Tag Archives: opinion

Death Where Are You?

Death where are you?
I walk my path
Enjoying each step
Not knowing,
Yet anticipating
A path of love,
A path of family.

I walk my path
Purposely not afraid,
Yet expectful.
A path of love
A path of family.

I have seen you
I know you!
You are the veil
Between loved ones.
It is a fine and thin
Veil of existence.
I walk my path patiently.
Death, where are you?

Originally written: November 30, 2002

My grandmother visited my mother immediately after her death to wave good-bye from outside of the kitchen window as my mother ironed cloths in the evening. I have friends and aunts who have felt the presence and believe they had communication after their spouse had died. Yet, I know it is improbable to expect direct communications with any deceased person. I wonder what is the mystery permitting some to be visible through the opaque veil between life and death.

A Long Goodbye to Charlie

Have you ever physically hurt for the suffering of others?
I have a dear friend who has had TIA’s, Transient Ischemic Attacks,
and several strokes. The TIA’s and strokes take little pieces of him
away from me, his neighbors, and his friends. In February 2011 a
particularly critical stroke occured. After the CT Scans, MRI’s and
extensive tests it was determined that he has hardening of the blood
vessels in his brain. Essentially, Charlie will be losing small pieces
of his brain over an extended period of time. He will gradually lose
memories and physical capabilities. These losses will seem to be
random and unpredictable.

Meanwhile his wife, 12 years his senior, a cougar in today’s lingo has
had TIA’s of her own and mild congestive heart failure. In January 2011
Margaret would march through grocery stores at a pace a 21 year
old would find very hard to keep pace with. In the past 10 months,
Margaret has had 2 surgeries to clear her blocked carotid arteries.
She now needs a walker and oxygen full time. Margaret is no longer
capable to take care of Charlie by herself.

Charlie’s deterioration continues. He has lost his sense of days.
He falls asleep in a nap and wakes up thinking it is a new day.
Time to take his morning batch of pills. Oh, then there were the
instances of waking up in the middle of the night thinking he needed
to go towork. Ahhh the sad part is that he had retired 10 years ago.
His emotions are greatly affected by the TIA’s. He cries and sobs
frequently. He recognizes he is losing memories and capabilities.
Recently, he came down to the kitchen to make coffee as he has
30 years and cried when he could not understand how to make
coffee in the electric coffee pot. Charlie was found standing in
front of the coffee pot sobbing that he no longer knew how to make
coffee for Margaret and himself.

It was extremely painful to have to take Charlie to an Assisted Living
Home to stay while Margaret had her last surgery in November. It was
a tearful process. Yet, it provided an opportunity for professionals to
observe and provide analysis of Charlie’s current capabilities and
needs. It was found he needed more than just a little assistance.

It hurts to see this very intelligent and gentle man slowly slipping away.
It is anguish to see his enjoyment of reading great writers of our day
gradually lost in the fog of forgetting. My wife and I physically hurt
when his emotions get the best of him and he breakdowns and cries
or sobs. I know there are many other caregivers witnessing this slow
departure from life. Some have called it the “Long Goodbye”. It is a
goodbye experienced many times over.

There are support groups to help familes and friend who are dealing
with these issues. It is really helpful to participate in the support groups
as they provide guidance on how to handle situations and where to go
to get additional help. They save time, energy and emotional stress.
Although Charlie’s disease is not alzheimers the results are similar.
To find a Alzheimers Organization near you please use the following
link: http://www.alz.org/apps/findus.asp

Another organization providing informaion is AlzOnline. It provides
information, education and support to caregivers of persons with
Alzheimer’s and other progressive dementias like Charlie’s. A link
to their website is: alzonline.phhp.ufl.edu

I have empathy and prayers for those care givers experiencing this
trauma. May your sacrifices become jewels in your crown in the next
life. I offer my prayers and hopes to those friends and relatives who
are living and fighting these diseases. May your journey be gentle
and without strife.

