Immortality From Magic Memories

My Friend is Dying“,                        Phylosophy - sunlit clouds

posted on 1/26/15, was hard to write.  I wrote it to express and share the difficult process of watching a close friend as her life ended.  After her death I helped plan a memorial celebration for her family and friends.

After Death: Mourn, Memorialize, then Celebrate Life!” images-3

was written as we prepared the memorial, which was a celebration of her life.  It was very special, and provided a warm, loving closure for both friends and family.

Now several months have passed, and the memories of my friend bring smiles rather than tears.  I felt her transition after death so am confident that she’s fine, but no one can say for sure what the afterlife is like.  Regardless of our beliefs, our religion, or our suppositions, we do know people achieve different kinds of immortality here on earth.

Every time I think about my friend, Scottie, she lives in my memory.  Every single time someone quotes a phrase from a classical novel, watches a Shakespearean play, listens to a moving piece of music, or admires an ancient statue in a museum, the creators live while their creations are admired and enjoyed.  When family members gather for a celebration and share memories and stories about friends and relatives that have passed on, those people live again through the conversation.  This is part of life after death, immortality here on earth.

If living on in memory is a type of immortality, it means that we each can create the way we’re remembered.  Every action we take, every story we tell, every time we lose our temper or ignore our conscience, we may be creating a memory that will outlive us.  The realization that everything we do, say, or create might survive for generations creates a huge responsibility, weighty with multiple possibilities.  As a writer, I hope my words will be enjoyed for many years.   I always try to create something of value, something that might make a reader’s day a little bit brighter just because they read my work.  As a human being, I should also remember that my actions, my words, every physical touch, even my expressions can have a lasting impression on someone.

How is your immortality progressing?  If you passed away today, how might you be remembered next year or ten years from now?  Only one person on earth controls your special immortality, and that person is looking back at you in the mirror!

Just a note in closing.  Your comments mean a lot, so please send me your thoughts.  I’d truly appreciate it.  And if you like my writing style and subjects, you will enjoy my book, From Hindsight to Insight, A Traditional to Metaphysical Memoir.

Front Cover

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Immortality From Magic Memories

My Friend is Dying“,                        Phylosophy - sunlit clouds

posted on 1/26/15, was hard to write.  I wrote it to express and share the difficult process of watching a close friend as her life ended.  After her death I helped plan a memorial celebration for her family and friends.

After Death: Mourn, Memorialize, then Celebrate Life!images-3

was written as we prepared the memorial, which was a celebration of her life.  It was very special, and provided a warm, loving closure for both friends and family.

Now several months have passed, and the memories of my friend bring smiles rather than tears.  I felt her transition after death so am confident that she’s fine, but no one can say for sure what the afterlife is like.  Regardless of our beliefs, our religion, or our suppositions, we do know people achieve different kinds of immortality here on earth.

Every time I think about my friend, Scottie, she lives in my memory.  Every single time someone quotes a phrase from a classical novel, watches a Shakespearean play, listens to a moving piece of music, or admires an ancient statue in a museum, the creators live while their creations are admired and enjoyed.  When family members gather for a celebration and share memories and stories about friends and relatives that have passed on, those people live again through the conversation.  This is part of life after death, immortality here on earth.

If living on in memory is a type of immortality, it means that we each can create the way we’re remembered.  Every action we take, every story we tell, every time we lose our temper or ignore our conscience, we may be creating a memory that will outlive us.  The realization that everything we do, say, or create might survive for generations creates a huge responsibility, weighty with multiple possibilities.  As a writer, I hope my words will be enjoyed for many years.   I always try to create something of value, something that might make a reader’s day a little bit brighter just because they read my work.  As a human being, I should also remember that my actions, my words, every physical touch, even my expressions can have a lasting impression on someone.

How is your immortality progressing?  If you passed away today, how might you be remembered next year or ten years from now?  Only one person on earth controls your special immortality, and that person is looking back at you in the mirror!

Just a note in closing.  Your comments mean a lot, so please send me your thoughts.  I’d truly appreciate it.  And if you like my writing style and subjects, you will enjoy my book, From Hindsight to Insight, A Traditional to Metaphysical Memoir.

Front Cover

Immortality From Magic Memories

My Friend is Dying“, posted on 1/26/15, was hard to write.  I wrote it to express and share the difficult process of watching a close friend as her life ended.  After her death I helped plan a memorial celebration for her family and friends.

After Death: Mourn, Memorialize, then Celebrate Life!” was written as we prepared the memorial, which was a celebration of her life.  It was very special, and provided a warm, loving closure for both friends and family.

