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Celebration of Life (thinking of Karilea)

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latearrival
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since 03-21-2003
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0 posted 02-05-2006 11:24 PM       View Profile for latearrival   Email latearrival   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for latearrival

Death should be:   A Celebration of Life

The first time I came close to a loved one dying I was just seventeen years old. My beloved grandfather died. I had no other grandparents that I could remember as they had all died early in life. So he received all the love I would have had to share amongst the others. When I went to the funeral I broke down and insisted that was not my grandfather in the casket. I had not seen him in the last few weeks and his thinness and coloring assured me that ďtheyĒ had done something wrong. I insisted that was not grandfather. Finally my husband took me out of the room as I was upsetting the others.

When my father in law died a few years later I was appalled at the laughter his Irish funeral brought forth.

At my motherís wake I depreciated the wailing and carrying on that came from one of her friends. I ignored her hurt and instead went out to the woman whom I thought was my motherís closest friend and gave her the lapel watch my mother had worn. I have since become more tolerant of the different ways people send a loved one on their journey.


Of course over the years I have had to deal with many more loved ones dying but I have since reasoned that we all will go and it is best we remember each for the person they were. I learned to feel free to talk about it. It is hard at times to do that when you sense others do not care to talk. Some can not acknowledge their own feelings much less share them.  

   When my Dad died he was living with my family.  It was a great help to me to know I had cared for him until the end. I sat in the hospital room with my mother until she left her body May 18 1975.  But having my Dad at home was the best way to have him go.  

His death was gentle as was his living of life. Not by reprimand but by quiet example he taught:  Love, tolerance, understanding, forgiveness and the meaning of devotion.  We are not to mourn but celebrate his having lived.  He needs no stone engraved to his memory - Monuments crack and crumble -  his remembrance will be in every act of human kindness which any of his descendents display. This was his legacy.


A strong, proud, independent man, but not without a soft interior; he showed his love not by touch or words but by the way he lived his life.


Joanne, so young to have had to live so hard a life. It was her final decision to end her life in her own way. A decision I have had to come to look at and become to feel it was an act of strength not selfishness. Her way to say, it has been too hard and I can not do it any more. So I have to respect that choice, her way to freedom from pain.

Recently I had to go to a military funeral of another friend. He was eighty one years old. The extra tears I shed that day were not for him, but mostly for my husband. He had asked to be cremated and his wish was to be scattered in the Pacific Ocean as that was where he grew to be a man. He was in the battle of Leyte and turned eighteen the month after that great battle. He was so deserving of that solemn graveside memorial. But I had never even thought of doing that. In fact I never have buried or passed his ashes into the water, I have not been able to do that as yet. My strength falters.

It seems at my age death is all around us. So it is good to be able to talk about it and share feelings with each other.  I am currently helping two ladies. Mary at eighty eight just recently stopped working. Her family, a son and a daughter live in other states and it seems to have fallen on myself and another friend to watch over her. My neighbor who is seventy eight has been caring for an invalid brother for the past three years and it is becoming too much for her. She will not admit it but it is showing. She now has aides come in and help. It is time for her brother to go into a nursing home before she is just unable to do it any more. She is wearing herself pretty thin.

I am wordy tonight I guess because it seems to be coming from all directions. The big lesson on dying.   When one hits this age it is all around you. No matter that I would rather be out dancing and refusing to believe my turn will come and yet understanding it will.


[This message has been edited by latearrival (02-06-2006 02:15 AM).]

sandgrain
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1 posted 02-05-2006 11:48 PM       View Profile for sandgrain   Email sandgrain   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for sandgrain

I recall long ago reading that the Japanese celebrate at the death of a loved one.  Being a Christian and believing other believers go to heaven when they die seems to be something to really celebrate.  Yet, we who are left cry selfishly, knowing they won't be with us for the coming holidays, the weddings, graduations, etc.  I cry about my 3 grandkids having no mom.  I cry when I think of all my older son went through to donate his stem cells to save his sister, then stand holding her hand as she died.  Every time I'm on these blue pages, I'm missing her (Whtdove)presence.

