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I say not so happy because John died way before his time and today is the 35th anniversary of John Lennon’s death.  For me to find this out is ironic as I heard a song of his earlier this week that gave me quite the motivation to write. Some know the song as So This Is Christmas or Merry Christmas. The real name of the song is War Is Over. 

John sings the song and is talking about what we may or may not have accomplished this year as far as treating one another with kindness, material things,  accepting our differences in race, color and religion. When he goes into the chorus there is a children’s choir in the background singing almost as a subliminal message …….War is over, if you want it.  It’s on YOUTUBE.  Listen to it, read the words. It is a very powerful song with an equally powerful message. Think about it…….if every, breathing human being in     the world truly wanted peace….it could happen.  I doubt it happens in my lifetime but maybe in generations to come.

I don’t know whether we could call John a visionary as he just wanted what we all of that generation wanted……peace.  For a good many of our generation, our fathers had been in WWII and with Vietnam in full boil we were watching out brothers and boyfriends and husbands putting themselves in harms way to defend our country and protect us and our freedom. It wasn’t suppose to be a “real war” just a police action. Ask some of our veterans that came home and see what they tell you.  Another song that John came out with at this time Give Peace A Chance (all we are saying is……).  It was sung at every peace rally and protest march. What a time we lived in and witnessed in the late 1960’s.

With 2015 coming to a close in a few short weeks, I have one wish for all of us……..I wish us peace in 2016.  Whether is peace on earth or peace within ourselves and family.  There are those of us who are fighting wars within themselves be it health, financial or family. I pray that God will give them whatever it is they need to have lasting peace within.

Until next time………John Lennon, you are missed!

When you live next door to people and become close friends, you get to know some of their habits.  As with my current neighbors…….I have observed that every Monday, Wednesday and Friday he would be sure to clean up after the his dog.  Our garbage pick up is Friday afternoon and this way he could dispose of all of it for the week and usually are lawns were mowed on Wednesday so he would have it cleaned up so they would not have to mow in it. Also, he would check the hanging flower baskets and gardens on Mondays and Fridays, unless it was a particular dry time and he would check additionally. I know this because he would tell me I water mine too often and this would bring on great debate in a humorous way.

Thursday morning  I noticed his garbage was already on the curb. I found that very strange because normally he put his out before dinner on Thursday, or even waited until Friday morning. I also watched him clean up after the dog and check the flowering baskets. He really looked like a man on a mission. If I didn’t know better I would say he was getting ready to leave on a trip. It was like he was taking care of things so his wife would not have to worry about it. I feel on some level of consciousness, he knew what was ahead.

At lunch, that same day he had a massive stroke.  He passed away in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday.

Through the years of my hospice affiliation I have always felt that somehow my patients got advanced warning from their higher power.  When my mom was starting to transition she would tell me about this reoccurring dream she was having. She said our family was  on an airplane headed somewhere on vacation and when the plane landed, she was the only one who got off the plane.  I would ask her what day that was.  She would say it was on a Monday.  The last time I talked to her was Sunday night. I had to go home as I always did, to take care of my elderly dad. I kissed her goodbye and told her I would be back Monday morning as always.  She looked at me and told me I didn’t have to come back on Monday.  There was a couple of other personal comments amidst the discussion, but I told her I WOULD be back Monday morning.

I know now that she indeed knew she was departing her life on Monday and she was trying to protect me from have to see her go.  She died that Monday night 10/25/99 at 10:25 p.m.

Yes it is more than possible. I do believe the dying know when they are going on some level.  Whether it comes to them as some kind of “A ha!” moment, however I cannot see it being quite that dramatic,but if we listen closely and watch them, I think if they are able to communicate at all, they tell us, they know.

So now I say goodbye to you my dear neighbor. You have been so much fun to know and I appreciate all of your advice and help you have given to me. Say hi and hug Chloe for me.

Until next time…….

Every time football season comes around, I invariably get at least one person that asks me why I am so loyal, vocal, and down-right faithful to the Georgia Bulldogs football team even though I live in the midst of the Midwest, Illinois to be specific.  Fasten your seat belts folks because I am going to explain.

In June of 1972 I walked out of my place of employment in Rockford, Illinois and went home to announce I was leaving for Atlanta,Georgia just as soon as I could get a flight.  I had to do it in just that manner or it never would have happened….and that is another story.  For this post …….I moved to Atlanta……done.

Now I quickly learned that in Georgia you either went to Univ. of Georgia in Athens, Ga. or Georgia Tech in Atlanta. There were other schools but no one ever mentioned them.  The first eight out of ten guys that I  met were good ol’ Univ. of Ga. (UGGA) graduates.  The next thing I learned was if you didn’t like football, you had better either move back north or don’t count on seeing your boyfriend until football season was over. Fortunately for me…….I loved football and the Georgia Bulldogs.  I loved going to their games in Athens.  I loved the UGGA campus. The whole experience  gave me a sense of the way of life I had been craving.  I truly was a southerner at heart.

