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.

coping skills 1

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

 

 

The Beautiful Death

My friend Deirdre loved and cherished all those who crossed her path. She welcomed people from different faiths and different cultures. Her death was so amazing with people of many faiths joining together to send her on her way. I wrote this poem following that experience. The “all shall be well” is a loose copy from Hildegard of Bingen.

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The Death of De

The light is waning and the gloaming is here.
There is a hush in the turning of the earth
it holds its breath for just a moment.

We stand watch sensing each breath
matching it with our own
anxious with each pause
while darkness encompasses the room.

Her soul loosens but holds
I sign the cross on her brow and Christ is here
A Hindu friend joins and her prayers are added.
Another comes and the prayers to Allah are lifted up.

With loving hands we anoint her with sweet lotion
brought from France by another.
All faith is here, we can feel God's gentle breeze,
there is true communion

My friend is held in the arms of love
She is suspended between life and death 
through the night.

As the sun lifts itself into the heaven
love lifts her on her journey
and with the smallest wisper
she is gone.

Behind her from the air come the words...
All shall be well
and all shall be well
and all things shall be well.

 

Death comes all too soon – choose life

Eventually we all lose the people we love (or they lose us). We cannot live forever. Life for each us does have an end. Is this a bad thing? Sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s not.

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At one time in my life I was angry about a child losing her life in an automobile accident. I railed against her losing her life so young. Her life was cut short. I resented that and was angry at God.

I visited a minister friend to talk about this feeling and I frequently bring to mind what he said. “Each of us has a life span. It is ours and ours alone. It may be long or it may be short. But it is ours. Each life is not cut short. That is the length of their life.”

Whether you agree with this or not it gave me much to think about. I have decided that the idea contains much wisdom. It helps when I can’t understand why someone’s life has ended.

There are some things that are harder to deal with than death. It is so difficult to watch someone we love disappear one piece at a time. This is what Alzheimer’s patients do. Little bits of them fall away. Memories are gone, friends are unknown, family is not recognized. I see this slow fading as worse than death. It is called “the long goodbye.”

There are other times that death comes as a blessing. Agonizing chronic illness can make the person long for death. Having a loved one become weak, disabled with no recovery and slip away day by day is another.

For those who suffer with mental illness especially anxiety and depression there are times when death can feel like an escape from the pain of living. I hope that each of us can find some help, some relief that moves us away from that decision. Life is worth living and things can be better. Never give up life. We only have so much time and each moment, each day is a gift.

Today I will choose life notebook-500x500

I did not intend to write such a sad post but these things do happen. Losing someone is painful no matter how it happens. Losing ourselves also brings grief. When that happens we have to find a new way to be. Find ourselves as a new and different person. One who can move forward each day.

Choose life!

Remembering with tears

This is Memorial Day in the US. Many people do not know that this day of remembrance was begun by former slaves honoring the dead Union soldiers in Charleston, South Carolina. This is a day for remembering those who made the final sacrifice.

Happy-Memorial-Day-2018

My husband is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point. We married after graduation and spent 20 years moving from post to post. West Point instills in it’s graduates a phenomenal love of country and a desire to be the best person you can be. My husband has lived out that code his entire life.

duty

Two years of that time were spent in Viet Nam with a brief tour in the states in between. He led a Company of soldiers and spent the first year almost entirely in the jungle. His men faced danger every day. The jungle was so hot that they literally rotted through their uniforms and new ones had to be delivered by helicopter each week. They never knew each day if they would be just struggling through the heavy jungle growth or fighting for their lives. Each night’s rest could be interrupted by gunfire and fear. He fought during the Tet Offensive and cannot talk about that time.

His men loved him and after he returned home I received a letter in the mail with money collected from the company for us to enjoy meals out. He was the only commander who walked away from that company. The others died.

vietnam

Each day I thank God that he returned home, not only in one piece, but also able to endure the memories. He has been to the Viet Nam wall in Washington, DC once and will never go again. It is too painful

Just thinking about the men who fought with him and the classmates of his who died in that war brings tears to my eyes and his. Neither of us can listen to taps played at military funerals. May God grant peace to all those who served in that war and all others. Those who lived and those who died. They blessed our lives.

A little fun with death

Today I went to my grandson’s graduation lunch. They showed a lot of pictures from the graduates years in school. Lots of memories. for some reason it started me thinking about how I would like to be remembered. My father loved quotes from tombstones and I wondered what I would put on a tombstone. I found some of my favorite tombstones and thought it would be fun to share.

sick

I know some people that this would suit… do you?

 

athiest

Just a little thought

 

banana

I can imagine myself felled by something as silly as this!

 

nut

I am sure that my children would approve this.

 

inside the box

I guess we need to be more creative

 

died

This one fits our age so perfectly.

Hope you enjoyed these. I needed a good laugh today. With so many cremations today and so little money spent on something like a tombstone (some places don’t allow them any more) we may not find many like these in the future. I did wonder if the deceased wrote them or someone in the family.

How would you like to be remembered?

I will not go gently

My good friend’s husband is still ill. He has been in the hospital for four weeks. He has not been able to be out of bed the whole time. There are many things that have gone on with the hospital stay that I won’t bring up here but the bottom line is that the initial problem has not been able to be fixed and he is not as well as he was going in.

Chronicles-15-7Last night my husband asked the question: “Do you think that because of his age they are not really trying hard to fix this?” I didn’t really have an answer but I do wonder if that plays a part in this scenario.

As we grow older I know that society can be dismissive….ignoring older people and treating them as “less than.” In an earlier blog I touched on this subject and included a poem about old men that highlighted this problem. The poem was written a long time ago and I am not sure that the problem has gotten any better. Why should we be cast aside….thrown away like an old cell phone that’s software is out of date? We have much to offer and I will continue until death comes to lift me away.

Shakespeare-Quotes-1200x776-750x485I refused to be dismissed. I refuse to go gently. Below are the words of Dylan Thomas in this poem for his father.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That
Good Night

 

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

A terrible tragedy

savannah-plane-crashToday there was a terrible tragedy in our area. A C 130 military aircraft crashed just after takeoff. They have not said yet about survivors but a video of the crash (taken by someone who heard the aircraft and thought it sounded funny) shows the plane going in a nose dive. It seems unlikely that anyone survived. We have not heard how many were aboard but somewhere between five and nine crew.

It is amazing that it crashed on a major highway and didn’t hit any cars. I guess in every tragedy there is some light. My heart goes out to the families of those soldiers. Their lives will never be the same. “What a difference a day makes” (from the song). It is so true. We can never be sure of a next moment, next day, next year. We make extensive plans and don’t know if they will happen.

If we spent our days worrying about what will happen next we would never leave home. When my youngest daughter was 15 years old she flew to Japan as an exchange student. We let her go far away. At that time a passenger plane was (I think) accidentally shot down and I didn’t want her to go. My husband pointed out that we can’t stop living for fear of what will happen.

pray and let god worry

Many people have talked about how fruitless worry is. We are not living if we spend our life in fear. We must live and make life worthwhile.