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BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life

Jerry Rasmussen 15 Dec 04 - 09:35 AM
gnu 15 Dec 04 - 09:38 AM
My guru always said 15 Dec 04 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 15 Dec 04 - 11:30 AM
Scooby Doo 15 Dec 04 - 11:32 AM
Rapparee 15 Dec 04 - 11:35 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Dec 04 - 11:43 AM
SINSULL 15 Dec 04 - 12:18 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Dec 04 - 12:33 PM
Polly Squeezebox 15 Dec 04 - 12:55 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Dec 04 - 01:14 PM
Tannywheeler 15 Dec 04 - 01:49 PM
Liz the Squeak 15 Dec 04 - 05:36 PM
Peace 15 Dec 04 - 06:01 PM
Amos 15 Dec 04 - 06:36 PM
jaze 15 Dec 04 - 07:29 PM
Joe Offer 15 Dec 04 - 07:48 PM
bbc 15 Dec 04 - 07:53 PM
Rapparee 15 Dec 04 - 08:52 PM
catspaw49 15 Dec 04 - 09:45 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Dec 04 - 10:04 PM
Rapparee 15 Dec 04 - 10:38 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Dec 04 - 11:11 PM
Amergin 16 Dec 04 - 02:32 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 16 Dec 04 - 01:49 PM
Rapparee 16 Dec 04 - 04:38 PM
Ebbie 17 Dec 04 - 04:37 AM
Jeanie 17 Dec 04 - 06:01 AM
Tannywheeler 18 Dec 04 - 12:09 PM
Raedwulf 18 Dec 04 - 01:13 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 18 Dec 04 - 05:56 PM
Amos 18 Dec 04 - 06:54 PM
Rapparee 18 Dec 04 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,Wesley S 19 Dec 04 - 02:55 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 19 Dec 04 - 03:06 PM

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Subject: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 09:35 AM

Yesterday, I got a call from my friend Frankie. He called to tell me that his son-in-law Tyrone died during the night. The news hit me like a blow to the stomach. Tyrone was just in his 40's, and he and Michelle were only married a few of years ago. They lived upstairs in Frankie's house, and when the Gospel Messengers would get together to practice, Tyrone would quietly come half way down the stairs and sit there and listen to us, like a little kid at Christmas. We had no idea that he was even sick, and they kept the seriousness of his health problems from Frankie, so it was a shock to Frankie, too.

What can you do, but mourn death? There are no words that can remove the pain. It is just a process you have to go through. Death has touched many friends and fellow Catters this year and for those who celebrate Christmas, this will be a hard time for them.

But, while we mourn death, we can celebrate life. Death is a reminder of how precious life is. What a gift it is. When Frankie told me about Tyrone's death, the first thing I wanted to do was to hold my wife. Not to "cling" to life, but to "embrace" life, and rejoice in it.

   "How many days slip away without notice?
    How many friends have you lost on the way?
    How many good times are taken for granted,
    And only remembered when they've passed away?"

And, there are all kinds of deaths. The death of a marriage is a time for mourning, too. Even the worst, most destructive marriages.
My first marriage was like a re-make of Night Of The Living Dead, and I had to drive a stake through it's heart to be free of it. And yet, I mourned the loss of the promise and hope that brought two people together.

I have a friend here who sings with me each month at a nursing home who lost his Father a couple of months ago, and then went through a horrendous divorce. He has two deaths to mourn this Christmas. And, I have a fine friend here in the Cat I've met this year who will be struggling through a season where we are all supposed to be happy, mourning the death of his marriage.

People come to Mudcat for all sorts of reasons. Music, first I hope.
But then, there are others who come here broken-hearted and uncertain, just to warm themselves by the fire of friendship. They come asking for prayers, or just commiseration. Other's come who are hurting, to insult, upset and hurt others. Misery doesn't just like company. Sometimes it tries to make Damned sure it has it. But, for whatever reasons people come here who are mourning, whether it's the loss of a loved one, a pet, a marriage or even hope itself,
they are in need of friendship and support. And love.

So, for those of us who are mourning a death, there is a reason to celebrate life, too. Life is too precious to take for granted. I give thanks for the gift of another day, for Mudcat and all my friends.

Tomorrow, my wife and I will join Barbara and Frank Shaw and other friends to celebrate Christmas, singing at a Veterans luncheon. Saturday, Joe, Derrick and I will join Frankie as the Messengers mourn the loss of family.

As my friend Art Thieme usually ends his letters, that we may remember..

"Ain't life grand?"

Mourn death, but Celebrate life!

