In the midst of life we are in death.

In the midst of life we are in death. This phrase is often heard at funerals. What does this mean? It is a reminder that life and death are linked. From the moment we are born we are dying. That is not morbid it is just the truth. In fact, from the moment we are conceived we are dying. We are set into motion like the winding of a clock. At some point it will wear down and stop. In our world it can be snuffed out by an illness, accident or crime but nevertheless we each have an expiration date.

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Some cultures accept this fact easier than those of us in the western world. We worry about death. We can feel fear and panic just thinking about it.

Before I was a nurse I had ideas about death. I never wanted to think about it or be with someone at their death.  After being at many deaths I have changed my feelings. I have seen people in so much distress that death is a friend.

Most of the people I have been with just slipped quietly away. No anxiety, no visible fear. Some spoke to relatives on the other side. Whether they really saw them I don’t know but I would like to think they did. Some expressed peace.

A long time ago I complained to a minister friend that I was upset about the death of a child in an accident. I fumed that her life had been cut short. He said he had a different perspective. He viewed each person’s life as a candle that burned until it went out. That could be when the candle is completely burned or just after it is lit. Each person has a life span that is different. This view was a comfort to me and still is.

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Death is not something to fear. When we remove that from our minds life becomes brighter. It is not easy to do and we may waver from time to time. It is difficult to imagine not being alive and can produce sadness when we wish we would still be around to see grandchildren or great grandchildren marry and have children of their own.

 

No matter our age and the length of life no one wants to be gone. Life is beautiful in spite of any trials we face. The important thing is to treasure each moment and when we come to the end say “I have lived!”

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So many questions..so few answers

quote-if-we-know-how-much-passive-violence-we-perpetrate-against-one-another-we-will-understand-mahatma-gandhi-86-66-56Once again the things that happen here in the US fascinate and appall me. Years ago when teaching about suicide one fact that usually made people think was that the suicide rate among survivors is higher than others. It seems that the message of suicide is that if you can’t cope this is a way out.

I am wondering if the same mindset is encouraging all these random shootings. Have they seen others do this and see it as a solution? Are these people really our to kill strangers to appease some mental aberration, or is it a wish for suicide by cop to end their pain? Quite a few have been soldiers with possible PTSD but why did their anguish lead to random shooting? Were they suffering a flash back and saw those people as the enemy? The sad part it that we will never know

so many questionsThere are so many question and so few answers. Since so many of the killers end up dead there is no one to ask. Some want to blame weapons and there may be a link but if you really want a gun you can get one. I don’t think there is any way to remove all the weapons entirely.

I wish that we knew what to do to end this violence with pain for the families killed and the shooters family. No one wins.

So many questions…so few answers.

Grief is a journey

grief journeyWhen we experience the loss of someone or something truly significant to we can be overwhelmed. Sometimes numbness sets in and we are separate from things going on around us. When the grief begins to explode our psyche we don’t know what to do to help. There is a danger at this point. We want so badly to help the pain that we can reach out to things that can put a band aid on the hurt for awhile. Sometimes those things are knee jerk reactions and end up adding to our emotional crisis. That is why most advice says don’t do anything hasty. Usually the advice is about selling a house or moving. But there are other things that can crop up.

One thing we seek during immediate grief is connections. We need others to see our pain. Most of the time people don’t know what to say or how to help. Many say the wrong things. There will be some who understand the things that you really need. Hold them close…they are your lifeline.

If this happens to us early in life ..losing a spouse or loved one…we so want the grief to relent that it is easy to dive into another relationship thinking that is the answer. I have a friend who lost her husband early on and had two disastrous marriages before stepping back and eventually making a  loving and lasting connection. She just wanted the pain to stop.

Grief is not an easy thing and it does not follow the same pattern for everyone. Small things can cause waves of pain.. a smell, a song, an event. There are so many more.

griefpoemfinal-740x628There will be life following. It is fine to laugh, have good days and momentarily put thoughts of your love from your mind. Don’t be guilty. You are allowed to go on. You still have God given life and you can live it.

