Monday, May 30, 2011

On Memorial Day

I think that many holidays contribute to my feeling just a bit lonely. Another holiday is past and we completed another one without important family members. The holidays mark time and are reminders of things missing. In the US today, it is Memorial Day. When I was a child, this was very clearly a somber day in which families remembered the sons, brothers, uncles and fathers they lost in wars and conflicts. I can remember my parents driving through a small town when I was a child and seeing a Memorial Day parade, while down the street, a brunette woman was sitting on her front porch nearby sobbing as if her heart would break. I must have been about seven, and I remember the large cotton flag hanging from her front porch and her face as clearly as if it were yesterday.
The memory of many Americans is not as acute as it was in the nineteen seventies, and although those who have lost loved ones in recent wars still seem to remember Memorial Day for what it is, it seems to have become a barbecue day for many, and the beginning of summer. For us, May was Daniel's birthday at the beginning, and Stephanie's birthday near the end. We were mindful of Memorial Day, but we have not lost anyone who has served,so it has been less personal to us than to many.
I have often said that people cannot compare their pain, though I think they can share it.
We have lost our son and we don't know exactly why, just that he is gone from Earth. We were present so we know something about what transpired, Once again, I did not lose a child on a battlefield, or not have full information about what happened, or whether he was in pain or alone when he passed. My hell, has been a hell I will weather. I am aware of so many different losses and circumstances of losses, and I am grateful not to be living those as well.
I have always been cognizant of the fact that freedom is not free. The people who founded this country spent personal fortunes, risked their own and their families lives, and risked and sometimes spent their own lives to serve this nation. I am thankful for that. Like many nations, it has tarnished since its founding. There is freedom here, but it works both ways. There is freedom to prosper if you are lucky, and to starve if you are not, yet this is freedom nonetheless. As much as I disagree and complain concerning our present regime, and its domestic and international ideas and policies, I do believe in, and appreciate the founding principles of this nation. There is no perfection here. No complete justice or complete freedom, but the guiding principles which founded this country were good ones, and many of those who live here try hard to be good people, even in a world where many people do not.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where is Jonny Dorey ?

This 22 year old student, Jonny Dorey has been missing from Virginia Commonwealth University since March 2, 2010 .

This is a bicycle similar to the one belonging to Jonny Dorey that was with him when he disappeared. It has never been found. His bicycle and the one in the picture is an Azonic Steelhead.

I was lucky enough recently to locate a picture of Jonny's actual bicycle on the internet. It is posted above. It has not been seen since his disappearance.

I am really very lucky in many ways. This may sound counter-intuitive as it's written on a blog which discusses our lives and our adjustments and grief following the passing of our own beloved son Daniel, but nonetheless, it's true. Daniel passed, quickly with a minimum of suffering, if any, and although we don't have the clearest picture on autopsy, we know some things. The mystery in our lives is confined to what happened which caused his cardiac arrest,but we know that our dear son is gone. I generally recognize this when I hear of another family who has lost a child to violence, kidnapping or a nonspecific loss of some kind, particularly when the child's whereabouts remains unknown,sometimes for years following their disappearance. Enduring a missing child must be beyond imagining.
Some time ago, I mentioned that Virginia Commonwealth University exchange student Jonathan Dorey,from Guernsey, in the United Kingdom, has been missing for some time. Newspapers indicate that he was seen on Rockett's Landing near VCU on March 2, 2010. He and his bicycle have never been found, although his backpack was found near The James River, at Rockett's Landing. His family has had a memorial service and believes that he may have been depressed and took chances by swimming in the James. The James is known for difficult currents and rocks, and has taken many lives over the years. I am not so sure. I am bothered that his mountain bike has never been located, nor has a body. I am wondering if this young man is experiencing a fugue, and has forgotten who he is. The bike appears very much like the one in the picture above, but had a red stripe on the seat when it went missing.
I have posted pictures of Jonathan Dorey, and his bicycle, in the hope that SOMEONE can get their missing son back, even if I cannot. Please take a look wherever you are. Jonny should have an English accent, and was studying geography.(Although there are people who experiencememory loss and use a completely different accent, so he may sound American) He is a very accomplished mountain biker and the bike which disappeared with him, has also never been found. I have a theory in which he may also be an accomplished outdoorsman. Thank you.

