The Long Goodbye……

August 18

Alice – Off and on for years we have had many close calls with my grandpa spending so much time with him naturally i had questions and of course i voiced my concerns some of my questions where what would he like people to wear to funeral and just like the movie how to deal the girls boyfriend dies and instead of black she wears the bright yellow outfit that he loved grandpa said basically the same thing you aren’t dressing for the people there you are dressing for Mike Stapleton everyone remember this grandpa is colorful and loving and he loved jokes.

I don’t even feel like today was real I keep wanting to wake up he can’t possibly be gone the last time i saw him he looked just fine he told his nurse that’s my granddaughter and my great granddaughter we laughed and played sam was having a blast so in my head a choice keeps saying its not real it cant be real you saw him laying there he didn’t look right he’s not gone this is all wrong please this is all wrong

Lily – One year ago today, my blessed grandchildren, Sam and Abby lost a grandfather; today they are here with us to honor the life of another. Heavenly Father, give us all strength to walk in your light through really hard days and nights. Amen

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved

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Reality Sucks……

Jami – So I have been walking around on auto-pilot for the last few days. Sort of in a state of non-reality.

My dad passed away this past Sunday. I’ve kept this event pushed out of my mind as I have numbly walked through the past 3 days. However, I just went to the funeral home to drop off pictures and reality tried to rush back in.

If I didn’t know the truth I could almost say he’s sleeping. Which is something that didn’t happen easily for him. I half expect him to open his eyes and shoot me a sarcastic remark for watching him sleep.

The tears that I’ve kept at bay are starting to show themselves as I tell him I love him and I’ll miss him.

I know that he is no longer in pain and I’m grateful for that but that doesn’t change the fact that I wish he was still here with us. He makes us better in a way that I can’t explain. He can express anything to you with a quiet look. We always knew how he felt about us even without words. I love you dad and you will forever be in my heart.

Keri – As I sit in my mother’s temporarily quiet living room trying to find the right words, I have come to the realization I am still too raw to describe how I feel.

As many of you know, Jeff and I took our daughter to Colby, Kansas so she could take the first steps toward reaching her dreams.

What I haven’t been able to share is that on Sunday morning my father… my children’s grandfather… The love of my mother’s life, took the final steps of his and passed away in Topeka.

I have been through an emotional gauntlet that has taken me three days to even try to attempt to write about. And as my mom sleeps-something, as you can imagine, she hasn’t done a lot of-I still cannot adequately put into words the extent of the hole my dad’s loss has produced.

I can barely see through the tears welling in my eyes and my body is jerking as I try to hold my sobs at bay long enough to finish.

I love you, Dad, I always have, I always will.

I wish you hadn’t gone, and I am a selfish child who wants you back!

You made my life-all our lives-better.

You are deeply missed.

Amanda – My sweet girl Sherra’s father has passed away. He will be so greatly missed by his daughter, myself and all of his many family and friends. I feel very privileged that I was welcomed into his family by him; such a loving, wise, kind and gentle man.

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved

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Painful Days and Nights……

August 15

Alice – So here it is one of the most important people in my life has past he moved on he can no longer cheer me up crack jokes and sarcasm watch whatever game is on or haggle the lowest price he is just gone and thinking about it hurts and not seeing him on the scheduled. Days is gonna hurt and not being able to here his crankiness to me being a smartass is gonna hurt but he is no longer hurting so that is the bright side aand because oof that it will be ok

Alice – The stories i have to tell there’s to many so many memories like grandpa getting peed on by a turtle or the time we went to see the men who stare at goats and of course building the pond we worked so hard on this pond and gardening and at the house in illinous there was a chipmunk who loved grandpas sunglasses so we are i. The back digging and decide to go get some Burger King on the way to the car grandpa stops by the tree where he left his sunglasses and looks around noticing they are gone so of course i must have them after i prove i don’t i go over and look and there in a hole between the rocks they are stuck so i go to grab them when this little chipmunk comes out of no where scaring me grandpa chuckles and well lets just say those sunglasses never came back

Kyra Rose – I spent my night and morning trying to figure out what to say about the events of yesterday. The truth is, there is nothing I can really say. I’m having a hard time believing this is real. I’m having a hard time believing that yesterday wasn’t a dream. That I’m not just going to wake up and Climb down off my bunkbed and swing open the door to my room and run across the hall to find him sleeping in their room. Or that I can’t just drive across town to find him in his blue lighted TV room watching his shows.

