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Thought for the Day (Oct 26)

Peter T. 26 Oct 99 - 09:18 AM
Little Neophyte 26 Oct 99 - 10:37 AM
Neil Lowe 26 Oct 99 - 10:44 AM
Davey 26 Oct 99 - 11:05 AM
katlaughing 26 Oct 99 - 11:13 AM
Melbert 26 Oct 99 - 11:16 AM
Little Neophyte 26 Oct 99 - 11:16 AM
Art Thieme 26 Oct 99 - 11:19 AM
Patrish(inactive) 26 Oct 99 - 11:27 AM
Neil Lowe 26 Oct 99 - 11:54 AM
Little Neophyte 26 Oct 99 - 12:35 PM
Sam Hudson 26 Oct 99 - 12:51 PM
Lonesome EJ 26 Oct 99 - 12:59 PM
Freddie Fox 26 Oct 99 - 01:16 PM
Corwyn 26 Oct 99 - 01:20 PM
Neil Lowe 26 Oct 99 - 01:26 PM
katlaughing 26 Oct 99 - 01:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Oct 99 - 02:15 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 26 Oct 99 - 02:38 PM
Allan C. 26 Oct 99 - 02:40 PM
Pete Peterson 26 Oct 99 - 02:49 PM
katlaughing 26 Oct 99 - 03:28 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 26 Oct 99 - 04:29 PM
Freddie Fox 26 Oct 99 - 04:52 PM
TheMuse 26 Oct 99 - 10:39 PM
DonMeixner 27 Oct 99 - 12:07 AM
JedMarum 27 Oct 99 - 12:22 AM
JedMarum 27 Oct 99 - 12:36 AM
katlaughing 27 Oct 99 - 01:05 AM
Peter T. 27 Oct 99 - 09:36 AM
JedMarum 27 Oct 99 - 02:26 PM
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Subject: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Peter T.
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 09:18 AM

Oct 26 -- In the high woods, the trees are turning into sky again. By now, the leaves that are left are drained of red and purple, and it is the turn of the yellows and browns. In the shadows there are muted pinks and siennas like trembling watercolours, and in the weakening sunlight there are late stands of translucent yellows like millions of fluttering Japanese screens. Against the light, the bones of the leaves appear, and a memory of my grandmother comes to mind. She had been a great beauty in her youth, and confined to a wheelchair just before she died, she held out her elegant translucent china blue fingers in front of her face, and she started crying, and she looked at me and said, "Oh, Peter, I am so old, I am haunted by my own hands."
There are piles of leaves everywhere, and as I kick them, that autumn smell comes up. It must be the only smell of death that is wonderful. I think of another smell of death, not wonderful, and a lost lovely elegance in an old lady's hands, and I sit on a rock and the sun grows cold for a long long time, and then I go slowly home. (p.t.)


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 10:37 AM

Peter I think when people age they gain greater elegance.
What about good wine, it needs aging.

I once heard "Old people are supposed to be bent over like stalks of ripe rice. Our culture sees only osteoporosis.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 10:44 AM

...it is lamentable that more often than not the final image an individual has of a loved one is that of a once proud and noble figure now ravaged by age and free radicals, helplessly withered and small beneath the sterilized sheets, hopelessly foreign and unrecognizable amongst the antiseptic smells and technological precision of uncaring machines and monitors...better, I say, to take one's leave when summer wanes and autumn's approach is perceived, while the roots still seek sustenance with fading vigor on home soil- instead of during the dead of winter when translucent tubes supporting a pocky existence are all that anchor one to a synthetic, inhospitable hospital environment.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Davey
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 11:05 AM

Peter, poetically and touchingly described. The wisdom of the elderly has been lost, undermined and discounted by our society. In other societies/civilizations the elderly were revered and looked up to for their accumulated knowledge, and their council was often sought on important matters. Now the elderly are shunted into sterile monocultures and left to die. We need a move back to mixed communities, where all ages can freely mingle and interact, where the old can delight in the antics of younger generations and the young can learn about life's processes as they interact (sounds like a business word, but I can't think of a gentler one right now) with the elderly...

