Friday, May 29, 2009

Information on Services

Thank you to everyone for caring for the family here in the past few days. We've deeply appreciated everyone's love and affection.

Some have asked for details concerning the services on Saturday. Here's the scoop:

At 2:00 on Saturday, May 30 the funeral will be held at the Pierce-Jefferson Funeral Home in Kernersville, NC. Directions to the funeral home can be found here. Their phone number is 336-993-2121 if you have any additional questions.

In place of a viewing/wake/visitation, the family has decided to do something a little different. Immediately following the funeral, everyone is invited to Chuck and Lynne's home to celebrate her life together, as well as what would have been their 25th wedding anniversary. There will be a big tent with food and music, all set in their beautiful backyard which they worked on together. If you're coming to the funeral, please know that you are welcome and wanted here as well. Directions from the funeral home to the family's house can be found here.

Again, thank you for coming alongside us during this tough time. In the midst of everything we feel, I can say we have not felt alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mom's Obituary

Mari Lynne Shaw Rendleman

KERNERSVILLE — Mari Lynne Shaw Rendleman, 57, went home to be with her Lord on Wednesday, May 27, 2009, following several months of critical illness.

Services celebrating her life will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, at Pierce-Jefferson Funeral Home Chapel with Dr. Rob Decker.

A native of Orange County, Florida, she was the daughter of the late Clyde Thomas Shaw, Sr. and Anne Leonora Babb Shaw, who survives. She was a member of Triad Baptist Church. A breast cancer survivor herself, she was an active supporter of .

In addition to her mother, Anne Shaw, she is survived by her loving husband of almost 25 years, Edward C. "Chuck" Rendleman, of the home; daughter, Leigh Bucklad and Brad of Statesville; sons, Joe Benton of California, Andy Benton of Orlando, Fla., and John Rendleman of Kernersville; grandchildren, Nick and Chloe Benton and Miles Bucklad; sisters, Beth Russell and Tim, and Amy Luce and Andy, all of Georgia; brother, Tom Shaw, Jr. and Doris of Winchester, Virginia.

The family will visit with friends following the service at the funeral home on Saturday.

Memorial contributions are asked to be sent to , c/o Gift Management Services, 5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250, Dallas, TX 75244.

Online condolences may be sent to the Rendleman/Shaw family at

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

After a Long Night

It's 6:44 AM, and we just finished spending the night in the hospital. Right now Lynne is still hanging on.

Leigh came in to visit last night, and about 20 minutes after returning home Chuck called to let us know he was heading back to the hospital. Apparently Lynne went downhill in a very quickly after they left, developing a high fever with her breathing becoming more labored. The nurses told Chuck he may want to be here tonight, and John, Leigh and I decided to be there as well.

Lynne is still hanging on this morning. Her fever is up, blood pressure is low, breathing very sporatic. It could be any time.

This floor is the most heartbreaking place I've ever been. At 2 AM there are patients all over the place dying of something. You can hear them coughing while they watch TV, just waiting. I don't know how long they have. I don't know how long Lynne has. It would seem like this is all going to be over soon; we didn't think she would last through the night. But she's hanging on. For the first time it's hard to think about leaving the room without thinking it's the last time you'll see her alive.

There isn't much else to say. Soon I'll head home, most likely leaving Leigh here to wait some more. Please pray for Lynne, that God would deliver her from this, and that He would deliver us as well.

Monday, May 25, 2009

the next two weeks

In the next two weeks, a lot is going to change. Summertime is going to officially take hold on its season. People will begin vacations. BBQ and swimming parties will happen all around us. Mom and Chuck will celebrate 25 years of marriage...and Mom will lay down to rest with Jesus.

I feel a lot of things these days. I still cry all the time, and my mind is never at rest. I am overwhelmed with the amount of memories that flood back to me every day. I think about Mom when I add cream to my coffee (or in Mom's case add coffee to her cream), when I choose clothes for Miles to wear (so many pieces of his wardrobe are "things I just picked up, a little treat from Nana"), when I water my plants (she loved to buy almost dead plants and bring them back to life...such a green thumb) and I think about her every time it is quiet and I am still. It hurts so much. I am grieving every moment.

