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A Little Off--the top

A compilation of subject matter as seen from my viewpoint. There is no secret or hidden meaning, so read it "as is." There is NOTHING to read between the lines. This forum I use simply to sort my thoughts, feelings, ideas, and insights, not as an avenue for communication.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Breaking Tradition


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Though They Don't Know....

Though they don't know, I lift all three of them up in prayer each breaking day.
Though they don't know, there is so much more I would like to say.
Though they don't know, at times with my hand held tenderly to my belly I remember how it felt to Take joy with each movement they made.
Though they don't know, when they were sick, by their side I laid.
Though they don't know, that simply because they grew up, they are no less on my mind.
Though they don't know, my heart breaks more as I fall further and further behind.

Though they don't know, their minds made up, no room in their hearts for me,
My tears flow freely, because they have chosen a hell for their mother, that they cannot see.
Though they don't know, I have re-lived each minute of each passing day
Getting real with myself and praying that they
Will take me down from this cross they have hung me upon
And know that only One was perfect and soon time will be gone.

Though they don't know, they collectively have killed
The very spirit of a woman, her happiness spilled.
Though they don't know that simply because one pretends
To be happy and joyful, the smiles fade, the show ends.

Though they don't know, they may never have thought,
That this hatred, the finger-pointing, this unforgiveness they live
Little eyes are watching, little ears will hear, and quite possibly
Will be the very learned examples the then adults will give.

No, I was never perfect, I never professed to be,
But with all of my heart I loved and still love
My children, all three.

I write this on an anniversary of sorts, for you see, 
One year ago today, my mother left me.
Just as I was not a perfect mother, 
Not a perfect daughter, no doubt.
But long before she left this earth I made sure
There was nothing to apologize for or feel guilty about.

To everyone I can, I spread the Good News and tell them, too,
"Don't wait too long, for we all can step back and see,
That the time on this earth is so short, This is my one plea:
Quickly make peace with the ones who have hurt you and the ones you have caused pain.
Because you never know if you will have the chance ever again."

I have written this without malice, not to guilt, to brag, or to be mean.
I wrote it as a love letter for my three: Joshua, Joseph, and Justine.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

more free stuff on Listia

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 2 and excitement level: 9

Day 2 and excitement level: 9

Monday, July 04, 2011

Honestly, when I found out about this just last night, my belly was full and I had high hopes for "tomorrow." Today is yesterday's tomorrow, so I am still over the top excited, but down a notch, I'd say. Because just a few daily goals have been met and a few are yet to be accomplished.

I am a procrastinator from my day 1. I even put of being born, making my grand entrance into the world days later than my due date. Habits THAT old are truly hard to break.

But I remain optimistic and still ready to conquer ME! Since this is serious stuff, by all means, if your prayer life is lacking, feel free to pray for my continued optimism and positive attitude. I know prayers work. On that particular subject, I am a believer, and know it works!

What a great way to celebrate Independence Day! I have the privilege to declare my independence from old and defeatist attitude and actions. Follow alongside me and join me as I rejoice over even the slightest of movement toward healthy living and a healthier lifestyle!

Thanks to Carrie who, by her optimism and sheer joy she allowed me to have hope and actually believe in ME, and believe that there was hope for the procrastinator with Adult ADD. Hats off to my friend Carrie!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Breaking Tradition

Growing up in Arkansas, (I so have the desire to interject 'the deep South' here, but then that wouldn't be exactly true), certain ways, traditions, actions, and reactions are just a given, if you will.

Death, for instance. It seems as if death is not a personal, rather a public affair. Even the events leading up to death, it seems, are expected to be experienced with others.

During one's illness, let's say, B.D. (before-diagnosis), phone calls come, get well cards come from the Sunday School class letting the subject know he/she was missed, and from time-to-time, various foods are brought to the home of the ill.

I haven't quite figured out whether there is a correlation between the severity of the illness and the type of food which is sent. Homemade chicken noodle soup is a frequently gifted dish. I have found, too, that the holidays do, indeed, influence the type of edible fare chosen for the infirmity.

For instance, a Christmastime illness may warrant not only the ever popular comfort foods, but include such delectables as holiday shaped cookies, fudge, and the occasional divinity. 

A.D. (after diagnosis) care packages may well contain such articles as journals, inspirational books, and/or daily devotionals. Oh, and of course, more food. This time foods of more depth, personality, and character...casseroles, spiral-sliced ham, and pastries perhaps. More than the "get well soon soup," these foods contain more components such as vegetables and cheese, some assembly required.

At this point in time, one typically receives more phone calls and too, cards in the mail, not just ones sent in the food box. One begins to hear phrases such as, "If there is anything I can do..." and "Whatever you need, just call............." 

Visitors are staying longer now, not just the pop-in, pop-out type of visit. These visits are meatier. Conversations begin to be a bit more reflective, if you will.  More time is spent reminiscing over "the good times." This period of time still has much laughter. More laughter than tears.

The next stage in the progression of the illness, B.D.(Before Death), the food items are more geared toward the caregivers and other visitors rather than the suffering subject, or patient. The patient may well be eating very little, or actually be unable to eat at all during this stage.

Casseroles turn into finger foods and foods which can quickly be popped into the microwave for a grab-and-go snack. Sweets, too, are a common player in this stage of the progression of life/death.

The conversations turn more serious during this stage as well. Should the patient still be able to hold a conversation, or at least understand one, the subject matter turns from "the good old days" to a slightly more serious level.

