Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Terrible Loss of Jamil Baskerville Jr.

                 Most of the time, I am well.  It helps me that my beloved youngest son left the Earth quickly, and without pain, by God's calling, and not by violence.  I often wonder how parents of children who were victims of violence and who died as a result fare, when they are eight years past the loss of their child, as I am.

                Yesterday however, I heard something that has stayed with me and broken my heart.

This is Jamil Baskerville Jr., in a family photo

         This week, in N.J., a 24 year old man, Zachary Tricoche, became upset with his girlfriend over not bringing home some groceries he liked.  Her two year old son above, is reported to have become upset when Tricoche shoved his mother, and he tried to defend her.  Tricoche took his fist and hit the child in the chest sending him into a wall.  When the child got up and came at him again, he punched him again so severely that the child hit the wall again, and became unconscious. Then the child vomited and became unresponsive.  Jamil was pronounced dead later at the hospital.

          What kind of a person tells a two year old to "put up his hands to fight", before beating him to death ? Why would he think that his role would be to fight a child rather than to lay his own life down in order to protect one ?

There are too many people who have deliberately caused the death of a small defenseless child.    What kind of a monster would do such a thing ?  Then I prayed for little Jamil, and I got an answer.   The kind of person who would do such a thing, is a person who was also raised to believe that a two year old is a man, and that it's appropriate to fight like a man against a 24 year old.  A person who was raised with ineptitude and evil, will grow to see a two year old as competition and will attack him. Evil begets evil just as good begets good.

I also cannot imagine my not getting between an attacker and a two year old in a similar circumstance.  I wonder if his mother simply didn't understand what was happening or whether it all happened so quickly.

In your own life, make doubly certain than unbalanced, unstable or violent individuals are not permitted near the vulnerable children you know.

 On autopsy it was determined that Jamil's liver had been ruptured and that he bled to death internally. This is an end no child should ever endure.  Tricoche is imprisoned on a million dollars bond awaiting trial for homicide.

  Sadly, there are children in foster care who have only narrowly escaped such an end, and who will carry such a memory throughout life. It is not the shocking aberration that it should be.

       I pray for the remaining family of Jamil, here on Earth.






Friday, August 5, 2016

While Autumn Beckons

           
Daniel


 
               Although it is August, and still mired with ninety degree days and afternoon thunderstorms, the trees say that Autumn will come a little early here this year.  Many of the trees have turned either from green to red or green to yellow, and this is surprising given that there has been plenty of rain and no real reason for a die back. In the Fall, it will be eight years since the day when in just a moment, Daniel was found absent from his body.  It's funny that in some ways this seems a very long time ago, and then in others, just a moment ago as the detail of each of those moments is as sharp and as clear as if it were yesterday.

                    Recently, an accomplished established country music artist Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum fame, lost her grandfather.  An album named Love Remains was born.  The following song was born of the pain of the aftermath of a miscarriage of the artist.   I could not listen to the song without being transported to those days closely following the loss of Daniel, when I think the stage of grief is more akin to bewilderment, rather than denial, anger or bargaining.

                      Since you are reading this blog, you likely know something of grief.  I have therefore posted Hillary Scott's song below.  Please also see and buy her album Love Remains which frames this song. and which probably fits the Contemporary Christian genre best.  Hillary's parents and her sister, also collaborated on this project and they are apparently all superb and accomplished musicians.






Thy Will is simply a beautiful song and is especially suited to grief and the inspiration so sorely needed afterward.



Publishing: © 2016 W.B.M. Music Corp. / EKT Publishing, admin. by W.B.M. Music Corp. (SESAC); WB Music Corp. / Thankful For This Music, admin. by WB Music Corp. (ASCAP); Songs of Universal, Inc. / G650 Music/Pure Note Music, admin. by Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI).

Writer(s): Hillary Scott, Emily Weisband and Bernie Herms

Record Company:  EMI Nashville


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Generous and Enigmatic Oliver Swinford

              




            I can go a long time without meeting anyone whose words stay with me. Lately, I am a bit weary of people, particularly those who flutter like angry wasps on social media. And yes, I do mean weary not wary in this particular circumstance.  I have concluded that a lot of people are angry about one thing or another and don't miss the chance to spread that anger far and wide, a bit like a toddler spreading several bowls of chocolate icing over a yellow cake and the rest of a kitchen. Today was different, however. I was out with one of my sons, and a grandson and we quite accidentally made the acquaintance of another author. I don't know why we at first spoke, but he was uncharacteristically generous with his time and his gaze.  He was, for some reason, very familiar, and yet we have never met. It took some time for me to establish why. He is one of those people who has either died or come damn near it, just to return with uncommon knowledge. People like those not only have a different gaze than the rest of us, but they have a generosity of spirit and a recognition of souls most others can't dream of, let alone describe.  Most of us walk through life hoping that only good things will happen, but this man walks with the knowledge that for all of us, bad things will happen too, and that somehow, our souls will remain intact, and it will ultimately okay anyway.  It's also excellent fodder for writing as well.