May we all be gracious in our old age... Davey (:>)


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 11:13 AM

Beautiful Peter and everyone else, too. So thoughtful and eloquent. Brings to mind a thread I was thinking about starting. Watch for it, you will know it by its title.

kat


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Melbert
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 11:16 AM

Perhaps it's not a smell of "death", but rather one of "new beginning". Most people. I believe, think of spring as the season of new beginning, but surely the seeds which grow in spring are those which drop in fall.

I am reminded of when my mother passed over. I received a condolence card showing a ship crossing the horizon in the far distance, with people waving tearfully from the shore. But, from beyond the horizon an unseen voice was saying "look, here she comes!" Ithink it was based on some words written by Victor Hugo, and I remember being deeply moved by it.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 11:16 AM

Neil, I would love to rake my Grama up with the leaves, but what can I do? She even has her suitcases packed waiting at her front door for the 'Big Boss' to take her away, but he hasn't yet. Her biggest fear is ending up just where you said, in that synthetic inhospitable environment.
Long, long ago, did elders die with more grace & dignity?

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Art Thieme
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 11:19 AM

I spent 4 months in the hospital recently getting mostly bad, but plenty good, news. It was the first paid vacation I'd had in my life. Humor kept me going. I thoroughly enjoyed the attention. It was like going to a sadistic spa. As I age (and I'm not terribly old yet---58) I find more and more to laugh at. Life is a wondrous parade with pretty ladies and clowns and freaks, even if too many of the latter have guns in their hands. Lately, viewing my own mortality is a gift that has made it possible for me to find the last years handed me by luck or fate or whatever to be exhilerating and enlightening. Cyberspace has replaced my life on the road in a way that I never thought it might before I was somewhat disabled. But always remember, Die gedanken sind frei.

Yep, I'm a lucky boy.

This thanksgiving I'll be doing just that!

Love,

Art


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Patrish(inactive)
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 11:27 AM

When My Mum died my brother in law read this - I stll cannot read it without dissolving........ I am not adept at the proper line breaks apologies in advance if this comes out wrong once posted.

Patrish

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep,
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I did not die


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 11:54 AM

Li'l 'Phyte....IMHO there is nothing graceful and dignified about death at any age ...but if you have to go, well ... to shamelessly plug one of my favorite film directors, as well as to acknowledge the spirituality of the Native Americans ... of which some part of their Cherokee blood courses through my veins- I like the way death was explored in the film, Dead Man.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 12:35 PM

Thanks Neil, looks good! Native American blood runnith through my veins too

Little Neo
I have a native friend who nicknamed me Little Turkey Vulture


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Sam Hudson
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 12:51 PM

I read an interesting commentary in a paper a while ago arguing that death was now the last great taboo. Real death, that is; for we all know how often we see violent death casually portrayed in film and television these days.

Recently, here in the UK, there was a series presented by Robert Winston, one of the pioneers of in-vitro fertilisation, examing 'Life' and each of its stages. The one dealing with death filmed the last days of a man in Ireland, showing him surrounded by friends and family to the last moment.

It was peaceful, and in a way, beautiful. He didn't die particularly easily, since he was dying of cancer. But it was intensely human. Towards the end, a musician friend brought his daughter to say goodbye to the dying man; he sang 'The Wild Mountain Thyme' to him, as that was one of his favourite songs. And he played it again at his funeral. I'm sure the vast majority of you out there will know the song; it has a special significance for those of us who go to Whitby Folk Week in August as it's sung at the closing ceremony. I sat and watched, and cried as I haven't for years. Not just because it was sad to see this man's death, though of course it was, but also because of the feeling of rightness that he was able to go, with life going on around him, people who would miss him and mourn for him, and with music in his ears to the end. I think if we thought about death more, faced it more honestly, it would become less terrible. Trite and easy to say, I know, but our culture seems increasingly to have lost the ability to cope with death.

A most interesting thought for the day.*s* Thank you...


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 12:59 PM

Neil... my Great-Uncle Bron Elder was a farmer all his life. He stood 6'3" and weighed 220. His wife died when he was 73, but he lived another 12 years, continuing to farm his spread until the afternoon he was found by his driveway wearing his old brogan shoes and coveralls. He never became frail, but aged like an old tree, and fell like one.

His was, perhaps, a "good" death. But I believe that something may also be taken from the lingering death, the slow dissolution of the physical that renders the spirit more and more visible. This was the way it was for my Mother. On the night before her death, she was luminous with Spirit, as if the essence that had been bottled up within her crumbling physical frame was exhilirated at the promise of freedom and flight.