It is during this stage that I have observed family and visitors begin to speak of 'plans, desires, wishes,' as well as the "I'd better ask now or forever not have the answer" conversations.

"Do you have a living will?" "We've called so-and-so, do you want anyone else called/notified?" "Just what did Mama put in that recipe she said was the   'secret?' " 

The focus has shifted from the patient who is dying to those who will remain: the spouse, the children, the "arrangements."

Typically, the eventual death and burial is a three-day to a week-long ordeal. At the time of death, the funeral home is notified and they "take it from here."
The friends and family congregate and the appointed one writes the obituary if it hasn't been written already.

The influx of food increases ten-fold, and oftentimes entire meals are prepared by churches, charities or clubs of which the "beloved one" was once a member. I never quite understood this custom, but have been told it is so that the ones 'left behind' won't have to worry about such trivial things (at the time) such as feeding a hungry crowd of bereaved.

Among the first 'formal' gatherings pertaining to the funeral process, is "Visitation;" sometimes known simply as, "The Viewing, or Paying Last Respects." This, I am told, is held primarily for those folks who, for whatever reason, will be unable to attend the actual funeral service.

While that works out flawlessly for those people, it, in my humble opinion, is only the first step in opening a chasm of pain for those closest to the deceased. Many times, those people are still in a level of shock and are, because of tradition, forced to attempt to appear as if they have it "together" long enough to keep a plastered, unnatural smile on their faces for three hours (or more) as they listen to story after story and "I'm so sorry," after "I'm so sorry." Cruel and unusual punishment I say.

Viewings/Visitations vary somewhat in length, content, and decor, but in general, at the end of the day, one is left with the same take-home: a guest book, perhaps old photos, tired feet, and a broken heart freshly wounded by long-time unseen faces and painful stories which oftentimes produced only more pain, not comfort, even though that was not the intent of the well-meaning sharer. 

The second stage of this hellish three-part nightmare is the actual funeral. As if not tortured enough, loved ones are subjected to the sights and sounds of the dearly departed's final wishes in the vein of music, flowers, etc. 

Frequently a slide show compiled of photographs of the deceased is being shown with equally heart-rendering songs as background accompaniment plays over and over again as the empty seats begin to fill to standing room only capacity. 

Lastly, the immediate family is ushered into the room to the sounds of whispers mixed with the sniffles of crying attendees. And then the wound is again freshly opened.

Words which may be only heard as, "wah-wah-wah-wah-wah," are spoken so solemnly, so earnestly, so painfully.  Much time was devoted to the compilation of those words, much effort, many tears in the preparation of them. But because of the continued shock, grief, denial, and depth of heart-wrenching pain the survivors are experiencing, understandably, these words very possibly unheard.

Special music sung or played, devotionals read or spoken, Scriptures quoted or shown on a screen, all prepared lovingly for a family who has lost a loved one. All of whom are present, but attending a more private ceremony--the ceremonies quietly playing in their heads. Their own personal ceremony, with very different memories, experiences, and thoughts related to the loved one who is no longer with them is showing in their heads with painstaking accuracy. And still, the public one plays without ceasing.....

The third and last public step is "laying to rest the loved one." No, it hasn't been painful enough for those who live, let us continue the agony by assembling ourselves once again at the graveside. 

More words, more stories, more Scriptures, more crying, more instructions about how to live our lives are said without hearing. This, followed by a line of people who will hug and offer words of encouragement--just before lowering into the hole dug into the ground the one you will never (on this earth) see again.

Society has, at this point, done what is/was expected of them. Yes, hurry home. Hurry back to the home that is void of the meaning it once held. The home that holds countless reminders that your loved one is gone, that you are alone. Reminded, again, that the life you once knew is no more.

And that, my reader, is how it is typically done.  But then, my parents are not, nor have they ever been, typical.

Decisions many years ago were made by my parents that their passing(s) were not going to follow the usual path of a scripted society-pleasing, people comforting manner. Their passing(s), like their lives, were going to be atypical and to the liking and with consideration to one another.

Daddy and Mom both made their wishes known to first, each other, and then to their children, that death and the way in which it is dealt is a very personal and private issue. Their collective decision was to do what had to be done in the quickest, kindest, most practical as well as most economical, and most private avenue possible.

Each of them expressed their desire to have no funeral, memorial service, or formal gathering following their demise. Each chose cremation rather than a funeral because they deemed it to be the most "practical" and the least "emotionally painful" for the survivor. 

Arrangements were made years in advance in order to avoid having to make highly emotional decisions at a most vulnerable time of one's--immediately following the death of someone who was dearly loved--a time when one's emotional level would surely mark an all-time low.  Both Mom and Daddy made known their disdain for the "funeral industry preying on the raw emotions of  grieving individuals."

Cremation, to them, seemed the more practical solution of what to do with the vessel which once housed our loved one. Aware of the fact that the body is just that, a temporary vessel, neither of them were particularly emotionally attached to it. Their plans were/are to have their ashes united and to have their children then spread them over a plot of land which had been beloved to them during their lives spent together. 

The three-day tradition was never even an option for them. Daddy and Mom have said all along that dealing with death is difficult enough under the best of circumstances. Having the wound pried open over and over because of tradition is madness. I couldn't agree more. Deal with reality, yes. And expediting the healing process however possible seems the wiser option to me.

And so it shall be when the time comes. No hoopla, no pomp and circumstance, no speeches, no crowd. It is non-traditional, unique and personal. But then, so have they been.