He accepted me for not only who I am but who I want to be. When he asked me my plans and I answered, there was no lecture, no “well will you make enough” or ” I think you should consider your options” there was a “well if you need anything we are here and let’s do it.” I had a shoulder to cry on and someone who could be as raw and understanding as me.

I had someone who was my grandpa, an extra father figure, and my friend. I feel like I didn’t tell him enough that I love him. I feel like I should have done more to see him more often.

But I know that he knew I love him and he knew I was off trying to make my dream a reality. I was out doing what I had to do for me. He knew I cared and he wouldn’t want to beat myself up for it.

More importantly, I know he loves me and that he wants only the best. This is only more reason to become who I will be, because he wanted me to be myself and no one else. Alright grandpa, I got this from here. You rest now and I will see you when I get there. I love you and I miss you, but I know where to find you when I need you. Rest easy….

Kaylen – I think it’s time for a college update. Well I have settled into my dorm and have become good friends with my roommate Maria. My classes start tomorrow though and I am nervous for that but I know I will be okay. I have also turned in an application for work study at the Horse Barn so I can spend as much time as I can with the horses. Hopefully I will get picked.

I have however lost a person whom I was very close to and that person was my beloved Grandfather Mike Stapleton. He would always give me the best advice and if I need to tell a a joke or one of his crazy stories. I will miss him very much but I know that he is still watching over me. I’m going to make him and the rest of my family and friends proud by kicking butt in school.

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved

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Gray Skies……..

August 14

Lily – The love of my life passed away this am. I will miss him every day, his humor, his spontaneity, his love and affection for me and ours.

Sherra – My father  the best father anybody could ask for. Passed away this a.m. and I just want the world to know what an awesome guy he was! He meant the world to me and so many others. Please pray for me and my family. And pray for my fathers journey to go be with God the best journey of all. I love you dad

These Facebook Posts were made by me, and Mike’s daughter, the day our world rocked and shifted on its axis. Our daughters and three oldest granddaughters shared their grief and pain on Facebook in moving tributes and lots of love for Mike. I wanted to share the first few days of our new normal with Lilypad Float readers…….

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved

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Sisters Are.…

“Sisters are blossoms in the garden of life,” Author Unknown

“Sister to sister we will always be, a couple of nuts off the family tree,” Author Unknown

“A sister shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams,” Author Unknown

“Sisters may share the same mother and father but appear to come from different families,” Author Unknown

“You can kid the world, but not your sister,” Charlotte Gray English author and professor

“May and I are sisters. We’ll always fight, but we’ll always make up as well. That’s what sisters do: we argue, we point out each other’s frailties, mistakes, and bad judgment, we flash the insecurities we’ve had since childhood, and then we come back together. Until the next time…” Lisa See, in Shanghai Girls

“Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of.  You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there,” Amy Li, author

“If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child,” Linda Sunshine, author and editor

“Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply…” Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814

“Sisters are probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship,” Margaret Mead, anthropologist

“We acquire friends and we make enemies,…. our sisters come with the territory,” Evelyn Loeb, author

“Sisters share the scent and smells – the feel of a common childhood,” Pam Brown, Australian poet.

“Sisters annoy, interfere, criticize.  Indulge in monumental sulks, in huffs, in snide remarks.  Borrow.  Break.  Monopolize the bathroom.  Are always underfoot.  But if catastrophe should strike, sisters are there.  Defending you against all comers,” Pam Brown, Australian poet.

“I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers.  It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage.  Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at,” Maya  Angelou, poet and author

“Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other,” Carol Saline along with photographer, Sharon Wohlmuth, has co-authored five photo-essay books. Their most popular, Sisters, spent 63 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and sold over one million copies.

My sisters are all of these and much more. Together we face the world, even when we cannot face each other. Their children and grandchildren are a part of me and mine, in a way I cannot define. Time, distance, death does not break the bond we worked hard to make, no matter the bittersweet of anger, hurt, broken trust….

We are sisters…..

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved

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Living a ritualistic life…….

One Easter Sunday I sat in our Illinois church home. I listened to the story I have heard annually all of my life. The story of how Peter denied he was a follower of Jesus.  I remembered when I first realized without the stories of Judas betraying Jesus, Peter denying Jesus and Paul persecuting Stephen and being blinded on the road to Damascus there might not be a religious movement we now know as Christianity. Around the same time as the Christianity epiphany, I made the leap to the reasons for the collection of stories that brought forth the Jewish monotheistic faith…

One God focuses our faith…..

One God consolidates our thoughts…..

One God gives us a universal reason for working together….

One God allows us to pray, worship and share our spiritual rituals with each other…..

Spiritual rituals sooth our souls….

