Less than two months ago, Mother Goose received a request for a Blue Star Banner from a mom in Missouri named Kathy. Her Army son had recently been deployed to Afghanistan, and her daughter is an active Army Reservist. I dressed up the two-starred service flag with some pretty gold fringe as I always do and shipped it out via priority mail. The standard operating procedure for my organization — we send them out with a prayer that this family will be well and that their service member will be safe and sound.
Kathy with Mary and Matt.
Several days later I heard from Kathy again that she had received my package and was most grateful for the banner and had hung it in her front window for all the world to see.
And then these heartbreaking words: “My time is short so I am trying to get all I can in before the end. I am in the end stages of COPD and I have tumors in my lymph lodes in my neck that I am going to the doctor to check tomorrow. I live on oxygen 24/7 and go NO where. I am getting a home health nurse next week because I cant even cook, shower, clean or do my laundry. So that will be a blessing. So THANK YOU for helping me.”
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is associated with chronic bronchitis and emphysema — it works painfully in the lungs, slowly reducing lung function and oxygen saturation in the body.
In the weeks since, Kathy and I have written back and forth frequently. Her most fervent prayer request was that she’d see her son one more time in this life. Kathy is an amazing woman of faith — she believes in the power of prayer and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. She is at peace with her situation and looking forward to an eternity in paradise.
But if only her body could hold on for a couple more months when Matthew was scheduled to come home from his deployment. The doctors have given Kathy 6-12 weeks to live. With hospice care now in place, Kathy continued to pray for her son’s safety and his return home to her arms. Her note from June 4th: “I am getting ready for hospice to come in……just got to make it a couple more months till my son gets home.”
This past Saturday evening at 9:38 pm, Matthew walked through the doors of his dear mama’s home, surprising her with a great big smile on his face. Thanks to the American Red Cross for making the arrangements for his return! Prayers answered! He will be home for the next two weeks, and this mother celebrates with that mother for the delicious joy of seeing a son’s face when she wakes up in the morning.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I read what Kathy wrote to me this morning: “My dear Blue Star family, I am so going to miss you all so much, please go to the “Mother of Deployed soldiers” group and there is so much support there also. I lived daily laughing, crying, reading, and responding while I was able to. It was a group effort to keep me going all this time. I would have never made it without all of you during this time. I am going to miss all of you, and I will be watching over everyone and waiting for all you to join me next to the Lord one of these days. Keep sending prayers, cards, and any help if you can help my children in burial expense because I have no health insurance or life insurance. God Bless you all and watch over you and your family and your soldiers. Love to all, Kathy”
Dear readers, please pray for Kathy. If you’d like to cheer her with a card or help with her final expenses, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share her address.
My final thoughts on this amazing woman: the love of a mother is so powerful and the faith of this particularly special mother is beyond my understanding. We all go through trials of many types and levels requiring much patience and persistence in prayer. We all have our own packages of suffering and joy co-mingled in our daily lives. Kathy Jenne has touched my heart so deeply though I’ve known her less than two months — I realize that we all have an obligation to love one another regardless of the length of our friendship or acquaintance, regardless of our geographic locations, regardless of our busy-ness.
I have seen pictures that Kathy has taken in the past two days — pictures of friends helping to move her bed into the living room where she can see out the window, friends gathering around her, making her good meals and sitting together visiting, pictures of her handsome soldier son laying across her bed with his face smiling into hers. These are the pictures of love — these are the images of a life well-spent in loving one another.
I guess this is why I’m so passionate about military families and our brave troops and Blue Star Banners — these connections are vital to the hearts and well-being of Army moms and Navy moms and Marine moms and Air Force moms and Coast Guard moms. I will continue my mission of making those connections, inspired by the faith and love of an incredible mom in Missouri.
God bless you today! With love, Mother Goose