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: gnu
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 09:38 AM

Well said. Thoughts and prayers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: My guru always said
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 10:37 AM

Thanks for your clarity Jerry!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 11:30 AM

Jerry, please express my sympathy to Frankie. We never forget losses we have at this time of the year. You are right, though--the contrast of bad does highlight the good for us & from the "bad" we can learn valuable life lessons.

best,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Scooby Doo
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 11:32 AM

It's made me think about life and death in a different way from today Jerry.
Thank you.
Scooby.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 11:35 AM

True, Jerry. But we should also celebrate Death, for it brings rest, peace, rebirth, and, in most belief systems, the promise of Something Better.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 11:43 AM

For some of us who believe, Rap, that is true. The service we will go to on Saturday will be a "home-going" service. Along with the grief and mourning, there will also be a celebration not only of Tyrone's life, but that "Something Better."

One of the first times the Messengers sang in a church was at the funeral of Frankie's brother's wife. When we sang When we get to Glory, Glory be, what a great day that will be," People got up and were dancing in the aisles. That didn't minimize or dissrespect the mourning. It was to celebrate a release from all the trials of this earth.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: SINSULL
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 12:18 PM

It may sound trite but for most of us life would have no meaning without the certainty of death. Imagine the curse of immortality - there would be no urgent need to do anything. It is cruel only in that we never know when our turn will come. Carpe diem.
SINS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 12:33 PM

That's true, Sinsull, and not trite. Death is as natural as life. Maybe even moreso. It's the personal loss that gets us, though. And, it's probably just as well that we don't know when our turn will come. I certainly wouldn't want to know. I live in the hope that there will be many more days to come, while at the same time trying to make each day I am blessed with "count."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Polly Squeezebox
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 12:55 PM

Jerry,

You may have seen on a recent thread that Joan, a friend of mine, and her husband were murdered a little over a week ago. I learned the awful news at the dancing class we were both members of when I attended last Tuesday. This Tuesday, yesterday morning, I was present in Court, as Court Duty Officer, when their son was brought in accused of their murder.

Last night I again attended the dance class that Joan was a member of. Her dancing friends knew, like you, that Joan would have wanted that. We chose to meet to remember her by dancing all of her favourite dances and the music which she loved to sing along to. We chose to celebrate her life and her beautiful dancing. We chose to speak of her and remember wonderful times we had shared with her. We mourn for ourselves, for our loss, our sadness - but we can choose to deal with that mourning by being glad that we knew that person, by remembering the good times and sharing with others the love which often came from the person to ourselves.

Pauline


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 01:14 PM

That's beautiful, Pauline. Yes, I did read the thread and was stunned by it. There are so many tragic stories, and everyone has to deal with grief in their own way. But, truly celebrating the person's life is a wonderful way to remember them, and all that they gave while they were living. And can still give, after their death.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 01:49 PM

As much as anyone wishes they could help -- to take away the pain -- the most we can do for each other is stand by with an extra box of tissue. And help with remembering. And put up with whatever "stages" of grief someone is in. Took me a while to learn. Seems 'Catters have that down pat. Darn shame we have to face it again right now.       Tw


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 05:36 PM

Tanny, it's not that "Catters" have it down pat, it's that "we" have a wonderful therapist and resource centre right here. "We" know that a post here or a PM to one or two special people will bring a flood of responses that common sense knew all along, but emotional sense wasn't ready to listen to.

I use the " marks " because the people who post here are not exclusive to Mudcat, nor should they be referred to as "Catters" as an elitist group. It's a generic term that should mean everyone who posts here, so you should include yourself in that group!

And yes, it is a damn shame that we have to keep coming back to threads like this, too many, too soon.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Peace
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 06:01 PM

I tried to write something for this thread, Jerry, and I couldn't. You know you have my condolences.

Dylan Thomas has said what I wanted to say--but better'n I ever could.

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead mean naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Through they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Amos
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 06:36 PM

Oh, wisely placed, Bruce and never better said.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: jaze
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 07:29 PM

A very timely reminder. It's sad sometimes that it takes life's sorrows to reminds us of it's joys.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 07:48 PM

I almost hate to say anything about it because prayer and healing and sympathy threads make me break out in hives, but my mom died last week Tuesday, after a five-year illness and two years of dementia that was sheer hell for my dad. My brothers and sisters and I have been back and forth to Florida the last several months. So, her death was a relief - for her, and for all the family.

I suppose we shed a few tears over the last week, but we had a heck of a lot more laughter. The funeral was lovely, as was the music. Everybody sang. I'm glad I didn't volunteer to do the music - I was pretty misty-eyed and choked up. Before the funeral, I asked my sister who was going to do the music. She said my dad had chosen somebody who could sing a "kick-ass Panis Angelicus." My sister was right. Gee, it was lovely.

In the days after the funeral, we reminisced over photographs, and had a wonderful time reading family letters my parents had saved. My grandparents had saved all the letters my dad had written when he was a Marine during WWII, and it was fascinating to read them. My youngest sister and I had been estranged for a number of years (long story, but both of us were innocent), and the funeral brought us to reconciliation. We ate a lot of good food, too.