Spiritual rituals allow us to be present…..

Spiritual rituals remind us to be mindful of our better selves….

Spiritual rituals calm our troubled minds…..

God is good…..

Embracing the ebb and flow of my walk with God strengthens my faith in good…..

Honoring the good in my life holds evil at bay….

Celebrating the good in Christmas, Lent, Easter, Epiphany, All Saints Day gives me common ground with my family and friends…..

All is well and good with my soul……

 

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved

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Happy Mothering Day…

Mothering…

…is fundamental to all beings.

…involves nurturing and raising children.

…extends far beyond biology and bodies.

…is the act and practice of love and the passing on of knowledge.

…occurs across multiple times and spaces

…is political.

…is life.

“Mothering is not limited to relationships between a female parent and her biological offspring. Mothering, as a relationship and practice, is a social and cultural act that occurs between multiple configurations of people of many generations – individually and communally. This is something Indigenous peoples have always known, celebrating extended families and lauding the wisdom of matriarchs as it applied and was transmitted to all the younger generations of a community. Mothering, understood in this way as a complex web of relational practices, was and is fundamental to life. This is perhaps also why mothering has often been so threatened while simultaneously holding the potential for (re)building the inherent strengths in our communities.

Aboriginal mothering is recognized as extending beyond the biological act of giving birth and involving a multitude of roles and relationships across times, spaces and generations. Strength to move forward as healthy individuals, families and communities is inextricably linked to Aboriginal women, mothers, grandmothers and aunties….”

The Sacred Space of Womanhood- A National Showcase on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Women and Mothering

©2012 National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved

http://www.nccah-ccnsa.ca/docs/child%20and%20youth/The%20Sacred%20Space%20of%20Womanhood%20-%20Mothering%20Across%20the%20Generations%20(EN%20-%20web).pdf

 

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Just Tumbling Along…..

Tumbleweeds are a late summer to late winter, western Kansas, eastern Colorado crop. There are tumbleweeds in other parts of the southwest, western Oklahoma and Texas, all over Arizona and New Mexico. However, when I think of tumbleweeds I see them tumbling across highways and byways on my way to Colorado through western Kansas.

I really like tumbleweeds. They roll along, blowing wherever the wind takes them. They congregate along a fence line, until the wind detaches them one by one and they roll on to dryer pastures. It is a meditation to watch, romantic, even.

“A tumbleweed is a structural part of the above-ground anatomy of a number of species of plants, a diaspore that, once it is mature and dry, detaches from its root or stem, and tumbles away in the wind. In most such species the tumbleweed is in effect the entire plant apart from the root system, but in other plants a hollow fruit or an inflorescence might serve the function. Tumbleweed species occur most commonly in steppe and arid ecologies, where frequent wind and the open environment permit rolling without prohibitive obstruction.” Wikipedia

Grandma Smith brought a large tumbleweed back to Mom one November. She had been out to western Kansas for the annual Smith Family pheasant and quail hunting trek with grandpa, uncles, and male cousins over the age of 12. Mom spray painted the tumbleweed silver, put a lot of different sized blue Christmas bulbs inside it and hung it up. Our Christmas tumbleweed hung in the front of the large picture window in the front room for many years. I can see it hanging there all silver and blue representing the sparkle of the holidays.Tumbleweed Christmas

I googled tumbleweed Christmas and found a really close version of what it looked like. Apparently, the Scott’s like Christmas tumbleweeds, too. There were also many other ways to dress up a tumbleweed. A body could order tumbleweed from a website in Arizona. I am going to go on a tumbleweed finding adventure myself this November.

I’ll be rolling along, humming the Tumbleweed Song……..

See them tumbling down

Pledging their love to the ground

Lonely but free I’ll be found

Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds

 

Cares of the past are behind

Nowhere to go but I’ll find

Just where the trail will wind

Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds

 

I know when night has gone

That a new world’s born at dawn

I’ll keep rolling along

Deep in my heart there’s a song

Here on the range I belong

Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds

 

I know when night has gone

That a new world’s born at dawn

I’ll keep rolling along

Deep in my heart is a song

Here on the range I belong

Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds

                                    Sons of the Pioneers

http://www.metrolyrics.com/tumbling-tumbleweeds-lyrics-sons-of-the-pioneers.html

https://www.pinterest.com/miller6616/tumbleweed/

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/4c/5f/79/4c5f797f3fc6dd7820053168a7e74671.jpg

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/321655598361248851/

http://joeorman.shutterace.com/Bizarre/Bizarre_Tumbleweed.html

http://www.tumbleweedsforsale.com/

http://www.curiouscountrycreations.com/tumbleweeds-for-sale-c-66.html

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved

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Medicare Commencement…..