 

 

The marsh grass —a poem

The Marsh Grass

marsh grass

 

The water moves slowly

at first

tide changing

 

as if

trying to decide

which way to go

 

Then I see

the clusters

of marsh grass

 

loosened from their

home

begin to move

 

slowly at first

then faster

seeking the sea

 

finding

a new home

vast and free

 

drifting on

the crest of each wave

waving at

the sun

 

The dance

toward ending

begun

 

Can we survive the hatred?

Nelson Mandela (1)Periodically I take time out to worry about the state of the world and especially the US. After the latest shooting I thought about how much hate is our there. How did we get to this? Like the song from South Pacific hate has to be taught. We aren’t born hating. It is learned. What went wrong in those families (or lack of) that taught so much hatred.

hatersHating people for their faith seems so unnecessary. However, it is not the only kind out there. Hatred seems to have spread so much faster than love. Are we so afraid of differences? For me, hatred is related to fear…fear that people like “us” will not come out on top. Fear that causes us to facilitate the eradication of any threat to our beliefs. Is my own belief so weak that the belief of others is a threat?  We saw this before in Nazi Germany but it was more about purity of race than faith.

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Somehow I am not sure that humanity should expect to survive forever. We will either annihilate ourselves or the earth we have raped will do it for us. After all, maybe we are not meant to last forever. We seem to be too flawed.

I worry about my grandchildren and great grandson. What sort of world are we leaving for those to come? If only we could learn the kind of interaction that most major religious leaders have taught. I hope it is not too late.

The Nine Phases of Adultery/oops Adulthood

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With thanks to Mitch Teemley        https://mitchteemley.com/2018/09/24/the-phases-of-adulthood/

A spoof on adulthood with apologies to William Shakespeare

 

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man/woman in his/her time plays many parts,

His acts being nine ages.

At first the arrogant know it all of the 20’s. Bragging profusely and entitled to the best of everything. Inheritor of nothing, expecting everything.

And then the world wise 30’s always available by cell phone, avoiding marriage but just living together. Uncommitted.

The 40’s bring children, married or not. More money, more of everything, more than the Jones’s– family a show piece, acknowledged when able to break away from meetings. Mortgages, cars, big house, wishing time would allow more love and peace.

Come the 50’s exulting in success, self-adulating, Children off to Harvard enjoying money and status. On wife/ husband #2/3/4. Wishing for old love, should be happy but something missing.

The 60’s enter with shock, memory a little off, aches and pains when working out. Gym daily to get rid of paunch. Maybe face lift, hair dye. Still got it!

The 70’s are the new 60’s! Time isn’t passing…it can’t be. Grandfather/mother not possible! Child in 30”s living at home not working. Knee replacement coming up. Gave up gym membership. Maybe I’ll retire….next year.

The “I don’t give a damn 80’s” arrive and the whole government is lunatic! Read what? Facebook? That cell phone makes no sense. Text. Sure I can write….on paper. This is not a cane…it is a walking stick. Drs appoints get in the way of my naps. I’ve still got it!

I made it! 90! Living the life. Have several girlfriends/boyfriends here in the retirement village. Who cares about the rest of the world! It can go to#####.

The hearse pulls away and many tears fall from friends. Many relatives are already dead. Wish I could do it all again.

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Who knows what the day brings?

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Today I am tired. It has been a strange day. I worked in the yard this morning and came in for a shower. The phone rang and it was one of my best friends telling me that her husband died. This is not the one I have written about before but one whose husband is in his nineties and has been fading for awhile. However, I did not expect to get that call. My husband and I immediately went to her home to help where we could. Things seem to be on track there and we got back home about 3:30. I am sad and feel a loss for her and all of us. He was a wonderful man.

I decided to call and check in on the other friend whose husband has been struggling at home to improve (with much needed help) only for her to tell me they were taking him to the hospital as he was more ill. He is being admitted.

Strange day. I asked my husband, (somewhat tongue in cheek) if we could lose two of them in one day. May God grant that this doesn’t happen.

It is clear once again that we never know what will happen in a given day. There are no assurances or guarantees. We have to live each day as it comes. One of my grandmother’s favorite Bible verses was “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Don’t look for more to happen. Absorb what has already happened. That will be enough.

I am grateful that I was available to be where God needed me to be today. I guess this is a reminder to me to use the gifts he has given me where he is calling me and stop griping about what I need to be doing. I think I am doing it.

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These events do tweek my anxiety but I will continue to cope and be available when needed.