Category Archives: Death & dying

Perfect Moment Monday: The Upwelling

Back home again after the events of the past week.

First, for those of you wondering, Gino is doing well. He has been an incredible support this week to those who need it most.

Second, here is a Perfect Moment from this sorrowful week. “Perfect” for me today is synonymous with”overflowing,” for that is what I felt a few days ago.

The minister dismissed us as he ended the short memorial service.

Unexpectedly, one of the Tweens (age 11) stood up and went to the podium. “Wait,” he asserted. “I have something to say.”

And he read a letter to his dad. It included love and questioning and some anger. He moved the microphone to his level and looked out at the people who were there for him. He held the room as well as any million-dollar speaker does. His timing was impeccable — we hung on his words, and even found reasons to laugh with him. He managed in his P.S. to work in an off-color quote from Slingblade and make it seem okay within the walls of the chapel.

There was not a dry eye.

I had lumps in my throat, in my chest, in the center of my head. I had lumps in my lumps. It was all I could to do keep them from exploding.

My Perfect Moment lies in his courage and clarity, and in how he completely broke open my heart.

1. Martha has two Perfect Moments: one with a 13 year-old, and one regarding the splendor of nature.

2. Susan, so not a girly-girl, celebrates the start of football season with a memory.

3. Amber says her Perfect Moment was “this morning with all of us piled in our king-sized bed snuggling, playing and talking about our day ahead. No matter what mud is slung during the day, ours always ends together talking about it on our bed.” Mmmmm. Delicious. (And you should check out her gourds.)

4. Courtney has a daily double: (1) she reconnects with and old friend, and (2) she realizes, amid heavy burdens, just how strong she is.

5. Yours…?

Write up your Perfect Moment anytime during the week, and leave your link in the comments below. I’ll keep moving the links up to the body of this post.

Once you make a Perfect Moment post, you are qualified to place this button on your blog.

Click here for last week’s collection of Perfect Moments, and consider adding this to your Google Reader.

Everyone needs a pick-me-up now and then.

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Sending out my gratitude to Amber, Andy, Anna, Antigone, Beth, Cassandra, the Casual Perfectionist, Catherine, Cathy, Chicklet, Courtney, Crystal, Deanna, Denise, Excavator, Furrow, Gabrielle, Geohde, Kim, Kristin, Leslee, Loribeth, Luna, LJ, Lollipop, M, Martha, Mary Beth, Meghan, Melissa, Michell, Millie, Mrs Spock, Ms Planner, Nancy, Pam, Phoebe, Robin and Sue, Steph, and Tammy.

Your support, love and light are even now having rippling effects in the lives of my loved ones and me.

Namaste, my friends.

Dots and circles

We have traveled to be with loved ones.

I am sorry for talking around the situation. I feel comfortable writing about my experiences of what’s going on, but it feels wrong to tell the full story because it belongs more to others.

A BIG thanks for your outpouring of support, love, light, prayers and warm thoughts. They are being received and they are truly working wonders.

From the time I heard the news until we arrived last night, I had this need, a pounding need, to know the sequence of events. How did people hear? What time? What led up to certain things? How did people react?

I needed to organize the bits. But it felt like I was connecting dots without being able to make a picture. Last night I was able to get that timeline from my sister, and consequently I slept well. It is comforting, for some reason, to turn the dots into a clearer image. Even though the image still doesn’t make sense.

Last night was also about letters. From one to many, and from many to the one. It was very cleansing, and I am so proud of The Tweens.

On tap today? A birthday party at noon. For the world’s best M&Ms organizer.

A few hours later, a viewing.

Talk about the circle of life.

Tomorrow we’ll hold a celebration of life.

We are surrounded by love and light. Among us and from those of you holding us in your hearts.

I am so touched to be held up by you all.

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Question: what has been the most helpful thing someone said or did when you experienced a significant shock to the system?

Here yesterday, gone today

I went to bed last night with one reality and woke up this morning with another. I’m not exactly sure at what moment it changed. Was I sleeping soundly? Was it one of the times I was awake, looking at the clock for an unknown reason? I have this need to know the moment, even though really, it doesn’t matter.