Now several months have passed, and the memories of my friend bring smiles rather than tears.  I felt her transition after death so am confident that she’s fine, but no one can say for sure what the afterlife is like.  Regardless of our beliefs, our religion, or our suppositions, we do know people achieve different kinds of immortality here on earth.

Every time I think about my friend, Scottie, she lives in my memory.  Every single time someone quotes a phrase from a classical novel, watches a Shakespearean play, listens to a moving piece of music, or admires an ancient statue in a museum, the creators live while their creations are admired and enjoyed.  When family members gather for a celebration and share memories and stories about friends and relatives that have passed on, those people live again through the conversation.  This is part of life after death, immortality here on earth.

If living on in memory is a type of immortality, it means that we each can create the way we’re remembered.  Every action we take, every story we tell, every time we lose our temper or ignore our conscience, we may be creating a memory that will outlive us.  The realization that everything we do, say, or create might survive for generations creates a huge responsibility, weighty with multiple possibilities.  As a writer, I hope my words will be enjoyed for many years.   I always try to create something of value, something that might make a reader’s day a little bit brighter just because they read my work.  As a human being, I should also remember that my actions, my words, every physical touch, even my expressions can have a lasting impression on someone.

How is your immortality progressing?  If you passed away today, how might you be remembered next year or ten years from now?  Only one person on earth controls your special immortality, and that person is looking back at you in the mirror!

Just a note in closing.  Your comments mean a lot, so please send me your thoughts.  I’d truly appreciate it.  And if you like my writing style and subjects, you will enjoy my book, From Hindsight to Insight, A Traditional to Metaphysical Memoir.

From Wedding Gown to Angel Gown

It sat, sealed in a beautiful box, for years. My wedding dress was incredibly special to me, especially since I’d made it myself. After the big day, I did like many brides and had it cleaned and sealed to save for the magic day when a daughter or grand-daughter wanted to use it. That didn’t happen, however, since my daughters and grand-daughter wanted to make their own special choices. The seal was broken when my oldest daughter got married, so that she could use my veil and headpiece for her own ceremony. Years later, the veil was used again when her daughter, my one and only grand-daughter, was married. But the dress stayed carefully preserved and packed away, in spite of my husband’s grumbled words, “Just get rid of it. Sell it or give it away. The darn thing is just taking up space, and nobody in the family is ever going to want it.” Harsh words, even if they were true, so the box just stayed in a dark corner of our storage shed.

My youngest daughter had a similar box in her house. Her marriage had ended in divorce, but the dress was a magnificent gown with a long train, huge wide petticoats to hold the voluminous skirt, with all kinds of lace and beads covering the beautiful white material. She didn’t want to give it away or sell it for next to nothing, so started researching what to do with a used wedding dress.

To her amazement, she discovered The Angel Gown Program, a service provided by the group NICU Helping Hands, Family Support for Fragile Beginnings. The Angel Gown Program combines gifts of wedding gowns with the skills of volunteer seamstresses throughout the United States. The garments they create are provided for babies that were either stillborn or pass away in the hospital just after birth. The gowns are used for final photos and for burial services. The program also provides support resources and mentoring programs for the families.

The minute I heard about this program, I jumped to the computer for the website,

http://www.nicuhelpinghands.org/lend-a-helping-hand/angel-gowns/

and was reduced to tears. Over 700 seamstresses throughout the United States create amazing little gowns, which are wrapped and shipped to to destinations all over the country. Hospitals can stock the garments through a simple online request procedure, but families can also make personal requests online as well. The organization also accepts traditional donations to help cover the costs of shipping the gowns to hospitals and families who need them.

As I read all about the various services the NICU Helping Hands organization provides, my thoughts turned to an amazing little boy who our family lost when he was only four years old. Seth was a tiny, mischievous little guy who had a heart pacemaker implanted at just two weeks of age. He collapsed at two years old, then spent a month hospitalized in San Francisco where a new pacemaker replaced the first one. His life was a gift to the whole family, and when he died everybody who knew and loved him was devastated. Losing a child has to be the most difficult loss anyone can face. I cannot even imagine the pain of losing a child before it even gets to go home from the hospital.

Within two days my wedding gown, my daughter’s wedding gown, and her best friend’s gown were all boxed up and shipped to The Angel Gown Program in Fort Worth, Texas. My dream of seeing a family member wearing my special dress as they walked down the aisle never came about, but the knowledge that a grieving family could lay their tiny, precious baby to rest wrapped in a garment made from my dress warms my heart in an entirely different way.   If you have a lovingly preserved wedding dress, I urge you to consider donating it to The Angel Gowns Program. I promise you’ll never regret it.