I wonder all the time if she's with my son who was killed in 2002.  They were not quite 2 years apart in age, and she had the roughest time following his death.

So, I see reasons to celebrate but also reasons for tears.  My husbands cousin once said, "The death of one should put more life into those left behind."  I've thought about that a lot, too.

Grief is a very personal thing, and I don't think any two people grieve the same way.

   Rae
latearrival
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2 posted 02-06-2006 12:30 AM       View Profile for latearrival   Email latearrival   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for latearrival

Oh Rae, I so do believe that too. Tears are shed and we never forget our loved ones. But I have come to think of death as a time to celebrate the person's life and carry with us the memories and lessons each one taught.Bless you, martyjo
nakdthoughts
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Between the Lines


3 posted 02-06-2006 05:55 AM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

my motherís wake I depreciated the wailing and carrying on that came from one of her friends. I ignored her hurt and instead went out to the woman whom I thought was my motherís closest friend ......

Recently I had to go to a military funeral of another friend. He was eighty one years old. The extra tears I shed that day were not for him, but mostly for my husband.



~~~We shed tears for many reasons and when they come  (if not forced) we have no control over them as they come from the depth of feeling... I cried this past weekend not for JUST the loss of a (an inlaw) family member but the loss of what holds families together and  memories that rose and hit me in the heart.
I couldn't control them as they slid down my cheeks.

The wailer is just as in need of comfort as the one who stands with silent tears.
Or the one who hides them and stands stiffly.

I don't need a headstone to love and remember my sister or my father, aunts, uncles etc...yes I am at that age too where cancer  ravages and other illnesses take away the looks of the loved one in the casket and I say that is not him...
but when I go to the cemetery at specific times ( and not just birthdays or holidays) I want to know that they are all there together..and I leave a memory stone to let them and or other family members know that  I have stopped there for a talk, out of need...whatever the reason.

Everyone deals with death and life in their own way and no one's feelings should ever be discounted...

sorry...my feelings are erupting this morning...and I understand completely the need to allow each their own way of grieving.


M
latearrival
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4 posted 02-06-2006 09:28 AM       View Profile for latearrival   Email latearrival   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for latearrival

Naked thoughts. Thank you for your input. I  guess I did not write my true feelings so as to be understood. I tried to tell how from the first death of my grandfather when I had just turned 17,  I had witnessed different ways of grieving. After I wrote the sentence about the woman wailing, I wrote:
"I have since become more tolerant of the different ways people send a loved one on their journey."
    And as I grew older learned that laughter, tears, wailing are all different forms of sincere mourning. These are the things I learned. My mother and father and daughter all have headstones and are resting in peace. It was my husband's desire to be buried at sea as he was a Navy man. I have not had that opportunity to carry out his wishes as he loved the Pacific and I am on the Atlantic. If anything I said caused you to feel hurt in  any way, I am truly sorry.I was just trying to express that we do all indeed find death  sad and mourn in different ways. The "Wake" they gave  my father in law was unsettling for me, but I have come to understand that was their way, certainly not mine.  Best to you  Naked Thoughts, and may I express my sorrow for your recent experience. martyjo
Mysteria
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5 posted 02-06-2006 11:58 AM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

I feel for anyone experiencing a loss of a loved one, human, or animal, and here is my take on death, and how to get through the stages which are different for everyone.  Some get over a loss quickly and some will never.  Both are valid ways of handling grief.  

I agree it can be the most selfish we will ever become in our lifetime if we let it.  I think the person in the bed dying really needs to hear that approval to just let go from those they love, at least from my experience.  I once was so selfish, that someone actually did try to hang on and that is what taught me this lesson.

Every single time I hear of someone dying it brings back each death I have experienced of a loved one or someone I respected.  I get a circular thinking for days about many people now departed.  Now, I think that is a good thing, but sure didn't once.  Each new death serves as a reminder to honor their time in human form, and their connection with me, and I do celebrate that.  The depression was replaced with laughter, as I now recall the antics shared, and all the good times with that person.  I have turned it around, but it took loosing so many I loved to finally get the idea of how dealing with the loss of a loved one works for me.

