Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Poem by Edgar A. Guest

Daniel on a particular Halloween as Charlie Chaplin

For All Parents ~ by Edgar A. Guest
I'll lend you for a little time,
A child of mine he said.
For you to love there as he lives
And mourn when he is dead.

It may be six or seven years,
Or twenty two or three.
But will you , 'till I call him back,
Take care of him for me?

He'll bring his charms to gladden you,
And shall his stay be brief.
You'll have his lovely memories,
As solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from Earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there,
I want this child to learn.

I've searched the wide world over,
In my search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes,
I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love,
Nor think the labor vain.
Nor hate me when I come to call
To take him back again?

I fancied that I heard them say,
Dear Lord, thy will be done.
For all the joy thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we'll run.

We'll shelter him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may
And for the happiness we've known
Forever grateful stay.

But shall the angels call for him
Much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes
and try to understand.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Birthday

Many years ago, when Daniel was small, we received a Russian child as a placement we hoped to adopt. He had medical problems which we had addressed here in the US. However there were serious difficulties. In the interest of providing this child with the help he then needed, we allowed him to be placed with a family who had expertise in his specific problems, and with no other children younger than he. This was also the choice and directive of the agency supervising the placement of this child with us. You were never unwanted anywhere. Everyone concerned was simply trying to best meet your needs.
Today is his birthday. Although he is unlikely to read this post, I would like to say that we have always grieved his departure even though he was not particularly happy with us, or at all bonded to us. We have always cared and always thought of him. He has always been in our prayers. Happy, Happy Birthday. You may not have become our son, but you will always be a family member, and you brought Russian language and culture to us, and in many ways it has never departed. With best wishes across the miles. Bolshoe spasiba.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Pleasant Distraction

Since Daniel passed I have been trying to listen to the things that we sense sometimes, you know what I mean. The second year our daughter was driving, she was on her way home from work and was about five minutes late. I told my husband that Stephanie had had an accident and that he needed to retrace her way home from work. Of course, he thought I was completely mad. We were arguing about the necessity of doing this when Stephanie drove up in our minivan with the engine overheating, the result of a bad front end accident. The minivan was totalled when she was driving up a dark country road and hit what must have been a large buck, but she said it looked more like a moose than anything else ! The animal left the scene, but the minivan was badly damaged. It took a day or two to realize that Stephanie had two fractured ribs. These took a long time to heal as it could not be splinted as would normally be done, because she has an insulin pump which uses that area. I KNEW that Stephanie had been frightened and was hurt, and I knew it involved the car. I did not know much else. Strangely, I did not have effective enough intuitive ability when Daniel died, or I would have surely avoided the outcome.
Anyway, on Friday I took Stephanie to the internist and afterward for a little shopping. We were tired and I really should have gone home, but I noticed a sign up at a very very good antiques dealer which said, "Retirement Sale. Owner Retiring....Best Deals". Having inherited antiques from aunts, great aunts, in laws and others, I need nothing. I am simply the family antiquities keeper, the steward of family artifacts until our children establish homes, and then they can have what they like. I love beautiful things, yet I am not materialistic. Does this make sense to you ? I knew this was a very good shop, but my feet hurt and I didn't want to go. A voice pushed me. You should go, said the idomatic and non-descript push.
Stephanie and I went and it was quite something. Many of the antiques were purchased in England, and are unusual items for this area. Stephanie looked for an extended period whereas my aching feet led me to sit near the owner after a time. She began to tell me about her many years in the antique business, and then, all the things she is planning as soon as she retires. She had the lovely aura of someone who doesn't care if you think that something she is saying is bizarre in any way. Without knowing our own history, she told of being guided by a beloved aunt in her purchases, in her journeys to England, and ultimately in her trips to Maine to the aunt's home which she inherited following her dear aunt's passing. I think she expected me to be surprized or to question, yet I accepted this easily. After Stephanie finished talking to a woman she met in there, we began to get ready to leave. The antique shop owner said, "You know that it was not an accident that you came here today. No one ever dies. They never cease to be. Why I can't WAIT to go myself !" she said with the same glee a child might when discussing a vacation ! The woman was not elderly. She was a cultured attractive blonde woman with a bright smile. The antiques were not the best feature in the antique shop that day, the people were.