So, yes, death brings sadness - but it also brings joy and healing and reconciliation. It's a wonderfully bittersweet time.

My mom loved her cigarettes, but she gave them up many years ago because of health concerns. She was fast friends and drinking buddies with my brother-in-law, who never did give up smoking and died of cancer at 51. I guess they're up there now together, drinking martinis and puffing away in the smoking section of heaven. I'm sure they're having a wonderful time. When I do, I think I want to go to the Smoking and Scotch section. To Hell with their martinis. I hate green olives.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: bbc
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 07:53 PM

Well, Joe, no sentimental stuff, but I'd sure hug you, if I were nearby!

best always,

Barbara


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 08:52 PM

The day of my mother's funeral we had the requiem mass ("And the family picked out the readings!" exclaimed the priest), the service at the cemetery, and a family and friends get-together at my uncle's house. That evening, said uncle dropped by with a six-pack to "see how we were doing."

I don't know exactly what he expected to find, but he found us playing Yatzee.

Mom would have loved the look on his face, and I suspect she saw it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 09:45 PM

Well Joe, at least we have you loosened up enough to tell us about it and I well remember the days not so long ago when you would never have mentioned it, let alone tell any stories! Truth is Joe that all of us care about you and whatever makes you the most comfortable.....but I'm glad to see that you've fallen a little over in this direction. My condolences of course and my best thoughts for you and your family.

For me, the mourning and celebration march along in lockstep and the years don't seem to change things. I have been truly blessed to have several close "best" friends in my life and some of them are now gone. When Denny died, he had asked me to say a few words at his funeral and I was the last one to speak. I had no notes and simply started by calling him a son of a bitch because the man couldn't even die irresponsibly. I explained to the large crowd that just prior to the service, Jodi (a daughter) had given me an envelope which contained a thank you note from Denny along with a few words of goodbye to me that he had writen some months before. So I said I was going to take this chance to trash that reputation and tell some unknown tales of the real Dennis! I spoke for almost a half hour and as a stand-up routine, I had them "rolling in the aisles." Everyone said how good they felt and the talk afterwards was of "celebrating life." I agreed of course, but down deep I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there and when Karen and I left, I drove a few blocks and down a side street where I pulled over and cried for almost an hour.

The loss I mourned was mine of course but even now, 7 years later, no matter how many wonderful and happy thoughts I have of him, the smiles bring tears.....just as they do now as I type this. Any hole in my heart was then and is now filled with great memories. But along with them comes the sadness I can never shake because I no longer can share this life with him. But somehow that feels right. I can't imagine only happiness. Feeling no sadness cheapens the memory.

Just my 2 cents.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 10:04 PM

Thanks so much for the Dylan Thomas, brucie. I've been too long away from him.

And thanks all, for the wonderful contributions.

The day my Father was buried, my Mom asked me to take her out and buy her a stereo system and some CDs. She always loved music, but my Father didn't want it playing in the house. (So, I became a musician...) It was a wonderful release for my Mom, and strangely, there was no bitterness toward Dad. We figured he'd wised up a lot in the last 24 hours and would have been happy with what we were doing.

Death does that..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 10:38 PM

Do not assume that I and my siblings don't miss my mother, who we call "Saint Esther.*" We do, every day. But we like to think that now she can do for all of us at the same time.






*Sainthood was automatic and bestowed long before she died. After all, look what she raised.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Dec 04 - 11:11 PM

And speaking of celebrating life! My sister's husband looked like he was ready to cash in his chips about a month ago. He was on oxygen from a lifetime of smoking cigarettes, had a bad heart, had seemingly lost any real interest in being alive and had grown so weak from just sitting in an easy chair all day that he kept falling over all the time. Finally, he fell down four times in one day and my Sister (who had fallen down herself and broken her arm a few days earlier) couldn't keep helping him to get up. So, she called an ambulance and they took him to the hospital. He had gotten so weak that he couldn't even stand up any more. He'd almost died from a heart attack a year ago and is constantly getting pneumonia because his lungs are almost completely destroyed. They didn't give him much of a chance of ever going home. After a few days, he still couldn't even stand up without two people supporting him and they were trying to place him in a nursing home. My sister had pretty much accepted that he wouldn't be coming home, and if he did in the shape that he was in when he left, it would kill her trying to take care of him.

And then, he started climbing his way back up. He reached the point where he could get around with a walker, and with an oxygen tank was reasonably mobile.

He came home this Monday.

And a Merrrrrrry Christmas it will be..


Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Amergin
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 02:32 AM

One of my cousins died a couple of years ago, suddenly of a heart attack while she and her husband were out camping. Her memorial service her kids and grandkids all told stories of her. How she wouldn't get mad often...but when she did stuff went flying and you learned to duck quickly.

