Sunday, November 24, 2013

Great Cosmic Happenings on the Day of Daniel's Departure

   This week, it will be five years since that difficult day in which Daniel, the day after Thanksgiving, walked into the bathroom, collapsed, and never returned to us in body.  This year, rather than talking about how much he is missed here, by myself, my husband and his siblings, I thought I would talk about something Daniel cared about, and perhaps something of which Daniel has a ringside seat.

                Daniel left the Earth on November 28, 2008.  This year, November 28th is important for another reason.  Daniel cared very much about astronomy, and this year, this date will be astronomically significant.Comet Ison, which is also known as Comet Nevski-Novichonok was only discovered on September 21st, 2012.  You see, although we can see a great deal of the Cosmos through telescopes by looking away from the sun, historically it has been difficult for us on Earth to see comets and asteroids which come from the direction of the sun, and therefore we only detect them on relatively short notice.  This comet was discovered by Vitali Nevski and by Artyom Novichonok. both in Russia.  This comet follows an elliptical path near the sun and is therefore also described as a sungrazing comet.   On the anniversary of Daniel's passing from the Earth, comet Ison will come to perihelion.   Perihelion is when it will come closest to the sun. This is very significant this particular year because it may spell the end of existence for Ison.  On this date, Ison is thought to be passing so close to the sun, that it may not survive. It may pass, and disappear from view, just as Daniel did, those five years ago.   It's actually a very important event as Ison has been traveling the heavens for potentially millions of years, and may cease to do so, after this day.

                Ison was hailed to be the comet of the century earlier this year. Astronomers the world over thought that it would appear so brightly that people on Earth could see it easily and clearly as brighter than the full moon.  It hasn't brightened as significantly as they believed it would.  My guess, which is far from an educated one, is that Ison is not made of as much ice as others might think, and this is why it did not brighten as expected.  My thought is that it will survive it's very near encounter with the sun's heat and punishing cosmic rays. I hope it not only comes through, but that Daniel and my Dad are watching with ringside seats.  There are advantages to no longer being tied just to Earth !

              If Ison survives it's trip past the sun, as I believe it will, then on its return from the sun, it should be visible with the naked eye to those of us on Earth until part of January, 2014.  Daniel would want you to try to see it. In this way, we will all be doing the same thing, and in those moments, Daniel and the rest of my family will still be doing something together.

"Universe"        by Sarah Slean
(Sarah wrote and arranged this piece and is playing the piano portion as she sings. )

UPDATE: November 29, 2013 Comet Ison did survive its encounter with the Sun. (Initial reports were that it did not.)  A much smaller portion of it will be flying through the universe with a tail intact, hopefully for eternity.

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Try Not to Be Bitter


       Some years ago, a friend of mine was wrongly accused of voter fraud.  He was prosecuted for voting for several elderly relatives for whom he had power of attorney and their permission, but without an obscure form that he did not know was needed.  Rather than simply disallowing those votes, the municipality prosecuted him. This had great fallout to his career, his family and defending himself was a great expense. He was also hurt by the fact that he knew and had held in high regard those who chose to prosecute him.  This was one of those cases of "No good deed ever goes unpunished."    I remember supporting my friend through this injustice, and I remember his saying something I thought was interesting.  He said he prayed not just for a positive outcome, but that he would not become bitter, as a result of this experience  I thought this was interesting, because I thought that we alone were in charge of whether we chose to become bitter or not.  I am rethinking that perspective now.

           Most of the time I concentrate on the very good things in my life. I was given the gift of terrific kids. I have been fortunate to have great faith and I have felt the love of God.   I have enjoyed all the homes we acquired or built. I take very little for granted.  I have known terrific animals and had them in my life for long periods of time.  For all these things I am grateful.

           Of course, into every life rain must fall.  Rather than reciting a litany of losses and disappointments, because we all have had them, I will just say that adulthood has been strewn with losses and sorrows, most of which I have weathered.  However, I would be foolish to say that my strength and resiliency was not adversely impacted by the layered losses of the past.  Sometimes it seems like a great deal of the joy on Earth has gone somewhere else.   Daniel who was only twelve has passed, friends have moved to Belize, others to Europe.  I get the distinct impression that smart people, (or perhaps just wealthy people) are getting out of the United States as quickly as they can, and they don't plan to come back.  Everywhere I look organizations and systems which worked well before are eroding or being dismantled.  I don't like the world that is emerging.  The result is that I no longer invest my time or my money in many of the activities I once did.  I don't trust people as I once did.  Too many of them have been proven to be wholly self serving.   My adult children are a good deal more guarded and reticent about business deals and people than I was, and I think they may be right.  The world has changed into a darker age.