Long about year #2, my dad came up with the thought…..why didn’t I enroll in school there and finally get my college degree?  Here was that fork in the road. Which way was I to go?  College life or life as usual? I didn’t go to college after high school for a reason…..FEAR, plain and simple. I had been bullied from 5th grade through high school by the same person.  If you have read one of my earlier blogs you will find out that I had also been raped and beaten my senior year.  There was no one on this earth that could convince me that if I went to college, that I wouldn’t be getting four more years of bullying. No, maybe it wouldn’t be the same guy, but the cause of the bullying would still be apparent and someone else might start in. I just couldn’t do it….I just couldn’t.  I wanted peace in my life and true happiness.

Some 41 years later, I can tell you now that I took the wrong fork in the road.  What is done, is done. No going back ….only forward.  But to this day my heart and loyalty is with UGGA. “I’m Bulldog born and Bulldog bred….and when I die I’m Bulldog dead!”

While in the south  (8 1/2 yrs) I learned to love Nascar, hushpuppies, grits, the Confederate flag, and pick up trucks. It is a different way of life, a different way of eating, and just a different way of doing.  But I can tell you all right now, in those immortal words of my late friend (a true southerner, author entertainer and columnist) Lewis Grizzard, “no true southerner would be caught dead leaving the south during football season”. And that is gospel!

And with that I say good night until next time……..

 

I have a question…….how come every news story sets off a debate???? Consider what happened when there was that mass murder in the church in South Carolina last month. It didn’t take 48 hours and the folks said it had to do with the Confederate flag causing racism and the war cry of “that flag has got to go” was heard throughout the continent. The Confederate flag business completely over-shadowed the murders and the sadness of what had happened.

Causes are like opinions, and like ideas, and like thoughts, and like etc., etc………EVERYBODY has at least one. My cause(s) means no less to me than your cause does to you.  I posted something about Cecil the lion  on Facebook when it first happened and one of my dear friends posted something to the effect that she wished people would get as vocal about the pro-life issue. I can understand where she is coming from. Oh they do. In this town periodically they are standing at major intersections with horrible pictures and signs for me to see as I drive by.  I have several who put stuff on my facebook page ….. pictures which I “hide”.  This is an issue which cuts to my very soul and I don’t want to go into it….nor do I want it shoved down my throat. I am trying to live a peaceful existence and remembering that everyone has a right to their own cause and their thoughts about it.

But the point is, everyone has a cause and most of them deal with making the world a better place, and some…….not so much.  Everyone that knows me, knows my passion for animals and quality end of life care for humans. My facebook page is full of it.  It is not that I am saying any other cause is less significant than my passion/cause. On the contrary. I feel deeply for the children in our country and other countries that are hungry.  I feel deeply for victims of natural disasters.  I hurt for the homeless and victims of domestic violence and so many other things.

No one person has the energy or the finances to be the champion for all causes.  If we all do what we can to nurture our causes collectively, this can’t help but make the world a better place. But we have to quit turning every news story into racism or a challenge between the causes and instead further our own causes and help make the world a better place for all.  Be part of the solution, not part of the problem!

It is not that Cecil the lion was  more important that someone else’s cause……it is just for some of us, Cecil’s death broke out hearts.

Until next time……..

 

 

 

Quite a few years back I was having a conversation with one of the ministers of our church. Of all of the clergy that I am familiar with he was one of my top two favorites. We had been discussing my family’s situation at the time……..i.e. the continuing upheaval, and dysfunction in general. One of the things he was getting from what I was saying was that there were pedestals in my life and maybe way too many of them.

Yes, I had my dad on a pedestal always…….ever since I first laid eyes on him.  My brother was right there on another pedestal next to him. Then there was mom. …….we had the typical mother-daughter relationship so some days she was on a pedestal and some days she fell off. The conclusion of our conversation was that maybe we should all refrain from putting people on pedestals so much. It is human to do this and it is human also for the ones we have on pedestals to fall off. It is when they fall off that our hearts get broken. If we didn’t put them on the pedestals that we do, and accept them for the humans that they are including their faults and shortcomings, there is far less chance for us to get hurt. Just accept them as human beings  and love them for just that.

I have honestly tried to live my life that way in the years since that conversation. Not too awfully long ago I let someone continually hurt me. I can hear my dad say “hurt me once….shame on you. Hurt me twice shame on me”.  I allowed it and I tolerated it so I am more at fault than the other person. I let my self-respect and dignity be trashed. And why??? Again there was a pedestal involved. I didn’t expect this person to be human and have faults. I saw this person as someone super-human.  When the pedestal toppled and this person came falling to the ground, once again I hurt like hell. I couldn’t believe it.