Medicare Commencement…..

The highlight of turning 65 was being eligible for Medicare. Going out to breakfast with Sister Leslie was a treat, too…..

Signing onto Medicare was easy-peasy. Since I have been collecting Social Security (an oxymoron, if I ever heard one) I was automatically enrolled in Medicare A and B. Deciding which supplemental medical (Part C for new bee’s to the system) and prescription drug (Part D) insurance company(s) and plan(s) is a labyrinth.

Making the right decision, for an information research geek such as myself, is time consuming. I had somewhat of an idea and some experience because Mike has been on Medicare since January 2013. The fall of 2012 was spent researching and prepping. We went to the Jayhawk Area Agency for Aging mini-tutorial back in November 2012.

I have signed up for Plan65 at Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas. This will commence on June 1. Still in negotiations regarding dental and prescription drugs coverage with them. Checking with AARP and other sources for other options and I am impressed with the salesmanship offered by all of the different companies. Good thing I am sales personnel resistant.

Not with shoes or purses mind you, only with insurance, cable, Dish Network, Satellite, Internet and cell phone service companies. They are so obvious! Shoes, purses, jewelry hang out on displays looking gorgeous. I am sold before the sales person even shows up. Books are sold before I click on Barnes and Noble Shop icon. I digress..

My personal Plan65 is to enjoy my life, family, and friends; write morning pages; go on a date with myself every week; make new things and sell the old. That is about all I can handle this year.

What about your dreams and hopes for 2016……

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved

 

 

 

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High Plains Driftin’…..

The plains of western Kansas and high plains of eastern Colorado are beautiful in all seasons. The undulating landscape reaches as far as the eye can see, to where the earth meets the sky. There are fields of corn, milo, and sunflowers ready to be harvested in late summer. In late fall, summer crops are harvested, winter wheat is planted, hunters are walking the fields and tumbleweeds are blowing in the wind. Winter brings cold weather, blowing snow, fields lying fallow, ready and waiting for growing again. The ground is plowed and cultivated in late winter and early spring, ready to plant summer crops once again.

Colors change, fields are green, yellow, sometimes red, orange, brown, gray. Different shades of blue cross the skies, as white, grey and, occasionally, black clouds, float, swirl, skitter or rotate. No matter the season, there are cattle grazing, windmills catching the wind, deer in the fields at dusk and dawn and signs advertising places of interest to visit.

The flattest land past Colby on I-70 is several miles east and 20 some miles west of the Colorado border. Even as a child, I never saw a whole lot of pancake flatland whizzing by my window. I traveled in the backseat of my parents Mercury convertible or my grandfather’s latest Lincoln Mercury or Oldsmobile deluxe car boat, driving west to Colorado on Highway 24, crossing through western Kansas, 85-90 miles an hour.

My dad once hit 100 miles an hour barreling through western Kansas on a Friday night to spend two days in a cabin before returning to Topeka on Sunday night.  I roused enough to hear my mother exclaim, “James, you are going 100 miles an hour!” I went back to sleep, knowing they had it all under control. In retrospect, a straight, fairly even, road was probably a good thing at 100 mph! Especially if the road was two-lane US Highway 24 back in the early 1950’s.

The summer I was six, my parents and grandparents vacationed with the four of us, aged 2-6, for one magical week in Colorado. We took turns riding with grandma and grandpa. During my turn, we crossed the Colorado border. Grandma Smith described the first sight of the mountains; low lying clouds would develop dark peak shapes. Back then, the Rocky Mountain Front Range could be seen from Limon, Colorado. Southwest of Limon, Pike’s Peak was visible from the plains.

We walked on the bridge spanning the Royal Gorge near Canon City. Let’s say I walked, my brother climbed onto the outside of the railing and hung there. My mother was rendered speechless. My father was galvanized into stretching his legs into a really long stride and plucked my brother out of danger.

In Colorado Springs, we clambered all over Garden of the Gods and drove up Pikes Peak. In Estes Park, we stayed in a cabin on Devil’s Gulch Road, caught fish in a family friendly, commercial fishpond and rode Popcorn, the same Shetland pony my mother rode on when she was a little girl.

Last September, the memories from many trips to Colorado through the years were with me, as Mike and I made our way west of Denver, over Berthoud Pass, through Winter Park and Granby to Grand Lake, the southern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. The trip was wonderful and helped us traverse the next six months.

©2016 Susan Kendall. All rights reserved

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