How does one tell young tweens, who are still figuring out their own ways of solving problems, not ever to use the problem-solving method their role model chose? It’s easy to tell them, I suppose, but so hard to make words speak louder than such a decisive deed.

I understand sadness and despair. I do NOT understand myopic self-centeredness that cannot take into account one’s influence and impact on others.

I am feeling such a swirl. Anger, anger, anger, sadness, disbelief, compassion, shock, more anger.

Those stupid stages of grieving.

I’ve got to get myself together so I can be of service to others more directly affected.

(Many hugs to my Internet friends. Your emails, calls and Tweets have meant so much today.)

Book Tour: Water for Elephants

I actually thought Lemonade for the Elephant would be a better title, but maybe that’s why Sara Gruen is a bestselling novelist and I am one of her readers.

This is my 7th book tour with the Barren Bi+ches, but my 1st for a non-IF-related book. I found it much harder to find a focus and more difficult to develop questions. With the other books, I had a sense for what my fellow readers would think in certain situations. But with Water for Elephants, there was no known common ground. No shared focal point. I felt like a chicken let out of the coop onto the big open range.

Or maybe like a camel let out of a train car after a long Joliet-to-Providence run.

What is your favorite circus related memory?
I have only one circus-related memory and it’s not a good one. My parents had taken us to the Greeley Stampede (cross between a circus and a carnival) with my parents one summer when I was about 11. Through the course of the day I ate a few pickles. And later on some cantaloupe.

It was stiflingly hot. After we saw the animals, my sisters and I rode the Tilt-a-Whirl, our favorite ride. Something happened, though, after we got off the ride. Gurgling and burbling, the contents of my stomach were churning about and causing me pain and nausea.

I found a trashcan, topped with rotting-in-the-heat cotton candy, just in time to hurl.

It was decades before I could eat pickles or cantaloupe or cotton candy again.

Are you still with me? The answers get better, I promise. (At least I’ve given you low-hanging fruit [ahem] on which to comment.)

Looking at himself in the mirror, the old Jacob tries “to see beyond the sagging flesh.” But he claims, “It’s no good….I can’t find myself anymore. When did I stop being me?” How would you answer that question for yourself?
I’m not even halfway to Jacob’s age, but already I wonder, at times, where the 19 year-old Lori went. Or the 24 year-old Lori. Or the 37-year old Lori.

But I don’t feel I have ever stopped being me. If anything, I continually become more Me.

It seems like you go through the first part of your life adding to yourself. Trying on. Acquiring.

And the last part of your life is spent shedding. Discerning. And finally, losing. This part of Elder Jacob’s viewpoint brought a little panic to my innards. Like Jacob, I fear losing my stuff, my loves, my well- functioning body, control of my destiny.

Something that struck me about this book in particular was the rich, descriptive way the author handled Jacob as an elderly man. His frustration was so apparent, his physical manifestation so perfectly described, that of all of the elements of this book Jacob the Elderly is what stays with me. You had the sense that Jacob didn’t foresee his latter years being the way they were, and his almost “ride off into the sunset” ending perhaps what he had envisaged for his end. Do you think about what’s at the end of the road someday? When you think about it, what do you see for yourself?
Did you read A Prayer for Owen Meany? (spoiler alert: don’t read this paragraph if you plan to read the book). The premise of being able to see, in a premonition, your own tombstone both fascinates and frightens me. Would YOU want to know the date of your death?

Or the manner?

I once volunteered for Hospice. As part of the training, we had to write about our own death.

It was impossible for me. Try as I might, I could not come up with anything except the super-predictable and bland ending where I die in my sleep.

Let it be so. Let me be the picture of health until then. And let me have helped my children raise their children to adulthood.

Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list here. You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: The Empty Picture Frame by Jenna Nadeau (with author participation because she’s a blogger!)
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Chicklet reveals this season’s must-have shoes for both style and comfort. They are SO must-have that she bought TWO pairs. Make sure to visit the current entry on All Thumbs Reviews.

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Say Goodnight, Dick.