Almost three months ago, I felt completely overwhelmed. I was with Mom and Ned for a few weeks. It was becoming very apparent to me that Mom needed help in a big way caring for Ned. I wept when I left after Tye died. I knew I was leaving her in some pretty good hands, but they weren’t mine. Leaving in June was so much harder. I was a wreck. Literally the only thing that I could do for her was to be an outlet to vent to and pray. If you know me at all, you know that’s hard. I just want to fix it.
There is no way to say thank you. There is no way to thank Angie, Bryan, Chase and Kyle or their spouses enough. I can’t even start to list the rest of the Kendall clan that stepped up so big since I left in June. If you are reading this, please know I heard everything from Mom. I heard about every act of kindness. I heard about every time someone coaxed a smile. I heard about food being dropped off, rides being given, much needed breaks, rubbing legs, cleaning houses…I could go on and on. All I can say is Mahalo Nui Loa. The literal translation would be “Thanks great big and long.” I think that seems appropriate. It has been a great big long journey filled with people blessing Mom and Ned in their time of need.
Aunt Bonnie has been right there too. She was hanging out with Nedbone, cleaning, cooking, doing everything she could. She even waited at an airport for a few extra hours to drag my butt home.
I arrived to Golo late Friday night. There was a crowd waiting to greet me even in their grief. I have never in my life seen so much food. Fried chicken seemed to be regenerating in the refrigerator. I’m pretty sure more than 3 hogs were sent to slaughter to come up with the amount of bar-b-que scattered in various vessels between Mom’s kitchen and the pond house. Buns were plentiful. Chips were everywhere. Don’t even get me started on the breakfast casseroles, sweet buns and desserts. When people don’t know what to say or what to do, they bring food and lots of sweet tea. Bless ‘em! Thank you!
In the last couple of days alone, I’ve watched Mom pour over what looks like hundreds of cards, soaking in each word. While I realize I can’t write a thank you note for cards, I want to tell each one of you what it has meant to her to read your kind and compassionate well wishes. I never really think a card means much until I am on the receiving end. Those words mean everything when you are hurting.
Then there are the prayers. I know people all over the world have been praying for Ned. I can say that because I wasn’t shy about asking people that I know all over the world to pray. When Ned passed, they immediately started praying for peace for the family. I know those prayers were felt. Thank you. We covet prayers. We could use some more.
Can I just tell you that I have never been at a more beautiful funeral service? Stan Colley just nailed it. It was a true celebration of Ned’s life as a Christian, a servant, a mentor, a father, a brother, a son, a husband. The number of people who took time out of their schedule to come from far flung places are a true testament to Ned’s character. Thank you for showing up. Someone told me there was record setting attendance. I would believe it. Everyone loved Ned. You couldn’t help yourself. He never gave anyone a reason not to. There are so many people that I alone need to thank for coming to support me. My sweet mother-in-law and Ray’s aunt and cousin drove all the way in from IL and were shocked when they were asked to sit down because the line was so long. There were flowers and remembrance gifts. It is almost overwhelming. Again, I say “Mahalo Nui Loa!”
There have been so many text messages, phone calls, Facebook messages, comments… I just want you to know I passed your sentiments on to Mom. Thank you.
For those of you who have asked about my sweet Mama please know, she is strong. Boy howdy! That woman is stronger than I ever gave her credit for when I was giving her 10 kinds of hell as a teenager. When someone asks her how she is, I’ve heard her say more than once, “I’ve had 2 great husbands. I know some women don’t even have 1.” She did have two of the very best husbands I know and I am so very grateful and blessed to have been in both of their lives. She’s said other stuff too. I wish I was recording her conversations as people have given her condolences. I have cringed for people, laughed and even wanted to say, “Please forgive my mother for she knows not what she says.” I’m glad at the end of the day, we can sit down and laugh about it.
Mom is in what I like to refer to as her nesting stage of grief. She is figuring things out, trying to get comfortable in her house and her routine. We think alike. So we approach things the same way. I’ve stood behind her as she buried her mother, her husband, her father, her son and now another husband. I unfortunately know exactly what she means when she says, “I need to rearrange the furniture I feel like I’m picking at a scab.” She needs things shaken up a bit to stop herself from wallowing in grief. She needs to dot every I and cross every T to make sure things are done or she can’t sleep. I’m so glad that I’m here to help her do whatever she needs to do to feel comfortable in her own home again. Thank you Ray for taking care of 4 kids, a crazy schedule and a full time job while I’m here sorting things out for Mom. I love you!
Mom is okay. I know we could all be better, but I’ll take okay. One day, maybe it will be a little better than okay. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to help her find her aloha again but that’s something she’s going to have to want to do for herself.
I can’t say it enough. Mahalo Nui Loa for every little thing that has been done for this family since Ned’s diagnosis. When I have to leave, it is going to rip me apart but I know with certainty that I’m leaving her in good hands.