Saturday, January 28, 2012

Death

Losing a friend has brought death to the forefront of my mind lately.

I know, right? The HUGE elephant that is in everyone's living room but is rarely acknowledged. I pondered this as I drove along the freeway this morning. As usual, it was chock full of cars and trucks and vans and all manner of motorized transportation. I looked at the vehicles and saw the people jockeying for position in a better lane than the one they were in, I saw people cut people off, not let someone in, let a car in or speed up to make certain there was no squeeze in space in front of them, lest they allow someone to get ahead. Everyone rushing, rushing, rushing. Pushing, pushing, pushing. Hurrying, in essence, to the very same place we're all heading; the loss of our mortal body and the freeing of our soul from it's earthly bonds.

My husband and I were talking about this tonight. He works so hard for us, day in and day out. I thank him constantly for what he does and he said, "You are all worth it". For that he got a great massage as we chatted. His poor back was in knots and HE was worth it. So we talked about death and life and love and what comes after. We've always said that we'd like to cross over together---that neither of us would want to be here without the other.

I'm sure that's a common sentiment among those who are very much in love and have been together as long as we have.... Twenty five years. Not long in the grand scheme of eternity, but eons if you're a Kardashian. Ok, yeah, that was a tangent and not a nice one. Sorry.

I've told him before, and I'll continue to tell him that he's the very best thing that has ever happened to me. Because of him, all the other wonderful things have followed. I do so love him. I think perhaps we may have done our children a disservice though. We've not modeled conflict resolution to them. We don't fight. We've had exactly two fights in our marriage, and both were my fault. So our offspring haven't actually seen a fight between us nor have they seen how we resolve a dispute. I feel badly about that, almost as badly as I feel about allowing my girls to watch all those Disney movies where the knight in shining white armor comes sweeping in to save the fair maiden and she's not complete until she HAS said shining knight. Barbies weren't much more of an example to them. Life isn't like that---not usually.

And although I *did* get my white knight and ours is a peaceful and a calm relationship---I know that many others are not and that does not mean they're not good relationships. I hope my children understand that you can have conflict and be upset, even angry, and still love the person you're having the argument with. And the whole Barbie thing gets me. I'm no one's idea of physical perfection but you know what? My white knight in shining armor has never ever criticized me for my physical shortcomings. Ever. I more than make up for that lack during my daily internal dialogue.

But back to death. As I was kneading hubby's back, we talked about the richness of our lives---and not in the monetary sense, in the things that money cannot buy. You can't take physical possessions with you when you go. So no matter how hard you jockey for position on the freeway, how hard you try to hold onto money or power, once you've stepped beyond this world all you take with you are the intangibles. Love, light, intelligence, what you've learned and the choices you've made along the way determine a great deal.

I'm so thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge I hold dear in my heart that this life is not all there is. I know I'll be with my amazing husband forever.

So let a car get in front of you, slow down a little bit, be kind. Everyone is heading in the same direction after all.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Twenty-Twelve

Perhaps the Mayans were right. Is this the last year for us? :::shrugs::: Who knows...

January has not been an auspicious beginning to the year. My good friend Claudia suffered a brain bleed and on New Year's Day, her life support was removed. With my sister Julie, and another friend, we dressed Claudia's body for the last time. I've dressed the deceased before, including my mother. Perhaps nothing brings me closer to the knowledge that the body is simply a vessel for the spirit and the 'real' person, than handling their remains and feeling the emptiness that pervades their mortal coil. Claudia was not there, it was simply what she left behind when she passed over.

I was also asked to speak at her service. Crying before things began, I went to a quiet place and said a prayer for strength. I could not stop my tears and I did not wish to cry as I spoke of my friend. My prayer was answered and I was given a calm and a peacefulness to fill my heart.

The gathering after her service was pure Claudia. She'd planned her special day and asked that maple bars and candy bars, cookies, rootbeer floats and comfort food to be served. Balloons and confetti at each table. Claudia wanted a party and a party was had. Before they closed her coffin, I placed a tiny seashell in her hand. As they lowered her coffin, I had my husband place a larger shell on top.

Claudia loved the beach and had just recently come back to her Pacific Northwest from Arizona.She is not here....



As much as her passing caused heartache, it also reinforced to me of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We do live on. We do not end at the death of our physical body. I'm incredibly thankful for the gift of the resurrection and the knowledge that we will see each other again.

Then my father's beloved dog passed away. I think that even as an adult, it's very difficult to see a parent cry. My father has always been a rock. When I was younger, he was superman to me. In fact it never occurred to me that he could feel pain. Ever. Aren't all daddies that to their daughters? Unfortunately it's not so....

Thankfully my father has two wonderful son-in-laws who dug the grave for him....



Our doggie Cassie became ill and we were told it might be cancer. Three days later we were told it's not. We're incredibly grateful.

We've had a great deal of snow and an entire week off of school and work. Well, work for me at least. Lance had to keep working, poor guy. Now it's raining and we're expecting flooding. Thankfully we only lost power one day.



This hibernation of sorts has caused me to bake. I think it's something imprinted in my DNA. Cold=Need To Bake. I've not heard my family complaining.