Thursday, December 24, 2015

Voices Below the Wind at Christmas








  Dearest Daniel and Dad,

                     It's hard for me to believe that it's been seven years since each of you departed Earth.     So many things have happened, in the world, in the US and on the farm since that time.  Part of me believes that you know of these things, and then sometimes I am not so sure.  Part of me hopes sometimes that Heaven is so much better than Earth that you are not even concerned with some of the minutia that concerns me. Not a day passes when I don't think of each of you.    Sometimes I work in the barn with the horses or the other animals and I imagine that you both watch me with at least some level of amusement.  Daniel, I know you would love the horses and that you would marvel at how long the alpacas you knew when you were here, have lived, and how well they are doing.  Dad, I think you would be amused that the little girl who fought every one of your attempts at teaching me proper gun handling and to shoot,  grew up to be licensed to carry a firearm everywhere. I think you would be proud that I taught the same to everyone here and that I am a pro firearms and safe handling guru of sorts.

                     This week there was a woman on television named Laura Lynne Jackson who was passing messages from those who have departed from Earth to loved ones here.   It made me sad that so many others don't realize that if we stay still and listen that you do find ways to tell me things that are important. I understand those who seek psychics, although I believe that God gave most of us the ability to listen quietly to the voices below the wind.

                      Merry Christmas to you both.  Please know I love you both very much and that I try hard to do things that I believe would please you both.  Sometimes I feel you both beside me, and I am grateful for your efforts to guide me.  God bless you both.......and thank Him for me, for allowing me to know you both on this all too short trip to the cold Earth.


                          
(Picture: www.davesgarden.com  )






Saturday, December 12, 2015

Another One Has Departed Too Soon

This is Michael Namey, being remembered at his college.  His intelligent gaze even reminds me of Daniel's.


                   Michael Namey was an 18 year old Florida college student studying software engineering at the University of Central Florida.  Michael collapsed in a classroom at his college in September.   He did receive competent emergency care from a trained individual who said that there was no response.  This first responder has also penned a letter requesting more AEDs at the school. Michael was transported and then transferred to another hospital.  Following some time in ICU, he passed.   Michael was not known to have had any medical pre-existing conditions.  His girlfriend did say that he felt as if he was coming down with a cold the night before.   As is often the case with sudden arrhythmic deaths, it has taken some time for all of the autopsy data to be in.   Medical examiners believe that Michael died from a sudden arrhythmia which likely occurred in his case because his heart was silently enlarged. The normal range for someone his size/weight would have been 450 gms in the upper range of normal, and his was indeed 450 gms.   Sometimes relative cardiac enlargement is due to a virus or  there may be other reasons.   Additionally, he experienced a low blood potassium which is also associated with arrhythmias.

                I cannot help but think of our Daniel.  Daniel would be 19 now.  Michael Namey was said to have been very intelligent and a leader.  He and Daniel may have been friends had they known each other.

               We must improve our ways of detecting those at risk for sudden arrhythmic death . Such deaths are far more common than is realized.

               We send our condolences to Michael's brother Joseph and to the rest of his family.

I also send thanks to Corinne Ruiz who never misses noticing each and every sudden arrhythmic death, particularly those in children and teens.   Corinne lost her lovely daughter Olivia to a sudden arrhythmia.
 Without Corinne's continued work on improving awareness of sudden death issues, I would not know of as many as I do.


Michael Alexander Namey






Additional info on Michael Namey's passing:

 http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/story/news/2015/09/23/ucf-student-who-collapsed-hpa1-classroom-dies/72663216/


Read more about Corinne Ruiz, her daughter Olivia, and Olivia's Heart Project at:

  http://www.oliviasheartproject.org         





Friday, December 11, 2015

A Different Kind of Christmas

                  
For many, Christmas is not the season it once was.   (Rendering: www.eventbrite.com.au )


 

            Daniel departed like smoke the day after Thanksgiving at the beginning of the Christmas season, now seven years ago.   To anyone who has experienced particularly the sudden loss of a child of someone close, then you know.  We never simply "get over" life's cruelest losses.  We simply find a way to coexist and continue trudging along.

                     Particularly during the holiday season when the holiday music plays that I heard those seven years ago, I recall those first days and weeks without him.    There was no surprise greater than the sudden death of a child who was felt to be well and who had just had a clean physical.    But there were many other surprises afterward.  The first one is that a child who has died can have a perfectly normal autopsy at one of the county's best university medical centers.  Who knew that there are functional issues, particularly with the conduction system of the heart which don't necessarily show up on autopsy.  When such things happen, the detail of the passing, the position of the person, and details about the passing become important in the pathologist's best guess as to what happened.  Sometimes, learning all the things which didn't or couldn't have happened, is no help.  We wish to know what did.