Originally written: December 4, 2011

Truths Dreams and Hopes

Our truths
Define our personal reality.

We must be on guard
Against our own fanaticisms,

It is an intolerance
For other’s reality.

It is the lack of respect
For other’s realities.

That we create
The destructive forces.

That can overwhelm us
And will rebound against us.

Our truths
Limit our realities, our lives.

Our truths may
Define our reality.

Our dreams may
Define our future.

Dreams provide us hopes
Even in the most dismal circumstances.

Our hopes
Define our needs.

Hopes provide us the ability
To overcome catastrophes.

Without our dreams and hopes
We are overwhelmed by life’s dramas.

We need our dreams and hopes
To be happy, to be sad.

We need our truths
To experience life to the fullest.

Originally written: June 20, 2002

Come Within

Come within,
Join me in discovery.
We are on a journey
Discovering  tidbits.

Come within,
Find tidbits of truth.
The journey may be short,
It may be long.

Come within,
The truths I find
May or may not be yours,
They are my truths today.

I am not profound,
Nor do I expound
Profound truths.

I try to capture the small truths,
That are sometimes
Taken for granted.

It is in living life
And sharing that I seem,
To trip over one
Here or there.

No amount
Of searching purposefully,
Results in a new
Foundling of truth.

It is there full-grown
In the relationships with
Unknowns, knowns,
Hated and beloved.

Originally written:  January  21, 2002

Thanksgiving

 I try to make each moment
A thankful one.

I have so much,
To be thankful for.

For things so great,
And so small.

Each breath, each thought,
Each friend, and family member,

And on and on.
The turkey has been cut,
Table set,

Prayers said,
Food graciously shared,

Songs sung,
Stories shared,

Games played,
And importantly

Thanksgiving re-enacted.

Originally written:  November 23, 2000

Guilt, A Powerful Force

Guilt has always been a powerful force in my life.
 
I believe the first emotion I can recall is guilt and then regret.

Guilty of going home with the potato chip man without approval
at age 3 or 4.  I do not recall what happened when Mom and Dad
found out.  It was never spoken of again.  I do remember being
woke in the middle of the night at the home of the potato chip 
delivery man and wife’s home and taken home by Dad.  I got
the potato chip man in a bit of trouble.  They thought I had
permission to go home with him.  I didn’t. I never even asked
Mom or Dad if I could go.

Guilty of pulling the trigger on a 22 rifle as my brother’s friend
was talking to my older brother Jake and leaning on the barrel
of the rifle.  They were shooting chicken hawks on the farm. I was
four years old and I walked up behind Billy and pulled the trigger.
Bang – the bullet went through his hand and lodged next to his
heart.  Billy carries the bullet next to his heart to this day.
After pulling the trigger and the loud bang I ran around the house
to the backyard and climbed inside of a plastic gun turret
Dad had purchased as a small green house.  Mom and Dad found
me as the sun was going down under the turret.

These may be the first memories of emotions I remember clearly.
The trauma involved imprinted them and made them forces in my life.
Guilt and Regret can be great motivators. 

Originally written:   November 5, 2000
Guilt can be motivational or it can be one that stops all forward
action if one lets it.  I look back and I see it as a basic reason  to
do good with my life.  Oh yes,  There have been other times that I feel
guilty and regret.  Some greater and some lessor than these offenses.

Since this is not a confessional I will not dwell on those sins. I
will say that each has become a force for good.

Desires are Desires

Desires are desires.
You can intellectually desire,
Or emotionally desire.

I have found
Which I am
Likely to feel
And succeed.

When I emotionally desire
Emotion is a stronger force
Than intellectual forces.

Desires are driving
Forces in my life.

I wonder if
I can trace
This all back
To guilt trips.
Originally written:  August 6, 2000

Desires can be intellectually or emotionally based. 
I have found which helps more often lead to success for me.
Then a thought crossed my mind.  Was this all related
back to the emotions felt when I was growing up and
felt guilty and unworthy.  Emotions were very strong.

