Archive for Dying

NO U – TURNS

Posted in American Military, bereavement, Death, Gratitude, Grief, Inspiration, Life, Loss, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Soldiers, Tragic death, Veterans, WAR with tags , , , on November 21, 2013 by Morguie

snoman

reaper

In our travels through this huge blogosphere recently, the mouse and I happened upon another blog, of course. However, this was no ordinary blog. We have read some others that write posts within the same category: Dying. We will be very honest here. We tend to read them very occasionally because they are often written by people who are dying. This is reading which is best done in moderation, at least for us. We are sensitive types who tend to ponder too deeply at times. This creates the problem of trying to remain ‘uplifted’ and ‘positive’ when we have known susceptibility to periodic bouts of real depression.

deadend

Now that you know one of our not-so-shiny qualities, you will understand how incredibly difficult we found it at times, to get through this particular writer’s personal story, without cracking out the Kleenex and having us a good cry between some of the posts…

Why are we bringing such a blog to your attention today? Because, it’s a story about not one, but 2 dying people. That’s the first thing that made it so compelling to read, all at once, in one sitting. A married couple dying, at the same time. And while this is not the story of the famous Rosenbergs, it seemed to us these people were indeed…executed. If you visit this blog, you will learn “how.”

On the opening post of this blog is a statement the wife writes:

“We think that dying should be an event of love, grace, and dignity.  But, it surely isn’t that for most people.

When my husband and I found out that we had entered this reality of dying (and oddly at the same time with the same condition), we wanted to find a place to express ourselves.  After a few false starts on blogging in the past, we arrived here to tell our story, and if we can help someone else in a similar situation, we’ll be pleased.

This is our little corner of the world that we decided to create for our own thoughts of death – which is coming more and more quickly.  It’s also a corner of the world that we want you to share if you have something to add.  …and, if you are dying, there’s little doubt that you have much to offer.”

NOTE: THE MOUSE AND I WISH UPON WISH THAT THERE WAS A CHRONOLOGICAL LOGIC TO BLOGGING!!!!

In order to read this blog PROPERLY, as in MOST blogs, one starts allllllllllllllllllllllllllll the way back into archives to find the start point and has to read their way forward.

Here is the link to the first blog post at Die With Dignity: http://diewithdignity.wordpress.com/2012/01/

If you think you want to visit this story, and we highly, HIGHLY recommend this, please BEGIN with JANUARY 2012.

There aren’t too many total posts. The blog begins January 2012 and runs to October 2012. It reads quickly because these folks are actively in the progressive act of dying and they don’t have much time, they are extremely ill, and in an inordinate amount of physical pain and suffering. But the words you read tell you they are of the attitude and spirit that somehow transcends all of that unpleasantness to allow you to never know just HOW much it hurts, all you see in those words is joy and gratitude for the blessings they have had in their life as they take time to reflect back on those things in their final days.

So, if you had a crystal ball, or Alladin’s Lamp, and you could know, would you want to know how your days were going to end? This is just a snack…some ‘to go’ food for thought to take with you.

mousefood

Thanks again all for stopping in to visit today! See you again next time!

me09282013    

CJ  and Morguie

©2013, C.S. Thompson.

  Here is the link to “Beyond Treason”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViUtjA1ImQc

Episode 10 — Adams Street Revisited

Posted in Death, Grief, Loss, Mortuary with tags , , on June 3, 2013 by Morguie

Angel of Compassion

       The phone rang at the mortuary mid-afternoon on a brisk autumn day. A house call. Another death at home. I slipped into my usual place, CJ’s jacket pocket. Sometimes  house calls can be a bit dramatic and when CJ feels she might begin to get caught up in the emotions of the situation, I am there, and she holds onto me to shift her focus away as needed.  Besides, I am much softer to touch than a ball of wadded Kleenex.

We start for the home, which is here in town. Bill is CJ’s house-call partner. There must always be two people handling house calls. That is a cardinal rule here. Just as the van rounds the corner of  Adams Street where the call is at, CJ noted aloud, “Hey…wait a minute. Is this house number correct? We were just here a couple of months ago…”  Bill replied, ”It is the Downey residence.” CJ’s brow bunched at hearing that. “Oh no!  This is terrible…poor Mrs. Downey. My God, how are we going to handle this, