Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Giggle With Symbols

The one I got, had a navy blue where the black is, and had "United We Stand" in white, across the front.  I mistakenly thought that it was "Red White and Blue, and that "United We Stand" stood for American solidarity in general.

                     This week I went to the rural pharmacy where I bought additional Claritin for our human family members, Ketotifen drops for our allergic cat,  and more sterile gauze for the first aid kit.  I also bought a white chocolate Russell Stover rabbit which was 50% off after Easter for Matthew, who likes the white chocolate. I tried to be as quick as possible because the Yankee scented candle display there, which is pretty large, was aggravating my asthma.   On the way out, there was a stack of magnetized ribbons for cars.   At first glance, it looks red, with a dark blue, almost purple side, and with "United We Stand" draped across the dark ribbon.  It was 99 cents and I read it as if it were red white and blue and was in support of US solidarity. Since these are tough times for the United States and its Constitution, I added one quickly to my pile, paid for everything, and went out the door.
                     A couple of days later, when I put away the items in the bag, I found the magnet again, and placed it on my car.   For a second, I thought that the very dark blue was a strange color to use.  I ran a couple of errands and then I came home.  When I got home, my kids were mortified.   It seems that from their years at Virginia Commonwealth University, particularly as art graduates, they have rather a complete operational knowledge of colors of ribbons, and they read my ribbon entirely differently !   Apparently, the dark band which I took as a blue, or navy blue, is a cheaper way of doing black.  My magnet ribbon calls for Atheist solidarity !
                     It's not that I have any particular malice for atheists.   Each of us are on a journey throughout our lives which is managed between ourselves and God.  Some of us tell Him they don't believe in Him, for a time in their lives, though I have observed that no one dies an atheist.    It can be hard to have faith through all that life brings, and so I have compassion for them.   However, I don't want to be espousing atheism on my car !  I am unapologetically Christian myself, and this, in large part, has provided the unending courage it has required to endure the loss of Daniel from Earth, and then keep the family moving in the right direction, in the aftermath of that experience.     I have therefore,  removed the magnet, and I will let those at the pharmacy know what it means, as I doubt they knew.    I am a little amused that someone who does believe in God would inadvertently be included in a scenario in which I would place an atheist symbol on my car.    I suppose, this way, I could inform all of you.
                  Watch those symbols.  When I looked this up, it is very easy to think you might be putting up a ribbon for gender equality which actually is the symbol of NAMBLA !   I think I will just keep my car naked for now.  Have a blessed day, Christians, atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, everyone !

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cody Sherrell, a Fighter

Cody Sherrell
     When I started "What I Learned from Daniel", the blog was to be about Daniel, our grief in having lost him so suddenly  at such a young age, and about how we survive, if we ,in fact, did.  My intent was not to become a listing of children, teens, and sports figures who were victims of sudden cardiac death.  However, so many cases have come up lately, I feel for the families of those boys lost, and for the important task of bringing awareness about sudden cardiac death, that I must.

            Cody Sherrell, according to the Mail Online, was a shy La Centre, Washington, fourteen year old.  He very much wanted to try out and be a part of his school's basketball team.   His parents, Brandon and Renee Sherrell,  like good parents everywhere, took him out to buy new basketball shoes, and encouraged him, to live his dreams.   On January 3, Cody was very active on his teams first practice.  At its conclusion, he sat down, and collapsed and went into a cardiac arrest.  He received immediate CPR from his coach.  The rescue squad came with a conventional defibrillator, and was able to restart Cody's heart on the third shock.  He was then transported to the hospital.
             Despite vigils at his school, and the best care, Cody remained in critical condition in Intensive Care, from January all the way until April 23, 2012 .   He received state of the art care, and for at least part of that time, this included hypothermia treatment.   Once the brain and other body organs are deprived of oxygen during a code, sometimes, there cannot be a complete recovery. Cody was a fighter, and remained here on Earth as long as he could.  I can only imagine what his family endured in those months.  I don't know if we were luckier to have lost Daniel at once on that terrible day, or whether the Sherrell Family were luckier because they had their son on Earth longer following an ultimately fatal cardiac arrest.     Once again, Cody had no known cardiac history or anything else to suggest he would become a victim of sudden cardiac standstill.   There was also no family history of such a thing.  The random nature of these occurrances is one of the things which leaves families devastated.   Often, there are no symptoms, no indications that this will occur at some point.  Our family sends our condolences and best wishes to the Sherrell Family.

Cody Sherrell, 14      (Photo: Facebook)

This is how Cody's school is memorializing him

Cody's family has been very vocal in giving thanks to his coach, his friends, his school, the hospital, and all opf Cody's doctors who helped him since January.

I apologize for typographical errors which occur all too easily when I tell of other families who have experienced the loss of their sons or daughters to spontaneous arrhythmias. Many of the posts about sudden losses such as these, I write with tears in my eyes. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sometimes, Even With Advance Warning, We Cannot Save Them

Isaac Arzate, 12

   I was preparing to close up my computer this evening, when I saw that another boy, 12 this time, had died suddenly during a sporting event.   Isaac Arzate, a Portland, Oregon sixth grader, went into a cardiac arrest on Friday while playing baseball, and despite valiant efforts by coaches and EMS, could not be revived.  He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
      Isaac's family's experience is a little different from most of the children and teens we mention here, because Isaac has had a cardiac arrest before.   In January of this year, Isaac experienced a cardiac arrest while playing basketball.    In January, Isaac was resuscitated, and was treated at the hospital for a cardiac defect. He had an abnormal blood vessel originating in his aorta, and this had been repaired.
       Unfortunately, persons writing articles for newspapers don't understand that a "heart attack" is not just any cardiac arrest.   A heart attack or myocardial infarction, occurs when the coronary arteries of the patient become inflammed and clogged and perfusion or adequate oxygenation below them becomes impossible and there is cardiac muscle death.    Children do not often have M.I's or "heart attacks".  They do however, experience sudden death due to arrhythmias, or sudden heart rhythm disturbances, which are sometimes the consequence of a cardiac defect and rarely a repair of such.
        My family and I send prayers, blessings and condolences to Isaac's family.    I would ask them to look up Ben Breedlove's story, as Ben and his story is inspiring, and I think this may be helpful to them.
         Another young man in Isaac's general area experienced a sudden cardiac death recently.   Cody Sherrell, 14, of Washington State, died suddenly at basketball practice.
         When information concerning a fund for either of these boys is known, I plan to post the details here.

Two more "phenomenal kids" are gone.   Don't tell me how few die this way.   I know better.

The artist is Gordon Garner    


Guinea fowl.   Our visitor has taken rather quickly to being the farm's version of "Neighborhood Watch"   (Photo:


One of the great things about living on a farm is that anything can happen, and we tend to find joys in the surprizes that happen here sometimes.  Yesterday, I took my husband out to lunch, and when we returned, we saw an odd bird walking around, and it wasn't one of ours !   It looked like a vultury chicken. Tall, fairly large, fairly commanding, and it acted like it had taken over.  My eldest son said at once, "That's a guinea".   This one was wet, and a bit bedraggled.  He looked as if he has been living in the wild for quite some time.   He first visited our pond, then our ducks, then the alpacas, then over to the younger chickens, and so on.  Since guineas are very good by reputation, for eating ticks,  he can wander around here as long as he likes.  We expected him to spend the day here, and likely move on after a rest, some chicken feed, and shelter found somewhere on the farm from yesterdays continuous rain.   Daniel is the one who bought our rooster, Ross a few years ago, who is very much still with us.  He would have found this guinea interesting.
    Early this morning, my husband and I were still asleep.  We kept the window open in the bedroom.  All at once, an unfamiliar bird demandingly called to my husband.  It was time to feed our new friend !  I don't know how long our guinea fowl friend will remain, but he is an interesting creature.  My research indicates that these birds have interesting personalities, largely care for themselves, are quite intelligent, and they mate for life.    We know all of our farm neighbors and none of them have guineas.   This little friend will have to stay for awhile.

Ours is taller and older than these.  He would not cooperate enough for a picture so this picture comes to us from

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dear Daniel

There will always be two empty chairs for you both. You will always be welcome.
Dear Daniel, and of course, Dad,

             It's been a while since I have written you both an actual letter.  I know that you both know the goings on, on this blog., and on the computer.  I think of you often.  Since both of your passings, time has done something strange.  Sometimes, it feels as if Dad, you departed a couple of weeks ago, and Daniel just after.  Other times, I feel as if you left here a long time ago.    I do feel you both with me sometimes.  I wanted to share with you some of the things we have done as a consequence of this blog.   I have been talking to Wal-Mart about getting AEDs in all their locations.  There is some resistance there because their deep pockets make them a target for people and families who will sue if the outcome is less than perfect, and so they do not yet have AEDs, due to concerns for liability.  Work is ongoing in that regard.  They also cite that most Wal-Marts are "right near" rescue squads who have AEDs.  They did not realize that in sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, that even those few minutes will likely make the AED ineffective for that person.   You both will likely have a part in the placement of AEDs in all Wal-Marts in the US.  (I'll work on Canada afterward.) 
          The most important thing we have done here on this blog is to connect people who have experienced a loss as massive as ours, to one another.  We have connected to lots of terrific families, and validated the experiences of so many.  So, in a lot of ways, your own good works on Earth have continued so far, almost four years after your departures.
          It's never going to be ok with me that both of you are beyond the veil, however, I will keep plodding along here on Earth where any manner of bizarre things can happen, and you keep talking to me in dreams. I can keep moving forward.    May God bless both of your beautiful spirits.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Like Daniel's, Morosini's Autopsy Inconclusive

     When our Daniel, a well child of 12 1/2 collapsed and died suddenly, now almost four years ago, we were sure that an autopsy would tell us what had happened.   You can imagine our surprize when ostensibly, we were told, that the child who had a fatal cardiac arrest had coronary arteries which were as clean as a whistle.  Daniel had no cardiac enlargement, no abnormal valves or other demonstrable cardiac issues.  How then, we asked, could a child with a normal heart, have a cardiac arrest, in the absence of any other issue detectable on autopsy ?

                    We were eventually told, after exhaustive testing by a number of pathology specialists, that Daniel had likely died from a disturbance in heart rhythm, and that a rhythm disturbance is a FUNCTIONAL, not necessarily a STRUCTURAL abnormality.  This has been hard to live with.

                    As of today's date, soccer great, Piermario Morosini, who also experienced a sudden cardiac death has also been found to have no obvious cardiac anomalies.  Of course, just as was done with Daniel, continued expensive and detailed testing will be done, however, no clear cause of death, other than cardiac arrest, may ever be found.  We are pleased to hear that an account now exists for the care of his disabled sister, and his elderly aunt, Morosini's only remaining relatives.  Please pray for them both.

The best explanatory article on the medical aspects of Piermario Morosini's death is:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Sudden Loss of a Professional Athlete

   Just a few days following the sudden cardiac death of a little leaguer in the US, professional athlete Piermario Morosini, age 25,  has also died.   According to BBC news, the mid-fielder was playing for Livorno in the Series B Match, and has been playing for thirty-one minutes, when he collapsed and fell to the ground.  A defibrillator was present and was used.   He was transported while receiving CPR to Pescara's Santo Spirito Hospital, where he could not be revived.   This is felt to be a sudden arrhythmic death rather than a heart attack, due to the superb physical condition of the individual and also due to the characteristics of this sudden death, including it's resistance to resuscitation.  An autopsy has not yet been completed.   Piermario developed his strength of character through a lot of adversity in his short life.  His mother Camilla died when he was fifteen.  His father Aldo, died only two years afterward. his brother who was disabled, died.   His only remaining close relative, is an older sister who is disabled, and his elderly aunt.  Please join me in praying for both of them today.  Piermario's teammates say that his regular physicals were always clean, and that they will always remember him as a gentle man, with a sad face.

Morosini received excellent immediate help.

       Last month, another player, Bolton's Fabrice Muamba (who plays for England) was in cardiac arrest for 78 minutes after collapsing during a game.  This 24 year old player is still alive, and is improving following his own episode of "sudden cardiac death".     Italy is one of the few countries which is acutely aware of sudden cardiac arrhythmic death in both players and in students who play sports at school.   Italy has mandatory cardiac screening for all children who play sports, and this often includes an EKG.  An EKG will not detect or rule out every child who has a potential for a fatal arrhythmic disorder, but it will detect some of them, and they will receive treatment.   Here in the US, we have no organized broad requirements for EKGs in young children who play sports or who attain a particular age.   Also according to BBC, the Charity "Cardiac Risk in the Young" feels they have reduced the incidence of sudden arrhythmic death in young people by 90% in Italy.   In the US, we have not yet begun to screen anyone other than the siblings of children who are already lost to this disorder.

        There is tape of Morosini's sudden death, and it is sobering. It reminds me so well of Daniel's passing.  One moment he was well and speaking, and the next moment, he was simply gone and facing down on his face. He has been without complaint, without discomfort, without any indication that anything was wrong.

        We send our condolences to the family of Piermario Morosino.

Update:   Italy grieves the loss of not only a fantastic footballer today, but also someone said to be a fine person.  Italy has postponed all football for a period of time.  An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.   Like so many young victims of sudden cardiac death, he did not regain consciousness despite diligent and continuous medical care which continued for more than an hour and a half afterward.  Piermario Morosino joins a number of European footballers who have died of sudden cardiac arrest during a game.

Update #2:  Football club Livorno, as a remembrance of Piermario Morosini is structuring a lifetime annuity for Piermario's disabled sister.  They also plan to retire his #25 shirt.

I have enclosed this brief video of Piermario's collapse for several reasons. First, I would like everyone to understand that he was attended to, quite quickly. Secondly, I would like the parents of young boys who have died of sudden cardiac death to understand how rapid this process can be, and that their child appears not to have suffered over time.  Many times, they appear to "switch off and fall forward".

Piermario Morosino in 2007 on a collectable sports card.

Morosino, when Italy played Germany in Sweden for Euro21 Championships.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Sudden Loss of Yet Another

Spencer Melvin, age nine.  On all accounts, he was a great kid and will be sorely missed by his friends, his school and his teammates. Of course, his loss from Earth will be felt by his family, always.

                                    On Tuesday of this week, nine year old Spencer Melvin was at Rainbow Park, practicing for a baseball game in the Las Vegas area.   Like our Daniel, "Spence", as his family calls him, was not known to have any cardiac issues.   Spencer collapsed and experienced a cardiac arrest while heading to the field for his pre-game warm ups..  CPR was provided first by Spence's father and his older brother Samuel, and then, by local paramedics, but to no avail.  Spencer could not be resuscitated.  It is not yet known whether this cardiac arrest was due to cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, or simply a spontaneous heart rhythm disturbance.  An autopsy is pending.    Myocardial infarctions in children (a true heart attack in which the coronary arteries of the child are diseased and in which circulation to the heart is impeded, is rare).  However, a spontaneous heart rhythm disturbance, or arrhythmia, is not rare in children, and causes more and more sudden deaths, in the US and worldwide.  Spence's family also has an older son Samuel, and an older sister to Spence, named Skylar.
               Interestingly, this is the fourth sudden cardiac death occuring in the child of a registered nurse.  I was a critical care nurse and instructor, another woman I spoke with, who lost her daughter to sudden cardiac death at a ball game was an RN prof. of nursing,  a Chesterfield surgical RN lost her daughter to a sudden cardiac death after teaching aerobics,  and Lisa Melvin, Spence's Mom, is an obstetrics nurse.   Perhaps nurses have higher exposure to potential viruses which invade the cardiac conduction system.  This should be studied.

                                  It is bad enough not to have our Daniel, who was only 12 1/2 when this happened to him.  To see this happen again, and again, and again to boys and to girls who are children and teens, and who are also undiagnosed is deeply disturbing.    Can't we find a better way of diagnosing these issues, and saving more of these children ?  Can't we have more AEDs on ballfields ?   (Children with spontaneous arrhythmias and sudden death may not respond to CPR, but may have responded to a jolt delivered by an AED, if administered very quickly.

                                 If you are Spencer's family, then we are so terribly sorry for your loss.  Please take good care of yourselves, and following the funeral and your goodbyes, please have everyone in your family checked by your physician and or cardiologist for conduction disorders.     If we can ever be of any help to you at all, please contact us.

           This link provides information concerning activities which will occur this weekend. The Peccole Little League will be doing some fund raising activity for Spencer's Family.


        If you happen to see this post after this weekend, this is the address for donations. Spencer's family will need to pay medical bills, funeral expenses, and sometimes there are some expenses associated with an autopsy.   When Daniel passed suddenly, our own local medical examiner declined to perform one, and we had to obtain one at our own expense.

Any donations are greatly appreciated and will

immediately go to Spencer’s Family.

Check’s can be made payable to “Peccole Little League”

and please note on check it’s for SPENCER.

PO BOX 371352

LAS VEGAS, NV  89137 

If you would prefer to donate in another manner, donations for the Melvin Family can be made at any Chase Bank.  The account number for such is:   3011 6422427 
 "Spencer Melvin Memorial Trust"

This could be invaluable help for a family who I can attest will be enduring what may be the worst loss of their lifetimes.

 The musical artist to this piece is Jo Dee Messina

Spence as a younger child.