If you have any information, or you ARE Jonny with perhaps a missing memory, please contact:
The FBI at:

Jonny's family has had a memorial for him, and they believe that it is possible that he had an emotional breakdown which led to an intended or accidental suicide. Until there is a body found, I am not so sure. In fact,I will go furthur, I am unconvinced that he has passed.

Whatever the truth is, families need to know this.


This is a message to Jonny from my own family and I, should he read this blog post.


Knowing both England and the environs of VCU, I can imagine how such a change would be so incredibly overwhelming. If you are reading these blog posts, then you know that some of my children completed VCU, but that our youngest son has passed. There is nothing I can do to have Daniel rejoin me here on Earth, and honestly, I would love to have him here and would do almost anything to have such a thing happen,but this is not an option for me, or for my family.
If you are alive, it does not matter what has happened or what you choose to do now with your life. There would be absolutely no judgment now. The joy your family would experience in knowing you are alive, is beyond your own imagining, believe me. Have someone let your family know that you are alive, and that you will be in touch another time. May God bless you and keep you safe.

UPDATE: March, 3, 2013, It has now been three years since the disappearance of Jonny Dorey.  According to police, no body or any additional information on Jonny Dorey's disappearance has ever been found. His bicycle has also never been located. This post remains one of our blog's most frequently visited posts. There has also been a renewed interest in Jonny's case by the public following the disappearance of another VCU student, also 22 at the time of his disappearance, Ian Burnet, who disappeared from NY.  Jonny also traveled considerably in the US during his time at VCU.

Our own updated post here:


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Memories of Daniel

It's easy when writing a blog which started as a consequence of losing our youngest son, to fall into looking at our losses and quantifying on a day to day basis how MUCH we really have lost, and how much he did not have a chance to do while on Earth. It's also easy to focus on the quest of getting US medical policy to change and advocate screening EKGs for all twelve year olds in an attempt to diagnose the ones with hidden cardiac conduction disorders before this loss potentially happens to their families too. What IS difficult sometimes, is remembering the fact that Daniel and our family had twelve and a half fabulous loving years together with an abundance of hysterical and fond memories.
Daniel was fond of cooking and liked to cook sometimes with the things that were available in the house. We were commenting this week that we would like to make cupcakes but lacked the motivation to gather the supplies to make them from scratch. This did not stop Daniel. Somehow, Daniel could take a pre-made pancake and waffle mix and turn in into easily made cupcakes in paper cases. Somehow, he would make icing, even when we did not have the conventional icing supplies in the house. This was especially smart because with a diabetic daughter, I don't keep abundant sugary things in the kitchen. We have local honey, blackstrap molasses, pancake syrup, some low sugar jams, and very little white and brown sugar. We tended to eat Daniel's cupcakes without asking what was in them. I suspect the icing ranged from something made with pancake syrup some days, to thinned jam others, and modified sugar free pudding mix on others. The other day, I was really craving a Daniel cup cake. Fresh, low sugar, and full of mystery !
I also remember his kind and gentle help with the animals. When one of them was really ill or had aged to the point of being near death, I used to ask him how he thought we could make them more comfortable. He didn't worry about what we had to do and he was calm. He just took care of the need. Daniel, it was a short life, well lived, and well played.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Some Signs and Symptoms of Cardiac Issues in Children and Teens

