Death and Dying

Yes there is a difference between Death and Dying. Death comes without warning and dying creeps in to take over your life with a terminally ill death sentence, stamped with an approximate life expectancy date. My heart goes out to embrace all the children who are terminally ill, they remain their innocent self while becoming stronger than they should need to be at their young age. In the adult world; sadly knowing death is knocking at the door, many people begin to get their affairs in order, make amends if needed, all the while searching and hoping for a cure that won’t kill them quicker while they are dying to live. During these times, there are those people when given a death sentence who will remain their own sweet self. Other people will react like a sports participant, running around trying to better their lives and relationships with the people they know and love; but once the endorphins wear off, they return to their normality and begin the routine of home, doctor, home, doctor, home… until death do they part. Regrettably; other people will steadily remain their seemingly natural cruel self and depart this world as seemingly angry as they entered it.

The only similarities in Death and Dying is that no matter what, when it is your time to depart this earth, it is your time. Reminds me of a true story that occurred in one of our local nearby towns. An elderly lady was involved in a car accident, fortunately a minor fender bender; so she continued her drive home. Shortly afterwards; approximately two blocks away, another truck struck her car and instantly killed the elderly lady.

Face it people, none of us are going to get out of this world alive. I can not emphasis enough to get your affairs in order. Have two Wills, a Living Will and a Last Will. Get and keep your belongings sorted, make a notarized list of who gets what or what can be thrown away; do not leave this behind for those living. Going through your belongings after you’ve passed away is not an easy task; not only does it take an emotional toll on the heart, there are also somethings that are best left unknown about your life and should be deposed of before hand or at least in a box labeled, “Throw Out Upon my Death”.

Understand the difference between a Living Will and a Last Will. LegalZoom: “A will, also known as a last will, distributes a person's property after his death. A living will, on the other hand, explains what kind of medical care that person wants when he is still alive but unable to explain his wishes”

Also, I highly recommend a Living Trust instead of a Last Will. There are Lawyers who know the gray area in the laws that can allow a person to obtain Power of Attorney after a persons’ death in order to supersede the Personal Representative listed on a Will to also replace and exclude any appointed second Personal Representative.

Nolo: "Property left through a living trust does not pass through probate. Property left through a will does go through probate. Probate is the court system designed to wrap up a person's affairs after their debts. Probate takes a long time, can be very expensive, and for most estates, isn't necessary."

As for when a loved one dies, with or without warning; forget the 5 or 7 Stages of Grief. There are no stages. Every emotion you could ever feel will rush through each and every fiber of your being; in one swift gut wrenching, heart shattering, mentally bewildered… longest moment in your entire life thus far. You will become angry with yourself wondering if you could have done more, you will question if in those final hours, did you do and say enough. You’ll doubt rather you had even said, I love you my dear Friend. It was then I truly understood just how deep friendship enters the heart, sometimes deeper than family members. I’ve probably only had 6 deaths of loved ones in my 50ish years. 4 family members, 2 friends, and have only been able to attend two of those funerals. But nothing can prepare anyone for being there when a loved one takes their last breath. Somehow though you will find the strength to be strong for them, offering comfort. And when the time comes; and it will and you will know when, in some way you will also find the strength needed to tell your loved one who has suffered enough, that ‘it is okay to go now’; all the while you are going to pieces inside.

And the closer you are to a loved one who has sadly passed away, the harder it is in that very moment, let alone daily to pick up the shattered pieces of what remains of your life and try to continue on. Two months later, I still cry without any warning and not always because a memory crept in my mind. Sometimes I just get this huge lump in my throat, then unexpectedly tears spontaneously burst from my eyes as if the very depth of my heart is weeping. Recently I was in the middle of an important job interview and my tears instantly streamed down my face, onto my resume. Did I get the job? No. Life goes on and a death is no excuse. The hospital bills start rolling in faster than the funeral. You call to make payment arrangements and the creditors knowing no payments were ever late in life, fear my friend may finally be late paying because of death. So they are quick to want to lay stake on the estate, no matter how small the estate is such as merely an automobile. And when I called the Vet to reorder the flea medicine prescription for my friend’s cat, I was denied. Angry, I merely said: after all the money my friend spent at your establishment, you are going to deny the cat flea meds because he is 1 pound over weight for the current dosage! (*Thinking to myself: Unless I agree to increase his flea meds and risk increasing his life expectancy because of 1 freaking pound.) I was quick to apologize for my outburst, however; immediately after the phone conversation, the Veterinarian Office Supervisor called; reprimanding me as if I were a child, stating a death is no excuse for my behavior. Yes people, there is no time or excuse for mourning; life goes on. So people, be as prepared as you can be in life for death while you continue to enjoy living. And mostly; when someone you cherish passes away, be ready to put on your pretend happy face while you are falling apart inside, because the majority of the living don’t give a damn about Death and Dying.