UPDATE: May 4, 2012 : Pathologists have stated that the cause of Spencer's sudden cardiac arrest and subsequent death was undetected hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This can be undetected following a virus. This is true of a percentage of children and teens who die of Sudden Arrhythmic Death syndrome. In our case however, Daniel did not have cardiomyopathy or any cardiac issue which could be demonstrated on autopsy. We send support and blessings to Spencer's family.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why Did I Not Lose My Faith ?


       In November of this year, Daniel will have been gone from Earth, for four years.  In a sense, I will have a Bachelor's degree in Bereavement, if such a thing is possible.   In four years on this blog, I have not yet discussed why, when my faith in God was challenged beyond any other experience I had before, that my faith not only remained, but was somehow strengthened.   This would seem to me to be one of the great miracles and most important points of having lost Daniel, and yet, somehow, I had not yet been able to take apart the experience, and offer why things may have unfolded as they did.

           (The above anagram from:

                  I learned about Jesus Christ when I was six years old, when I chose to attend a nearby rural church.  Oddly, this was not news to me. Somehow, the world had always seemed orderly, and when it didn't seem fair, I believed that there would be some equalization following our lives. I believed this absolutely.  My parents were of the era in which one's children should be able to choose one's faith, and so they did not attempt to sway me. The local church gave God a name, and they called him Jesus Christ.  I felt close to God and prayed often, all through my childhood, although I felt his presence more strongly in a forest, or at a stream, than I ever did in a church in that time. I also had some other experiences I was unable to make sense of, as a child.  Once when I was a child, a number of children came to me to talk to me in my bedroom at night. The next morning, I told my parents about it, and they attributed it to my perhaps having had  a  fever.  I remember that interaction, however, as clearly as if it were last week.  I also occasionally knew things.   I knew when a student in my class would be moving before they told us. I knew when our teachers were ill.  I concluded in my child mind, that we all notice things, and that God gives us the ability to conclude more than is obvious, not only as a way of making life easier for ourselves, but in order to help to make life easier for others.   As a teen, I remember questioning some of the beliefs many Christian churches had. I still believed in the worship of God, but I felt that many of the Christian faiths had woven misunderstandings into their beliefs.  I thought that some of them tended to worship graven images rather than Christ.  I thought that some of the faiths focused on fundraising rather than on people, and that some of them were judgmental and needed to embrace some of the very people they shunned.  I still held God close to me in those years, by churches fell away to some degree as I attended college.
                 As a new nurse, I came closer to seeing detail in how unfair life here on Earth can be sometimes.  Sometimes a new mother of twins dies of breast cancer.  Sometimes a young and  an evolved and loving person we all need on Earth passes of kidney disease.  Sometimes, one of the nicest physicians, a wonderful teacher also, passes from the Earth quickly, and no medical reason can be found, even on autopsy.  Sometimes, it seemed to me that God must be too busy to hear my prayers on behalf of others.  It was hard for me to understand why sometimes patients suffered, and then did not survive their serious illnesses.  I might have begun to lose my faith then, but there were also miracles.  There were times when someone who should have died, recovered and was ultimately cured of something that should not have been possible. There were times when someone was resuscitated, and then would tell of Heaven and what they did there. Sometimes, they could tell us what we were doing and what their families were doing, while they were in fact, dead !   There was enough of a balance between losses and miracles, that I held onto my faith.
                When each of our children were born, they were wonderful gifts from God, and I wanted them to know what I had learned about life and about God thus far, and so, I told them what I knew as they grew.  I had always taught them to heed their intuitive feelings about things they would encounter here.  If they feared a particular teacher or person, then rather than talking themselves out of that feeling, they were to trust what they were feeling.  I first explained this to them in terms of calling this "pattern recognition".  We may not know what we are noticing, but we are noticing something, and we must trust this.  I also later told them that God builds this sense into each of us, to ensure our survival, and not to be afraid of intuitive information, because it may come from God.
               Before Daniel's sudden departure, I did not know that something was wrong, or that he would be departing from Earth.  However, I did know that a new chapter in my life was coming, and that I was somehow closing a chapter in my life and beginning another.  I also felt very close to Daniel before he departed.   I fortunately, had two weeks off before he passed, and we spent a great deal of that time together.  We caught up on homeschooling, went shopping and bought some of the things he needed.  We also bought his beloved rooster, just two days before Daniel's sudden and unexpected passing.  I had the chance, and I still don't know why I did this, to tell him that I was so proud of him, and that I was proud of having parented such a bright and a wonderful human being.  I love all my children, but Daniel had been born during a period of time in which we could afford me to remain at home and raise him during his babyhood.  I had only returned to work in the last year of Daniel's life.   Even though God called Daniel home, he did so in the gentlest way possible.  He gave us two wonderful weeks together.  He gave me the chance and somehow the motivation to tell Daniel what he really meant to me.  God also gave me and everyone in the family, the chance to help Daniel, that fateful day when he experienced a sudden cardiac arrest in the bathroom just before going Christmas shopping.   Had I not done CPR on Daniel myself that day, I would always have believed that I could have saved him.  Through having done CPR myself, I know that I could not.    Daniel passed somehow from the moment he hit the floor.   No amount of CPR, no epinephrine injection,  the AED used by the sheriff's office, and the Advanced Cardiac Life Support employed by the helicopter ICU made no difference that day.  Daniel was simply gone from his body, and we were left with the inexplicable shock and resounding grief of what had happened.   I cannot tell you exactly why my faith not only exists but is strengthened.  Perhaps it is that God called Daniel in the gentlest way possible that day.   Perhaps it is that he let us have two weeks together that were quite joyous in retrospect.  Perhaps it is everything that everyone said to us at the "Celebration of Daniel's Life".   I know only a few things about it.  I know that God sent Daniel to us, to love and to teach.  I know that Daniel belongs to God, and that he certainly can call him back.  I know that the dreams I have had from Daniel and from my Dad have provided me with information which later was verified to be true.  I believe that God allowed messages to be sent to me, in order to keep my perspective a positive one, and to keep my faith strong.  I somehow know that I have tasks to complete before I too am called Home.  Yes, I still have my faith in Jesus Christ and in the world beyond this one, and in that sense, I still also have Daniel.