Consistent with Daniel's likely wish that I should try to educate those who are left here on Earth, with regard to potential arrhythmic or other cardiac insufficiency syndromes, I am going to discuss potential signs and symptoms which may be associated with cardiac issues in young people.
Prior to Daniel's complete cardiac arrest, now two and a half years ago, I did not notice clear symptoms of anything I thought required medical attention. I still cannot tell you with certainty that he was completely symptomless, or whether I loved him so much that I attributed any symptoms at all to his known allergies, or simply loved him so much that I could not notice or accept something potentially dangerous. I often mull this over in my head. Sometimes I am sure I noticed nothing, and then other times, especially late at night, I wonder if there was something, and then I misunderstood his reluctance to do something or to come in from play to use the computer etc. Perhaps there was more than I realized, but of course, parents who have lost children may second guess their recollections for the rest of their lives here on Earth.
Factually, a child with one of the heart rhythm disturbances (Long QT Syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, Brugada Syndrome) can in fact, be completely asymptomatic until the actual event which can take their lives. For much of their lives, they are asymptomatic. They may enjoy sports, feel energetic, and be more healthy than their siblings. Some of the symptoms that CAN occur though in arrhythmic disorders are: Heart palpitations (feeling ones heart beat, sometimes in a "jumping fashion". Sometimes a child with these issues they may say that their "heart is beating very fast". Sometimes there is shortness of breath on exertion, a sensation of asthma, a palpably irregular pulse, but only sometimes. Children with arrhythmic disorders may faint. A few may actually have seizures, and may be treated as neurologic patients, when in fact they have an episodically occuring cardiac arrhythmia, or disruption of heart rhythm. Their periodic disruption in rhythm periodically may be dramatically dropping blood supply to the brain in such a marked manner, that a seizure occurs in response to this. A child who has a rapid heart rate when startled or lightly disciplined, should also be checked. Since there is an increase in events at puberty when hormones may impact those with rhythm disturbances, any child who faints at or nearing puberty should be given an EKG and seen by a cardiologist to rule out arrhythmic disorders.
Other children who experience a sudden cardiac death may not have an arrhythmic disorder plain and simply. Some of them have heart damage from unrecognized or incompletely treated streptococcus infection. These children may have damage to their valves. Still others, following an influenza, have the viral infection invade the conduction system in their hearts, and ultimately shut it down. When an infectious disorder afflicts the heart, these children should show symptoms. They should be excessively tired, unwilling to walk stairs, complete chores, or to complete tasks that they would normally enjoy. They may be reluctant to participate in a physical education class. Children do die of the flu, and if your child seems to have a protracted recovery, or seems to be sicker than his siblings with the flu, perhaps he should be rechecked by his doctor. (For more information google "Cardiomyopathy in children").
Children may also have congenital heart defects which can also be fairly mild, and may not be diagnosed at birth. Any child who has frequent colds, a wet cough, occasional asthmatic symptoms, or who squats periodically because it "is comfortable" may be experiencing the results of a cardiac defect of some type.
Children with varietal cardiac problems can be overweight from lack of exercise as they may not feel well enough to participate, or be markedly underweight because they eat insufficiently.
Sadly, some of these listed at the top of this post are newly described disorders, first described in the 1990s. Not every physician is alert to them. Depending upon the residency completion date of your physician, he or she, may not know of all of these disorders.
Use your knowledge AND your intuition to take your child for evaluation if you believe that this is necessary. You ARE the expert on your child.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why Might a Child or a Teen Experience a Cardiac Arrest ?