However, the thing that struck me the most was when at the end of the service my brother played a song on his clarinet and my sister on the flute. Her kids and grandkids sang along. It was a song she always sang to them when they were babies and growing up. I still cannot sing the song without thinking about it., without thinking of the love that poured from her when she sang it to them. I think that wherever she may be she still sings to them. It is a song I will pass down to my daughter and my future children. The song is You Are My Sunshine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 01:49 PM

This from Lucinda Matlock in Egar Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology----from her grave:

"Degenerate sons and daughters, life is too strong for you.
It takes life to love life."

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Dec 04 - 04:38 PM

And coming from Art makes it even stronger.

The human soul and the human body are stronger than we give them credit for.

(And don't quibble about "soul" -- you know damned good and well what I mean. If you don't, try to find out yourself.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 04:37 AM

As I sit here, the grief that is present in this thread and that resonates within me brings tears. But also - and perhaps foremost - gratitude. Aren't we lucky that we can love- and that we have people and other beings to love.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Jeanie
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 06:01 AM

With love and all good thoughts to everyone on this thread and the people we are missing whose time with us we celebrate.

- jeanie

The life that I have is all that I have,
And the life that I have is yours.
The love that I have of the live that I have
Is yours, and yours, and yours.
A sleep I shall have, a rest I shall have,
Yet death will be but a pause,
For the peace of my years in the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.
(Leo Marks - Code Poem)

For my smashing dad, Bill Little 1921-2001, no doubt with Joe's folks in the smoking section (pipe and a pint department - piano accordionists' corner):

I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces all day through
In that small cafe, the park across the way
The children's carousel, the chestnut trees, the wishing well

I'll be seeing you in every lovely summer's day
In everything that's light and gay
I'll always think of you that way
I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you
(Sammy Kahn)


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 12:09 PM

OK -- who's gonna make another Kleenex run? This box is nearly empty.       Tw


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Raedwulf
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 01:13 PM

Why mourn death? Celebrate it. Celebrate life too. It's not how or when you go, but what you did before hand & whether anyone wants to remember you afterwards.

Thoughts with Jerry & Joe. But smile! They had a good run for their money, did the best they could. What more can you ask for? ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 05:56 PM

Today, the Messengers sang at the wake for Frankie's son-in-law Tyrone. His wife asked for songs with energy, so that's what we gave her. After we sang for twenty minutes, the trombone band from the local House Of Prayer church played gut-bucket New Orleans street jazz/gospel non-stop for a half an hour. Tyrone used to play trombone in the band. The House Of Prayer was started in New Orleans by Daddy G, and when they worship, they take the paint off the walls. I had a crazy night a couple of years ago, singing and playing electric guitar, doing gospel with a trombone section. They don't let a lot of moaning go on, and Tyrone's wife Michelle was on her feet singing lustily along with them. Tyrone was in an open casket, soaking it all in, I think.

The eulogy really got me thinking. The question was, "what do you do with the hyphen?" The minister pointed out that Tyrone's life was summed up with the years he was alive, from 1956-2004. She wanted to talk about what he did during the hyphen. Never heard that idea before, but I liked it. Tyrone lived a very full hyphen, and while there was some crying and mourning going on, there was also a lot of celebrating this life, and Eternal life.

I know that Tyrone was pleased at the good time, the rocking music and the celebrating that went on. We had a good time celebrating his life.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Amos
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 06:54 PM

Only way to send them, Jerry!! Way to go.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Dec 04 - 07:04 PM

"Put a red-hot jazzman at the top of my head...."

Dyin' ain't a time for grievin', but for rejoicin' -- some 'cause they're gone to a better place, and some just 'cause they're gone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: GUEST,Wesley S
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 02:55 PM

Today is four years to the day that we lost our newborn son Patrick. And while I'll be sad, I feel that if I spend too much time on grief that it will rob his twin brother Brendan of the energy that he needs to grow up to fulfill his potential. And I sense that Patrick is OK with that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mourn Death/Celebrate Life
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 19 Dec 04 - 03:06 PM

Hey, Wesley: October 20th, I rejoiced in my son Gideon's 35th birthday. At the same time, I honored the memory of his twin brother Joshua, who died in child birth. I can't even begin to comprehend what it is like to lose a child after you've been blessed with a few years of their lives. It was very hard, losing Joshua, but I never even saw him, so I carry no painful memories of times we shared together.

Except for one.

Joshua and Gideon really shook it up, in utero, whenever we played Honky Tonk Woman. They both loved that song. They even got my wife dancing, just out of a survival instinct.

Rejoice in Brendan. You are right... Patrick accepts all of your love for Brendan as his, too.

Jerry


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