Four Last Breaths ~ In Memory of Momma

On April 16th, 2012 at 4:15AM, the world became a bit less complete, a little less gentle, a little less bright, a little less comforting. And the stars dimmed. You probably didn’t notice, but I did.   That was the exact time my momma, Helen Kennan, took her last breaths on this earth.  My sister and I were with her at the end. We held her hands and prayed. I told her she didn’t have to fight anymore.  That she had kept Daddy waiting long enough.   I watched as the tiniest of movement of her head signaled  four last fragile breaths.  As if her lungs were as tired as her body and couldn’t draw in a whole breath at once so they spaced it out into four.  Four last biological duties before they could rest.  And then she was silent.  The tears we shed were for the loss of a woman without equal but also thankfulness that we were privileged to have her as our mom.

I’ve written the piece that follows for her service and I wanted to share it with the world.  Mom was cremated and will be buried next weekend beside Daddy in her beloved Kentucky.  I add this here as a memorial to a wonderful woman who now lives on in our hearts and always will.  I hope you will read it and think of your own mom.  If you have the good fortune of still having her around, hug her tightly.  We only get one Mom.  Cherish her.  If she has passed on, I hope this will rekindle your memories of your own Mother and that you will hug her in your heart and thoughts.



In my lifetime, she surprised me; infuriated me; confused me; amazed me with her ingenuity and resolve, made me laugh; made me cry; made my blood pressure rise; my spirits soar.  My faults went unnoticed; my shortcomings were sometimes highlighted but with gentleness; my stubbornness was echoed and my nerves threatened to fall over the edge at times. Through it all, there was never an unkind word spoken to me, or disappointed look hurled my way. She gave me undeniable and irrevocable love.  I respected and loved her with all my heart.

 I will continue to do so until the day I die and hopefully join her.

She was and always will be… my momma.

How can I express to those who didn’t have the honor of knowing her just how wonderful she was? Adequate words haven’t been born yet.  In my mind, they never will be. She was the woman who gave me life, who prayed for God to spare me and nursed me back from near death and the woman whom I watched take her last breath on this earth.

How fragile life is.  We take it so much for granted.  Just as we sometimes take those we love for granted. How many more times should I have told her how much she meant to me?  I can’t count that high. How much more should I have shown her how much I valued her as a person? I’m not sure I could ever have expressed myself adequately.  She was kind, patient, loving and everything a mother should be.  She worked hard all her life, made our clothes, cooked extravagant meals, kept an immaculate house, and gave of herself until she was on empty then found a way to give more.  She loved one man so much that she never wanted another in her life after he was gone. She waited to be with him for almost 25 years.

Finally, her wait has ended.

In my mind, Momma is holding on to Daddy’s arms in a bond that never has to break ever again.  They don’t have to speak because their eyes show a love that even death can’t take away.

She was a woman of worth. A woman worth knowing.  A woman worth loving.  A woman worth respect.

I hope we made her proud.

We will miss you Momma.


I invite you to post comments about your own Mom.  Let everyone know how much she means to you and your family.  For me, I hope you can tell how much my Mom meant to me.

Categories: life

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1 reply

  1. Such a touching post, Judith. I know deep down, your mother knew how much you loved her.

    My own relationship with my mom is complicated. While I love her to bits, I always didn’t feel that way. We had a torrent relationship, marred with dark issues. To this day, there will be things I will never forgive her for, but thank her for making me a stronger person. I’m sure my view will change eventually, but at least I’m content with things working out for the better in the end.

    As my mother use to say, “We only have one mother, so make the best of it.”

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