes straight. I couldn’t bring myself to stop even though we could never get a solid heartbeat. I didn’t want to give up because he was so young with a young family. I’m so very sorry.” At first I was confused…you lost him? Where is he at? Then I said, ” you mean he is dead.” I didn’t cry. I actually thanked him for his effort. It was all very strange, that I felt I should be polite. I guess that is the body’s way of coping with extremely painful news. Don’t think. Just do.  Though I was quiet, Kennis’ mom let out the most mournful scream I’ve ever heard. It made the hairs on my arms stand up, like with goosebumps. She slumped on her husband saying, “not my baby boy. not my baby boy. Dear Jesus, why my baby boy?” I remember at that very moment I felt worse for her then I did for myself…I lost my spouse, but she had lost her son. Thinking about our own 5 year old son who at the time was with my mother, I couldn’t begin to imagine the pain of losing a child.

Over the days that followed my family and friends were there to support me. They helped me every step of the way. They helped my son, and me to not feel alone. Life started to be a new kind of normal for us. It wasn’t the same mind you…it never would be the same, but life could be good again. Indeed, it has been good. God, in scripture, told me that He is a defender of widows and a father to the fatherless. He would never leave me. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like if I didn’t know the Lord. My hopelessness was replaced with hope. My grief was replaced with peace. It didn’t happen immediately, and there were days that were difficult…but God carried me through the most difficult times and brought me out on the other side.  Scripture also tells me, and I believe that God allows us to go through certain trials so that we can help others when they are in similar trials. I understand things now that it would have been impossible for me to understand had I not had to walk through the valley.

Shortly after my husband’s funeral I was cleaning in our bedroom. Trying to straighten things up…it was something to do, you know what I mean. I was trying to stay busy. I looked over at our dresser and noticed a piece of paper that I hadn’t seen there before. It was a scripture verse that had been written out in my husband’s own handwriting. I gently picked it up and read the familiar scrawl. This scripture was a message to me. A message from a wonderful and loving God. He gave me this message to read. A message that He had also given Kennis. “However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9) What peace I had after reading that. Thank you Lord.

When I think of my late husband I think of truck driving, and NASCAR, Earnhardt, and baseball caps. Woodworking and cooking. Grill master, canning and apple pies. He loved the University of Tennessee football, and his white pick up truck. He loved his daughters and son. He’d try to fix anything and if he couldn’t then he’d fake it:) I remember trips to the Bahamas, Florida and St. Louis. I remember the week I spent with him in the big rig. (and realized I could never do that! haha.) Memories tucked away in my mind…

My life has changed much since this day…I have gone on living. I am now able to think about Kennis and celebrate his life and all that he was, instead of staying in mourning. God has indeed blessed me and I appreciate each day now, much more than I ever did.

My late husband was very much like the prodigal son of the Bible. When he found out he was going to die, I believe he began to understand God much more. His relationship with Christ changed,  as they walked together through the valley of the shadow of death. Changed in a way that I honestly cannot really understand because I’ve not been there. Because my husband knew the Lord personally, I have no doubt that he is with Him in heaven. More alive today than he ever was here on earth. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

Painful Perspective

Hospital

Image by morrissey via Flickr

I was wiping down the kitchen counters yesterday morning, like I’ve done every other morning of my life. Nothing different. Nothing spectacular.

I felt my back catch. In a short time I was almost completely incapacitated. I fell to my knees. My husband helped me to the bed…and that is where I laid, flat on my back for the rest of the day. It was excruciating to even roll over. I could not get comfortable. I needed assistance to even get to the bathroom. How humiliating. I cried. I was frustrated. I hurt.

It is amazing how very boring it is to just have to lay down. Most times I love to lay down, taking a nap is a wonderful thing….until I’m forced to do it. My sweet husband called chiropractors…and wouldn’t you know….no one answered. We left messages. No response. So, I dealt with the pain.

I’m not very good with allowing others to help me.

While laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, I had the thought about my plight being temporary. For whatever reason, my back gave out, but it wouldn’t be forever……I would get through this.