This song is an anthem of mine...

Christine and Scott Dente are some of the most musical homeschooling parents you will find anywhere.


In all seriousness, Daniel would not like that we are discussing somber subjects while he is safely at home in Heaven. If he could, I am sure he would send you this brief video his sister found today.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Recollections

Cadbury Easter eggs

           On the Saturday before Easter Sunday, since Daniel was small, we have had a family Easter Egg Hunt.   It was a complex and sometimes expensive undertaking.  When we first moved out to the country, there weren't any groups or churches that did an Easter Egg Hunt, and so we resolved to try to have our own.  The situation was furthur complicated by having a Type I diabetic daughter, and so we had to have a mechanism which didn't leave her feeling deprived during a holiday which usually includes sweets.    The Easter Egg Hunt allowed us to celebrate the holiday while ensuring her safety, and celebrating it with our other kids as well.    Originally, I got a large number of regular sized plastic Easter eggs and left them empty.   Then, we would demarkate a large area usually in front of our large front yard.  Then, my husband and I would hide all the eggs, in both easy and difficult places.   When every one of the counted eggs we had placed was located, then each child would trade their eggs for a CD, video, or favorite candy. or sweet.   Everyone had a basket and I would take pictures as the kids undertook the serious business of locating all the eggs.  I remember one year, one of the eggs could not be found by any of us, and we thought our count had been off. The following weekend the hot pink plastic egg was sliced to ribbons and spread everywhere by the riding lawnmower.
          As the kids grew the Easter Egg Hunt had to evolve.  I eventually hid eggs in a much larger area.  The older kids didn't want to continue the hunt, but Daniel always did, and so we always had the hunt.   When the two older kids went to college, we incentivized the hunt by putting anywhere between 1-3 quarters in each plastic egg.   (I was going to be giving them extra money while at college. Why not incorporate it into the egg hunt ?)    Daniel loved this. That year he found as many eggs as his older siblings.