I Love Life

Majestic Tetons

 

I love life!
It is so eternally fascinating.

I love each moment!
Precious beyond words.

I live life!
To the fullest, overflowing.

I love earnestly!
Deeply beyond words.
Originally written:  May 15, 2000

Life with bad moments only makes the good moments
even better. The rain and the snow make the sunshine
even brighter. The rainbows promise even more true.
Arguments between loving adults usually ends up
with wonderful makeup moments.

The glass of life can be viewed as half empty and draining.
I adhere to a different view of half full and filling.

Which way do you view your life? 

As I write this I know there are moments in my past
when things were absolutely improbable. The glass of
life did not look like it was filling.  In fact
I thought I saw the bottom of it a few times.

Then gradually through hard work and achieved goals
things got brighter and there was a rainbow.  The
promise was fulfilled.  It is there for all who
pursue it.

I Wonder

An old family picture

I wonder
On this day
And others,

What gifts
My parents
Left me.

From my father,
I am goal oriented
Pragmatic and a politician.

Oh yes!
I am stubborn
As a concrete post.

From my dear mother,
I am grace and faith filled,
Artistic and generous.

And yes!
I am thankful
And lovingly romantic.

I am very lucky!!

Originally written:  May 15, 2000
Mothers Day was Sunday, May 14th in 2000. Mother passed away in
October 1976. My Mother-in-law passed away in July 1991.  My Dad
died in January 1975. My Father-in-law died in November 1982. Mothers
Day in our family is a well celebrated event with family gathering to share
a meal and a day of stories, teasing, and games.  It was also sharing the
chores of cooking and cleaning up afterward.  It is a family tradition and in a
way a family ritual. It has been a ritual building family relationships of
understanding and patient endurance.

On Mothers Day it was natural to reflect on family and what gifts were
passed down. and the prose above. The words rattled around in my mind
all day.  By the next day they just begged to be written down in my journal.
They were written down just this way, as if the words were indelible.   The
were no corrections or word changes.  Eleven years later, I would still make
no changes. 

Yes, I am very lucky!

Now I Lay Me Down

As I prepare for sleep
I am reminded of the Great Sleep.

When sleep overtakes me,
It is a void, a blankness.

A form of my thoughts,
Are of the Great Sleep.

Then, dreams in black and white,
And drama in vivid colors visit.

Now I lay me down,
My head dents my goose down pillow.

The sheets and covers cold and chilly,
Warm to a nice snuggly place.

To sleep, to dream,
To rest, to re-energize.

Dear Lord, if  I should die,
Passing over to be with family

Before I wake,
And the sun rises on a new day.

I pray my Lord,
On bended knee with humble heart.

My soul to keep,
Drawing me close ever more.

Amen, Amen!
Yes, so be it now and forever.

Originally written:    March 21, 2011

As I drifted off to sleep I said my nightly prayers and slipped into
meditation, I was struck with the thought I was about to willingly
relinquish my conscious thought processes and enter a world of
oblivion.  There was no guarantee I would return to the bright new
dawning of another day.  Yet each night of my life, sometimes eagerly
and sometimes reluctantly I have given myself over to this nightly
ritual.

Each night I trust and have faith all will be well and I will greet the
sunrise. Each night a miracle of sorts occurs.  I enter the nether
world of blankness and dreams.  I awake refreshed, repaired, and
anxious for new experiences. I am profoundly aware a portion of my
existence is outside of my control or conscious intelligence.  It is in the
“hands” of another.

There was a moment just before oblivion when a vagrant thought
entered my mind. A wondering whether there is emptiness or bliss in
the afterlife.   The thought turns into a minute time slice of reluctance
ended by faith in ageless sagas spoken in front of fires by ancestors.
These tales and beliefs passed down in oral and written forms have
become sacred to the various religions and sects.   Now, they fight
amongst themselves about the differences they have created.   The 
differences are of consequence only to themselves.