Daniel is a finer person than I. I would be content to blog centered on my own survival, and the survival of my family following such a devastating loss of our youngest son from our family. Daniel and my Dad would expect better of us, and of me. They would expect me to convey as much as possible about what I knew about sudden cardiac death in children, in understandable form and what I know now, in the hope that someone's child somewhere gets a needed EKG and cardiac evaluation, and as a result, remains here on Earth. Daniel would want our loss, our de facto sacrifice of our time with him, to count for something. Someone's child somewhere should live.
Many people ask me, as a consequence of this blog, why a child would ever experience a cardiac arrest, in general ? A child or teen could experience a cardiac arrest, very quickly following a respiratory arrest, for any reason. For example, an influenza which causes airway swelling, the inhalation of even a small amount, a gulp of water, can cause a respiratory arrest later. (Sometimes called a "dry drowning".) Any drowning accident whatsoever can lead to a respiratory and then to a cardiac arrest. A severe allergy, sometimes to a food or a drug that a child was not known to be allergic to before, can also cause a respiratory arrest.(Called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock) There is also something called epiglottitis, an infection which causes inflammation over the windpipe, which can cause drooling in an child who has normally aged passed drooling, can progress to respiratory arrest. Something as simple as inhaling a gummy vitamin, a tiny piece of hotdog, other meat, popcorn, or a tiny toy, can lead to a respiratory arrest. Trauma, or an injury can as well. Sometimes a seizure (of any type, even of febrile variety) can stop respiration. Sometimes inhaling vomitus during a seizure will cause a respiratory arrest or cessation of breathing. Very soon after a child stops breathing, the heart also will not receive adequate oxygen, it too shall stop pumping,leading to a cardiac arrest.
Becoming CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certified is probably the best course anyone over about age 14 can take in preventing sudden deaths, especially in children. (Siblings, friends, and ultimately your own children) I have saved many lives with CPR, over the years, but I have been lucky. Still, with Daniel's cardiac arrest, he did not respond to well performed and rapidly delivered CPR. In retrospect, an AED would have been a good thing to have, had we known somehow this would ever be needed.
Sometimes a cardiac arrest in a child or teen begins as a cardiac arrest. A child with an undiagnosed structural problem within the heart, a child with an influenza or bacterial infection which has invaded the lining or the valves of the heart, or even the conduction system of the heart itself, can occur causing an arrest. A variety of influenza viruses can do this, and specifically a virus called "Coxsackie B" is known to potentially do this. (Coxsackie B can do other undesirable things to other organ systems also) Certain strains of Beta-hemolytic streptococcus, Group A (yes, following a strep throat, for example) can also invade and damage the heart muscle. Some illnesses can afflict the musculature of the heart on a cellular level.
Sometimes a child has, unbeknownst to parents, or their doctors, a cardiac conduction defect. Under certain conditions, stress, upset, playing sports, or being low on one or more electrolytes, the child may develop a heart rhythm disturbance or arrhythmia (also known as dysrrhythmia.) Sometimes these arrhythmias result in one which is incompatible with life. Those wishing to look these up can search "Long QT Syndrome", "Brugada Syndrome" or Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome".
Metabolic disorders due to undiagnosed chronic illness, or acute illness can also cause cardiac arrest. A diabetic child who has a sick day, and who uses insulin, may find a viral syndrome to increase insulin need. During a relative insulin deficit,the child may progress to diabetic ketoacidosis, the blood potassium may fall and heart rhythm disturbances may occur, and sometimes this can lead to cardiac arrest. A child who has an influenza or is quiet about how ill he really is, may not report a decrease in urine, diarrhea, or may cover a decreased fluid intake. His fluid and electrolytes may become unbalanced. If potassium, calcium, magnesium levels and others are significantly diminished, due to any organ failure, acute or chronic, then cardiac arrest can occur. Sometimes, a child is hit in the chest with a ball or a puck. If even a mild blow to the chest occurs during the t-wave of the EKG, a full arrest can ensue.(This is called Commotio Cordis.)
Metabolic disorders of endocrine or kidney origins can also also result in fluid and electrolyte imbalances. Sometimes, undiagnosed thyroid disorders can contribute to cardiac rhythm disturbances and electrolyte imbalances which can contribute to cardiac arrest. (Yes, even the normally controllable Hashimoto's thyroiditis has ended in cardiac arrest) There are many other potential causes of a cardiac arrest in children,and we must be attentive as we can be to alterations in their level of awareness and general condition, although I am afraid that sometimes, we may still not detect clear changes before an event of some kind.
In Daniel's case, doctor's theorize that he had a predisposition to an unknown, undiagnosed conduction disorder of the heart. (A rhythm disturbance proneness, or potential proneness to arrhythmia) They believe that a combination of excitement entering the holidays, a possible drop in his potassium levels as we spent the day somewhere drinking something other than soda. (Regular pepsi is actually a good source of potassium), and the advent of new puberty hormones, left him more prone than average to arrhythmia. Of course, this is a theory. This arrhythmia, the first time it was encountered, proved to be lethal.
We also need to pass along to parents, that sometimes, there was nothing that could be done to anticipate what happened. Sometimes a child dies suddenly, and the autopsy does not show a clear reason for the child's sudden passing. Sometimes, circumstances and events evolve that would have required supernatural information in order to prevent such a terrible loss.
All that we as parents and as health care providers and professors can do, is advocate CPR education and certification. We can take our children for pediatric evaluation when they are ill. Third, we can advocate for having AEDs (automatic emergency defibrillators) in all schools, government buildings, and sporting events. We can also advocate for baseline EKGs for all 12 year olds to help to diagnose or catch some of the conduction disorders which are often implicated in cases of sudden death, on the ballfields, and off. I am surprized as to how hard this particular entry has been for me to write. Stay well.

