Sitting on my Shoulder


Back row:  Bonnie Buhl, Elaine Juelfs, Valera Bender (RIP), Jeanne Osterman

Front Row: Butch Behnke, Betty Sayer (RIP), Gordon Behnke (RIP)

In October of 2009, my mother died.  She had been diagnosed with cancer in 2006.  According to the doctors, yes plural because you could name the places she didn’t have cancer easier than where she did, my mom had stage 4 cancer and they didn’t give her much time to live.  We were offered two options: 1.  Go home and sign up with hospice, or 2. Try chemo and radiation.  She opted for #2 even though they weren’t giving her much hope.

Well, she surprised all of us the doctors included.  She lived 3 years.  But, they were very tough years.  My mom had a trach and a stomach feeding tube.  Pretty limiting, but she was one tough lady.  We made the most of everyday.

Here is the thing.  She decided to remove her feeding tube.  Now she could not get any pain meds, nutrition, or water.  So as you can guess, her system failed and she passed away after 10 days.  And it is true, she did have that day in the middle where she didn’t even look sick and had lots of energy.  I guess it is kinda like nesting before having children, because she wanted to get out of the house and see her friends, the town, the store I was trying to get open.  We had a great day with her, then downhill she went.

On her last day, we talked a lot.  We both knew what was coming, so I guess you try to cram everything into a few hours.  A lot of tears on my side, but not on hers, she was ready.

One of the things we talked about was her not being here just when I needed her the most.  I was opening my brick and mortar store and was scared to death.  She had run businesses before, but I hadn’t.  She told me that she would be on my shoulder whenever I needed her.  There have been lots, and I mean lots, of days I have needed her, but this one day I knew she was there.

In March 2010, I had to go get license plate for my pickup.  As we all know, just opening a business, I didn’t have a lot of income so I was really worried about the expense.  So, that morning in the shower I asked my mom if she could set on my shoulder today when I went to the court house to buy my tags.

The lady at the counter was very nice, but she came up with a $4,000 some price tag.  I almost cried.  No way I could pay that.  But, she did another computer punch and it was only $1000 some.  That is still quite a bit, but I paid and took my new tags and walked out.

On the way back to Holly, I realized I hadn’t even looked at the tags to see what the plate said.  As soon as I opened the envelope, I started crying.  And thanking my mom.

The tag was VKB 447.  My moms initials are VKB  Valera Kay Bender.  So she was on my shoulder that day. 

These tags have been on all the vehicles I have owned since and we just keep transferring them over.

Love you mom.  Now and Forever.  Thanks for being there that day.  Remember I still need you and hope to feel your touch on my shoulder from time to time.

3 thoughts on “Sitting on my Shoulder

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