                        Other surprises included the reactions of people we knew and our friends.   Our pediatrician, our allergist, and the cardiologist one of our other family members had were truly wonderful. The helicopter team from the University of Virginia who attended Daniel's code were highly professional and very kind. The sheriff's office was compassionate and professional. Their investigation was as respectful as was possible given the circumstances.   Surprises included the funeral home which handed me the bill for the funeral, two days after my child's death, just before the service. (What was wrong with afterward, or popping the bill in the mail ?)   Other surprises included some of the bizarre if not cruel things ministers of different faiths said in the intervening weeks.  Yes, it's true that a few of them were supportive.  However, am I asking too much for all of them to have some skill or training in bereavement ? After all, everyone dies, and all of us will experience the loss of someone we love in our lifetimes. Why is comforting someone in bereavement so difficult for ministers ?  Nurses navigate this, sometimes with more skill.     Most surprising were the responses of our friends and acquaintances.  Some people with whom we were acquainted, and in some cases that I did not necessary like much, were absolutely wonderful to us.  Anyone who knew the loss of a child or of a sibling went out of their way to send a kind word or to be available to us in some way in those first weeks.  Conversely, some of our closest friends at that time simply couldn't cope with the death of a child they knew, and we lost them forever.

                         We have an entirely new constellation of friends seven years later.  We do have friends we have known for thirty years who weathered Daniel's loss with us.  We also have friends we have acquired from that time or afterward. We also have a surprising number of friends who have lost children.

                          Remember as you navigate this holiday season that over time, most of us experience either an expected or a surprise passing during the Thanksgiving or Christmas season.  As you experience the joy of the season, please remember those families for whom the season is a bit harder.  For some of us, snow is seen as frozen tears, and cold days remind us of days huddled around the kitchen table eating casserole brought by a friend which tastes like our own tears, traced back to a day of loss.   Don't be afraid to include those who have endured a loss.  You can't fix it for them, but just the attempt to include them will help.

              Merry Christmas, my friends.
                        

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Loss of Too Many Young Children, and What We Might Do in Prevention

This post was originally posted this week on my other blog Rational Preparedness

            




            This month in the United States, there has been no shortage of egregiously bad news.   In Chicago, a young Muslim woman from Chicago who thought her parents might kill her over having a child out of wedlock, threw the newly born infant out of her eighth floor bedroom window. The infant girl died at a hospital later with a listing of injuries that would make ISIS cringe.   Another baby was found recently in the Los Angeles area, abandoned with umbilical cord attached and buried with construction debris.  Joggers luckily heard muffled cries.  This baby will survive.    I just read an article concerning an African American bail bondsman who is alleged to have beaten his seven year old son to death and then fed his remains to the pigs. Neighbors seemed to be well aware of a number of instances of severe abuse of children who were residing in the man's home.

                   There has always been wickedness upon the Earth, often bordering the homes of those who do very great good. There have been occasional babies born in toilets since there were toilets.  However, even if we adjust for the ability of the internet to bring all the egregious news of wickedness to us, there is still great evil perpetrated against babies and children, and this appears to be increasing.

                  We cannot always know of the suffering of babies and small children which occurs in our world. Sometimes, such things do occur in relative isolation. Sometimes, other individuals are complicit in such acts and cover for someone who is profoundly ill, or perhaps simply profoundly evil.  However, we must try as a culture, and as a world to do better.  When you are out and around, work on your situational awareness. Don't simply be aware of the man who is watching your purse.  Notice more than that.  Notice the sick infant in a carseat locked in the Altima in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Maybe the misguided mother will be back in three minutes with tylenol, but maybe she won't.  Maybe that child's only chance at survival is your sitting in your car, noting the time, and calling police when no one returns.   I am a big believer in parent's rights, but there are a number of people who are pervasively neglectful and abusive to small children.  If decent people don't notice things and bring them to the attention of social services and police, then a percentage of these children will in effect, be tortured, and will die.

                 Some years ago, a woman who'd had recent surgery died in a neighborhood I lived in, and her newborn died in the crib in the same room, the result of no one knowing the child was there without being attended to, post the mom's sudden death. No one noticed they hadn't seen them !   I didn't know this woman, but I have felt badly about this ever since.    It may not be wise to intrude in the business of others, but we need to keep an eye on those with young children. Sudden deaths occur, even in young people, and a baby alone may not live more than a couple of days without care. We also know that even young children can carry the scars of a couple of days of neglect which most of us believe they would not remember.

                A child is always a blessing...............not an obligation, a millstone, a killjoy, an expense or an albatross.  Each child is blameless as he or she enters the world, and knows nothing of the circumstances which brought them here.   Each one of them is chock full of human potential and we should all conduct ourselves accordingly.   To those who are bringing a child onto the Earth that they do not wish to raise.....seek an adoption agency immediately.   Hundreds of couples who are carefully vetted would be elated to have the opportunity to love, raise, and educate that child.   Of course, there are less than perfect adoptive parents in the world, but most are incredible parents and will raise incredible children. One of my dear friends was adopted by a wonderful family.

               Especially at this time of year when we throw material goods at one another in Jesus' name, we need to recall that every birth whether legitimate, planned for, wanted, or an infant well, or ill, is proof of the opinion of God that they should overcome incredible odds to join us here on Earth.    When we can, let's start noticing the children at risk, and reporting what you saw to the correct authorities.  Lets save some young lives.