Pain has a way of making us, or at least me, see more clearly. In the dark of last night I prayed. “God, I hurt so bad. I can’t get comfortable, no matter how I turn. I’m so tired….please give me rest.”

My mind wandered to all those people that live in this kind of pain on a daily basis. Would I handle it with grace? Or frustration? Would I scream at God to stop my hurting? Or would I allow Him to work everything out for His glory? I like to think that it would be the latter…..but…. The pain perspective is difficult to learn…much less to live with. Would I trust Him IN the pain? Would I continue to love Him DESPITE the pain? Would the pain be a catalyst to draw me closer to Him? Or a wedge to keep us apart?

My back is still hurting today….still severe, but not as much as yesterday.

I will get better.

The questions of yesterday linger…

My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. (Exodus 33:14)

He Made The Blind To See

My eye

20/20 vision doesn’t always mean perfect sight

I know this from experience…

So many days,

more days than I even care to admit…

I choose to walk, blind.

Macular degeneration

can turn into soul disintegration.

How many times do I

choose to walk through my days,

with eyes that see,

but with a heart that doesn’t?

How many times do I purposely choose

to live in the shadows?

When there is joy all around me?

When the news of the day, or the difficulty of the moments

threaten to wipe out my vision

I cling to the ONLY ONE who can give me sight…

He gives me the ability to see that which truly matters.

 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.”

  Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him. 

Matthew 20:33-34 NIV

****************

* sunny days in early summer

* remembering

*second chances

* driving back roads

* summer schedule

* evenings on the front porch

* knowing God is in control

* cool morning breezes after oppressive heat

* the name “Mama”

* my husband wanting us to be together

* enjoying each others company

* friendship

* farmers able to plant after a long, wet waiting period

* tractors with headlights in the night

* humming bird at the feeder

* flag blowing in the breeze

* bare feet

* a God that brings hope to the hopeless…

  and Jesus who gives sight to the blind

 

**********

Will you take a moment to share what you see?

Where Your Heart Is…

Reach Out!

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”- Jesus (Luke 12:34)

The heart.

Not just the vessel that pumps our life blood, but the heart of our very being…

Who you are

What you desire

How you live

All of you.

For without the heart we are nothing.

Love, passion, life…

What am I passionate about? And you?

My treasure–where is it stored?

Seeking His kingdom with all my heart.

My passion. My life blood.

My treasure.

 

Luke 12: 22-34

 

 

Sleep Deprivation

Counting Sheep

Image by Secret Tenerife via Flickr

The past couple of nights I haven’t slept very well. Last night was the worst. Wide awake at 3:30 a.m. Man, that stinks. I rolled over trying a different sleep position. No success. I fluffed my pillows. Nothing. I rolled back over and readjusted my blankets. Zilch. I was getting a bit miffed. If I can’t sleep, I desperately try not to wake my husband. He has trouble sleeping anyway, and once he is awake the TV comes on. I hate the TV on when I’m trying to sleep.

He woke up.

Sleep….sleep……why can’t I sleep? Now, the TV is on, and I had to get up to use the bathroom. Why couldn’t I have a bigger bladder? I had to turn the light on in the bathroom. Which doesn’t help the go back to sleep thing. I feel compelled to turn on the light at night ever since I had the rodent visitor scurry past my feet while I was sitting on the toilet a few months ago. I’m still scarred.

So, I woke up this morning and was not in a good mood. I looked like something the cat dragged home….and felt like it too. To add to my torture, my husband woke up happy and told me he loved me and told me good morning with a big smile on his face. I’m surprised I didn’t scare him. He is a brave man. He is still in a good mood. WHAT’S WRONG WITH HIM???? To add to my already festive spirit…the Christmas tree lights aren’t lighting, and my computer was “not responding”. It froze up in the middle of my blogging. NOT GOOD.

Maybe I’ll go outside on the front porch and scream. The only ones that will hear me are the llamas across the road…and they already know I’m crazy.