LEJ


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Freddie Fox
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 01:16 PM

Two contrasting stories; A few years ago, I went to the house of an eighty year old lady, who had boiled a cheap bath mat in her washing machine. As I went in with my tool kit, she introduced me to her 'boyfriend' [we're living in sin, she told me with great glee]. I had to strip the machine down and clear it three times; she sat there grinning whilst her boyfriend called her all the names under the sun, but with real affection underlying it all. I envied them. My paternal grandmother, a very bright old spark, had her 100th. birthday a couple of years ago. The party was wonderful, and all that ailed her was slight [and I mean slight] deafness. After that, she seemed to give up. Six months later she had a fall in the night [she wasn't wearing her alarm], was taken to hospital, and died two months later without really coming back to the real world.

I could go on for ages with many other examples, but I won't. The body may give up, but most of the causes of senility [depression, malnutrition, boredom, alcohol / drugs etc.] are avoidable. I hope that when I'm eighty I'm still pulling them [my other Gran was at ninety three, but that's another story!]


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Corwyn
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 01:20 PM

Only in forgetfulness is there death. Rembemberance holds the key to life eternal.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 01:26 PM

...there is something to be said for both ways of dying, Leej, as you so eloquently illustrated...


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 01:39 PM

Sam, I agree with you so much. People didn't used to go away from home to die in some lonely institution. They usually were surrounded by family and in some circles, they were specifically sung on their way. The Tibetan monks are trained to help facilitate one's passing with calmness and without fear. I do see this explored more and more in hospices and music therapy circles. It is an honour to be with someone who transitions, as it is the last "mystery" any of us will experience in this incarnation. I think most people are so afraid of it, they put on blinders and are so surprised when it finally comes.

Art, your have given more joy to this community than you will ever know. And, as a personal friend, you will always, always be cherished and remembered, however long any of us is left to be here...and then some! I'll go look you up in the Akashic records if I get there after you! The Peace you seem to have found is to be envied and an inspiration.

I am still in the pissed off state about my health challenge even though I've know about it for twenty years. The only thing I don't like about death, is the feeling that I might not be done with all I want to do and maybe not being here with my kids and grandkids, as well as all of you. My family has a history of longevity; my maternal uncle got remarried at 85 or 87, so, I'll probably be prancing around with a new valve someday and live to be 100 or more. Whew! The longer we can be here, the more chances of breakthroughs in healing research.

LilNeo, your grannie sounds like Roger's Meme; she forgot all of her English at about 93, lived to 95; mistook Rog for her son, rattled to him in French like a little chirping bird, stole everyone else's canes, and had spent at least thirty years before she died, waiting for God to take her. She was ready!

Great thread, Peter. Thanks.

kato'ninelives!


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 02:15 PM

"If you have to go" wrote Neil. No, it's not if, it's when. The last time I saw my father we watched the All-Ireland Hurling Final on television, and Tipperary won at the last minute. I took a photo of him at the moment of victory, and if he'd been at Croke Park he'd have invaded the pitch.

He died a few months later, and I heard it on the phone, because I was back over in England. He was 87. The wake and the funeral were the last time the whole family got together, because he was the oldest and he'd outlived his brothers and sisters.

I remember turning to my cousin John at the funeral, and saying "Well, we're in the frontline now."

When I'm being particularly impossible my wife sometimes tells me I'm just like my father. I take it as a compliment, as well as a warning. The more time goes on, the more I catch myself doing things the way he would have, and probably infuriated me in the process.

Only thing is, I wish I'd paid more heed to his stories.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 02:38 PM

My personal experience makes me of two minds on this. On one hand, the image of a quiet fade, surrounded by loving family and friends, in the comfort of the home is appealing.

Yet when my grandfather passed away, somehow that slow, peaceful, quiet fade eluded him. He became racked with insomnia, and confusion for almost 13 months. He would wake up cold in the middle of the night, and in his confusion turn on the burners on top of the stove to warm up, then forget they were on. In his confusion he was frightened and paranoid, even beyond the reach of family members, and would become threatening. Frail, craving death, yet in mortal fear of the pain that might accompany the final blow, his last months were spent alternating between weakness and fits of despair. In the last months, as his kidneys began to fail, and suspected cancer devoured him, he became confused and uncomfortable to the point of thrashing in bed. To prevent injury we had to tie him down, which only aggravated his discomfort and agitation. Medication helped some, but his on-again off-again kidneys often let toxins build up that overwhelmed whatever palliative effect it had. He was in an out of the hospital to recieve whatever comfort measure could be found for the storms that racked his body and mind. The poet wrote, O death where is thy sting? In my grandfathers case we saw all too well where it lay, painful, merciless, and unfair.