                 I could not wait to get home, get online and read some of the work of this person.  I know a lot of talented authors.  Oliver Swinford is one of the most talented authors I have had the pleasure of meeting.  I highly recommend his book, On Cloudless Days.   This work has been described by others as captivating, compelling, and psychologically captivating. I not only agree, but I think the work is a pretty fair reflection of the man himself.

                 If my son Daniel were alive today, I have no doubt that he and Oliver Swinford would be friends. I was pleasantly reminded of Daniel and how he looked at life and of the things which befall us in this life, as I spoke with Mr. Swinford.   Please buy this book as soon as you can.



https://www.amazon.com/Cloudless-Days-Oliver-Swinford/dp/1329389379/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

 

 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Please See:" The Short Life of Peep"

Sometimes God sends some animals for a short stay here on Earth.


  Please see one of my other blogs, "Life After The Rescues" for the story of Peep, a Rhode Island Red hatchling at:


http://lifeaftertherescues.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-short-life-of-peep.html





Sunday, June 12, 2016

On This Sunday

This morning, I felt compelled to share this. In these difficult times, perhaps we should read more.

 

Habakkuk 3 

New International Version (NIV)

Habakkuk’s Prayer

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.[a]
Lord, I have heard of your fame;
    I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
    in our time make them known;
    in wrath remember mercy.
God came from Teman,
    the Holy One from Mount Paran.[b]
His glory covered the heavens
    and his praise filled the earth.
His splendor was like the sunrise;
    rays flashed from his hand,
    where his power was hidden.
Plague went before him;
    pestilence followed his steps.
He stood, and shook the earth;
    he looked, and made the nations tremble.
The ancient mountains crumbled
    and the age-old hills collapsed—
    but he marches on forever.
I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
    the dwellings of Midian in anguish.
Were you angry with the rivers, Lord?
    Was your wrath against the streams?
Did you rage against the sea
    when you rode your horses
    and your chariots to victory?
You uncovered your bow,
    you called for many arrows.
You split the earth with rivers;
10     the mountains saw you and writhed.
Torrents of water swept by;
    the deep roared
    and lifted its waves on high.
11 Sun and moon stood still in the heavens
    at the glint of your flying arrows,
    at the lightning of your flashing spear.
12 In wrath you strode through the earth
    and in anger you threshed the nations.
13 You came out to deliver your people,
    to save your anointed one.
You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,
    you stripped him from head to foot.
14 With his own spear you pierced his head
    when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,
gloating as though about to devour
    the wretched who were in hiding.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses,
    churning the great waters.
16 I heard and my heart pounded,
    my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
    and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
    to come on the nation invading us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.



Saturday, June 4, 2016

Electronic Notes Through the Veil Which Separates Us




 Daniel,

      I know that you and Dad watch us sometimes.    Your sister had asked me to "inspect" her house before the appraisal for her refinance recently, and I felt you there with me.   I am also pretty sure that you and Dad were the ones telling me in dream to check the Summer house and that there was damage there. (Thank you by the way. I have hired someone for the repairs and they are under way.)  The caretaker phoned to tell me the same, the following day, after I had mentioned the dream to your Dad.  I still miss you both very much and I think of you both often.  
        Daniel, you passed just after Barack Obama was elected, and from his writings you and I were both concerned about the direction of our country.  It actually has been worse than you and I had anticipated.  In some ways I am glad that you are not here to have seen the wanton disregard of our Constitution and the mismanagement of our country and world affairs by this regime.  The choices for the next election are not good.  One candidate is frequently dishonest and self serving and mismanaged her role as Secretary of State. Another potential candidate is out of touch and a communist.  The presumptive candidate for the Republican ticket says things that a lot of people think, but seems cavalier in some of his comments, and erratic sometimes.  Sometimes a small part of me is glad that you are home safely and not subjected to this.
       I know you pray because you always did.  Please pray for us, and for our country.  Your siblings especially have a hard road to hoe.  Your nephew will as well.  With that, I send the warmest hugs to you both.  I am doing the best I can.





Thursday, May 26, 2016

Almost Eight Years Ago

   
I liked it, and I thought of you, but then I could not bring it home.
 
               

  Daniel,


            Many times I function very well.  I do what I need to do as a parent and as a grandparent.  I take good care of your animals and their descendants.  Every once in a while there is something that I see or hear which triggers less than a happy recollection.  I think today was one of those days.  I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for someone and I saw a small blue and white house flag.   It said
        

     If tears could build a stairway,
    and memories a lane.
    I would walk right up to Heaven
    and bring you back again.


                             (Author unknown)

     
  I picked up the flag and added it to the few things I bought there. It will look nice on the small flag holder near the driveway. Then I thought about it some more.  You were called to Heaven supernaturally.  No clear explanation of why you passed has ever been demonstrated.  Repeated autopsies found nothing wrong but concluded that the manner in which you fell coupled with family history among older family members probably pointed to an abrupt cardiac arrhythmia.  You were called home by God in just a few seconds. Even though I gave CPR immediately, I never got you back. You were no longer there when I began.   If I were to build a bridge and walk up to Heaven to bring you home then I am doubting the plan of God. God needed you home in Heaven, and by saying I would bring you home I am doing something contrary to God's plan for you, for me , and for this family.    Still,  I love you and I miss you more than words can say.   I left the flag in the store.  I chose to trust God's plan for us all.  Perhaps this is as close to acceptance of what happened to which I will ever arrive.


