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Archive for the ‘life and death’ Category

Last week was particularly difficult as I watched hurricane Harvey and all of the damage it did to Texas. The day after the hurricane hit, I got a call from my mom (who was born and raised in Corpus Christi). She told me about a phone call she had gotten from my uncle. She and my uncle are half siblings. My uncles’s cousins lived in Houston. She told me that the cousin, her husband and four great grandchildren had drowned in the flood waters. It was sad to hear it and even more so because of the family connection. I think we all hoped and prayed that it wasn’t true. However, the next day, word came through the media. It was true. The woman who was my uncle’s cousin, Belia, her husband, and four great grandchildren had definitely drowned inside of their van while trying to flee to higher ground. Great, great sadness.

And then last Saturday a fire was started by a very foolish fifteen year old who threw a lit firecracker down a ravine in a heavily wooded (and dry because we have had no rain in three months) area. The entire region caught fire. If you aren’t familiar with the news, it is in the Columbia River Gorge, one of the most scenic and peaceful areas around. It is one of my favorite places to go. It has really grown in the four days since it began. The fire is near the watershed which supplies water to most of the Portland Metro area. If that goes, it  could be catastrophic for Portland. It’s so sad to see the pictures and to see the ash falling outside, as if it were snow. Then there is the air which is full of smoke and is causing hazardous air quality conditions.

It also seems that I am getting every single complication from my surgery that I could get. First there was the infection, then the sciatica (which I think is directly related to the surgery because I had to sit and lay down most of the time during the first three weeks post-op, which put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Now the latest is that it appears that I have developed an “incisional hernia,” which is most likely a result of carrying something that was too heavy during the post-op period. So now we’ll see if they decide that I need to have surgery to repair that. I am not looking forward to another surgery before the incision from the last surgery has even closed up completely. That’s actually how I discovered what I think is the hernia. The incision is still not closed. The opening is pretty small but it is still open. I noticed about a week ago that there was tissue protruding from the incision. Then over the weekend it was gone and I breathed a sigh of relief but then last night, it’s back. That’s when it hit me that the doctor warned that a hernia often develops in that kind of incision. So now I have to go in and get it checked out and go from there. Not too happy about that. I guess when the doctor said no lifting for six to eight weeks, I should have erred on the side of safety. I didn’t. I gave myself only the six weeks. Now there’s a problem.

So not good here. I guess you can understand that. I’m crossing my fingers that I’m wrong about the hernia!

 

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I’m currently reading End of Days: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by James Swanson (don’t run out and buy it; it’s not the best book out there on the subject). Today I am at the part where the body is brought home to the White House and preparations are made for the funeral. Although I have read a myriad of books about this and saw so much of this unfold on live television in 1963, it is always heart wrenching and tears follow. Needless to say it has been an emotional day.
I’m struck by the timeliness of this reading as it is not only coming up on the 51st anniversary of the assassination but also because today is day of the dead, a day when people welcome their lost loved ones as they return from the dead to comfort their live family and friends. It is believed that to forget a departed friend or family sends them to true death while remembering them keeps them alive for as long as the memories are alive. I’m one that believes that the dead don’t leave us. They are always with us in spirit and in our hearts and minds.
When someone like President Kennedy dies, the entire world knows about it and mourns the passing and remembers them in history books. Their loved ones are accompanied in their sorrow by strangers who loved and mourn them. Indeed, even when there is no more family to mourn them, they will go on in history books and on the Internet.
What happens when someone dies and they are unknown except to their friends and family? Are they any less worthy of being mourned and being remembered? Is it only the famous and the infamous that live on in our memories? Is their death any less significant?
Everyone is worthy of being loved and remembered and mourned. Everyone. Every death is significant, if not to many, to a few. Every death.
I’m thinking now of those I’ve lost. Maybe only my family remembers them. Maybe only we still mourn them. But they go on in our hearts. I know that each of my brothers is with me as I go through my daily life. Something will remind me of them and I smile. Sometimes the memories bring tears, but that’s okay. Tears are not always bad; not always sad. When I see my nieces and nephews, I see my brothers in them. When I see their grandchildren I know that they live on in those children. I know that they are here, not just on the day of the dead but every time someone thinks of one of them, they live on.
Maybe they weren’t important and maybe they won’t be in a history book but each of my brothers, David, Richard, and Carlos, lives on. I feel them with me at times. They walk the earth. They live on.

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