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How Did You Die? by Edmund Vance Cooke
Is God To Blame?
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Lost and Found. On this emotional roller coaster called life; during crises, especially in regards to health and/or the death of a loved one, a persons' faith can be shaken. Yet for others in times of crises that tug on the heart strings, their faith is strengthened; while for other people, they find faith. -ndpthepoetress

The Power of One

by Cheryl Sawyer

As the soot and dirt and ash rained down,
We became one color.
As we carried each other down the stairs of the burning building
We became one class.
As we lit candles of waiting and hope
We became one generation.
As the firefighters and police officers fought their way into the inferno
We became one gender.
As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength,
We became one faith.
As we whispered or shouted words of encouragement,
We spoke one language.
As we gave our blood in lines a mile long,
We became one body.
As we mourned together the great loss
We became one family.
As we cried tears of grief and loss
We became one soul.
As we retell with pride of the sacrifice of heros
We become one people.

We are
One color
One class
One generation
One gender
One faith
One language
One body
One family
One soul
One people

We are The Power of One.
We are United.
We are America.

Cheryl Sawyer is a professor at UH Clear Lake in the counseling department.

*Permission to post poem One granted to by Dr. Cheryl Sawyer School of Education University of Houston – Clear Lake

9/11 Commemoration

As our hearts are tearfully filled with memories of those who lost their lives September 11, 2001, let us also never forget the bravery and compassion shown that day; and may we continue to forever embrace and extend kind words and actions to those left behind and still mourning, those injured and still suffering. Let us Thank all Military Personnel as we also remember and honor those who have lots their lives or have been injured in the process of defending our Country. And may we as a Nation United rise above this tragedy to not judge nor hate the majority, because of the actions of a few.

"Will hate bring it all back? Will it bring back the innocence? The sense of security? Will it bring back the husbands and wives and sons and daughters? Will hate make us better than those who hate us? Or merely bring us closer to them. Will hate help us destroy our enemies? Or will it laugh as we destroy ourselves. There are those who say we don’t know who our enemy is. But we do. Our enemy is a neighborhood Mosque defaced by vandals. An Arab-American storekeeper in fear of reprisal. A scared Muslim child bullied because she is different. Hate is our enemy, and when we start to hate other Americans, we have lost everything. Hate has taken enough from us already. Don’t let it take you."

Letters From War

Rechoired - Letters From War (Live in the Mormon Tabernacle)

Memorial Day

For all Men and Women of the United States Armed Services who have taken the The United States Military Oath of Allegiance:

I, ____________, do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

America Thanks You!

And in remembrance of those lives lost for the price of our many Freedoms, a modern rendition of:

Kneel Where Our Loves Are Sleeping
Words by G.W.R.
Music by Mrs. L. Nella Sweet

published 1867

Kneel where our loves are sleeping, Dear ones days gone by,
Here we bow in holy reverence, Our bosoms heave the heartfelt sigh.
They fell like brave men (women), true as steel, And pour’d their blood like rain,
We feel we owe them all we have, And can but weep and kneel again.

Kneel where our loves are sleeping, They lost but still were good and true,
Our fathers, brothers (mothers, sisters) fell still fighting, We weep, ‘tis all that we can do.

Here we find our noble dead, Their spirits soar’d to him above,
Rest they now about his throne, For God is mercy, God is love.
Then let us pray that we may live, As pure and good as they have been,
That dying we may ask of him, To open the gate and let us in.

Kneel where our loves are sleeping, They lost but still were good and true,
Our fathers, brothers (mothers, sisters) fell still fighting, We weep, ‘tis all that we can do."

Memorial Day - Arlington (Trace Adkins)

Smithsonian Institution: Why do we celebrate Memorial Day?

For The Love of Books

A Library in my area is having an Altered Book Workshop. I was thinking the Workshop was Restoring Old Books. I was Traumatized to learn they are Killing Books! Here I am; Intellectually Starved, unable to find reading material, and books are being Demolished! Such an atrocity!

Already, thanks to modern technology like Kindle…Children of our future have less of a chance to know the joy of Holding a Book, the smell of the pages... and now the Children of our generation are taught to go home and Destroy Books. (Library description of Event: "Ever wonder what to do with all those books you will probably never read again but can’t bring yourself to to let go? Well don’t! We have a few fun ideas to share. Come and learn a few niffy crafty tricks but leave your books at home for practice. We will have all the supplies you need.")

I Googled, Altered Books and was stunned to learn this is an epidemic. In my opinion, Altered Books are nothing but the equivalent to Burning Books, merely disguised in the name of Art. Alternatively; we could collectively contribute to recycling by using store ads, catalogs, old telephone books… to transform into Altered Art.

