Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Change…Good or Bad?


Change…Good or Bad?

Noun-the act or instance of making or becoming different. 

February will be 7 months since my Dad’s passing. So much has changed for our family. My Mom’s life has of course the most dramatic change. Watching my Mom go through all the changes to her life, made me seriously ask the question “Is change good or bad”?

Due to my Dad’s passing and all the sudden changes that come with the loss of a long time spouse of 58 years; Mom has experienced so many “firsts”. First time sleeping alone in a house. First time eating alone in a restaurant. First time attending a social event alone. First time experiencing the holidays alone. First time cooking for “one” person.

Watching my Mom navigate through all of these “firsts” has been like watching a new puppy learning to walk. So proud! In reality, they really are NOT “firsts” for my Mom.  Of course, over my Mom’s 84 years she has experienced all of the above mentioned “firsts” as young woman maturing. However, after such a long marriage; they surely do feel like true “firsts. Mom has handled all of this with grace and dignity. While Mom has good days and bad days…change seems to be making her and even stronger person. Not everyone can accept, handle or adapt to change. Some just manage…Mom is blossoming into an even stronger human being. Wonderful to watch!





Stairway to Heaven…

Stairway to Heaven...

Stairway To Heaven…

It has been a little over 2 months since I lost my beloved pet and family member Abigail. I have now received her ashes back and she proudly sits on my fireplace mantel in a cedar box.

Since her passing I have good days and bad days. I miss her everyday and think of her at least once a day. I miss the routine of getting up and taking care of her doggie needs. I miss hearing her bark when the doorbell rings. I miss having her snuggling next to me in bed and hearing her start to snore. I miss her big wet kisses. I even miss her begging for my food. When having dinner at my parent’s house I catch myself before I say to my mom “save that meat for Abigail she will love it later this week for her special dinner.”

Some days I find myself tearing up just thinking about my loyal companion. On those low days the only thing that pulls me out of the funk is to know Abigail is in heaven. I know without doubt I did the right thing by putting her down. Not allowing her to suffer 1 more minute. I know she took the “Stairway to Heaven.”

While I was working through my grief of my beloved pet, I wondered if I could do the same selfless act for a family member or friend. I know many of you may not feel a pets life is in the same category as a human life. However, I feel a life is a life. Both feel pain, love and joy.

Could I make the right decision when the time came to let a loved one go? Could I release them from their pain? Euthanasia is not legal, but if it were… would I be able to honor the wishes of a loved one? I never thought I would be able to euthanize my beloved family pet. Seeing Abigail suffer was far worse then putting her down.



If euthanasia were ever to become legal, could I do the same if ever asked by a human being? It’s a haunting question and one I will probably never get the answer to in my lifetime. What I do know is keeping someone alive for selfish reasons (whether a animal or human) is not fair to those who are suffering.

I never question myself and my decision to put Abigail down. I know she is in a far better place and I will see her in the future on my Stairway to Heaven.

Bald Is Beautiful…

This past month I had the dreaded task of taking my papa to his barber and requesting his head be shaved, due to his ongoing chemotherapy treatments. My mom asked I take him, she was not sure she would be able to keep her composure. Oh how I was dreading this, trying to put on a smile as we drove silently down the street to his local barber shop. 

Upon walking into the barber shop I quickly noticed the mood was upbeat; it was your typical old fashion barber shop where all the men hung around in over sized chairs … shooting the bull. Oscar (my dad’s barber) greeted my papa at the door. Oscar said, “What are we doing for you today Ed?”  Papa replied, “we are shaving it off.” Oscar sat him down and let papa know it was not his first time doing this procedure. He had other clients who were cancer patients. He let my papa know he was in very good hands.

I felt my eyes watering up as his barber took the first shave of hair off the back of his head. I quickly pulled myself together. I knew if my papa saw I was upset, he would be too. Suddenly the barber said “see that dog over there laying down next to the guy, that dog sings you know?’ Oscar quickly made one little howling sound and the dog started his operetta solo. We all broke out in laughter. That’s when I knew it was going to be alright.