I want life to stop. Why is everyone working? Why do I have to grocery shop, clean the house, do laundry? Why do we "keep living" life? It seems so wrong.

However, in the midst of this, a prayer has been on my mind.

Brad and I began a journal for Miles during our pregnancy and in it, I wrote this prayer for Miles. It is not mine but one given to Henri Nouwen by his mentor.

May all your expectations be frustrated.
May all your plans be thwarted.
May all your desires be withered into nothingness.
That you may experience the powerlessness and the poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

It seems harsh, I know. I don't want hard and terrible things for Miles. But as a mother, I so desire for him to sing and dance in the love of God the Father. And, I am learning that only through our experiences do we learn hurt and the redemption that comes from it. In all of this great hurt, I know I am being shaped...being made more like Christ. I am being sanctified each and every day. It is painful and I can't say that I even want it. But here I am. My expectations are frustrated. My plans are thwarted. My desires are withered into nothingness. I am experiencing powerlessness and poverty. I want to sing and dance in the love of God the Father.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A quick word about West Virginia . . .

First let me apologize to Kelli V, Steve G, Amy P and anyone else I may unwittingly offend.

Dear West Virginia,

Do you know that the rest of the world is laughing at the mullet? Yet you continue to wear it proudly, sometimes even pulling it back in a pony tail before climbing into your pickup trimmed out with Mossy Oak instead of chrome.

Perhaps it's the perfect compliment to a chewing tobacco aisle that's THE SAME SIZE as the candy aisle in the gas station. Maybe it's an act of rebellion because Virginia isn't known as "East Virginia" yet you are forced to suffer a prefix.

At one time, did the sleeveless T-shirt look good on men? Perhaps before sleeves were invented?

And why does it take so stinking long to drive through your state? What are we paying you for with all the tolls? The roads are terrible, and for some reason time slows to a crawl while I'm driving on them.

And why does it smell like an '85 Buick that's been sitting in the sun for too long? (OK, in fairness this odor was attributed to a person in our car, but we laughed pretty hard when applied it to WVA)

Please, please, I know times are hard. I know I'm a judgmental person. But I just don't understand. I welcome any help.


Dreaming of BoJangles

Life is hard right now. When you think it can't get any worse, of course it does.

God forces you to cross the Mason-Dixon line.

Into a place without biscuits or sweet tea, where Pontiacs and pot-holes abound and smoking is smiled upon in such a way that R.J. Reynolds could only dream of. The closest restaurant is a place called "EatnPark" and appears to be a bad imitation of Shoney's. Leigh and I have been here for not even a few hours and already I can't wait to be back home.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to be here, in spite of the circumstances. It's been 10 years, and seeing family is great, seeing my Dad's old neighborhood is educational (I learned tonight that he carried a pistol at one point when he was 18 because of "street action") and Leigh and I are great road trip companions. But I am a stranger in a strange land. It's hard for me to feel at peace here--even time I spent out west or in New York doesn't compare to how uncomfortable this place makes me. My home is in the South, and I hope it always will be.

On a related note (I'll get there, don't worry) some folks keep asking how they can pray. My most common answer recently is that God would increase our faith. Please don't stop with that one, we still need it badly. For those of you hurling up the unsolicited prayers that we would have rest, or experience God's love, or have healing, thank you. I feel like we got a little bit of that today. It wasn't an easy day, but we've laughed a lot at a culture so foreign yet similar to what we're familiar with. Leigh and I love being together in these situations.

And we're increasingly grateful we don't live in the North.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 60, The Hardest Yet

Tuesday night before club I got a phone call from Leigh’s dad, asking me to come with her to the hospital on Wednesday night. He didn’t go into any real details, but simply said it was going to be a hard night for Leigh and that she would need me there. It wasn’t too hard to read between the lines.

When we got there around 5:30 yesterday, we made small talk for a bit before Chuck sort of dove in. Apparently, since this past weekend, they’ve been running some tests on Lynne’s brain. With these, the doctors had new information to share. Since the last EEG they did, Lynne’s brain has been degenerating further and further. When they were fighting so hard to save certain regions of the brain that affect consciousness, the ability to understand language, and motor control, they were unsuccessful. There have been more strokes in those areas, and using the tests they are able to predict that there will be more strokes as well. And there’s nothing they can do to stop them.