Rascal Flatts "I Won't Let Go"

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Card from SUDC

After Daniel's sudden passing, and after the initial autopsy when no really definitive answers were found, we knew that we were going to need some help in order to survive this. We began by searching the internet for books and for information on sudden death in infants, children, and teens. We read a lot of studies, ordered a fair number of books on pathology, and anything else which could explain what had happened. It was also a way of staying as busy as we could be, which was our way of coping.
One of the contacts we made via internet was with SUDC. SUDC is the "Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood" Program. SUDC, co-founded by Laura Crandall, a mother who had not only lost a child as a result of this, but is the program director as well. SUDC is an international resource for parents and families of children whose sudden death cannot be explained following a thorough investigation. They provide forensic information, bereavement support for families, aid legislation with regard to the concerns of families for whom this has occured, and spearhead fundraising for research.
For a really thorough explanation and to see what they are doing, please go to:

This is an organization worthy of donations.

I do want to share what they have done for us, and what a difference it has made. When you lose a child, at first, everyone from your child's doctor, to your own, your minister,your employers, your neighbors and even those you know vaguely descend upon you with food, flowers, and goodwill. This is appreciated, although most of us aren't really processing the events well enough to be as appreciative as we might normally be. Your children's friends also come by, not only to comfort you, but to find some solace themselves. This keeps most of us busy for a time, and may help some of us. Very slowly, people and friends forget. Of course, unless Daniel is back, I never will. Almost three years later, I still awaken some mornings, and remember, that he dwells in Heaven now. Sometimes I accept this, and other mornings, I am truly sorrowful all over again, and I revisit those feelings of shock, sorrow, guilt, and loss. The same is true of my family. Some days we really can be philosophical and cling to our faith, and other days, we are just one man down, and nothing makes that any better. Of course, at about the year mark, distant family and friends are tired of grieving. They move on, and they expect you to do the same. More comfortable for them is never mentioning your son who has passed. More comfortable for your close family is remembering him when he comes up, or enters your mind. What families need to know is that their loved one, their child, will be remembered. That he made a difference and counted here while he was on Earth, and now also. Sometimes this disparity or lack of understanding costs family friends and sometimes it loses them close ties with family members as well.
SUDC has made an incredible difference in that regard. Both my husband's parents and my own are gone now, and so bereavement and support two and a half years down the road is hard to come by. Friends often have their own challenges and losses, and even therapists have a grief limit, if you choose to find one. SUDC helped by having both Laura, and nurse Paula Goldblatt calling us episodically from the beginning. First, they called to make sure we knew of all the programs they had available. They were available to us, but we were not hounded to do things for which we did not have time, or for which we did not feel ready. They were simply available knowing how bad our periodic pain could be. Paula died of cancer on July 5,2010, and I missed her last call. She worked for SUDC very close to her passing. Her voice remained on our voice mail as a comfort for a long time afterward. She had gone on to see the children of the families for whom she was so supportive, and I know they will be thankful for her efforts with their families here on Earth. Laura has also not missed a birthday of Daniel's or the anniversary of his passing (which other families may call his "Angel Day") Sometime I will need to tell them how valuable their periodic support has been. This week we got a lovely card from them, commemorating what would have been Daniel's fifteenth birthday. They were the only friend or family,other than the family that lives here, under our roof, who remembered. (A friend who is a psychic also remembered and mentioned Daniel's birthday on a bereavement listserv where we are both members.)
Although living day to day may become easier for families, their children's birthdays and the days they departed from Earth when they come each year, may not. SUDC has been there for us, and we are very, very grateful.

