“Healing Hearts” sessions offered by Bellville woman

By LOUISE SWARTZWALDER - lswartzwalder@aimmediamidwest.com

CLEAR FORK VALLEY — A woman whose heart is big enough to offer help is forming a group named “Healing Hearts.”

Ruth Ann Kelley, who lost her husband Don, said she decided to form a group after talking with people at her church.

Kelley said she is “not trained at all” but is just “jumping in.”

Her group will meet Dec. 18, at 10 a.m., at her home at 4329 Bellville North Road.

She said when she lost her husband her heart “hurt so bad” but doctors couldn’t find anything physically wrong with her.

She told the nurse, who was working with her on tests, that she would just find a “broken heart.”

Kelley said she has spoken with others who have lost a loved one, and feels a group locally would be good for people trying to sort out feelings at this time of year, which is a holiday season.

Kelley plans to have events as often as people wish to attend. Another session at her home is scheduled for Dec. 28.

If people are interested in attending in the evening, she will also set up meetings at night.

Kelley, 77, volunteers at the Bellville Neighborhood Outreach Center (BNOC).

She has talked to a number of people, such as one man who told her about the death of a loved one. The man said he is “still bleeding” from the loss.

Kelley said her husband owned Kelley Siding, his own business.

She and her husband adopted a special needs child, who had been living with them in a foster care program. That boy, Mark, became their son after her husband Don said they were “keeping this boy.” This was after they were informed he would never develop more than four years old.

The Kelley’s started taking care of him when he was nine months old.

Mark is now 36. He works at Deer Ridge Golf Course.

For a time, he lived at home. At one point he announced he was big enough to live outside their house and wanted an apartment.

Kelley said they told him they would reconfigure their house so there would be a separate apartment. He moved into that area.

At one point, Mark asked his mother if she had done laundry.

She said: “I’ve done mine.”

Mark said: “Oh, shoot.”

This was Mark’s realization that living in the same house didn’t mean he could reap the benefits of having his mother do his chores.

After living outside the home for about five years, he moved back in. This was after Don’s death, and he said he would do that to help take care of his mother, according to Kelley.

Kelley said she told her husband she wanted to have lots of children — 12.

Don Kelley told her they’d have to take it “one at a time.”

They ended up having two children. But they had fostered, through the years, 55 children.

Kelley said it was boys and girls, “every color.” But they were people who “needed somebody.”

Kelley said she told the children “your lives passed across my need.”

When she gets up, she said she “blesses every day.”

Kelley said she is aware of the work of Hospice, which does a number of things, including grief counseling. That group can give out information, about the steps of grief. Hospice also has an in-house situation where it can house people who have been determined to be close to passing away.

Kelley attends Impact Worship church. She said she feels having meetings in her home will be a welcoming situation for people.

Ruth Ann Kelley, holding a flyer announcing her “Healing Hearts” campaign, where people can get together and talk about what happens when you lose a loved one. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star
Ruth Ann Kelley, holding a flyer announcing her “Healing Hearts” campaign, where people can get together and talk about what happens when you lose a loved one. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star




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