By the end, we prayed for an end to it all, caring not whether it came at home, or in a hospital bed, as long as it was over, both for him and for us. I thanked God the day he finally breathed his last.

He was born in a Yugoslavian village, a tow headed boy with a voice like an angel that passers-by would stop to listen to as he sang at work in the fields. An apprentice carpenter he was good with his hands. In his teens he showed a talent for the horizontal bar, and was offered a tryout with the Yugoslav National Gymnastics Team, which he declined in favor of immigrating. He was the son of what has been described to me as a hard, somewhat cold man, who's one gift to his children was to bring them all, one at a time, to America, and then to leave again on his wanderings. My grandfater came to america in the depression and spent 3 years searching for work. Eventually he became a precision lathe operator, married a fellow immigrant woman, raised two daughters, scrimped, saved, and built a house with his own hands. He was a master gardener and in his spare time he sang baritone roles in slovenian translations of popular light opera with a local amateur company. He hated pretense, had a socialists heart, and was suspicious of authority, especially clerical authority. He was not religious. He had simple tastes. His favorite breakfast was coffee and scalded milk poured over a bowl of torn up pieces of italian bread. He loved boxing.

With all his heart he craved a swift peacful passing. All our efforts went to finding it for him. He deserved one.

And yet, somehow, it wasn't offered. Not by fate, not by God, and not by the medical profession, and not because of some abstract shared societal fear we his family had about facing death.

So while its pretty to think about dignified deaths at home surrounded by loved ones, such a fate is often denied due to circumstances beyond our control. And we should not replace our sympathy for those that face this truth with abstract dismissals of their plight as a simple unwillingness to face death the right way.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Allan C.
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 02:40 PM

At 88 years old, my ex-wife's widowed grandmother awoke one Sunday morning - a little later than usual because she had been out on a date the night before. She wrapped herself in her robe, went downstairs to the kitchen, fried some bacon, scrambled some eggs and made coffee. She then loaded all of this onto a tray. She fetched the Sunday paper from the front porch and then carried it and her breakfast back upstairs. She propped herself up in bed with a couple of pillows, ate her breakfast, read the funnies, and smoked a cigarette while she drank her coffee. Then she closed her eyes and died.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Pete Peterson
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 02:49 PM

This one hit home. I lost my mother about four months ago to lung cancer (Catters! If you are smoking, STOP, please!) she lived 2 years after finding out about it and made some very good decisions along the way: don't try surgery, don't do chemo, try radiation while understanding that it shrinks the tumor and won't make it go away altogether. After about a year and a half the tumor started growing again, she went into a hospice program and I moved back in down there, in the same room I had while I was growing up (!) about a month later I needed to hire somebody to be with her during the day while I was at work. As she got weaker she saved her strength to do the things she most wanted to do which mainly were to continue teaching piano, and spend time with me and with her grandchildren. Three weeks before she died she went to see her middle granddaughter graduate from college; she gave her last lesson (but didn't know it) ten days before she died, a week before she went with me to a music party, came home from that and didn't get out of bed again. When she died it was just the two of us-- that last week I spent about an hour a day singing gospel songs to her knowing things were close. At home, no tubes, no IVs, and most of all no fluorescent lights! I'm all for modern medicine when they can do something to help you (or even when the odds are worth trying) but she made it very clear she didn't want 'heroic measures" and all in all aside from not being able to persuade her to stop smoking 30 years ago, I have very few regrets but miss her badly. Art-- glad you came OUT of the hospital. They can be places where good things happen. But I'm glad Mom made it clear that she didn't want to be in a hospital cause that made my decisions a lot easier.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 03:28 PM

JackwicJ: I never meant to generalise. I am sorry if it sounded that way. My mother died in hospital last January. In the month or so preceding, she was confused and somewhat combative because of constant pain and embarrassment at her body's betrayal. This was NOT the way any of us wanted her to go, nor she, but there was no other choice. My only sister who lived in the same town had a job she had to keep, a teen son to raise alone and she did everything she could to make mom comfortable at home and in hospital.