Without missing a beat, I said to my papa, “you look like Uncle Fester from the Addams Family TV Show. All you need is a light bulb in your mouth.” Papa replied “ha-ha-ha you’re so funny.” I tried to get him to place a light bulb in his mouth and let me take a photo of him … that was a BIG NO!  I said, “you know papa there are many handsome men who were bald … actors Yule Brynner, Telly Savalas, just to name a few. Lets not forget Mike Meyers as the famous “Dr. Evil.”

You can’t help but place your pinky finger to your mouth and utter the line “One Million Dollars!”  I could have broke out into character from “The King and I” and repeated etc … etc … etc. Or a Kojak famous line “who loves ya baby?” But I held THAT back. The more famous bald men I pointed out the more I laughed. All the sudden I found the situation not as “doom and gloom” as perhaps I first anticipated. I looked at papa and said “you look pretty handsome, nice shaped melon.” The barber turned my dad’s chair around, so he could take a closer look at his new hair-do in the mirror … or lack of one! Papa replied “Oooh my God.”

I quickly pointed out to my papa he now has the chance to wear his beloved USC cap more often. I could not wait to get him home so mom could get a glance at her bald beauty. Mom saw us walking up the from the driveway. 

The door opened and mom broke out in a huge smile. Mom said “oh my you look so cute.” She immediately kissed his cheek. Mom admitted to being nervous about taking dad to have this done. But upon our arrival back home she felt relieved. My mom went to the bathroom to get some sunscreen for his head. She started smiling as she was rubbing his shiny little head with sunscreen; I knew then we were all OK. Funny, never in a million years did I ever think I would be taking my papa to have his head shaved due to chemotherapy treatment. Life is strange sometimes. I guess it is true what they say, who are “THEY” anyway?? Some of the hardest life experiences make for some of the best memories.” Remember Bald Is Beautiful!

Does Heaven Have An Address?


With this Wednesday, September 5th, comes my dad’s third Bladder Cancer surgery. The most recent and unfortunate news that his cancer metastasized further, felt like a bullet to the heart. We (as a family) have done everything humanly possible to try to stop the spread of this destructive illness.

Sitting in my parent’s house discussing the next plan of attack to destroy the cancer; my father with a calm voice looked over at us and uttered these profound words “Does heaven have an address and if not … how do you get there?” My mother and I let out a small nervous chuckle. Without missing a beat my mother responded. “Well, when it is your time to go to heaven you will feel it and you will know it’s time. You will not be asked to go to heaven until you have completed your journey in life.” Dad laid back in his comfy chair; perhaps to contemplate if his journey in life was complete.

After leaving my parent’s house that evening, I spent the rest of the week trying to figure out just how I felt about the journey to heaven. I do believe that your soul goes to a much kinder place after death. But do I know it’s a place called heaven? I was raised Catholic as a child and I still attend Catholic mass today; but now on my terms. I have always been more spiritual than religious. I often think I could easily practice Buddhism. Approximately 300 million people practice Buddhism; which makes it the fourth largest of the world’s religions. I truly believe in Karma, the law that every cause has an effect, i.e., our actions have results.

However, attending Catholic mass with all its pomp and circumstance, brings me back to my childhood. A time and place where I felt safe. I sometimes worry because I do tend to lean more spiritual than religious, I might be shown the long, wet and windy road to the afterlife. Gosh I hope not … I might just stick a pair of galoshes and some Dramamine in my afterlife luggage!

With my dad’s operation looming this week, I will be searching for my true faith. Whether I pray to God or meditate (meditation a yoga practice I dearly love) and call on Buddha for enlightenment … I will be searching. Does Heaven Have An Address?

Olympic Games, Symbol Of Peace

Olympic Games, Symbol Of Peace

This phrase, “Citius, Altius, Fortius” is the Olympic Motto.

Meaning: Faster, Higher, Stronger.

Around the world eyes are glued to television sets. Everyone cheering on their specific country and athletes who represent their homeland. I am no different; I watch the Olympic Games every 4 years in awe. The games represent many things to people all around the world. For me, the games represent the ability to live together and co-exist in peace; even if for a brief 2 week period.

Growing up the Olympic Games- especially the summer games- were a time I anticipated very much. My parents would gather the entire family around our BIG consul TV (no remote control) to watch and cheer on our United States Olympic Team. My mom preparing separate bowls of popcorn or ice-cold mugs of root beer ice cream floats for all of us. My mom would strategically place all of us kids on the floor in front of the TV(no sibling touching another) to avoid the ever so annoying game “he/she is touching me.” So excited to watch our United States Olympic Team walk out around the olympic stadium waving the flag.

