By Lavern Nissley
Encompass Executive Director
Our outreach coordinator, Hollie Kowalski, asked us to "get personal" this month in our blog posts. I think that's intended as "personal in a positive way!"😊
This quickly led me to thinking about the absolutely honest, personal, and mutually supportive interchanges Ken, Karen, and I have had over the past 3-4 years. You won't read about this anywhere else, so get ready, buckle up, and let's dive in!
First, let's introduce you to my siblings.
Ken is about two years younger than me and lives in Greenfield, Indiana, just east of Indianapolis. He's a successful realtor and runs Kenter Homes, helping clients with buying, selling, investing, leasing, and oversees property management. His wife of 33 years, Terri, passed last December 26 of cancer and took our sibling interactions to a whole new level of transparency, grief, and loss.
Karen is about thirteen years younger than me and lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, just southwest of Austin. She's a nurse and works as a certified care manager with Centene Corporation. Lots of lower income pregnant moms find Karen as a resource for prenatal needs and advocacy education.
Our geographic distance from each other doesn't allow much face to face, in person conversation. But we've used our own private text thread for the past 3-4 years to update, vent, support, and stay in touch with each other. I often find myself wanting to share things with Ken and Karen - things we likely wouldn't post on social media or with very many others in our lives.
Here's a partial listing of the kinds of things that have flowed in the "virtual triangle" of Springfield, Greenfield, and Dripping Springs:
I could share more bullets/blurbs, but you get the picture. As I look back over the listing I observe that loss and grief are two elements that kept bringing us together. We've all found consolation and encouragement as siblings who are there for each other. Our faith and family bonds have served us well to navigate the hard and impossible things of life.
So . . . Ken and Karen, I love you guys and consider myself very lucky to be your brother. I know we'll have plenty of occasions to keep up this valuable and memorable triangle as sibs!❤️
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.