Mom went in for a fairly routine surgery; they said it went well and she would be home in a few days. This was to repair something that had kept her in misery in and out of the hospital for several months. The Monday, after her Thursday surgery, the hospital called my sister in the very early morning. Mom was failing fast, she should come. By the time she got there mom was gone. I think she just got tired of fighting to be here and was tired of the pain. When my sister called me before rushing to the hospital, I immediately went into my sanctum altar and began to pray, asking that she either recover swiftly and wholly or go quickly and peacefully. I imagined myself there with her,telling her it was okay to let go. We, her kids, would be okay. It felt as though I was successful in astral projection; as though I was really there. I also *saw* that she was talking to all of her family who'd gone on; they were there waiting for her. One, her beloved brother who died in a bicycle accident when she was just 16 and I think he was 17 or 18, was there. She had loved him so much and missed him dearly. I am convinced her fear of death was lifted at that moment, that she really did let go of the pain and the concern about us and did let go, greeted with open arms and comfort by all of her dear brothers and her mom and "pop". Still miss her, but I am so grateful that she is done with the pain and worry which so filled her last few years. I, too, gave thanks for her passing.

kat


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 04:29 PM

Kat,

No apology required. I wasn't targeting anyone in particular, nor was I personally offended. I do believe that we as a culture could have a more enlightened attitude towards our elders, and there are issues that need to be addressed better when helping them through the process of dying. Yet when discussing how we could do better, there always seems to be held up some idyllic picture involving the peaceful fade away at home. I just wanted to use my grandfather's case to make the point that that's as much a matter of luck as anything else.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Freddie Fox
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 04:52 PM

About five years ago, two of my friends from a re-enactment society [brothers] were rushed into hospital with a very rare stomach virus. Things were critical for a few days; Mike was still in danger, Tony sat up in bed laughing and talking on the Wednesday. On Thursday morning, Mike's wife and daughters were called into hospital, and were just in time to say goodbye to Tony. I can't remember the details, but it did something horrible like suddenly clotting all his blood at once. He didn't have a chance. What a stupid thing to happen, we all thought. Last year, Mike's daughter [ie. Tony's niece] was rushed into hospital with suspected meningitis [she's in her twenties]. Her parents and boyfriend were called, and they recognised her symptoms as being the same as before. They told the doctor, and he called a specialist - the one specialist of this disease in the South of England who just happened to work at that hospital They saved her. She is now expecting her first child in about a month; she has to be careful, but she's pretty much OK. Tony died so that his niece might live to have children - I have no doubt of that. He had no children of his own, and worshipped his nieces. He would have called that a very good exchange.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: TheMuse
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 10:39 PM

Patrish - The same verse was used when my Mom passed away three years ago December. When we chose it, there was no question, it was my Mother. To see it pop up here in your post brought tears to my eyes. My mother was a wonderful, loving and very understanding person. She was 81 when she died. She died of a heart attack while rehearsing with the church choir for a special upcoming Xmas service. If she had to die that was the place to do it. When my sister (who lives out of town) and I were trying to plan the funeral service my sister asked where my mothers bible was. We found it in the drawer of a small table next to the chair she always sat in on her sun porch. And with it was a folder labeled "funeral ideas". She had known this day would could come and helped us out. This was typical - anticipating and being there when we needed her - even after her death.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: DonMeixner
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 12:07 AM

In the 5 years since my Father passed away I have often reflected on the last months of his life. Dad never gave in to his coming fate tho' it must have been obvious to him. He and I planned jewelry, discussed new ideas, and relived past fishing trips. As he slowly was devestated by his illness I found myself praying for a kind release that was a while incoming. I remember I felt that I was given the gift of his suffering in that it eased the emotion of his death for me. Had his death been sudden and unexpected I would not have handled it well. Whether intential or not, his suffering was a final gift to me. And his death almost rejoiced.

Calling hours for Dad was truly a celebration. People came from ststes away to pay repects and see my Mom. The line of seven children was not a line of tearful mourners by happy celebrants shaking the hands of old friends, unseen for years, and remembering the ones that got away.