I was a swimmer in high school and college, and a member of the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union). I used to have the fantasy goal of perhaps trying to become an Olympic Athlete in swimming. Until I realized just how much dedication it takes to compete at such a high level. Not that I was a lazy athlete about the sport I loved. I think I realized fairly young my personality is not one of extreme competitiveness. I actually prefer “team” sports and settings. In fact, prefer working as a cohesive team in my career today. I still swim almost everyday. I still get the same thrill; feeling the cold clear water on my body. My dad calls me the “mermaid.” I tend to believe unless you were an avid swimmer, that same feeling of exuberance is not shared by all.

Watching the 2012 London Games I still tear up when I see one of our athletes on the podium and the United States National Anthem starts to play. These days I am no longer sitting on my floor with my legs crossed with a bowl of popcorn or cold root beer float. yelling to my mom “he/she touched me.” Have replaced it with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio, a spoiled dog and a cat with a TUDE.

These 2012 games give me hope that perhaps we can solve our differences in the world in a peaceful way. Perhaps we should leave it up to all the athletes to solve the global issues instead of the politicians. It seems that perhaps they could just do it too!

So far, the 2012 Olympic Games have had a profound meaning to my family. It is an honor to be related (via my Grandfather Kennedy) to Gold Medal Olympian in skeet shooting, Kim Rhode. We congratulate her and are so very proud of her huge accomplishment.

The Gift Of Time.

The Gift of Time: By Kellie Kennedy-One Baby Boomers View On Life.

This Christmas was supposed to be the BETTER holiday for my parents. The morning holiday ritual begins. Mom awakens far earlier than my papa these days, he now deserves to be a bit of Rip Van-Winkle. Mom makes sure the fireplace is warm and toasty; the Christmas tree lights are all lite and the coffee pot is ready. Mom plays scrabble on her Kindle Fire and waits patiently to hear papa’s slippers shuffling down the hall. The special sound of my papa’s slippers, lets her know her attention is needed and wanted by him. His cup of coffee and paper in hand and the morning slowly begins by the fire.

In exchange for the cozy morning ambiance, every holiday evening starts out with my papa lighting the fireplace for my mom. They have the lovely fireplace to enjoy-chilly desert evenings and mornings-the Christmas tree all a glow just like a Macy’s tree. Celebrating this year, papa is home with us for the holidays; after battling 1 year of  Bladder Cancer, as a family we had made it through in one piece. This was to be a joyous celebration this December.

On Monday, December 12, 2011 the holiday took an unexpected turn. I received a call from my parents to meet them at their home around the corner. My mom consumed with emotion, I knew they were coming back from my papa’s 6 months Oncology appointment. Once meeting up with my parents, I calmly sat down next to my mom. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “It’s stage 4 and it’s gone into his bones, lymph nodes of the abdomen area, they want to begin radiation and chemotherapy immediately.” Metastatic Bladder Cancer, I  could actually feel my heart breaking … what happened to our perfect holiday? Why was this happening again? The only real gift my parents wanted this holiday, was my papa home and cancer free. Now we are looking at the Gift of Time!

During the holiday season people tend to focus on what type of gifts they are giving or receiving. All consumed on how much to spend and the brand of the gift. Is the gift a Gucci or Kate Spade bag? Did the gift come from Tiffany & Company? My god … I must have a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes as a gift! Being a Cancer Survivor myself and having faced the possibility of  my mortality at an early age;  I have felt for a long time Christmas gifts should be a complete after thought. The real gift at Christmas should be … your Gift of  Healthand your Gift of Life. Now for my parents, it is the Gift of Time. There is no bigger or better gift my papa can buy my mom other than more time with her. This is the type of gift you can’t find in a box, or on a ring finger, or on a pair of feet or even parked in someone’s driveway. The Gift of Time is priceless.

Without missing a beat, my papa made clear their Christmas Eve celebration will remain the same. My parents will be celebrating with dear friends in their home this Christmas Eve.  Celebrating the Gift of Health, Gift of Life and Gift of  Time!

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