Friday, September 24, 2004

A story with no good ending.

Angel Maynard

INEZ - Angel Maynard, 12. Survived by Dad, Raymond Maynard. Services, 1 pm Sun., chapel of Phelps & Son Funeral Home. Visit, after 5 pm Fri., all day Sat. Until time of services on Sun., funeral home. Visit
Published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on 9/24/2004

"I've been around the world I've seen it and I've lived it friend
I've been around the world and now it's time for me to rest
I've been around the world I've seen it yes I've lived it
I've been around the world and now it's time for me to go

Do you believe that love is God [or Goddess], or do you feel the reverse
Do you believe a blessing is the absence of a curse
Do you believe you have no choice but let your life play out
Did you cut your own belief just to spite your doubt"
--Andrea Lewis/Chris Jonat--

A family existed once. Tish met Raymond almost 25 years ago. Her sister Carla married Raymond's nephew Ivan. Tish lived a wild, restless life; Raymond had been married and had three grown sons. They naturally fell together, I really can't remember how. When was about 1983 or so. He was at least 20 years older than she. Her overriding want and desire in life was a child. Nothing else would make her happy. In 1990 she had a tubal pregnancy/miscarriage, but it proved she could have children. In 1991, Tish became pregnant again. Trouble started at once, she had placenta previa. This condition is where the placenta detaches and slides between the baby and birth canal. Tish fought it but also didn't take care of herself as she should have: she smoked like a freight train and didn't eat (she never did, she never crossed over 100lbs till she was pregnant). She held it together till December 30, 1991. Tish was flown to Huntington, WV from Prestonsburg hospital. We got there in time to see doctors rush by the waiting room with a extremely small incubator. They kept telling Raymond to pick a name, the baby would not live through the night. She did make it through the night, and Raymond named her Angel Dawn Maynard.
Angel was 1 pound, 12 ounces at birth, and was three months premature. She was born with one kidney. After four months in the hospital Angel came home. And for a year I helped care for her. She had colic, and her one kidney started having problems right away. Tish rose to the occasion of difficult motherhood with a grace and skill we never thought possible. Raymond was a dynamo as well, which was surprising. He had heart problems and had suffered a few heart attacks. They kept medicine times straight, doctors appointments organized, never a misstep. Except...We knew something wasn't right with Angel. She wasn't developing normally. Tish finally took her to a neurologist and found out--cerebral palsy. Tish cried and forged forward anyway. This child was the one she had prayed for and nothing would stop her. Except.....
Tish was never one to take care of herself, as I mentioned before. She smoked at least 2 packs a day since she was about 11. In 1997 it caught up with her, lung cancer. She fought it, took care of Angel and Raymond. In October 1999, the cancer spread to her brain. And she lost the fight. The 20 yr older fragile husband and even more fragile child outlived her. Angel was the only reason Raymond kept living. She continued to grow weaker through the following years. Angel's stomach was eventually almost removed totally, as was her gall bladder. She could talk barely, but never walked. She had broken bones from the osteoporosis caused by the stomach problems. The final straw was her one kidney failed, and because of the cerebral palsy, she was not eligible to be put on a waiting list. Angel endured dialysis. This past month, Raymond was forced into putting her into a nursing home: he had grown overwhelmed. And he had been threatened with having her taken from him by the state. He visited her almost daily. Last weekend, the nursing home called in Hospice. The dialysis was no good, her kidney had failed permanently. Angel was given two weeks to live last weekend. She lasted till yesterday, 4 days.
I was sitting at my desk yesterday morning when my mother called to tell me Angel had passed away. I had helped take care of her off and on for so long. She was the flower girl at my wedding, my sister/matron of honor carried her down the isle. She laughed at everything. She adored my husband John totally and missed him after he died terribly. This child was my cousin, but her mother was raised as my sister and she as my niece. And now I must go to Eastern Kentucky to see her buried beside her mother. And, to see if Raymond survives the funeral. There were two reasons he went on, and the second one has been taken as well.
I wanted to share their story with you, at least a fraction of it. permanently, Raymond, and especially Angel have inspired me, exasperated me and broken my heart. I love them all three.