Dad was creamated and buried in his tackle box along a new Zebco reel, some Kush spoons, A piece of silver and gold, a good hammer and his Hallmark. Family and friends placed notes, pictures, a bottle of Wild Turkey, and other rememberances in the box. When he was burried we fired a cannon at the cemetary.

I have felt guilty at times over the years about how I was glad that his suffering saved me anguish. But my last view of Dad was him in his chair with the paper in his hands and a smile and "See Ya T'morrow Bubb" on his lips. It was as if he was saying, "Its Ok Donnie, I'm fine now".

At night in the shop when the house is silent and the flame of the torch is a small illumination. I know he is the shadows still.

Don


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: JedMarum
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 12:22 AM

Peter T. - a lovely poetic start to this touching and thought provoking thread. I was lucky enough to have a last meal with my sweet old grandmother before she died. I have written down that memory for my kids, but I hope it's appropriate to share here, as well:

Many Counted Blessings

We sat in the sun-drenched front porch of your home, you and I; a circular room, just big enough for our table and a few comfortable chairs. A pretty nurse brought us wonderful plates of food - fish - I think it was, yes Cod, certainly … with boiled potatoes, stewed tomatoes and green beans, warm soft rolls and butter.

We laughed and told stories all through lunch, while outside the New England Spring brought us an early glimpse of summer … so joyous it was! It poured through the windows and spilled across the floor … warming your back, and showing brilliant the daffodils blooming in the garden just below the window. You had tea, and I drank milk. You laughed and laughed and conjured memories, with a little prodding from me.

"What's this?" you asked, still smiling from our last story and pushing a bit of potato onto your fork …

"That's potato, Nana," I told you.

"Well I can't tell if it's fish or potato 'til I get it into my mouth!" and you laughed again. "Isn't it awful to go blind?" … still chuckling and leaning in closer as if it was our secret you said "Well I guess I'm lucky it isn't all over my lap!" It was, but I didn't tell you.

Popping the forkful into your mouth you spoke your final word on the matter "Oh well, it all goes down to the same place anyway," and you laughed again! We both laughed again.

We laughed because you gracefully accepted the conditions life had placed on your poor tired body. We laughed because you could relive the sheer joys of your long life through the telling of the tales - as many counted blessings.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: JedMarum
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 12:36 AM

I chuckle now, as I re-read my own words (above)from several years sgo. She died when she was ready, after a fall broke her hip - at 97. Her death was not without its indignities; hospitals, doctors worried about congestive heart failure and needing to do more tests - tubes, blood draws, X-rays. Thankfully my mother would have none of it. My grandmother was brought back to her home and made comfortable. She died quietly some days later.

After I wrote the words above, I made a post script to it. It just struck me how her life, though having its share of hardships and heartbreaks (as is the always so in this human condition) was filled with joy. In my post script I followed with these words to my grandmother:

"And blessing they were. This life was a gift for you, and you thanked God and your loved ones for that gift every day. Now I thank you, and them for passing that gift on to me!"


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 01:05 AM

liam and Don, you've brought tears to my eyes and a full feeling of rightness to my heart, as so often happens when I am here.

I wrote my mother's obituary and designed and printed her memorial program. Hard tasks which had to be done quickly in the midst of sudden and unexpected grief. Now, I am so grateful I was allowed to take than on, by siblings. It gave me focus and allowed me express my grief while sharing her wonderful life and spirit. My son wrote this for inclusion in the program:

Grandmother, mother of my mother
where are you now?
Mother of my mother, who has no mother now.
Grandmother, proud in hiking boots atop a mountain
Grandmother, on my birthday we watched hanggliders fly
Grandmother, you fed the campfires glow
Grandmother, I see you in health and happiness
Grandmother was your pain so great?
If it was, I hope my peace will be with you
Grandmother of Christmas past
I am so glad I saw you then
Grandmother, I'll not let you pass
Grandmother, in my heart you will rest.
- Colin -

"Gram" will rest in the hearts of all of her grandchildren

Still makes me cry. I miss her a lot.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 09:36 AM

Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Thought for the Day (Oct 26)
From: JedMarum
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 02:26 PM

I've just been re-reading through this thread. There are so many deep thoughts expressed here. This thread has been very important. Thanks Peter T.!


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Mudcat time: 27 May 5:16 PM EDT

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