Lynne is in a type of vegetative state now. She responds to noise, movement, light, but it isn’t any sort of conscious response. She cannot move or control her body, and she does not experience any sensation of pain now. Also, she’s slipping more every day into a place where she is sleeping without waking.

As of yesterday, the decision was made to stop sustaining her life. Sometime today they will move her to a different floor where the goal is to keep the patient and family as comfortable as possible. Then they will remove the protein bottle that has been sustaining her through her feeding tube. This won’t result in starvation; instead, it will cause her brain to revert back to where it would have been 60 days ago without medical intervention. Different areas will begin to “turn off” and sometime between one and two weeks she will pass away.

Last night was really hard. Today has been really hard. Leigh has cried a lot, and is out shopping for a dress for my grandmother's funeral (what an awful thing to have to do) with Sabrina (thank you Jesus for her.) I went to a concert at the high school today and fought off crying through it all (to be fair, it’s sort of moving to see black and white kids dancing to Beatles songs at the foot of the stage.) Up until now we had hope for recovery, even if it was tiny. Now that’s gone, and we have to figure out how to function with this in a new way.

God is still in this. He’s doing good, hard things in my heart. And in Leigh’s. Some of it we can tell. Others it isn’t so easy. It’s hard to trust and have faith right now, but at the same time I don’t know where else we’d turn. What I do know is that being around people today, I don’t know if I’ve loved people this deeply in a while. For that I’m grateful.

Thanks for the prayers and support. I’ll keep you posted as things move forward.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Today has been a day where small encouragements were given throughout the day. The first came through a very, very heavy heart this morning at church. I sat annoyed, and barely able to sing at all because I knew the words of praise would not be heart felt and honest. Somehow through the teaching this morning this verse stuck with me.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet without sin. let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
--hebrews 4: 14-16

We left church and headed for the hospital.

While visiting Mom today, one of her nurses made a casual comment about how Mom reminds her of her Mom. I asked "how so?"

Apparently she had an aneurysm years ago. I asked if she had also suffered strokes because of it.

She said yes and all the doctors kept telling her family there was no hope for her. The strokes had left her in an almost vegetative state...just like Mom. They finally sent her home, and she told us that her dad said that wouldn't do. They were not going to give up. They began working with her. Slowly "like a baby" she learned everything again.

The nurse's mom was currently watching her grandkids and fixing dinner for her family.

Hows that for some hope.

A little dose of mercy...and It was just what I needed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

My beautiful Mother

This was a picture taken on the day Brad and I got married. She looked beautiful that day and this is one of my favorite pictures of her. There was intense pain in her heart as well as the joy she felt for Brad and I on that day. Just a couple of weeks prior to this picture, my mom lost her dad, my Papa. I miss him every day and cannot look at this picture without thinking about him. Now this picture takes on many bittersweet memories.

How's your heart?

How's your heart?

For years I have hated this question. I am not a fan of being vulnerable nor do I understand those that ask and expect you'll open up just like a book and lay it all down for them. So, most of the time I dodge this question and brush people off with a quick....I'm good. (or is it I'm well?...whatever.) But, one of the loveliest parts of marriage is that you cannot quickly brush someone away. They see you day in and day out. I've been a wreck. I know it, and my husband knows it. It is hard in a way to be a "minister's wife"...I'm not good at it and hate (a lot of the time) what comes with that job title. I like to run away...guess if I'm uncomfortable being open and honest, why should I put myself out there to be a person for others to be open and honest with?...and all the while with a smile on my face.

When trying to sort though all that I am feeling these days, I try to explain it and sort through it all with Brad. Am I crazy? Does that make sense? What do you think?....all questions that I pose daily to him. And, perhaps the toughest thing I've had to sort through these days is what I believe to be true about this situation and my God. I stumbled through the words yesterday trying to explain where my "heart" was. Then today I began reading a book that has sat of my shelf for years. I read the words I have been at a loss to use when describing where I'm at in all of this.

C. S. Lewis explains in A Grief Observed...

...where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be --or so it feels--welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. you may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?