           This week, as Thanksgiving nears, I pray that each one of you who reads this post, whichever blog on which you might find it, finds a measure of peace and some time to recharge.  A dark age does seem to be coming. However, we don't have to become dark inside in order to cope with it.  We can still do the right thing. We can still support our friends. We can still choose not to become bitter from all the layered losses.
I'll try, if you will.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

How Time Flies By


              This next week it will be Thanksgiving, and of course the day after will be "Black Friday", the perennial awful day when in just seconds, you left the Earth.  I don't mean it to sound quite so dramatic, but I suppose the loss of a child is something with which we never quite come to terms, while we ourselves still occupy the Earth.   You would be proud of your siblings.  They have each carved a path and they move along as best they can.  Please know that you are missed, not only each day, but on those special holidays and on the anniversaries of your birth and of your departure.

               This week there has been a lot of evidence of the passing of time.  I gained some weight after your passing. For a time I seemed to think that I could eat your share for you, until you returned, and of course, it doesn't work that way.  I have now lost all of that weight and I have the energy I had in my thirties.  The rest of the world has not fared so well.  Some dear friends of ours, I know you know who I mean, were in an accident, and are having a hard time. Their children are grown and gone, and are far away, with the holidays coming soon.  This week, I reacquainted with a friend I had twenty-five years ago.  I remember well when she was expecting her daughter.  I learned this week that her daughter is 25, a working adult, and is living in Northern Virginia. I am still finding people who knew our family long ago, and although they knew about you, they did not know of your passing.

              This Autumn is different from the one in which you departed.  That Autumn, the progression of the leaves was slower. It was warmer. This year, all the leaves are completely gone, and we have had three hard freezes already.  This morning was foggy. I can feel Winter looming as if behind a curtain.  Sometimes I wonder if during Fall, you could somehow must jump from one plane to another, and spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with us. It's crazy, I know, but sometimes, the unreality of what happened that day, your passing with no clear explanation, and then layered conjecture after the autopsies, makes me wonder if with such a bizarre happening, if we could be visited somehow with bizarre luck and some type of a brilliant resolution.  I know intellectually that you are no longer here, but my heart is still ready for you to come home, as if you are at a heavenly university of some kind.

               I remember you, at 12 1/2 as if I saw you yesterday, although I know your soul soared and you grew when you left this plane, and went on to Heaven.  I try hard to imagine who you have become.  You would be seventeen now, had you remained on the Earth. Please know that you remain one of my life's greatest joys, even if you combine your time here with the inexplicably day in which we lost you. I wouldn't trade one single minute with you here.  I do have regrets.  I still wonder sometimes if I had somehow supernaturally known what was about to happen, if I could have taken you to a bright physician at University of Virginia, and simply made something up so that he could have looked you over with a fine tooth comb, and somehow have interrupted the process which was about to occur.  Of course, in my less tortured moments I realize that you were called by God, and that no amount of intervention or interference really can change the will of God, if it is his intent to call you home.

              Please know I love you very much, and I hear your echoes here in the house. I know that you and my Dad are together and this comforts me.  Please give him my love also.  You know you have my respect, my love, and are always in my thoughts particularly during the holiday season.

               I love you both so much.....

Lara Fabian "For Always"

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Reminders of Daniel


     In about twenty days it will have been five years since Daniel, excited about going Christmas shopping, walked into the bathroom, collapsed and died.  Most days I don't replay those moments in my head, again and again. Of course, for a very long time I did, hoping to understand how a child with no particular health history could collapse and die without warning. I still don't get it, but I accept that he is safe at home, and I know he does not suffer, and this helps me. I do think about him every day, and I often wonder how his awareness is entertained in the next dimension, and who he sees and talks to, besides God, of course.

                 Today I ran a few errands with my eldest son.  Both of our errands were useless as the items we ordered hadn't come in. We decided to take a longer trip into the city, as we were half way there.  By then, it was lunchtime.  We spotted a Chic-Fil-a and I had a salad while my son had some really delicious looking nuggets without breading.  While we were there we spotted a boy who was about seven, standing with his teen aged sister who was taking him to lunch.  He so reminded me of Daniel.  He had the same haircut as Daniel at that age, and the same clear skin.  He had shining blue/green eyes and a kind and gentle face. He also had a muscular build which also reminded me of Daniel at seven or eight. I smiled at him, and he didn't see. As I walked past I felt that same longing twinge I experienced the entire year that Daniel passed.  He reminded me of Daniel, but of course, he wasn't.  My Daniel is no longer with me on Earth. I felt empty and sad.  In the next moment I wondered if the boy who looked so much like Daniel should be eating at Chic-Fil-a since they fry some of their food in peanut oil, and Daniel was allergic to it.  "Don't be silly", I told myself.  All at once, a young man with neat short hair called the boy's sisters name. She collected their food and out they went, about as fast as Daniel left Earth that day five years ago.
               I know that I had a very great gift in having Daniel on Earth at all.  I know that my remaining kids are also very great gifts. I know that Daniel was such an excellent "model" of kid that God would certainly use elements of his looks and personality again in other children.   I remember that as I watch harried mothers and fathers shouting and occasionally slapping kids they don't realize could be gone from their lives in a flash.  I said a silent prayer that none of those families would ever know the loss of a child. May they never know this feeling, even five years past Daniel's departure.

One of my favorite songs: "The Right Words" Written and performed by Sarah Slean