To my bereaved friend Susan

As I may have indicated, I don't "hear from" Daniel too often these days. He does enjoy riding in the front seat on occasion when I drive my new car (that he incidentally picked), as it is such a departure from the cars I drove when he was here.) Our state does not allow people under 16 to ride in the front seat, and so now, Daniel can ride there whenever he wants, and sometimes, I am sure he does.
Today, I ran out of printer ink and had to make a mad dash to a major center to prepare some paperwork. It's a long trip through the countryside to the city. As I drove, I was aware that he was next to me enjoying the moon roof, and the beautiful day. We began our exchange. "I don't understand" I conveyed. "Ministers are supposed to help families deal with loss and the truth that our family members never die", yet Susan's minister tried to convey that the goings on of this Earth are of no interest to her son who has just passed. Why do they DO that ? Some of the most hateful and destructive things said to us were said by a few ministers. (Fortunately not our own) Daniel conveyed that ministers are trained by man and not God, and although they aspire to serve God, they sometimes fall short, just as we do. He said that it is taboo to pass along how wonderful things are in Heaven, because we do not wish people to stop working to care for themselves and their loved ones, and pass before they are intended, so we are all very careful about what we convey about Heaven. He thinks that some churches may pass this attitude in order to encourage those who remain here to invest in and live the remainder of their lives. I hope I can explain the next thing he passed to me clearly. He conveyed that although there is much to see, do and enjoy, and even meaningful work for us in Heaven, that we do not forget the most important elements of our lives. We still love and have concern for those we cared for when we were on Earth. We never outgrow each other ! Our love is more perfect, not less so. We just have perspective in that the trials we have here, do end and we are later reunited and happy. I told him that I would pass this along to you as best I could.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Not the Miracle I Wanted

This has been a fragile week in general. It's been seven months since Daniel's passing, and the birthweek of one of our beloved parents who've passed. Living has felt a bit like being left back a grade when everyone else has moved on to a new school with a pond and a pool.
Last evening, the local news had a story which reduced me to tears. A man in his forties with a wife and two children 12 and 13, had chest pain. He did the right thing and called 911. The ambulance came and took him to the hospital. He was in the ER and was answering questions pretty well, when he had a cardiac arrest. The arrest was so rapid that his family was with him. He was shocked numerous times as the code continued, while his wife continued to say things like, "Please don't leave me. We need you" etc. etc. The physician and nurses believed that the man was likely gone, but with the family there, they continued, feeling somehow unfinished. Finally, to their amazement, there was a weak pulse. The man was furthur stabilized, and sent for immediate angioplasty which revealed a 100% occlusion of one of his coronary arteries. This was repaired. The man remained in a coma for five days until he awoke, remembering nothing of the ordeal and feeling pretty alert and aware. Two months later, he has been cleared to return to work.
The news portrayed this as a true miracle. As a former critical care nurse I know that some of the intravenous medications used in a code take time to work, and that this may not be as miraculous as is being touted, although it may be.
I cried when I heard the story. I was not jealous per se, but I wondered why this man was spared and allowed to return to his family, and why we coded Daniel from 8:25 am, first me, then the EMT/sheriffs, then the squad and quickly the helicopter ICU staff, and we never ever detected a faint pulse, a breath or anything.Daniel was pronounced dead in our home, just before 11 am, although I believe that he truly died at 8:25 am that morning. I felt foolish for working diligently to save Daniel, rather than falling to my knees and simply begging for his life. I did not beg for Daniel's life. I prayed as I did CPR asking for the strength to do what I needed to, and for God to take care of Daniel, whatever that meant. I KNEW that Daniel belonged to God, and that he always had and always would. I just would have preferred to have been telling about the miracle which spared Daniel. I wish the man and his family well. I just wish we could have been telling a similar story.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Greetings from Dairy Queen

Dear Daniel,
I headed to Richmond to do some banking today, and although I have been dieting, I decided to stop in at the Dairy Queen on the way back for a small chocolate cone. As you might know, none of us have been there since you passed.
As I went up to the counter, I could not help remember going there when you were four or five and your asking for "a vanilla cone with a chocolate forcefield". When the young woman took my order she said, "Hey, I haven't seen you in here in months !" I told her of your passing. She sent her condolences to me and to the rest of the family, and was really surprized that you were only 12 1/2. She said you were so tall, well behaved and much more mature than 12 1/2. She is the young woman with the chocolate skin and very straight teeth. She is very clear on Heaven being the real world and the world we are in just being a schoolyard. She said that God must have thought you didn't need anymore lessons here. You were just a Honor student !
I ate my chocolate cone on the way out and thought of how much I love you and Papa L.
Much love, Mom