Asking ‘Why’ Is Normal

PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer's disease

Image via Wikipedia

I have a lot of family and friends that are dealing with illness themselves, or illnesses of those they love. Some of the loved ones have had tests come back, with news that is not very encouraging. Some of them are having to learn to live with a chronic condition, others know they are dying. Friends and family members are having to learn about scary medical terms, and medical diagnoses that they can’t really get their mind around. Scared. Angry. Sad. Confused. Accepting. Forgiving. Frightened. Heartbroken. Encouraged.

Many times people ask ,”why”? Why me? Why my husband? Why my wife? Why my child? Why cancer? Or an incurable heart disease? Or Alzheimer’s? Or Cystic Fibrosis? Or a myriad number of other medical conditions that change the lives of the ones that have them, as well as those that love them.

Why is a huge question. If I had the answer to that, I would be a much sought after woman. Sometimes I blog about funny things, or controversial things, and sometimes I blog about things that make others sad. Sometimes I just feel led to blog about a certain thing, something that is on my heart. But, I don’t have the answer to, why.

I have mentioned in previous blog entries that my husband and I co-facilitate a GriefShare group. The group is for those that have lost someone close to them. This last group meeting was about the question, why. I learned some new things last week, or at least was reminded of them. I want to share some things with you. I never know who is touched by what I have to say, or whether the things I mention help anyone….but, if I say even one thing that does answer a question, touches a heart, turns a soul toward God, or gives some reassurance…then it is worth it.

1. We are all terminal patients in this life.

2. Everyone is going to die…it’s just that most of us aren’t forced to think about it.

3. “When you ask ‘why’,  you are in essence validating your own humanness and realizing you are not in control.” —Dr. Tim Clinton

4. There are questions that we have in this life, that will not be answered this side of Heaven.

5. My finite mind cannot understand an infinite God. If I could understand all His reasons,could understand why He allows the things He does, that would make Him a very small god.

6. Knowing ‘why’ wouldn’t make the hurt any less.

7. God reveals enough.

8. Attitude might not change your circumstances, but it does change YOU.

9. We are each on a journey. Some journeys are longer than others. Some have more struggles than others.

10. Everyone is going through something. Sometimes others can see it. Sometimes not.

11. Life is like a tapestry. God can see the beautiful story that he is stitching together from His perspective in Heaven. Down here on earth we can only see the “ugly” side of the tapestry. We see the knots and strings, the stops and starts, the new threads…on the underside of the tapestry. It doesn’t make sense to us…because we can’t see how we each fit into the picture. But God knows. He knows what He is doing.

12. It is good to feel a part of something bigger than yourself.

13. Illness and death are scary for everyone involved.

14. Being scared or angry is normal.

15. You don’t have to stay scared and angry.

16. It is a choice.

17. I wish I could hug everyone that is in pain.

18. And cry with them.

19. Tears are cleansing.

20. Jesus loves us. He understands grief. When His friend Lazarus died, the Bible tells us that Jesus wept.

21. Jesus understands pain.

22. His love caused Him to lay down His own life for us.

23. He loves each of us that much.

24. Pain is not because God hates you.

25. He has not forgotten you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Underestimate Me

Cockroach vs Raid - First Round, Fight!

Image by Infollatus via Flickr

One should never underestimate a woman with a bad case of arachnophobia.

I got home today and there were at least 50 brown spiders crawling around the door to the laundry room. The door off the deck to my bedroom. Hanging on the window screens, crawling on the siding…. I freaked out. It was like a bad scene from the movie ARACHNOPHOBIA.

1. I decided this weather was making the spiders want to come inside.

2. Uh….I don’t think so.

3. After getting a stick and flicking the spiders off from around the door….

4. I ran inside, hoping nothing with eight legs would drop on my head.

5. And give me a heart attack.

6. Right there at the laundry room door.

7. Not the way I plan on going.

8. So, I looked around the laundry room shelves.

9. Ah ha!

10. A can of Raid.

11. If it could work on flies and ants, by georgy it would work on spiders.

12. Poison is poison.

13. And those suckers were GOING DOWN.

14. It sort of scares me, the glee I had at coating the spiders in the spray.

15. And watching them shrivel up.

16. After a valiant attempt at crawling…

17. And trying to get the heck out of dodge.

18. My maniacal laughter ringing in their ears.

19. Do spiders have ears?

20. Just curious.

21. So anyway, I blasted them.

22. Every one I could find.

23. Big, small, brown, black…whatever.

24. I took no prisoners.

25. That’s what they get.

Let it be a lesson to all critters…never underestimate a woman with a big can of Raid.

