Archive for the Divorce Category

Episode 27: Mind Over Matter

Posted in Death, Divorce, Funeral home, Funeral Service Professional, Humor, Inspiration, Life, Mortuary, Philosophy, Relationships, Wisdom with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2014 by Morguie







Today, I am going to tell you a story CJ related to me, recently. We had been discussing problems and difficulties, in general. We talked of some of the more difficult things to deal with as an embalmer and restorative artist. She told me about her first days as an apprentice, about some of the things which she hadn’t expected to find so hard to learn. She said she managed to work through a lot of them, but not without  looking at the situations in a different light. Attitude and thought adjustment, she claimed, were key.

CJ learned many years ago that she was going to have to mentally turn certain unpleasantries around in order to get herself through them. For example, when she was learning how to perform tasks involved with embalming. Right away she found that it was difficult to do the cavity embalming.




For those that are unfamiliar with the procedure, the easiest way to describe : it is probably ( in CJ’s own opinion, it IS) the most important detail in embalming, due to the nature of what the cavity (abdominal contents are the main vital organs and digestive tract) holds. There are a multitude of various bacteria which occur there in life, and these bacteria translocate after death. It is imperative to keep this post-mortem activity to a minimum by applying very specialized chemicals (containing formaldehyde and other strong disinfectants) to this area.




To do this, the embalmer must first take an instrument called a trocar (long tube with a sharp point) to suction the natural fluids out (this is the very instrument that surgeons use to perform liposuction to remove fat) and then replace that removed fluid with the preservative and disinfectant by reinserting trocar needle to distribute the chemical.

The cavity is where decomposition of a dead body truly begins and is the source of the worst post-mortem problems—that is why refrigeration is mandatory, if embalming is not desired or chosen. It is optimal to embalm if there will be a viewing of the body…obviously. That is due to the preservative which slows the decomposition, therefore making the body much safer to expose to the living, generally. Disinfection kills a lot of the harmful germs and microbes, but cannot kill or slow them all, of course. The technique is a vigorous one, which involves full insertion of this 24″-30″ long instrument. 









Trocar (Photo credit: VCU Libraries)











CJ worried about how she was going to go about this task without becoming emotionally tormented. The very first time the task was shown her, Mr. B. could see this. So, he told her to take the trocar into her hands, he placed his hand over hers, and he guided her hand in the task. As they did this together, her fear dissolved, but the unpleasant task still caused tears to run down her cheeks. It seemed so violent. She HAD to find a way to think of ‘something else’ instead of what she was doing, if she was ever going to master this process.




It didn’t take her long to come up with the ideal thing. She began to think of her ex-husband. Breaking free of the violent marriage, the abuse was physical and emotional; he had been a monster, especially the very final day she lived with him. She left at the end of that most bloody day. She was lucky to be alive…she decided she could never, ever go back after that.

The anger and rage she felt for his mistreatment of her fueled her resolve to make him a permanent part of her past — but she had long secretly wished she could have exacted some painful revenge for it. Of course, she never did so.






So, when it got to the task of cavity work, she just imagined it was her ex-husband  lying there on that table.

It was perfect! In no time, it seemed she was mastering the technique and doing a very thorough job of it. Mr. B. noticed how well, indeed. He asked her how she overcame her fear to do such a good job.




She told him the secret behind her method. Then, they laughed together, so hard, that there were tears rolling down Mr. B’s cheeks. (Years later, when CJ and the ex were on good terms, she even told HIM this very story — and, even HE had to laugh about it!)

Sometimes after that, he’d come through to inspect a body later, poking and testing for firming and overall preservation of the remains. He’d smile at CJ, signaling his approval of her work and then he’d say, “You must have been thinking pretty hard about that ex-husband today!”




And that is the story of how CJ conquered her first challenge (formerly known as an obstacle or problem). It was,  simply put, mind over matter!













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Thought For Today: “Character”

Posted in bereavement, Death, Divorce, Friendship, Funeral Service Professional, Gratitude, Grief, History, Inspiration, Life, Mourning, Musing, Philosophy, Thought For Today, Traffic Accident, Tragic death, Wisdom with tags on May 8, 2014 by Morguie





“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them

defines my character and the quality of my life.

I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness,

immobilized by the gravity of my loss,

or I can choose to rise from the pain

and treasure the most precious gift I have —

life itself.”

