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Graduate perseveres after mother’s tragic death

Staff writer

High school seniors approach graduation with a myriad of questions, from where they will go to college to what career they will pursue.

However, for the past five months, Peabody-Burns senior Lane Markham had a far more serious question to contend with: “What am I supposed to do without my mom?”

Markham’s mother, Susan Kinney, died tragically in January from injuries sustained in a fire at Indian Guide Terrace Apartments.

“We had a laid back relationship,” he said. “Yeah, she was my mom, but she was also one of my best friends. I did a lot of confiding in her.”

School counselor Ken Parry and Principal Scott Kimble told Markham about the fire and his mother.

“Mr. Parry said he didn’t know how to say it, so he was just going to be blunt,” he said. “He told me my mom had gone to the hospital and there had been an accident at Indian Guide.”

Parry, already supportive to Markham in his transition to Peabody-Burns a few years before, became even more so.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in Mr. Parry’s office,” he said. “If it was just to talk or if I needed help.

The next three days were a blur to Markham, he said.

“She was being admitted when I showed up,” he said.

He had prepared himself for the worst, but had hope after an initial consultation with a nurse.

After talking to a doctor, his mom’s prognosis was bleak.

In addition to third-degree burns over 65 percent of her body, she suffered from smoke inhalation and a burned trachea. The doctor told Markham severe swelling had caused irreversible brain damage.

Markham, a week shy of turning 19, was faced with a heavy decision.

“Once I saw her and heard what the doctor said, I knew comfort care was the way to go,” he said. “I was the only family that could have done anything. I asked for my grandma and God to help guide me.”

Markham recalled a conversation with his mom in which she told him she wanted to be let go if she was ever in this type of situation.

“She said it wouldn’t be right for family or for her to suffer,” he said.

After family and friends came to say their good-byes, Markham gave the word to remove life support, and surrounded by a few close friends, he watched his mother take her last breath.

“When my mom found out you were a friend of mine, you were instantly a ‘kid’ of hers,” he said. “It was hard for my friends too. It’s a decision nobody should have to make.

“At some point my mom had a realization that God only puts one through what he believes you’re strong enough for,” he said. “I keep that in mind now too.”

Markham credits friends, Isaac Good, a youth group leader, and Parry for playing vital roles throughout the last several months leading up to graduation.

Markham’s birthday was Jan. 28, and with the help of his friends he still carried through with a previously planned party at the Hub.

“All my friends showed up and yeah, I really needed it,” he said. “Things seemed to look up from there. I’ve had my ups and downs.”

Parry lifted Markham’s spirits again when he enlisted the help of coworkers to throw Markham a graduation party.

“I have the distinctive feeling that if I wouldn’t have had the support I had, I probably would have just laid down and given up,” he said. “And because I know if I completely gave up my mom would come down from heaven and beat the tar out of me.”

Markham’s biggest inspiration to persevere has been his mother’s example.

Markham said Kinney faced many heartaches and health concerns throughout her life.

Kinney suffered a stroke that led to her left side paralyzed and seizures confining her to a power chair most of the time.

“Even in spite of everything my mom was an extremely positive person,” he said.

Markham said he has applied at two places since graduating and is hoping to start a job soon in order to save money and get his own place.

Parry said he admires Markham for his gumption to keep going through adversity.
“It’s all about tenacity and sticking it through,” he said. “And that’s what Lane showed.”

Whenever he starts missing his mom, he revisits a quote that offers him peace.

“It says, ‘I look to the stars so you will forever see that the best part of you still lives in me,’” he said.

Last modified May 23, 2018

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