So from this day forward I am going to remind myself that I am a human being. I have faults and shortcomings. I am not perfect in any way, shape or form. BUT, neither is anyone else. Wish I could have a bon fire in the back yard and burn all the pedestals and roast marshmallows. I will have to settle for mentally doing that instead.

If you have me on a pedestal…..please take me off of it. I do not want that responsibility of having to live up to your ideas of me. Whew! I feel more comfortable now that I am down on level ground.

Until next time…..may your pedestals be few or none and your joys be many.

My heart is heavy with the news of the killings in a church in S. Carolina, but that is not the subject of this post. Once again a racial situation in the south is stirring up an age-old debate……..the Confederate Flag, sometimes referred to as the Southern Cross.

First let me say that even though I live north of the Mason-Dixon line, I was born with a southern heart. I always felt misplaced somehow. 35+ years ago I was “pulled” by my heart to move to Atlanta. Down there Gone With The Wind plays 24 hours a day at a theater- I had already seen it at least 25 times since it came out – heck – I owned the video of it! I could recite most of Scarlett’s and Melonie’s dialog.

I went to museums. I walked Civil War cemeteries.I made it my mission to meet and learn from as many born and raised southerners, black or white, as I could. I learned to cook southern. Yes…….without even trying within the first week I had a southern drawl that fooled the best of them that still creeps into my speech today.  My doorbell even plays Dixie!

Now tonight on the news I hear that because of what happen this week in S. Carolina certain people have brought up the continuing saga of the Confederate Flag that flies high over Dixie.  That flag is loved and revered by true southerners.  To most of them it represents a time gone by – and the battle they fought and a life that was lived for generations. Did you know that of the 224 years of slavery that the Confederate Flag only flew the last four years? It didn’t represent slavery, white against black. It represents the was between the states and a time gone forever. There are restaurants like Pitty Pats Porch and Aunt Fannie Cabin that give tourists and residents a taste of what life was back then. I don’t blame them for wanting to hold on to some little bit of history.

In my research I found out that the south used to be made up of primarily Scotch and Scotch-Irish people. I am Scotch-Irish…..maybe that is why I was so pulled to go there. If there are any Politicians or racial activists reading this………GET THIS STRAIGHT………THE CONFEDERATE FLAG REPRESENTS THE SOUTH – PERIOD. It doesn’t represent blacks, whites, or any other one group of people.  Get over it and fly the Confederate flag and the United States Flag high on the pole with pride. We are one people under God…….long may our flags wave in peace!

Until next time……….

Peace and love to all

 

Lately, for whatever reason I have been asked if I miss my work with hospice.  To be specific, my work with 11th Hour.

Just so you will know, 11th hour personnel are invited to be there during the last phase of life. Some families don’t want to be alone when their loved one is passing.  Then there are those who are passing and don’t have any family. I so felt a need to sit at their bedside and hold their hand and talk them to the other side. In some cases I would softly sing a hymn and tell them how much I enjoyed getting to know them. I don’t want anyone or anything to be alone when they are passing……..but they decide who and if.

In nearly 14 years I had several that I became very close to them and their families. Some people may not think that is a good idea. Yes, when the patient passed on and the families went on about their lives I will admit there was a void in my life. Each patient and family were totally unique and not replaceable by another.  They each had their own story and touched my life like no one else had.

Normally we don’t get very long with a hospice patient because the families hold off calling us. There was one man I had for a little over 6 months. He loved my dogs, Chloe and Bella and they loved him.  He had a wonderful family and we shared a lot with each other during our time together.

He celebrated a birthday while under hospice care and Chloe and Bella wore their party hats and took balloons to celebrate with him. He laughed and truly enjoyed his special day as much as the dogs and I did.

Through most of our time together he stayed alert and coherent, but the signs were starting to appear that our time was growing short.  Then one morning his daughter called me to tell me he had left us. We had just been there until about midnight and he went around 4 a.m. A big part of me was sad I wasn’t there, but everything I had been told and learned was that he was trying to spare me seeing him go AND he knew something I didn’t know.  About 18 hours later my Chloe passed away. I like to think she is up there keeping him company and waiting for Bella and I.

Yes, in my time as an 11th Hour volunteer I met and cared for some incredible people and had some wonderful  experiences.  With several patients I felt their spirit leave their body. I heard them talk to people who had gone  before them.

I am sorry my health is such that I cannot give with the passion and energy that I did before. I must take care of me now. My heart and spirit will always be a member of the 11th Hour team of Northern Illinois Hospice.  Do I miss it?? What do you think?

Until next time……..