Friday, February 06, 2009

On Life and Death

On Feb. 5, 2007, my 37 year old nephew Jake died of a heart attack in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. A few years earlier, my 12 year old great niece Rebecca died of an adverse drug reaction to a medication. Last year, James Burnett of the Miami Herald and his wife lost a baby during pregnancy. Mel lost a dear, close friend and associate this week and is dealing with the loss, and showing me the way, slowly and painfully. This list could go on.

James wrote a column to friends who had just lost a child and described to them some of the things that would happen, the grief, the thousand well meaning questions that would all be the same. The inability to provide comfort to each other, and the need for time to pass, and the healing that would come. But the memories remain, as they should.

Mel, in an amazingly precise style that takes complex subjects and reduces them to simplicity states in a single sentence a truth so obvious about a topic that you wonder why you never realized precisely what she said before. She will flesh things out for you and leave you with a clear realization. These little paragraphs she calls the 'reading fairies'. The other posts range from hilarious to practical to Mel being human. If I have never mentioned it before, I stand in awe of this woman. She teaches one to live by example.

Glamourpuss is a woman I have known for three or more years now. I met her when I first started blogging. Her father could have been mine. When I look at Puss and how much she has changed since she left teaching at the school she was at, and went to work and started pole dancing, I see someone who has shown me how to live. I am not saying it hasn't been easy for her, or a bed of roses, it has not been either. She has worked harder than most people I know and the result of her efforts are staring to pay off for her. She is another of my heroes.

Which brings me to Skinny Little Blond (she is now going by the name Skinny Little Sister as she has at least one Sister, Singleton). When I was in graduate school, I read so much existentialism I went through a dark period until I finally figured out that the existentialists didn't finish writing a book or a play (particularly Sartre) and then go out and cut their own throat. That was a revelation. Read Skinny and you'll read someone who seems to have mastered existentialism and writes it in everything she does, and then shows you how to live and find excitement in doing so. It doesn't matter if it's going for a ride in the fastest dragster in the county (and taking off your seatbelt as the car goes flying over a hill) or going to visit your brother for two weeks and staying for a few months and raising some hell. Skinny knows how to live.

And what provoked this post? My friend Spellbound who writes WordsOnWaking. She wrote a post about having a night to herself and ended up talking about she wasn't worried about dying, it was making sure that she lived. A provacative issue isn't it?

Here's a reading fairy of Mel's to give you an idea:

"Resentments are the blocks that hold us back from loving others and ourselves.
Resentments do not punish the other person; they punish us.
They become barriers to feeling good and enjoying life.
They prevent us from being in harmony with the world.
Resentments are hardened chunks of anger.
They loosen up and dissolve with forgiveness and letting go.
Letting go of resentments does not mean we allow the other person to do anything to us that he or she wants.
It means we accept what happened in the past, and we set boundaries for the future.
We can let go of resentments and still have boundaries.
We try to see the good in the person or the good that ultimately evolved from whatever incident we feel resentful about.
We try to see our part.
Then we put the incident to rest

And last, but not least is Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". The actual German translation is 'Life is Wonderful'. When you realize that Beethoven wrote the entire 9th Symphony stone deaf, you can only begin to comprehend the amazing achievement he performed. It is so technically complex, and difficult that the Japanese honored him when designing the DVD by making the DVD large enough to hold a recoding of the entire 9th Symphony in his honor. Ode to Joy is about 3 and a half minutes long. Please enjoy, and end on a happier note.

I rest my case. Have a great weekend.


Spellbound said...

I am flattered to be an inspiration. As my favorite dead songwriter, Towns VanZandt said, "Too live is to fly, both low and high, so shake the dust off of your wings and the tears out of your eyes."


The CEO said...

Hi Spellbound, it was your post that pushed me over the edge to write this post. Thank you.

M@ said...

Gonna have to give this a listen....

katherine. said...

I am only familiar with our have captured her writing exactly!

I'll visit the sites as well.

Dealing with loss and grief can be a truly difficult path...but if you can get to the end you will be okay. Too many get held up on the way.

Life IS Wonderful!

The CEO said...

Hi M@, I look forward to you coming back from Australia.Then you can listen as much as you like. Maybe we'll get a beer or two.

Hi Katherine, the other people are amazing in their own right. Mel is special and unique. And you're right, Life IS wonderful! Maybe next season, we can get in a little football talk between us.

PhoenixHearse said...

I think maybe this was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thanks Monty.

Mel said...

So himself is boiling potatoes, baking cod and whippin' up a parsley butter sauce (don't ask's HIS deal!) and I crank up the tune. he came just a whistlin'....

Ain't it cool how catchy it is?!

AND I got a bit of a snuggle!

Life---is good.

(((((((((( Monty ))))))))))))

<-- honoured to call you friend--just sayin'.......

Sooooooo.....howdoya feel about baked cod in parsley butter sauce?

(check back with me later....LOL I'll let ya know......)

Brook said...

Our Maggiie died 5 years ago this past January. Our little girl, gone-just three days after her third birthday. For some reason I have had a more difficult time with grief this time around, but I think it may be that I am more ready to deal with her loss and allow memories of her to be reincorporated into my everyday awareness. Ahhh, deep breaths and occasional tissues.

NoRegrets said...

I'm sorry about your anniversary...Hope you are doing ok.

The CEO said...

Hi Heather, I'm so glad you read tis post, and got it. You're very important to me.

Hi Mel, I sure hope I can grow up to be more like you. I'm working on it. I'm just as proud to call you a friend too.

Hi Brook, I remember the post you wrote about Maggie. She'll always live in your heart, and she'll always be yours, forever. I'm always here for you.

Hi NoR, I'm doing alright, trying to figure out how to get together with you. Sometime soon, I hope. Thanks for the good thoughts!

Brook said...

Smashing Pumpkins had a CD titled "Melancholy Baby" and that is where I found myself after your and Spellbounds posts. ACK. I hate when a passing moment-and they are-color my days. Thanks.

The CEO said...

Hi Brook, welcome back. Lots of things will bring back memmories of Maggie, and you'll deal with them as they occur. But you'll also continue to live your life to the best and fullest of your ability. Life is still wonderful, a joy, and a gift we have for a short period of time. It's up to us to make the best use of it. And from what I see, you do a pretty good job of it. I am glad to know you!

skinnylittlesister said... sorry for the seemingly limitless loss around. It's especially difficult with our young and my heart and prayers are with all .
I remember losing a dear friend back in my twenties to cancer, her leaving behind a husband and two very young children. Distraught, I told my Mom I just couldn't understand why this had to happen. It didn't seem fair. She reminded me that life comes with no guarantees and thta the good Lord needs angels of all ages, sizes, speeds and strengths...
and I do believe that to be true.
Wishing peace, healing, acceptance and love to you & all

Mel said...

(((((((( Brook ))))))))))


Angels on duty.


The CEO said...

Hi Skinny, I appreciate your insight and the love that you share it with. You live and share what you teach. I am graced.

Hi Mel, thank you so much.
{{{{{ Mel }}}}}

Denver Cereal: fiction set in a real place said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Wow, that's a lot. I admire you for supporting others and giving, in your usual way, to make them feel good.

Well done!

The CEO said...

Hi Claudia, thank you for your kind words. It's so nice coming from you!

Glamourpuss said...

Life is tough and I'm sorry you have been so sorely tested. But thank you for your kind words - sometimes it's hard to see any sense of progress yourself so it's nice when people reflect that back at you.


The CEO said...

Hi Puss, you have made such amazing progress in the three years I have known you that you are quite a different person, and a much better, more achieved person than when you started blogging. And you were very good then! Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us.