—–    Walter Anderson

CJ says:    Who is this guy? He obviously knows about me!

Well…Mr. Anderson: I cannot lie. I struggle to really find

my way back to the girl I once was; tragic events and other serious life-altering

situations seem to have made me into someone else.

I realize I cannot have the happiness and joy and lightness as before;

as when in more youthful, carefree, trouble-free days…

but I do know that living in isolation and in a lack of joy is slowly killing me.

So, Mr. Anderson, I concur.  I simply cannot put this off any longer.

I simply, and absolutely, MUST….

start to live in spite of the pain of my grief.

I mean…what do I have to lose, anyway?


If any of my fine friends reading this today also finds himself in this place…

just know that you are among friends here.


Truthfully, it hurts to discover that life is passing you by,

while you are ‘stuck’ in this sort of limbo.

Yes….I believe I must find some way to live, now.

Have a beautiful day everyone!

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A Problem Child

Posted in Award, Death, Divorce, Funeral, Funeral home, Funeral Service Professional, Future, Gratitude, Inspiration, Life, Musing, Philosophy, Prison Inmates, Relationships, Thought For Today, Wisdom with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2014 by Morguie

Here’s a problem a lot of parents might only pray for! Their child has big, big trouble! Trouble deciding WHICH college he is going to pick!  KUDOS to this kid and the great family he was raised in!! This is beautiful! This is a great story I hope you will share with others — especially those others who have school-aged kids wanting to go to ivy-league schools someday.  This is a real “problem child!” 🙂   By the way….HE CHOSE YALE.

We know that here in America, EVERY person can have a dream, and go for it! Not every person who has a dream will reach that goal. Some will dream and just stop there. That’s not really ‘dreaming’ —that’s just making noise and idle chit-chat. If you want to be serious you have to show up with a plan and a  game face.  Gum-flapping precedes whining and excuse-making. I firmly believe anyone can manage the resources, connections, things, money… and stuff will come. BUT, there are at least four components that must be in place, IF you are going to be able to attain all that you need to get from Point A and see it to its completion:

  • DREAM: have a goal — be realistic.
  • DESIRE: you must want this dream more than all other things.
  • DETERMINATION: it’s the vehicle that will carry you.
  • DRIVE:  fuel for your vehicle – push and pull.                                                                                                                                    coffeecat


CJ Freefallin'

CJ Freefallin’





KIDS: Apply yourself, take advantage of the free education and stop goofing off when you could be getting somewhere meaningful with your life. Acting a fool and running with knuckleheads…is what it is. Being a thug will never get you any respect. Gangsta life won’t lead to the privileged life uptown. It will lead you to an early grave ( I buried LOTS, ask me…average life span of Los Angeles gangbanger is probably 25) or a life behind bars though. There’s a world of opportunities for the taking, so why are kids dropping out? Ignorance is not bliss in this case. Taking lives and people’s property is just so ridiculous and the parents of tomorrow’s thugs are very responsible for enabling such thuggery. Just my humble opinion. It never has to be that way when you plan responsibly for yourself.     Those who expect stuff just to materialize without putting ANY effort out at all, or just the minimum required, well…those are often the folks who tend to whine loudly about  inequality or injustice or unlevel playing fields. Those people are quite often never made to really work and sweat and sacrifice until it hurts to get to the goal. Sacrifices that hurt like leaving your little kids behind are no easy fete. Not when you’ve NEVER been apart. And, having to figure out how to sleep between two full days of school and work that managed to run into each other is awful hard. During your commute isn’t the time to nap. I know. Not while you’re the driver. Too sick to work or attend class? Tough. Got to make it to both anyway. Pray for Death, maybe he’ll help you out; not likely. SUCK IT UP. You CAN do it.  There is something to be said of achievement that comes as a result of struggle, hard work, and personal commitment. It feels so DESERVED. Cannot say this when it is ‘given’ to you. Nope. Even if NOBODY seems to support your dream or effort, it need not hinder you. You’ll be able to show the naysayers that you did it all anyway! There’s no time for those folks when you have work this important to do, anyhow.