He goes on to explain the same fear I have...

Not that I am in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not "So there's no God after all," but "So this is what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer."
--Lewis (A Grief Observed)

There it is. All of you caught a glimpse of vulnerability from me. Honest. Real. I'm trying to find my way through all this. Christ is real...He has even questioned "why has thou forsaken me? But, it is still not easy to understand. So, I will continue to search and seek the one that knows me best...I just want to feel like He hears me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

and the brokeness continues....

Brad's grandma in Pittsburg has been given anywhere from a week to a month to live. We will be heading to Pennsylvania soon to visit and share Miles with her since she has not been able to meet him...or me in person. So...we'll just carry on day to day as our hearts continue to break a bit more.

yep, this is real

Sorry for those of you that check this blog daily in hopes that there will be new posts about Mom. The last few weeks have be a struggle for all of us. I have lost count of the days since Mom was admitted with her aneurysm, and for much of the last month, there has been little progress in Mom's healing. You are welcome to continue to check team bucklad as often as you would like. It makes us feel so wonderful to know that there are so many people caring about, praying for, and hurting with us as we go along this journey next to Mom. I will only be blogging about Mom when there is new news. So, it will continue to be random days that posts are made. Feel free to come and read...I may even start blogging a little about the Bucklad adventures along the way as Miles is growing and learning so much these days.

Yesterday was a big day. Chuck and I met at the hospital for a meeting with Mom's team of caregivers. This included all four therapists (speech, respiratory, physical, and occupational), her incontinence nurse, regular RN, pharmacist, and case manager. These meetings occur each week before paperwork is sent in to insurance. As I explained earlier, Mom can stay at the Select Care hospital on a week by week approval. This meeting allows all her caregivers to discuss where they feel Mom is in her recovery process.

Respiratory explained how they were trying Mom out with a cap on the trach. This was to test her ability to breathe completely on her own. The only oxygen Mom is receiving is through a tube that goes under her nose. The team wanted to see if Mom was able to clear her own airway as needed by coughing. It was strange hearing her cough for the first time. Up until now, her coughing was silent because of the trach. In a way it was like hearing her voice.

Then the rest of the therapist began to chime in. First, they asked about what we, the family, had observed. We shared little glimpses of awake time, smiles, and puckered lips. But, for the most part, we shared about the hours spent in her room with no response at all. They agreed. Then one at a time shared how they viewed Mom's prognosis as poor...

The likelihood of recovery is slipping away each day. And now, being six weeks after the strokes. The fact that there is no substantial action from her, is generally a sign that this may be all we get. This is how Mom is now. How she most likely will stay. It is not a vegetative state. However, it almost is. The doctor explained that sometimes this is worse. We have no idea what is going on inside her, if she is even "home".

Now, they told us that the rumors that came with her from the ICU about reading and responding was just optimism and doctors and nurses wanting to believe more was occurring than actually was. Me?...I believe that she was doing it all and was making gains. I also think that the last couple of weeks she has regressed some. So, I don't know if I fully am ready to "give up"...not that her current doctors are either. They are just sharing how it is.

What we need to look at now is what could be next.
--Mom is not coming home.
--She may live the next 30 years in the same state of mind she is in now
--She most likely will be moving to a nursing home...not a rehabilitation facility
--As a family, we may have to make a decision on continuing aid that keeps her alive. (feeding tube, antibiotics for illness like pneumonia, breathing machines if the need arises....) we may. It is not there yet, but the possibility is there that it could get to this.

I write this more broken hearted than I have ever been in my life. I have a hole that is so deep it takes my breath away when I stop to think about Mom. I cry most days and want to hide from people that reach out. I don't want to talk about the fact I don't want people to ask how Mom is just feels like people are trying to make casual conversation. At the same time I am hurt when they don't. I feel like there is not a person who understands how I feel (though I know that's not the case) When it's not sadness, it's anger. I get angry at innocent people I encounter daily at the store, work, etc. for no reason other than I have anger I just need to let out. How can you pretend that the world is not falling apart? Don't you know it is? Don't you know that nothing is ever going to be the same?...Now hand me my coffee, or move your stupid shopping cart out of my way!