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Not Even Close

Before Daniel passed, I will admit that I almost never took even a passing glance at the obituaries. Being listed in the paper is what you did if you had a very old family member who passed, so that their family and friends knew, and also as a legal notice. When Daniel passed and the obituary appeared not only in the local paper but the state capital regional paper as well, I was shocked at how many people read it, knew or contacted us. It was comforting. I couldn't even as much as go into a bank without someone saying, "I am so sorry for your loss, Mrs. XXXX" Now when I look at the paper, I never miss glancing if not reading the obituaries. It seems to me that if the families are suffering the loss of their loved one, then the least I can do, is read about it and say a silent prayer for the family and the person who has passed.
Today when I read the local paper which included the obituaries. Today, there was the obituary for the nineteen year old young man whose funeral we attended this week. In the paper there was a 27 year old man who's died, a number of people in their forties, a man of 52, and a 28 year old woman.
Sometimes I just wonder how God leaves some people here through one hundred and calls others before they have raised their children, or even grown. I don't understand. Today I am grieving my beautiful Daniel who would have wanted nothing more than a hot dog and to watch the fireworks this evening. This was a favorite activity of his. It seems to me that missing my father is an adjustment I have been preparing for all of my life, and somehow I am managing. I am not understanding why Daniel was called home, and I don't know when I will understand. I try to understand and accept, but right now, I'm not even close.

Dinosaurs Found in Australia

Dearest Daniel,
The way I see it, one of my jobs as a remaining representative of yours on Earth is to keep up and inform you of new developments. I know that in Heaven, you CAN know what is going on, on the Earth, but I'm betting that you direct your attention to the more important ones, that I likely know little about. Here is one you might have missed. It seems as if Australian paleontologists have unearthed three new dinosaur species. As you know, being an officionado of things dinosaur, this is quite spectacular, as Australia had not been known as a "holy grail" site for these creatures. The fossilized remains of these features were located in a billabong, or small lake in Queensland. The first is something called a therapod, the Australian answer to a velociraptor, which you know is a meat eating predator. The other two are classed as sauropods. All were located in a 98 million year old site near the outback town of Winton. Interestingly, this is the town in which Banjo Patterson wrote the song "Waltzing Matilda" in 1885.
These findings have sparked major paleontological interest in the Australian outback which is felt now to have untold treasures for those interested in dinosaurs.
Perhaps you and Papa L can take a look.
We are doing our best without you both. We miss your physical presences immensely. I do know that both of you visit at times, and I am most appreciative of this.
I send love wider than the oceans and deeper than the seas to you both. Of course, Dad, Stephanie, Adam and Matthew and all of the animals send their love too.

PS/ Are one or both of you the reasons for the strange happenings with the phones lately ?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Think I Dread the Holidays

Daniel really enjoyed Independence Day. We would buy a large range of fireworks which are surprisingly legal here. We would spray down a large portion of our yard on the farm to avoid fires and sparks. Then, when it gets truly dark, we would set up each firework properly spaced on a piece of plywood. Then one by one, my husband would light them with a gas torch. (It allows fast ignition and you're out of there !) Daniel and the rest of the family would sit on the porch and watch the show.
Earlier in the day we would have grilled hot dogs, hamburgers and had watermelon. We would have chopped lettuce for salad, sliced onion for burgers,and put out cheese, mustard and ketchup. Sometimes we would make homemade cole slaw or potato salad. I think last year we also made chili for the hotdogs. We also had ice tea, soda, and ice cream.
Normally, we would decorate by placing American flags hung from the house at the front and the back, and by hanging flags and ribbons at our gates of the farm.
I think I could go through the motions as I did at Christmas if I believed that Daniel and my Dad were celebrating this, but I am unsure whether US Independence Day is a large widely celebrated holiday in Heaven. Maybe it is. I just know that without the driving force behind the holidays, I don't feel much like doing any of it.
Somehow I celebrated Christmas as it was the first Christmas in Heaven for Daniel and Dad, and somehow got through Easter, Daniel's birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, but I am running out of steam......or should I say gunpowder as this is employed in fireworks ?
Dan I wish you and Papa L. and beautiful summer day with the warm wind blowing. I hope you know how much we love you both. If you were both here I would hug you both very tightly.