Monday, November 28, 2016

Eight Vast Years

            




       I found this picture of you taken when you were about eight at Christmas, at the first farm. I believe your sister says you were being dressed to be an elf.   I can't believe that it's eight years today since you had to depart. I love you just as much as I ever did, and the memories of what you liked and disliked when you were here are still fresh. You will always be my son whether you had continued life here on Earth, or in Heaven. Your siblings and your dad mention you often and we often giggle at things you said which have turned out to be quite true. Love to my Dad and everyone with you. I love you wider than the oceans, and deeper than the seas, and I always will.





Saturday, November 26, 2016

Stop Crying: This is the Good Stuff

              




  Today, just two days before Daniel would have been gone eight years, one of my sons was married in a beautiful church ceremony with friends and family in attendance.  He has married a lovely young woman that Daniel clearly would have adored. Perhaps our entire family will benefit from a wedding anniversary that occurs just two days from Daniel's sudden departure from Earth.
             
              There were lots of tears at the lovely well attended wedding.  In fact, some of the bride's nieces and nephews asked me why so many of the adults were crying.  I told them that first, we were crying because seeing two people very much in love who finally are able to marry one another is both rare and sweet and makes us cry. Also, such beautiful music, which was especially chosen by the bride and groom makes many of us cry, all by itself.  Also, if we are the parents of the bride or the groom, we cannot help but remember them as small children and wonder how they made the jump from toddler to kindergartener to teen, college student, graduate, and then husband or wife. We wonder how the years could have passed so quickly when they might seem not to have for us.  Lastly, we cry because we are just a grain selfish. When our children marry the love of their lives, there simply will be a bit less time for us, and we cry because we may, just a bit selfishly,know that life will change and that we will miss them.  The kids seemed to accept this, or perhaps they simply were sorry they asked.

              In any case, I send understanding and good wishes to anyone who has had to sit through beautiful music and has been the mother of the bride or the groom.




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Our Fragile Times

                 
Daniel,  May, 1996-November 28, 2008


 









       This week, two ladies who worked with my daughter died on the same day.  Later in the week, the lady who took over work for one of our family members while he vacationed, passed in a car accident.  The end of this existence will come for each and every one of us, and yet, we work, play, and sometimes plan as if it will not.

    We are just five days away from the day when, eight years ago, my son Daniel, who was only 12, collapsed and died here at home. He had a clean autopsy, and so the prevailing pathologist's theory is that he experienced a sudden heart rhythm disturbance, as increasing numbers of children who play sports are doing, and that despite immediate CPR, his rhythm disturbance was non-recoverable. He's had a physical with a professor of pediatrics just a week or so before his death, and now ironically, both my son and that physician are dead.This time of year used to be my favorite, and yet, even eight years past Daniel's passing, I am fragile around Thanksgiving. It seems to me that almost everyone in our family eventually passes within October or November.

                    I am however, not quite as destroyed as you might expect because I know a few things which ease the journey.  Our trip to Earth is a temporary one for us all. Each one of us is issued a mortal flesh suit and then raised with the idea that our stay is somewhat open ended. After all, when we're in school we may be told that by the time we are middle aged, there will be a cure for all the cancers, and failing organs will be laboratory grown and transplanted. You'll live to 120 the school physician told me at 16 when I had a tennis physical.   Of course, none of this is true. Our bodies are on loan, a bit like a tuxedo rental from the Men's Warehouse. We work and play and over time, we age. The aging that is evident on the exterior indicates that similar or even more severe aging is occurring internally.  Entropy is real. We age in steps and eventually must evacuate our flesh suits even though we wish, at that point,  simply to shelter in place. It is universal. It will happen to us all.

                   I have actually accepted my own mortality pretty well over the years. The only reason I fear it now is that I have more skin in the game than I used to.  I still have four children remaining on Earth, and a grandchild. I dislike the idea of feeling as if I will ultimately be abandoning them all in a world that is not quite as friendly as most mothers wish it were.

                 Still, we come to Earth. We live, we love, we work, and this too is very important.  Eventually, we leave the rental suit and go home to a more permanent arrangement.

                  Make sure that tomorrow when you see family and friends that you drink the water and realize how cool and quenching it can be. Be kind, even to those who don't really deserve it, because this could be their last Thanksgiving.  Drink the sparkling cider and don't be tempted to drink anything that muddies your memory of this rare day. Realize that the little kids who will spill gravy on the oriental rug are going to remember tomorrow always. See that they remember you for forgiveness.  Remember always to place people above even valuable things.  Make sure that although you have a strong work ethic, that you are also known for the important ability to set work aside, even just for a day.   Eat and enjoy, but not so much that you make the rental suit sick, because you will have to inhabit it the day after, as well.

                   Enjoy this day as if it is your last, not because it will be, but because someday there will be a day that is.

                      Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

This Time of Year

            






      No matter how many times we revisit this time of year, as it approaches, I still have trepidation as if it's a train pulling into a dreaded station.  This year, it will be eight years since Daniel enjoyed Thanksgiving with friends and family and then, the day after, in preparation for Christmas shopping, collapsed and died in our home's main floor bathroom.  Even though we heard the crash of his falling, and unlocked the door with a key and started immediate CPR, there was no coming back. The helicopter team from the University of Virginia ran an exceptional code, but he was gone before they had really arrived.
               We live now in the altered, no fractured timeline doing the best we can to propel our children forward in a world frankly Daniel might not quite have recognized from eight years ago.
                 The song below, by Steven Curtis Chapman, is a comfort and I hope it will be to you as well.




https://www.facebook.com/stevencurtischapman/videos/10154374217952949/?video_source=pages_finch_trailer