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On Dying Alone

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From Made In America, the Book

From Made In America, the Book

Animals have an instinct for dying alone – hidden from view. Even the largest, most conspicuous creatures find ways to conceal themselves when death draws near. If an elephant missteps and dies in an open place, the herd will not leave the carcass there, the others will pick it up and carry the body from place to place, finally putting it down in some inexplicable location. When elephants encounter the skeleton of another elephant out in the open, they methodically take up each of the bones and distribute them, in a ponderous ceremony, over neighboring acres.

We speak of our dead in low voices; “struck down;” we say, as though visible death can only occur for cause, by disease or violence…avoidably.

We send flowers, we grieve, we perform ceremonies, bury bones and scatter ashes, oblivious that there are countless others somewhere in the world on the same schedule of death. And unmindful that such immense mass of flesh, bone and consciousness will disappear by absorption into the earth, without recognition of the transient survivors…US…WE, the living who are left behind afraid –and alone…missing the departed.

Many humans fear death. More fear dying alone. I am no exception…or at least that was true until recently when I realized that it isn’t dying alone that I fear but LIVING alone! It is the thought of growing old alone…of being DISCONNECTED from love and humanity that frightens me.

I have come to realize that every new life is in trade for a life that departs. There is some comfort in the recognition of such synchrony and in the information that we all leave this world together, in the best of company.

Our Letters Must Be Read –ii

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Reading-a-Letter_Degas

On Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 12:09 PM, Renee Prejean-Motanky wrote:

Now I get it! It’s sad that when it comes to passion, hysteria (evoked by true passion) has gone out of style. The world has become superficial. There are no more “masters.”

Your work has an ability to grab folks where they live and “shake” them. It’s edgy and it’s in-your-face. Most people can’t deal. It either brings out their worst traits (greed, avarice, envy…) or makes them feel as though someone/thing has been thrown into them, crawled through their psyche and swum through their soul…either way, your “derangement” is totally wasted –ends up bringing you grief, misery or abject “pissed-off-itude” until you find a way back to “sanity” by telling them to fuck-off and the project becomes a way to keep the creative genius alive…to verify he exists… to feed the spirit…and it gets better (I did see the difference between earlier and later episodes.)

What you also need (well, what I need)…what I’ve always needed…is to find a soul somewhere with whom to share something in common. I’m beginning to fear that I’ll be forced to live out my life alone…in a dreamlike state, yearning for more than is really there. I can’t allow myself to believe that’s true yet.

However;

Sanity, while over-rated, I suppose, does have its own rewards. With a little serenity (as I prefer to call it,) you can take on a new client or task and remain in control. When that becomes burdensome, you can always lose your mind for a second or two. I do it all of the time (that is one of my stabilizers!) When you get back, rest assured, the ingrates are waiting because while you’ve been gone and they’ve had to do it on their own they’ve discovered, if they have a keen business sense, where their talents really lie. Unfortunately, a keen business sense seems to go hand-in-hand with having a knack for discovering a weakness in others and preying on it for personal gain.

BUT…

you recognize that trait in them and are beyond their control. So, they can’t get to you now (well, maybe a little, but only in the weaker moments) or cause you any lasting damage. You just might find a way to turn the tables on them. True talent MUST prevail.

And you have true talent, Harry. –r Read the rest of this entry

What’s In Store for Seniors

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timthumbIf you’re like me, you’re sick to death of the posturing and rhetoric of our political parties…in fact, you’ve felt dismayed, disgusted, frustrated, maybe even, fearful. I have certainly felt every one of those things along with helplessness. Republican rhetoric, stubborn beliefs, true and false accusations from both parties and opinions from self-appointed “experts” have left me to wonder what purpose is really being served.

Why is it that deficit spending (ALWAYS the big culprit) is given a new definition, depending on which party is in power, and Social Security and Medicare Benefits are attacked? It seems talking out of both sides of the mouth is common? For example, “entitlement” Is, Ironically a bad word when used to characterize Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits. Never mind that most of us have paid into Social Security for all of our working lives and that employers have paid for unemployment benefits, are taxed on these “entitlements.” And need I point out that recipients are taxed on these benefits that we have paid for.

So what about the pensions of lawmakers and politicians for which TAXPAYERS are charged? These and their many tax breaks are also “entitlements”. Yet they’ve not come under scrutiny and so far there is no evidence that any of them would give up these benefits…yet this is glossed over.

Robbing senior citizens of income they depend on could result in a sad and steadily increasing population of homeless senior citizens. Seniors are also the least likely to be employed population. And because we are growing in numbers there are quick accusations of how seniors will rob future generations of their “entitlements.” No matter what seniors do, we seem to bear the brunt of the ills of the country. It’s ludicrous!

It would be nothing short of miraculous if our political “leaders” actually spent more time doing something that would+ truly benefit our citizens. And miracle of miracles, what would happen if the person we citizens have chosen to be our President was actually supported rather than being fought at every turn? Obviously, the people wanted change yet we’re back to fighting every change proposed, mainly for political gain.

So what’s up with that? And better question still; what can we do about it? Sophomoric though it may seem, I say we need to pay attention to what our elected officials say and do…then let go of preconceived political beliefs, and ask ourselves:
•“How does this really benefit our country?”
•“How does it benefit my family, my community, our children’s education and everyone else, including seniors?”
•“Am I following political rhetoric or beliefs I picked up from parents, religious gurus, and other people who hold themselves as authorities, or is this truly what is in my own heart?”

I’m certainly not an expert on politics and I don’t even like writing about politics but the events of the first four years of the Obama presidency and those since his re-election, have left me questioning my belief in this country. I painfully participate in the struggles my mother is experiencing at 89 when she should be without anxiety– able to enjoy her final chapter and I am truly frightened about what’s in store for me.

Why The Willow Weeps

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Weeping Willow

I know now why you seem to bow,

What causes you to bend

Your regal brow in abject pose

Safe from the zephyr’s wind .

I know now why you try to keep the sun

From shining on your face:

And why you kiss the verdant green

In solitary grace:

Unlike the evergreen and elm,

Birch, cedar and the rest

Who rise to reach toward heaven’s gate

To hold it to their breasts;

They stand together in their fold

And revel in the light;

You hide in shame beneath your mane

And dance alone at night

You weep because your brethren seem

To have the clearer view

Yet fail to note the wondrous scene

That dwells inside of you.

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The Give-A-Damn Repairman

Rose McGowan was sixty-eight years young damn it! And that’s what she told her kids when they suggested that she move into the local old folks home. Those words alone made Rose cringe, “old folks”. What does that even mean. She much more preferred the term matured adult, thank you.

At this stage of her life she dared to define what others thought was the norm for most elderly people. She felt that it was not the time to bow down and go quietly into the light. No, Rose wanted to light a rocket and blast off into that sucker. So far, she’d been sky diving, scuba diving, and mountain climbing. In her mind, she was healthy and at the prime of her life and no one was going to tell her what she could and could not do.

Rose had managed to be a loving wife, nurturing mother to…

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