After Death : Mourn, Memorialize, then Celebrate Life!

My friend died a week ago.  Some would say she died a gentle death, since pain medication kept her unconscious as her body slowly shut down, but it wasn’t easy for her spirit to let go.  I could feel her, fighting and frantic at first as she came to terms with her body’s inability to sustain life.  She finally turned to the light, even though still tethered to her familiar flesh, and reveled in the joy and freedom she found there.  As her body grew weaker, dying by inches, her spirit spent most of the time on the other side.  Many friends and relatives came to visit her, some talking to her and praying out loud.  Others, like me, held her hand as they bent their heads in prayer or meditation, quietly connecting with her and letting her know it was okay to let go.

Knowing someone you care about is going to die does not make it easier.  On one hand we repeat the same platitudes about being glad the suffering is over, and about the soul being in a better place.  On the other hand we play the guilt game, wishing we’d been kinder, wishing we’d spent more time with them, wondering if we’d let them know how much we’d cared about them, if we’d let them know how important they’d been in our lives.  Even as we express our beliefs that they’re at peace, we wish there was just a little more time to finish all the things between us that were left undone.  We know they’re okay, but we aren’t!

Mourning is a natural first reaction after a death, as we come to grips with the reality that our time together is truly over.  Grief can be overwhelming, but grief is also a personal expression of loss.  They’re fine, but we now have to reconstruct our future without a vital part of our world.  We mourn as we think of all the “what might have beens.”

We memorialize our lost ones together with other people who cared, providing strength to one another as we share memories.  Different cultures remember and memorialize their dead in different ways, some quietly in small gatherings, others loudly in public ceremonies.  The purpose and effect is the same, to remember the life of one we’ve lost, to remember the dreams and accomplishments, to remember the stories and laughter, to take those memories into our hearts to carry forward alone.

All too often after someone close dies, we stop after the memorial service, forgetting the most important step of all.  Remembering someone we loved is important, but celebrating their lives is even more important!  If they had a passion in life, you can honor them by doing something good in their name.  Doing something they would have cared about, that would have made them happy, that makes some small difference in the world, keeps the memory alive and means they still matter.  After you mourn, after you memorialize, then celebrate your friend by your actions, so they can look down and celebrate as well.

 

 

My Friend is Dying

My friend is dying.  Nothing dramatic, no teams of surgeons frantically and heroically working over her body, no crowds of people crying and wailing about what a tragedy it is, nothing that would garner a headline in the news.  Just a sweet woman in the process of passing away, on what the hospital calls “comfort care”, which means she’s on strong pain medication to keep her comfortable, but nothing else — no food, no drink, no tests, and no medications.  Her heart and lungs are strong, not ready to give up nourishing her body as it wastes away, but her organ systems are failing her, one by one,  as the process continues.

My friend is dying.  We’ve been assured that she’s no longer feeling pain, but her family and friends are all hurting.  We remember all the shared moments, we remember her accomplishments, we remember her kindness, and we know each of us is richer for having known her.  We’re coming to terms with the reality that there will be no more shared moments with her, and the understanding that her passing will leave a void in the lives of everybody who knows her.

My friend is dying.  I spend time with her each day because it feels like the right thing to do.  She’s unable to respond with her body, but I’ve felt her spirit each time.  At first she was frantic, afraid, full of guilt for the things that she was leaving undone.  She sensed her failing body, but was unable to accept that she couldn’t go back to solve problems left behind.  All I could do for her was to let her know that her family would be okay, that all problems left behind were no longer her responsibility or concern.  Her path is forward, her spirit should be focused on the next world.  I reminded her that leaving her physical body is not an end, but rather just stepping through a door to the next phase, much like birth.

My friend is dying, but the death of her body is not the end of her existence.  One day, when I knelt beside the bed holding her hand, her spirit felt excited and happy.  I felt and heard her voice telling me that she was young and strong again!  I saw her clearly in my mind, her body no longer silver haired, stooped over a cane, every step full of pain.  Instead, dark hair swung around her face as she ran on strong legs, bare feet flying over green grass, until she plopped down to sit cross-legged and laughing in the sunlight.  She was lovely and full of joy, and I knew she was okay.

My friend is dying.  I’ll keep going every day until her tired body stops, simply because it feels like the right thing to do.  When it happens, I hope someone who loves her is there to ease the way.  When it happens, the healing can begin for her family and friends.  When it happens, everyone who knows her will remember and miss her, but also will be grateful that the process is over for her.

My friend is dying, but her life was well lived!  She made a difference to many, many people and to  many, many animals she was able to rescue.  May God bless her, and the ones who loved her, as he takes her home.