So here we all are. As a family, we are hurting and all dealing with this differently. Our hearts are breaking as the stronghold of our family is slipping away. We have been slowly watching our Mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend fight for her life for 50 + days. We are worn out and mourning at the loss of who we have always know her to be. We are fearful of the next steps. Most of all we are so empty inside. Hope is hard to come by. Faith is difficult to have. We want her back.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mom update

Mom was moved to the Select Care hospital at Forsyth. She has her own room and a nice little view of the roof and shopping mall. The nurses seem nice and the environment seems a bit more at ease.

Mom had a good couple of days where she was awake for longer periods of time. We have been able to bring Miles in to see his "Nana". He has been bouncing on her bed and grabbing at her hand. It has been fun to watch. I see Mom smile at him often. Her smiles are not the smiles I have been used to seeing all my life, rather a slight turn up of the corners of her mouth. She has stopped responding to written commands. At this point, we are not completely convinced she is reading after all. I hope she is, but the doctors and nurses have not seen it happen. In fact, they have not seen much at all. The doctors report to Chuck that after a week there, Mom has not really shown any improvement as they thought they would see.

I don't know where this leaves us.

Select care operates on a week by week approval. My hope and prayers are that Mom shows some signs of improvement...enough to continue to stay there and get therapy. She has all different kinds of therapists...respiratory, physical, occupational, and speech. Surely she will improve in one of those areas.

How does "real" feel?

So, things have been feeling pretty real these days. I find that I am fine one minute then crying the next. I so deeply desire to be posting great and wonderful news about our first spring as a family, the fun we are having, and the new things we are experiencing. However, this spring has been one hit after another. Sorry it has been over a week since updating....I'm going to take a moment to be open and vulnerable with you for a sec. In addition to Mom (which I will be updating shortly), more is going on with our family...Please, please do some prayin for us. We are just so worn out these days.

1. My Uncle (Mom's brother) had multiple strokes last week and spent a short amount of time in ICU. He seems to be doing better and recovering fact he was released from the hospital earlier in the week. It just hits close to home with Mom and now Uncle Tommy.

2. Brad's grandma in Pittsburg has been admitted to the hospital again. Her cancer has returned and she will likely be staying there indefinitely.

3. Brad's dad has become another casualty of this economy. He was laid off last week...and only a few years before retirement!

4. Granddad Pierce (Chuck's dad) has had his alzhiemers hit severely and cannot remember the simplest of things. We don't know what has caused this to change so drastically. He was in the hospital for some tests last week after a few incidences occurred at home. Initially we assumed it was strokes (yes him, too) but, tests show it wasn't.

5. Statesville Young Life is in deficit (another effect of the local economy) Giving is down. Like most ministries, the difficulty experienced with raising support, effects Brad's paycheck. Which is scary since we decided last year that I should quit teaching and stay home with Miles thus making us a one income family.

So yeah. Here we are. I'm not gonna lie and say things are easy and fine. Because they are not. I'm sad most days, and want to be alone more often times than not. Miles brings joy but, I experience life right now only as days with him or at Mom's side at the hospital. I miss her. I want to talk so badly to her. Everywhere I turn I am reminded of some experience with her or some conversation we had. I wish she could know how Miles is doing, how we are all doing.

I thought when she was diagnosed with cancer (almost nine years ago now), was the hardest season of my life. I was wrong. I keep remembering reading years ago about the "dark night of the soul" (Celebration of discipline) Foster tells about St. John and how he explains the dark night as something that's not bad or destructive. On the contrary, it is an experience to be welcomed. It is to set us free..a devine appointment. The dark night is one of the ways God brings us to a hush, a stillness, so that He may work an inner transformation upon the soul.

I have been reminded of this every day this spring. It hurts. I know that I belong to Christ. And, what is my job here?...To glorify Him. To enjoy Him in his presence. How do I do that?...I am being shaped and formed to be more like Christ everyday with this experience. I don't want this. It's not easy. I'm tired, hurt, and frustrated.....and feel lost in the midst of this. But, I want to glorify Him. It's just painful.

Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the voice of his servant,
who walks in darkness
and has no light,
yet trusts in the name of the Lord
and relies upon his God? (Is. 50:10)