For now, better remind yourself on a constant basis:



Your new mantra: I WILL see this thing through, I will make this effort and sacrifice and plan of mine pay off. I WILL have what I desire. I WILL reach my dream. I cannot quit. If I quit I  have decided I am defeated and no longer determined. Defeat is not an option I desire. Dreams worth reaching, require an investment from YOU. A commitment.  “Winners never quit…quitters never win…”

One has to have a burning DESIRE— those dreams are reachable if one has the DETERMINATION to see it through. And DRIVE to push himself, especially when it feels like its just too much work, taking too long, too hard to reach, or too big after all. Some people really break their tails to make it… and then, something tragic happens along the way that cuts them short of reaching their intended goal. THAT’S TRAGIC and HEARTBREAKING. Or, maybe you’ll get to the goal, and beyond your own control, stuff tragically happens that takes you out of the picture or cuts the goal away from your ability to enjoy your success of it.

For these truly disappointing circumstances: You’ll get my full sympathy every time. That’s because I can relate to that sort of tragedy, personally.   READ MY SUCCESS STORY >

It takes courage to take risks…but if you never try…you’ll never know what you could have done.


Now get out there and get going!  Hugs, CJ and Morguie

©2014, C.S. Thompson.




dreams and wishes. 62/365

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Tangled Webs of Life: Thoughts

Posted in Death, Divorce, Friendship, Future, Grief, Life, Loss, Relationships, Thought For Today, Tragic death with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2014 by Morguie

The Mouse and I have been thinking over the past few days about the news stories in our local paper and on the set, discussing and debating about why it is necessarily so that it seems the world is on its way to hell in a fiery hand-basket. At least, one might wonder, here in our neck of the woods. It is disturbing and we are hanging our heads in shame for what has become of the old hometown.

We can only guess that so much interpersonal violence, abuse of children, beatings of babies, and general thuggery and crime is a sort reaction people are exhibiting in an expression of desperation that to us literally screams, “HELP US! WE ARE OUT OF CONTROL BECAUSE WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO COPE WITH LIFE!” Or we could be guessing the world has gone to hell. A cry for help?

Senseless loss of life to drugs and alcohol, either by someone else’s bad behavior or one’s self. Suicides.

Homicides. Killings of wife and kids. Killings of parents. Killings of total strangers for no clear reason.

AND THEN…we DO have our own parts to play in the lives of those around us, as well. Being ACCOUNTABLE has much to do with the solutions we can find for a lot of today’s problems. It seems we can get off with a “pass” more and more though, with our bad behavior by pointing to someone or something else as a causative factor that contributed to some deficiency in our failure to do right.  MOST of us are smarter than this, and most tend to be better as humans.

Some will run with any defense you can make for them, never ever being made to account or to learn. No justice in that.

It is reprehensible to take your wicked and angry frustrations out on any innocent person, most especially a tiny baby or child…an elderly, disabled, or otherwise defenseless person or creature.

It can be further intensified by the use of alcohol or drugs.

The more complicated the social environs become, it seems less equipped the humans are to be able to cope and accept the stress and change that go with it. So many people lack basic personal coping skills, many beginning to manifest the problem in childhood as bullies or delinquents. Many, many have watched parents medicate and intoxicate themselves since they were small. Together with other exhibits of poor coping in times of frustration, kids turn to violence and drugs because it seems the natural thing to do about easing their pain. It doesn’t help when it seems no one cares much about you generally, either. That atmosphere sets people up for disaster.

Apathy, neglect, abuse, and crime. What a piss-poor setting for a kid to evolve into a decent person.

A purple ribbon to promote awareness of Interp...

A purple ribbon to promote awareness of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Prevention. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More and more people seem to come into this world lacking a decent set of parents or even a half decent human being for a parent. Sadly, a child NEVER asks to be placed here.

We’ve heard the “it takes a village to raise a child” saying before.  We really don’t know, looking at the course things seem to be taking around here. We think some are tired of trying or are afraid of getting involved.

We do know, that all those who are defenseless to act for their own safety and well-being need for us to do the right thing when we suspect any kind of abuse, mistreatment, or neglect. There is always a way to remain anonymous, so there is no excuse to allow for it to continue.

We have decided to start on a “Links” page to list a bunch of Helpful Resources we hope to have up very soon that we will make available for hotlines, books, websites, all sorts of stuff to become a kinder, gentler, and softer place to land. Maybe we can actually be helpful. We will have achieved the goal of our blog then.guardianangelwithchild

[365 Toy Project: 050/365] The Humans Are Dead

[365 Toy Project: 050/365] The Humans Are Dead (Photo credit: nhussein)

©2014, C.S. Thompson.

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