Sparing the tragedy of a zillion Trees used to print Books, only to have died in vain :(

For the Love of Valentine's Day

What is Love?

Love is a symphony of emotions composed from two hearts beating as one. Orchestrating daily to the rhythm of every day life, fine tuning the tempo, and throbbing pulse in unison toward the climax of an epiphany; where clad only in human skin, naked and vulnerable, two souls venture to dance together upon this stage called life. ~ndpthepoetress

written by ~ndpthepoetress (-Jeane Michelle Culp) Library of Congress copyright #100z88HB401©

Rebirth Yourself-Emerge From Your Mental Cocoon

Image from Wikipedia

ndpthepoetress: "Many of us have read our fair share of self-help articles proclaiming the Secret in Life is to get plenty of rest, eat right, exercise, etc. However; in the daily mishmash of this, that, and the other; combined with the seemingly never ending to-do list - who actually has the time or energy to abide by the so called “Secret”!

In my opinion, the “Secret” in Life is FIRST: ‘Change Your Thoughts’. Out with the negative, in with the positive. Because when you become enthused, new energy materializes for you. Once your mental energy is increased then you CAN achieve anything YOU set your mind to - no matter how little time you seem to have.

Let’s start with an article about how to Changing Your Thoughts. This excerpt is by Colleen Kettenhofen, “a Phoenix, Arizona motivational speaker, trainer, & co-author of "The Masters of Success ," featured on NBC's Today Show”:"

8 Essentials for Creating Balance Out of Chaos
By Colleen Kettenhofen

Leadership and life balance has been a hot topic for some time now. Employers are waking up to the notion that for people to perform well they have to feel well.

In these trying times it's imperative to stay motivated. Change your mind and you change your circumstances. Change your thinking and you can change your life.

How do you do that? Here are 8 essentials for creating balance:

1. Focus on what you have, not on what you don't have. There will always be someone worse off than you. Whether they're facing a financial crisis, health problems, grief and loss, or something else. If you know someone like this, think of one thing you could do to help them.

For example, there's someone at my church who recently lost his father. A group of us decided to take food to the family. Helping someone gets your mind off your problems. And it makes you grateful for what you do have. You start focusing on the positive. As Denis Waitley says, "You are either the captive or the captain of your thoughts."

2. Feed your strengths, starve your weaknesses. Researchers note the average person has 50,000 thoughts a day. Most of those thoughts are negative. Your mind is like a computer or the crew on a ship. And what orders you give it will determine what you get.

What you dwell on becomes your destiny. What you focus on the longest becomes the strongest. Spend as much time as possible in a job, or in your life in general, in areas that utilize your strengths. Work doesn't have to be a four-letter word!

3. Practice self-control, self-discipline and a strong work ethic. This is a paradox, but doing the things you like least first helps in creating balance. Practicing good work habits, especially early in the day frees up time later on for doing things you enjoy. And you feel more deserving.

The most successful people are those willing to do what others don't want to do. They've mastered the challenge of overcoming procrastination. Live by the motto, "Just do it. Not by the tongue-in-cheek saying I saw on a t-shirt in Hawaii recently which said, "Just do it-tomorrow"."

4. Decide what really matters. Make a list of those activities and individuals that put a spring in your step. What gives you energy and makes you laugh?

For example, spending time with my boyfriend's family is terrific because they're hilarious. I always have belly-aching laughs when I'm with them. Laughter really is the best medicine. Conversely, what detracts from your life and drags you down?Start phasing those things out of your life.

5. Focus on having fun. No matter busy and stressful your days, schedule some time for fun. In creating balance, what makes you happy? For instance, this weekend my man and I are taking our dogs on a day trip to Flagstaff, Arizona. Being at 7,000 feet in the pines helps me "fill the well." There's nothing like crisp mountain air and the smell of the pines to make me forget the cares of the world.

6. Spend time in silence. Make an effort to get more sleep. Studies have shown getting enough sleep helps reduce cravings for carbs and sweets. Temporarily turn off your cell phone, Blackberry, TV or car stereo. Before bed spend quiet time in prayer or meditation.

7. People-pleasers: Learn to say no. Or, if there's something you must do, ask for support. Don't try and do it all yourself.

8. Concentrate single-mindedly on one task until it's complete. Stop multitasking. Sometimes when you try to do 10 things at once, you end the day not having completed anything.

Lastly, it's been said that survivors of emotional, physical, or circumstantial difficulties practice eight things: strong spiritual belief, sense of humor, strong support system, a connection to nature, goals, proper nutrition, openness to new ideas, and get sufficient rest and exercise. In creating balance, which of these can you create today?

Colleen Kettenhofen

You are free to reprint or repost this article for use in your newsletters, association publications, or intranet provided Colleen Kettenhofen's contact information (name, website, and email) is included with the article.

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