Growing Old in America
My Story by Randy Kelley
As I sit here today writing about aging in America. I will give you some background on myself. My name is Randy Kelley, I turned 57 on December 14, 2017. Both of my parents have died. My father and mother divorced when I was around 5 or 6 years old.
My dad was in the Army and in Vietnam. I do not have many memories of him, except one. I recall one time when he was home on leave he had held up in his bedroom with his guitar and a reel to reel tape recorder, singing and playing and recording.
I was born in Germany, Heidelberg mom said. Our family came back stateside when I was two (2) so I don't recall being there, but I do dream of one day going back.
This I am hoping tells you a little about me. I for the most part have always connected to folks older than myself. I’m not sure why, but I have over the years come to enjoy it. My elders have incredible stories to tell those you would just listen.
I was not around when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I was on the road working. When my father died, I heard it from my older sister. My dad had another family in San Antonio, Texas but my sister somehow managed to keep in touch with him sporadically. Mother was living in Autryville, NC at the time of her death. By going to Chapel Hill mom saw the cancer specialist, got help with paying for her needed medications. If my memory is correct, around this time my younger brother was attending Chapel Hill School of Medicine, to become a physician. One day when he was on a break, he and his wife and two girls were visiting is in the laws. The day came when mom had to go to her doctor's appointment in Chapel Hill, and my brother and I were taking her. When we arrived at her house we both walked inside hollered for her, and there was no answer. The house was small, so someone had to hear us. My brother and I turned around from entering the house an now where in the mess left of the living room, we saw her. Mom was dressed, clutching her purse waiting for us to arrive, when we turned around to look for her she was there already dead. My brother acted quickly, telling me to grab her legs and we will put her on the floor. I did as he said, then he began CPR. And I called 911.
About that time my stepfather came out of the restroom talking, saying something I didn’t hear and wasn’t able to pay any attention to him. That is until he saw what was happening and started to freak out. I got him in his chair to sit down while my brother continued CPR.
From here you can know how this ends. Mom died and life as our family had known had changed in an instant.
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