Declan Galbraith is a teenaged performer who hails from Kent in England. He is of both Scottish and Irish ancestry.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Precordial Thump

We found this heart-shaped stone while excavating to electrify the barn we built to care for animals. The barn was dedicated to Daniel and my father.

Many years ago, when I was first in the process of becoming a registered nurse, we were taught something called the "precordial thump". The pre-cordial thump, in the seventies, was to be used during a witnessed cardiac arrest, prior to CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.) Pretty much, it was used only one time. (delivered to a midpoint as measured from the notch at the top of the chest to the bottom of the xiphoid process at the end of the sternum,essentially midsternally) This could be effective if the person is experiencing a rhythm which is incompatible with continuing life, but is not actually in a cardiac standstill just yet. I have done the precordial thump several times, when it was acceptable practice, and been successful a couple of times. It does not take much force to deliver correctly.
This was set aside though, sometime in the 1980s, and then, with the advent of AEDs (automatic emergency defibrillators) which are now found in more schools, government and or public buildings, we never heard it mentioned.
When we found Daniel in cardiac arrest, part of me wanted to do a precordial thump, but this was not the time to get creative. I did everything as was the standard in 2008, when his arrest occured. He did not actually meet the criteria for even a 1970s precordial thump because he was behind the door when the arrest occured,(so it is not strictly witnessed) and because he was likely in full arrest by the time we got beyond the bathroom door. Still, the mother in me rethinks whether one precordial thump would have made a difference.
Interestingly, ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) standards now permit a precordial thump in certain circumstances. Apparently, on a cardiac monitored patient, or one who who has a rhythm indicating ventricular tachycardia, it may be delivered if a defibrillator is not readily available. Since it is only effective in a very short window of time, it should not preclude CPR or defibrillation if this is available. It seems that what I did was correct in 2008, but that the precordial thump has some narrow uses once again, in the ACLS of 2010. Apparently, of patients who experience a life threatening rhythm and are about to descend into a full cardiac arrest, as many as 25% of them can be returned to a productive rhythm by the precordial thump. It should be attempted only once. There is no evidence that a precordial thump will do anything at all for a patient in a full cardiac arrest (who is pulseless).Even though I wish I had tried this on Daniel, he was in full arrest when I got beyond the bathroom door,assessed breathlessness and pulselessness and began CPR.
It's still strange that two and a half years following his passing, I still rethink those awful moments for things that could have been done differently, hopefully altering the outcome.
Of course, I recommend that every parent, every able person over about thirteen becomes certified in CPR. My eldest son Adam saved an attorney who had a full cardiac arrest at a shopping mall, a few months before Daniel's passing. Adam had been certified to do CPR at college a couple of years earlier.

This is an interesting blog entry on the use of precordial thump written by a physician.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Another Mother's Day

I may have said this before. I am not much on the American commercial holiday called "Mother's Day" which is today. This is the day in which families are supposed to honor their mothers, take them out for a meal, give them flowers and a gift. It's a bit like a supplemental birthday. It's not that I begrudge mothers a special day or these special things, but I don't know that one day covers it. For myself, I would rather be treated kindly and respectfully the entire year, and then let Mother's Day go by as a day where we do what we need to do as a family. My mother also was of this opinion, although I think she didn't like it much if we didn't do much on Mother's Day. When I look at my kids, I realize that they are always willing to help me. Adam is putting up cabinets in the garage for me, which will help me store some things there. Stephanie draws me pictures and take photographs for me when I need them, and Matt takes over my animal chores when I need him to. James, in his own way is loving and respectful, and my husband is tolerant of my flexible ideas about being a wife on occasion. When Daniel was here, he would bring me breakfast in bed. I miss that guy ! Couple my lukewarm feelings about the day with the loss of one of my children, and the fact that Daniel has a birthday each year just days before, and is has real potential to be a very depressing day.
Furthermore, if Mother's Day, many times, seems to me to be a day in which people make amends to their mother, then I don't feel anyone here needs to make amends to me. I think they treat me with love, respect and and tolerance pretty much the entire year. I do hope my own Mom understands that I wish her a Happy Mother's Day in Heaven. To those of you who do consider this an important holiday, I hope you have a truly wonderful one as well.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Daniel- 2011