              






Sunday, May 8, 2016

Forgotten ?

              
Oil painting    Simon Gaon

 

        I have wondered how long it would take before people outside our family completely forgot about Daniel's passing. How long would it take for us to get to a point where his birthday would come and go, and no one would say anything, via card, or via e-mail or phone call ?   I have that answer now.  This week would have been Daniel's twentieth birthday had we been lucky enough to have his soul remain with us in a flesh suit here on Earth.  There was not one phone call, not one e-mail, not one card and few who came to the blog to see what would be here.  It took only seven and a half years for all of those who knew you to be absorbed by the Earthly and to forget. People have their own problems, their own grief and their own losses.

               It doesn't matter.  Our family won't forget. I won't forget.  For as long as I live you will be one of the most important reasons I came to Earth. Daniel, you and your siblings made the trip, as arduous, as difficult and as hard as it sometimes is, worth it.

                Today is Mother's Day and it looks as if that has been forgotten too.  It doesn't matter.  Had you been here, I know you would have remembered.  As I move through life more and more waits for me where you are.




Monday, May 2, 2016

Daniel's Twentieth Birthday

       


 
   Sometimes, it's hard to believe that this week, had you remained here on Earth, you would be twenty years old. It shouldn't be amazing to me. Some of your friends are in college and have girl friends, and are decidedly man sized.  In my heart though, you are somewhere between twelve and nineteen, a beautiful boy who simply had not yet been corrupted in the ever deteriorating world that the remainder of your family occupies. No wonder God called you home. Perhaps in his place I would have also. In dreams I have had, you have been about thirty, and so wise.

              This week I had an interesting experience.  Your sister and I were on our way back from an errand with her baby, and we stopped at a Burger King. I stayed in the car with the baby, and your sister went inside to get the food.  All at once, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a young man of about twenty walking from the highway up to the Burger King. For just a moment, simply from his walk, I wondered if it were you. As he drew closer, I could see that he had a red long sleeve t-shirt and a pair of khaki cargo pants on. He had brown hair with the same distribution that you had, and a bit of facial hair stubble as if he were attempting to grow a beard, but it had been a fairly recent thought. He walked right past the car, saw me, and there wasn't even a hint of recognition. Sometimes it still surprises me that someone who looks something like you, doesn't recognize me. It's silly, I know.   As I watched him walk into the restaurant I told myself that as of this week, that the man walking in would likely be the size you would be now, had you still been here. He was about six feet tall and of average to muscular build.

         When your sister returned with the food, she had seen him too and thought that he looked like you also.   I am at a loss as to what to do for your birthday this week. In the past I have sent canned goods to the food bank. I know you always enjoyed doing that.  Other years I have done a secret good deed in your name. Some sad years I have simply made you a birthday cake I know you would have liked. Of course, your brothers and sister, and now your nephew consume it.   This year I am already planning your cake. I will play the good deed by ear.





           There is less turmoil regarding your birthday and the anniversary of your departure from Earth. However, I am never okay with your being gone.  Sometimes, it's as if you are on a special outing, perhaps an exchange student program, and that my job is to keep the farm maintained and ready for your return. I know that is not going to be, but sometimes that's how it seems.

         I miss you and my Dad very much.  Happy Birthday........and I love you more.




Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince Dies

       

 

        Today, the sheriff's department in Hennepin County, Minnesota went out to Prince's estate to find him in cardiac arrest in an elevator. Although CPR was performed, he was later pronounced dead.  Within the past week his private plane had made an emergency stop in Illinois so that he could go to a hospital with a severe case of the flu. Some news outlets have been reporting that he had a prior medical history of epilepsy.  His real name was Prince Rogers Nelson and those who have met him or worked with him have said he was a true musical prodigy, He worked in the music business successfully for over 35 years. He was 57 at the time of his passing.
                    He is probably best known for the songs "1999", "When Doves Fly", "Lets Go Crazy" "Kiss" , and of course, "Little Red Corvette".  He not only performed, but wrote hits for Sheila E, Sheena Easton, and the Bangles.

   "Six o'clock already and I was just in the middle of a dream"
    "I was kissing Valentino in a crystal blue Italian stream"

    (From Manic Monday)     This is vintage Prince.

   One of my personal favorites is a song Prince wrote that was specifically written for and recorded by Celine Dion.







He is also known for the the aid he gave to other musicians in terms of assisting them in the music business.

             I remember well that the year in which Daniel was born saw the birth of Prince's only child.  The child had significant birth defects and Prince and his wife did everything they could for him. I believe the boy spent most of his life in the hospital until he died. The following year, the two were divorced.

              Prince impacted several generations with his music.  It's hard to believe that both he and Michael Jackson are now gone.   Prince released two albums last year and had worked up to a week or so ago.

             Prince was known for being intensely private.  He was also a Jehovah's Witness and did go door to door on occasion.  The band in Heaven just gets better and better.

             I send my condolences to his family, his friends, and the remaining members of his band.