Personally I have never been afraid of dying, and since I was little made myself ready for that day.  I have my own beliefs on what happens at that time, and so I decided long ago that the most important part was just living life to the fullest, and taking from it every single thing it had to offer on a daily basis.  Hence my signature, Carpe' Diem      

I have from experience also discovered that it is in death that we finally see the good qualities a person really possessed even if they treated us badly, and I have said goodbye to some of those too let me tell you.  I know one thing for certain now, there is good to be found in every body.

This thread and its link to Karilea's own personal loss of her brother, Robert reminds me of a challenge she made once, and it was to use a phrase, "You are there, here with me."  

She didn't know it at the time, but that was actually the turning point for me and it became the way to accomplish getting through any loss.  That is to simply absorb the best parts of the spirit of that person you lost.  In that way, they will always a part of you, and when you go, become a part of the next person who does the same with you.         The cycle of goodness is never-ending, see?

It is only through a death that we can can know true life.  It does go on.  

I would like to recommend a wonderful book if I may, it is called, "You Are A Spiritual Being Having A Human Experience," by Bob Frissel.  It sure opens one eyes to amazing thoughts.

Carpe' Diem
Larry C
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6 posted 02-06-2006 02:55 PM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C

MartyJo,
I love your approach to life. Ducking and running never seemed to make much sense. It is incredible the courage that one gains from standing your ground and facing whatever life brings head on. And Sharon is right, there are steps to grieving, but anyone that believes it is a formula nas not experience enough of life or death to be entitled to their opinion.

This is a wonderful thread and God bless each of you.

If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.

latearrival
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7 posted 02-06-2006 04:11 PM       View Profile for latearrival   Email latearrival   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for latearrival

Thank you Mysteria and Larry. I had hoped this thread would be a good way for all to express feeling to share with Karilea. Just to let her know we are with her, and are sending our thoughts and love. I am not afraid to go out of this life as we know it.I just wish to hang around a little longer to see the changes and growth within my family and life in gerneral. I will be ready, just hope hope it is swift and not lingering. sincerely, martyjo  
Sunshine
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Listening to every heart


8 posted 02-11-2006 08:18 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

MartyJo...

How can I thank you, and the members who have come in here to share.  I, as all of you, deal with my losses [and my gains] in my own way.  Facets of which I share, ultimately, with many of you.

Mysteria, your loving comment on that challenge from so long ago, came back to me just after Robert's passing.  I had even thought to reprise that poem, because it was never so true as it is now.

In Enchantress' beautiful memorial to Robert, I left a little note that Robert is sending me messages in so many little ways. As these silent reminders of his love come to me, I am also reminded of the many ways Willow has touched us, as has Ginger, Whtdove, Michael Auguste, Wilfred Yeats, and our dear Chipmunk, through those they had to leave behind.

So many blessings in all of those thoughts.

In his last few days as he was improving enough to go into his last surgery, Robert was in a self-assisted nursing center. He got on the IM with me one night and told me that he had his daughter bring one of his guitars into the hospital for him.  He wheeled himself from room to room, asking his fellow "inmates" [as they referred to themselves] or the family members, if they would like to have him strum any old tunes their family might like.  He would sit in the background, and play his guitar.  Some of the families were there to sit with their mother or father and wait out the last few hours. Some of them wanted Robert to play his music, and I cannot help but think that the dying who were getting ready to leave this plane, took some of Robert's music with them.

"It's all I've got left, Sissie. I can't sing any more, but I can still play some music. They seem to get some comfort from it."

Yes, Robert.  You helped them to Celebrate Life...just as MartyJo has done, here.

Love,

Sissie
latearrival
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9 posted 02-11-2006 10:50 PM       View Profile for latearrival   Email latearrival   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for latearrival

Oh, Karilea, I have been reading all the responses here and on Enchantress's post.Yes this is a very caring group.I loved your story of Scudder and his appearance at just the right time. May God be with you and bless you and Robert. sincerely, martyjo
 
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