Who is Kendra?
Kendra Diane Heffley was born on July 14, 1958. She was born a pure “wild child” and it showed very early. There is a story of Kendra swinging in and out of a second story window from a curtain rod, which broke at the worst possible moment. There’s another story of an incident on a tricycle that was too small for that wild, young girl and the steep driveway with a busy road at the end that took hold of the situation to teach Kendra that you can’t always play with the toys you want. But most importantly is the story she started at the tender age of 15 when she became pregnant with her first child and got married. Becoming a wife and mother at such a young age taught her a lot of lessons, but it didn’t dampen her spirit for life, and she lead a colorful life. She had two boys, three marriages and one relationship that lasted almost as long as the three marriages combined.
She dedicated herself to fighting losing battles and won, but she also fought losing battles and lost. A high school drop-out that earned a college degree and then a place in a prestigious East Coast law school. She never finished her law degree but for someone with her history just getting there was a major accomplishment. She traveled all over the United States, Canada and Mexico. Much of the western U.S. was seen from the back of a Harley, one of her favorite places to be. She’s sped down lonely stretches of highway in her little sports car at over 100 miles per hour just for the thrill of it. She also had the joy of knowing she raised two boys that she thought would make any mother proud. And she’s known the joy of being a grandmother. Knowing that her fiery blood still pumps through the veins of a new generation and that between them and her Journal she’ll live forever.
Unfortunately her personal story ended much too soon. Maybe someone as alive as she was burns through the substance of life faster than most, but at the young age of 53 Kendra Diane McPheeters passed. She had been fighting another losing battle, this time with Bladder Cancer, and succumbed to its effects on September 3, 2011. She didn’t want to die, but not because of fear of the unknown, she just didn’t want to stop living. She wanted to be a part of this ever-changing world, to see where it would go. She wanted to live long enough to see great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren so she could be the oldest person in a five generation photograph. Even though she wanted all of that she was prepared for death. There was a book that gave her great comfort and inspiration throughout life. It was called “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. It covers all aspects of life and even touches on the subject of death. One quote from that book seems appropriate when concerning Kendra’s view on death:
For what is it to die,
but to stand naked in the wind
and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing,
but to free the breath from its restless tides
that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
You see, she wasn’t afraid of death, she was afraid of what her death meant to her loved ones. She knew it would cause pain to those she loved the most, those she tried hardest not to hurt and she didn’t want that. She didn’t want to hurt them by denying them her presence. But in preparing for the worst she left a great gift, her words, her life hand-written over 37 years. She left it to her boys with the intent of sharing it with the world. Throughout their lives she dedicated them to the idea of sharing her Journal with the world someday. She tried to do it herself before her death but the emotional stress was too great. She relived the emotions of painful memories and would have to stop. Now that she’s gone her boys are dedicated to the task of sharing her words with the world. If no one listens, it’s of no concern to them. They made a promise to her and they intend on keeping it. Throughout her life Kendra was a fiery spirit intent on living life to the fullest and rarely apologizing for anything. Today she is kept alive with her own words and the dedication of her boys. Her spirit still exists in the world today and, through this podcast, will exist forever for any who will listen.