           The first year after Daniel passed I did not want to continue the egg hunt, but I believed that we should.   We felt that Daniel could see us, and that he might be pleased that we found a way to keep some of our traditions, even after his loss.   The year after that, we had James with us, and James should be a part of the family traditions we have had.   He seemed to enjoy the hunt, which that year was a hybrid of quarters and candy.  This year Daniel if he were here, would be 16.   Two of the eldest kids have long since graduated from college.  One of them is in college now, but will be home this weekend.  James would be just as happy to get the book "The Hunger Games" or another book by the same author.  So this year, for the first time in many years, I will have candy at the house, but there will be no official family Easter Egg Hunt.   Part of me is sad about this phase of our family life being over. Part of me understands that I held onto this celebration longer than we likely should have anyway, most likely stemming from a desire to hold onto every last memory and experience that relates to our time with Daniel on Earth.  I don't need to do that anymore.  Daniel and Dad, every little memory of each of you are indelibly burned into my memory. I will not forget just because I don't trot out the Easter baskets and the Easter grass.  I know you each watch me, and keep an eye on me and everyone else.  I know that you know, how much I truly love you both.  I miss you Daniel.   I hope you remember what a great time we all had at Easter.  I know I do. I know that we understand Christ's resurrection without having to have nice clothing, Easter eggs, and our wonderful hunt.   We also love you both wider than the oceans, and deeper than the seas.  

Monday, April 2, 2012


The United States appears to sit like a lopsided house of cards. The house in the picture above looks lopsided. This reminds me of the Titanic as the forward compartments of the ship filled with water, prior to its sinking.

   I suppose it is natural to see things which happened only in your own life as somehow being interwoven with other things which happened in the world.  In the Autumn of 2008, I lost my father, and then only about a month later, Daniel unexpected departed from Earth.  The emptiness of those two departures remains almost inexplicable and leaves us almost compass-less sometimes.  It has been a strange journey since then.  My father did not live to see Barack Hussein Obama elected as President.  He would have had no difficulties with the man's ancestry or ethnicity, but he clearly would not have voted for a man who, from his own published writings in books, had contempt and mistrust for the many good things about the United States of America.  Daniel was aware of Barack Hussein Obama's election, and was not pleased.   However, in America, when someone is elected, we try to stand with our President, out of, at least, respect for the office itself.  When Daniel passed, President Obama had not yet been inaugurated, and so Daniel never knew a day on Earth with the Obama Regime.
     The Obama Regime has been a confusing presidency for many of us.  The President and his family vacation often, sometimes using an extra plane to transport their dog.   When they travel to Wyoming where beef is excellent and well priced, their gathering serve lobster, which is quite expensive.  When they travel to Maine, as a collective, they order beef, where lobster is cheap and plentiful.  They have children's parties for their daughters in which Johnny Depp comes in character as the "mad hatter".  It seems strange to see many people short of money for food in America while our President and his family make no apparent attempts to economize.  I am reminded of how the British Royal Family economized during the second World War.  I am reminded of how Jimmy Carter while president donned a sweater and turned the heat down in The White House during the fuel shortages.  It seems insensitive to me to see the Obama's enjoying themselves.
      It bothers me also that Mr. Obama seems so out of touch with the thoughts of most Americans.  I certainly can't speak for all of them, but I don't know a single person who would re-elect him.  Most of them cite company bail outs and high spending which have not done anything to diminish joblessness which is increasing in the US.  The fall of Solyndra and other energy companies which were heavily subsidized and propped up by the Obama administration also makes us question their choices.  I am also concerned that his administration persists in forcing through Obamacare and its implementation, when poll after poll indicates that 75% of Americans believe that the forced requirement of the purchase of health insurance is unconstitutional.  I am bothered that the Constitution, the cornerstone of US government, is regarded by Mr. Obama as an inconvenient and archaic document which requires overhaul.   This week, Mr. Obama asked Russia's President Dimitri Medvedev if he and President-elect Putin could "cut him some slack" on the US missile in Europe.  Obama claimed to have more "flexibility following his re-election".    Is he mad ?   I know lots of different people, none of whom will admit to planning to re-elect him.

Barack Hussein Obama, at the White House,   (Picture: The New Statesman)


 Some of our neighbors are paying forty additional dollars three times a week in order to go back and forth to jobs.  There are no jobs in rural places that do not involve commuting.  The jobs within 60 miles disappeared in 2008.
       Today as I drove home, I learned that a number of "Best Buy" Stores will be going out of business. This will be added to the banks, movie theatres, restaurants, clothing stores, food stores, gas stations, and pharmacies etc. which have gone out of business since early 2009.  More and more nice homes are being abandoned as families are no longer able to keep jobs which would allow them to make payments on them.


       It certainly seems to me that since Dad and Daniel departed, that the world, the administration, the government, the thinking, and even the laws of physics sometimes, have all gone sideways or are perhaps lopsided.  Yes, since then, the world certainly seems lopsided.  Perhaps God was doing them a favor by pulling them from a rapidly descending world, in advance of the ugliness.