Aug 23, 2013 - 11:17 pm
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This tribute was posted on my daughter's personal website, and I wanted to share with all of my ACS friends on this, the 9th anniversary of her death.
"Kelly Renea Finnen was born on September 10, 1963, and came into this world as a force to be reckoned with. Being a young mother, I was amazed at how loud, and how independent a baby could be, almost from the womb. Fortunately her strong traits carried her throughout her life, and she was the epitome of strength when it came to her everyday struggles. Kelly was first and foremost my only girl (she had two younger brothers, and two step-brothers), and also was my firstborn. Adjusting to being a Mom was something I wasn't quite ready for, but unfortunately I was on my own to nuture, and guide this little bundle as she grew into adulthood. Her Father was there, but threw up his hands when the first squeal pierced the room, quickly handing her off to anyone who was close. He also loved her dearly, but just couldn't handle the fatherhood part.
Kelly was healthy until she reached adulthood, and after the birth of her first child. Suddenly, she began to have health issues, starting with a "bummed" milogram for a back strain, which turned into a three month stay in the hospital when the radiology tech tore the lining of her spinal column while trying to do the test. She was 21 years old, and this began a long list of traumatic illnesses and events that eventually took her from us. Kelly took her grandfather's side of the family, as well as her father's side, and combined them to suffer with endometriosis, loss of a kidney (because of scar tissue), blood clots, stroke, and coronary heart disease. Her first child was delivered naturally, but the next two were hard pregnancies, with hospital stays of 3-1/2 months and 4 month, respectively. The babies were healthy, but she literally was confined to a bed for approximately half of the pregnancies. Other hospital stays accounted for about 7-1/2 years total of her nineteen years from age 21 to her death at age 40. Kelly never complained, never asked "why me", and always consoled those around her when the times got rough. I won't bore you with the details of each and every illness, but to say the least, I don't know another human being who could have endured the invasion of a body as well as she did. We learned to do the simplest of things, such as wash her hair with her laying flat on her back in a hospital bed, or eating spaghetti without sitting up.....these were funny things that I recall....and we laughed at each new episode as it was crossed. Kelly's spirit was always high, and everything she endured was with a smile. I'm sure there were down days, but we never saw her do anything but accept her fate.
I pass this along as a tribute to a brave soul, who touched many lives, and who brought the true meaning of tolerance to everyone she touched. Kelly died nine years ago, on August 23, 2004, but she left us only in body, not in spirit. Each year we remember the brave daughter, sister, mother, and best friend, and know that all were blessed who came in contact with her. Even her doctors and caregivers were at the funeral, which filled the church to capacity. One of her flute solos was played at the funeral, and we all were amazed that we felt like she was there giving us comfort even at that moment. The Interstate highway between the church and the cemebery will never be the same. One of my sons was a Harris County Sheriff, and his friends and motorcycle briggade escourted her for the 20 mile treck across Houston in peak traffic time. The entrance ramps were shut down, and no one was on the freeway while she passed. I know she would have been thrilled, and I think of the thousands of people who must have wondered "who was that...did a celebrity die?" To us, Kelly was our celebrity, and we just want to remember her each August 23rd...our hero in life, and our angel in death. We miss you, Kelly, and will always picture your smile even in the worst of times. Rest in peace. With all my love, MOM"