Harlan's aunt, my sister,
Penny, was considered by us all as The Energizer Bunny. She, literally,
"took a licking and kept on ticking". You may recall that she was the only
member of my family who came to Dallas, Texas from Cleveland, Ohio on the
day of Harlan's death. (I think this may be the first time I ever called
it his death and not his accident.) This, despite being an amputee!
Penny had many illnesses.
Too many for me to remember, to be honest. There was the amputation of
her toes, then her entire leg, her five-way bypass, her high blood pressure,
her insulin-dependant diabetes, and her lupus to name just a few. In fact,
her 24-year-old son doesn't remember a time when his mother was NOT ill!
Add to that the fact that I was born on her fourth birthday. What more
could one person go through?
The scariest part about
Penny's illness is that I 'felt' her pain when it was the hardest for her.
That explains why, on Saturday, May 29, 1999, I felt the need to stay home
and not go out for a bite to eat, to a movie, or even to go shopping. Randy,
however, convinced me to join him on a trip to our neighborhood wholesale
club with the comment that we wouldn't be gone long. The entire time we
were gone, I kept thinking there was something wrong and that I should
How right I was! We
came home to a phone call letting us know that Penny had joined Harlan
after successfully going through surgery to amputate her remaining leg.
The next morning we made plans for Randy, Mardi, Daryl, and me to leave
on Monday to say our good-byes to Penny. Since we had cremated Harlan,
and Penny had come to say good-bye to him, we decided to let Harlan come
with us to say his good-bye/hello to Penny as well. What a mistake! My
mom was happy to see him since she had a stroke and was unable to come
to the funeral, as was a good friend of mine. They both hugged and kissed
Harlan's urn while I watched and cried. The rest of my family reacted in
a totally unexpected way, which greatly upset us all.
nice thing came of Penny's passing, I guess you could say. Her husband
and son didn't want a memorial service, just a burial. Harlan had just
a memorial service and no burial. Now, the circle was to be completed.
Penny was buried with a picture of Harlan. This was the last picture ever
taken of him. The one of him in his truck. We now had a memorial service
for Harlan as well as a burial for him. For this I cannot thank David and
Daniel, Penny's husband and son enough. They also gave me the ring that
our parents gave Penny for her 20th birthday, the day they gave me mine
for my 16th birthday. This ring had always been special to me since I wanted
it also and made Penny promise that I could have it when she was done with
it. The only problem is, I didn't want it this soon!
I miss you, Penny,
More than words can say.
I miss your phone calls,
Saying you're okay.
Dad always called you "Rocky".
With all your surgery,
You had to be "Lucky".
The last you could not take.
You did not want me to know...
But I have to tell you,
A mother's heart tells her so.
I did not get to hold your hand.
Everyone says you're in a better land.
My tears will not bring you back.
I did not get to say goodbye or kiss your hand.
But I'd rather be in the grave...
In place of young you, so grand.
There was always laughter,
Wherever there was Penny.
If we remember you,
That's all that we have and that's plenty.
Rest in peace and I will always remember you...
PAGE UPDATED 11/25/05