Active-On

Arizona Green Tea

Image by Moe_ via Flickr

Those of you that follow me, know that I’ve pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve or some other such painful thing that only I could manage to do to my poor back. Whatever.

1. Today I bought some Active-On at Walmart.

2.I was given the instruction to get some from my Mom and Aunt.

3. So I did.

4. ‘Cause I listen to my Mom.

5. Most of the time.

6. Even if I am 42.

7. My shoulder feels like it is about to fall off.

8. That would be totally gross…and painful.

9. Having a hurt back/shoulder/left arm does have its perks.

10. It has left me fairly incapacitated and therefore unable to cook, clean, or do laundry.

11. I will pay the price for that later, I am sure.

12. Because I have teenagers and all they think about is food…they had the gall to ask what was for dinner?

13. I pointed at my left arm that I dragged on the floor behind me.

14. I told them I could not cook with only my right hand.

15. It is impossible.

16. And might cause possible fire damage in the kitchen.

17. Or break a few of the rules of the health code.

18. Not that I don’t do those sort of things on a normal day.

19. Did I just say, normal?

20. What is that?

21. My sons are currently watching a movie in the living room.

22. They are quiet and fairly contained.

23. So, I’m thinkin’ peace for about 2 hours, give or take.

24. This leaves me time to drink my green tea and watch NCIS reruns.

25. After all I have my priorities.

26. One of them being Mark Harmon.

27. My husband is working on a project in his office.

28. I hear the drill and some banging.

29. He is cutting into my being able to hear “Jethro”. Puh-leeze.

30. It’s quiet now. I need to go investigate.

I’m At Critical Mass

I've been sick for a couple of weeks now. I we...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m sitting here in bed with my laptop propped on my knees. Yes, it’s a Monday morning and yes, I have a list of things to do…and yet, here I am. I am sick. I’ve had the crud for the past 3 days,which by the way totally ruined my weekend. I am now at stage 3 of my cold. I am at the “sneeze until you have no brains left”  critical mass, stage. I have a pile of tissues on my night stand along with throat lozenges and other sundry types of medication. Gross, right? My big scientific question of the day is this—How in the world can so much snot get in one’s head? Really. Seriously. I’m sick of snot.  My nose is raw….not my most attractive look.

Last night I probably slept all of about 2 hours. The rest of the time I coughed. And coughed some more. Oh yeah, and a little  more coughing in there for good measure. You get the picture. The more I wanted to sleep, the more I couldn’t because my throat was dry and I coughed so hard I thought for sure I’d see my lung laying beside me. So, my throat is dry and my head is full of snot. This is just a cruel joke. To make it even worse, my sweet husband was sleeping like a rock. So unfair. I watched him sleep for awhile…just for my own amusement. I thought about giving him subliminal messages in his sleep about what a wonderful wife he has……see what happens when I’m awake in the middle of the night….and bored?

Since I was already awake at 3:15 am I thought, “well, I’ll just go to the bathroom”….you know for something to do. On the way to my destination I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I scared myself. All I have to say is I have a renewed respect for my dear husband. He still loves me even when I look like THAT. Just sayin’.

My boys had this yuck last week. I’m sure it was they that infected me with the crud. It’s all their fault. I think I will sneeze on them today as retribution. Or cough on their lunch. Or something to make myself feel better. At least all my kids are teens. It’s not like I HAVE to get up and do anything for them. They can forage for themselves. Or starve. The choice is theirs.

When Mom is sick….the whole house suffers. It’s the law of nature. I’m sure I read that somewhere.