This week is the third birthday you have had since ascending to the dimension we Earth-dwellers refer to as Heaven. You have been gone from Earth for two and a half years. You would be fifteen this week. Oh how I would love to have you here ! If you were here,of course what we would do would be your choice! So much has changed locally since you were here. This week, I heard that the Wii is being replaced by something else. I'm sorry I did not get the Wii fast enough for you to have one when you were here, but I did set up one in your room downstairs. We play it sometimes, and I have an avatar in it which looks a lot like you did at 12 1/2, and is named Daniel. I try to do some of the things I think you would have liked with James, who is 15 already, and will be 16 later in the summer. James and Matthew found this restaurant called Hibachi. They serve buffet style for flat rate, no less than 400 plus choices of food. There is a salad bar with everything you could imagine. There is a potato bar, a cooked Asian food specialty area, a cooked American specialty bar, a sushi bar, a fruit bar, a dessert bar, a chocolate fountain so that you can have fruit dipped. There is also a make your own ice cream bar. It is a hungry male teen paradise. I think about you when we go there. They make money from me when we go there because I can only eat some shrimp cocktail and some baked salmon and some baked potatoes, and a small Chinese cake square. I remember how when we brought home Chinese food when we were on our way home from the city to the farm, how you loved General Tso's Chicken, but not as much as Beef and Brocolli, and Chicken Fried Rice. If you were on Earth for your birthday, perhaps you would want to go to Hibachi. I know you would have so much to tell me, and we could spend time on the farm with (your) Dad, and your siblings and I. The animals here would still celebrate and know you and be happy to see you. How I wish you and (my) Dad, Papa L. could come for just an Earth day.
We have done a lot on the farm turning it to a place where all your animals can be safe, happy and productive. We are growing more of our own food. Gosh Daniel, and Dad, I love you both so much. I think about you, what you are doing, and how much you are missed many times each day, and I still work to make you, and to make God proud of me. Happy Birthday Daniel. I know it has less meaning there than it did here, but I remember everything about you now. It's as if every memory has been dipped in gold, and is bright and very special. We will be connected through eternity, and I know this. That's how special our time together is !
In lieu of your visiting though, I think we will continue to do some more of the "senseless acts of kindness" we do in remembering you. I know you know what they are. I think we will also give treats to your animals. Happy Birthday my bug !

I thought you might enjoy this !

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thoughts About the Royal Wedding

As the daughter of a British gentlewoman who passed several years ago, I will admit to feeling a little torn about the royal wedding. My mother, as a way to continue to connect to the family which so graciously set strong examples of courage during WWII, would have watched every drop. Although I wish the young couple every joy and every happiness as they enter married life in a fishbowl, I do not have the same respect that she did, nor the same fascination of many of my own countrymen.
I have met royalty personally several times, though ironically not the British royals. Those I have met have been observant, educated and articulate, but they have very clearly been people. Interestingly, in addition to royals coming to England for education, they also now come to the US. Part of what America was to have been about was the eradication of those who came to positions of power by birth, and so I suppose this is why I consider royalty to be quaint and interesting, but a remnant of an old way.
I am also a bit bothered by the amount of media focus. Yes, we could use some good news interspersed with the world's bad, and England could no doubt use some encouragement to its economy via tourism, but with Libya at war, Japan still reeling from continued aftershocks, Fukashima Daiichi still irradiating Northeastern Japan, the Middle East teetering with unrest, Egypt stalled at what to do next after Mubarak, Iran said to be plotting the annihilation of Israel, Several states in the Southern US finding that a number of towns and villages were literally wiped from the map following no less than 60 tornadoes in one state alone, and the US heading steadily toward an economic abyss, an entire day of television fluff focused on ridiculous hats and little cakes seemed excessive.
May William and Catherine find comfort and happiness from one another all the days of their lives. Now, lets have the world's media, 1200 of them in London for the wedding this week, get back to reporting the news from the rest of the world. From my own country, the media was doing a terrible job of reporting the news accurately to this point. Perhaps following their rest in London, they might do a better job.

One of my favorite wedding songs. Steven Curtis Chapman