Archive | November, 2013

Aunt Sue

21 Nov

Back in the day, say around 1981, new parents didn’t know if they were going to have a boy or a girl. My big brother Mike and his wife Tana were expecting their 3rd child and I was expecting my first. Mike had already gotten his boys – Jon and Dave were a vibrant part of the Kura clan. However, Tana really wanted her girl. And on January 3, 1981, she got her wish. Allison Page Kura was born and Tana was so excited! And Grandpa and Grandma Kura finally had a granddaughter to dote on. Two months later, my firstborn entered the world – Tara Kristine. Allie and Tara were dedicated at The Chapel together, they sang in church programs together, they became each other’s first best friends J Even as a little one, Allie was determined, feisty, chatty and loving. Allie and Tara would bake cookies and feed the ducks with Grandma Kura, they would each excel in athletics which allowed Grandpa Kura to boast. And as they grew into young women, they celebrated their own marriages with the other serving as bridesmaid. Allie was the first of the two girls to have a child and Allie was so proud of her precious first born, Paige. When Hayleigh and Mollie arrived, Allie and Adam were complete. Tara and James had their 3 children too – all boys. Family birthday parties were always interesting with doll babies and super heroes trying to mix. Yet Allie and Tara continued to develop their familial bond and even more important, their friendship and love for each other.

When Allie was diagnosed, I remember thinking that this just wasn’t possible. The health conscious exercise fanatic couldn’t have a life threatening disease. Yet, we all watched as leukemia took from Allie on a merciless pursuit. In the midst of it all, Allie didn’t lose her determination, her feistiness and especially her ability to love. We have all seen the word ‘intentional’ used to describe Allison. She was intentional in her clinging to life. She didn’t like feeling helpless, she hated being an observer of life rather than an active participant. But even in the midst of the battle, Allie fought on with such determination. She sought treatments, she continued to try various health supplements and she sought her Lord.

On one of the last times my Tara would see Allison, we were sitting in her living room and some of us were talking while sorting through Allie’s medications. I looked over at the two cousins, one lying on the couch, the other sitting on the floor beside her. I was touched by the intimate conversation taking place between two ‘first best friends’. They were talking of hopes and dreams, lost chances and praying together. There were promises made and kisses exchanged. My heart broke knowing the sorrow that was to come yet encouraged by the final moments of this friendship.

As I watch my brother and sister in law struggle through a loss no parent should ever experience, I am touched by how deeply they loved Allie and how deeply she loved her parents. I have memories of watching my nephew David literally carrying Allie wherever she needed to be. I saw her Aunt Tara lovingly stroke Allie’s feet when that was the only place on her body that didn’t hurt. I saw her friends serving her with such love and compassion that goes beyond superficial friendships. I have seen her husband and precious girls finding strength in knowing just how deeply loved Allison felt in her final months.

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family as we walk the path of grief. Unfortunately, it’s a path no one can walk for us. But it’s a journey that needs companions. Walk along side this young family with your prayers, support, time and love. Lift up her parents and extended family when God brings them to your heart and mind. There is deep pain and sorrow yet we all know that Allie wouldn’t want us to grieve forever. She would want us to get up, get moving on with life and to look at every relationship with eyes looking to eternity.

Aunt Sue

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Toots

1 Nov

Missing Toots

As Allie’s dad I need to say this up front and early I/we miss Allie so much and the pain of her loss is real and takes our breath away. Yes, we believe and understand that Allie is home and in good hands, but we are left with a large hole in our hearts with her gone. We have come to better understand Psalm 46:1( “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”) in a way as never before. We sensed His presence in and during the memorial service big time and know that none of us would have been able to do that in our own strength. We are now calling on Him as we look to the days ahead without our Toots. We are asked to live by faith, and we do that, but with broken hearts.

Recent blog entries have recounted memories of Allie which has triggered a flood of our own memories which we will share with our three girly- girls (Paige, Hayleigh, and Mollie) along the path of life. We think of our family ski trips and Allie learning to ski from Uda (the instructor from hell), our 28 yrs. (began when Allie was 4) enjoying the Owls Nest on the shores of Lake MI. with extended family and friends. The many travel basketball and soft ball games along with cheap and not so good motels. Apple picking in the fall was something she just loved and a tradition she and Adam carried on with the girls. Christmas was Allie’s favorite time of year, she loved all the family traditions including serving the homeless at the Haven of Rest on Christmas day. We started that when she was 5 and she always made every effort to be home on Christmas so she could serve. Mom and Allie loved to work in the kitchen on Sundays after church fixing a brunch trying all kinds of new recipes. We will always treasure our memories of Allie and the joy and encouragement she brought to us and those she came in contact with.

I can hear her voice often “how are you doing today dad, I love you, did you have a good day.” “How are you doing in your walk with the Lord today dad?” Maybe as you go about your day you might hear her voice from time to time asking “how are you doing in you walk with the Lord”, if you do be sure and give her an answer.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you who surrounded Allie and our family during this difficult journey. As parents we were amazed as we watched the various ways many of you reached out to the Armstrong’s and us with practical help, encouraging visits and words, housing in Houston at no cost, plane tickets, cars to us and so many other ways. The medical staff at Akron General, The Cleveland Clinic, and MD Anderson provided Allie with all the tender loving care one could ask for. From our hearts to yours thank you so much.

To our three sweet peas, your mother loved you so much and loved being your mommy. Know that she fought with every fiber of her being to live so she could watch you grow into your own special person. We all asked the Lord many times to allow time with you and in His wisdom He chose to take her home with Him. We do not pretend to understand, but we do know for sure the love she had for you, may you never forget that.

Although much of what is written is from both of our hearts, Tana wants to also complete her own entry, it has been difficult for her to do that but I know you will be blessed once she is able to put her thoughts on the blog. Once again to the many who walked this journey with us thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and support it meant a great deal to the Kura/Armstrong family. May the Lord continue to help us all walk the trail of life in a way that brings honor to Him.

PaPa K

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