Kathleen Annie Mitchell Shiver 1940-2017


Mom and Lily Belle. This was the last photo of mom.

We found out that my mother was ill in October, and she made her transition on Christmas day.

Everything seems like a blur. A bad dream that I still cannot wake up from.

The trips over to Albany Georgia where my parents have lived in the same house for 50 years, the very frank conversations with her and her doctor, her giving me her precious things, seeing her totally bewildered but trying her best to process what was happening, riding in the car with her and dad to go to her radiation treatments, watching her say goodbye to her brother and to my wife and to my daughter, the Hospice nurses coming to the house for the first time, and then finally rushing over there on Christmas Eve to be with her and my father as she passed.

My dad is 82 now, and they would have been married for 60 years this May. So we can only imagine the way his world has changed and the grief he is going through. He has had many surgery’s and my mom had never been sick at all, so we were pretty surprised at the way things happened.

Mom had some things in one of her old family Bible’s. One thing she had was a letter that her mother had written to her. It had been written during a time when my parents were having a lot of difficulties, and the letter is primarily about counting your blessings.

Always count your blessings.

Even if the last thing you feel is blessed.

And so I am grateful that my mom didn’t suffer very long. It was really fast, but gave us all time to be together and say goodbye. She worked full time as a receptionist right up until they started radiation treatments on her. And still she worked part time for another month.

Mom always made me breakfast before school in the morning. Scrambled eggs and peanut butter toast. Sometimes people look at me funny when I ask for peanut butter with my eggs.

My parents have always been there for me. Mom would put her hand on my forehead and no matter what was wrong, her hand let me know that it was going to be okay.

She loved me far and above the love that many people receive here in this life. She had me locked away when I was a teenager and refused to come and get me. And I tried the most awful tactics on her. I pushed her as far as you can push a person.

And she left me there.

And if she hadn’t left me there, if she would have come and got me out, there is a good chance that my ride through this life would have been short and unpleasant.

One day shortly before she passed, I said, “Mama I don’t know if I did my life right. Music is what I always truly believed in, but I don’t have a retirement plan and I still live from gig to gig and week to week.” She said, “Well hell Kyle, lots of people don’t have a retirement plan and lots of people live week to week. Keep doing what you are doing.”

And then she said, “YOU know what you are doing!”

And I am grateful for that conversation with her.

She told me that she had a good life. She was happy with it. She said that she was happy with my dad and with me. She told me that she didn’t want to fight cancer, she didn’t want to be sick, she just wanted to go.(And there was no fight to be had in her case anyway)  In many ways, my mom got things exactly the way she wanted them.

She was the rock in our family. But me and my dad are going to be okay.

Me and my mom

It turns out that my blessings are way too many to even begin to list here. It sure doesn’t feel good right at the moment. But still we must count our blessings always.

Keep it moving forward.


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