There have been a few sad days in our house lately. Kevin’s Mom (Avonell) has been in assisted living for a few years, but last Wednesday her kidneys shut down. The Hospice nurse told Kev and his siblings she had 24-48 hours…but as we all know, God is the only one who knows our timeline. So, the family has been doing the bedside ritual, waiting, praying, talking, playing music, reliving memories, and bonding. Kev has been home for a few days but this morning his Mom was called home. As usual, you think there will be some relief after long suffering, but there is none. Yes she is in a better place. Yes she is happy and whole. Yes she is now with her hubby Gray – and her Jesus. But here we sit, with another hole in the family.
I am so lucky, and so thankful, that Kev’s family welcomed me into their lives with open arms. Especially his Mom and Dad. I think they knew that Kevin was finally happy, after a long time of being unhappy, and maybe they gave me some quiet credit for that. His parents were always loving and kind to me and they filled some gaps that my own parent’s deaths had left. I was happy, and still am, to be a Renegar.
There are many memories I have of Avonell, but two really stand out in my head, and heart, today. In 2010 Kev and I were spending time at his parent’s house trying to help do some stuff around the house and yard. They were in their eighties and just couldn’t keep up. One thing she asked me to do was to help clean out and organize her closets. Well, we started, and we only got one closet, and the rest of that guest room, done. We had some trash bags ready and I remember being shocked and wondering how in the world anyone could ever use over 15-20 Christmas center pieces. There were all kinds and all different types with all different combinations of Christmas colors. But still, I knew she didn’t have that many tables, so I tried to get her to part with a few of them – but she just asked me to put them right back in the closet – so I did. But the desk – now that was another story. Drawer after drawer after drawer were filled with red candles…some tall and skinny, some short and fat, some tall and fat, lots of them were a little melted and some were melted crooked. We would look at each one and I would say “we could get rid of this one, it’s not straight anymore”…..but she would look at it and tell me to put it back in the drawer, that it was still ok, she could still use it. After several drawers of red melted candles, I started chucking some when she wasn’t looking. The drawers were still full; as I am sure they are today, of melted, tall, skinny, short, and fat, red candles. She never knew I threw any of them out – even though we left that room with three trash bags full of stuff. She was so fun to spend the day with and as I watched her looking at her things, I know she saw perfectly good red Christmas candles – many more years of use in them, right? That’s how her mind worked – keeping everything because someday you might just need a red candle.
She had a knack for buying things on sale and giving very interesting gifts – that were, no doubt, purchased on sale. I always thought it was super cute because, after all, I didn’t have a Mom anymore and I loved having a mother-in-law. Her kids mumbled and grumbled after years of getting interesting gifts but I found it fun. The best one was when we opened our gift one year for Christmas and in that box was a Precious Moments ornament. I thought it was adorable – and then Kevin told me that it had the #2 on it. It was for a baby’s second birthday or second Christmas! We laughed…boy did we laugh over the past few years about that ornament. Kev thought about not keeping it last year when we were downsizing out of our big house and I was adamant about keeping it. I know what it’s like to lose a Mom and I know precious a memory can be. I also know how something so simple – like an ornament – can bring back many other memories each year while decorating for Christmas.
So now as I sit here typing this, getting ready to pack for a trip to attend his precious Mom’s funeral, I I cannot help but look forward til we unpack for Christmas and find that ornament. I bet you that this ornament, as funny as it was a few years ago, will be Kev’s favorite ornament ever.
My heart breaks for the loss his family is feeling. They had their wonderful Mom for so many years and she was really good to them. I am sure she had her moments – like all of us Moms do. But how lucky is it to have your Mom live to be 93 in good health up until the last 2 or 3 years? Having lost my Mom at 61 – that is an extra 30 years of memories they were able to make. I know it is all part of life and the normal circle of everything, but it still stinks to say goodbye to someone you love. No matter how old they are.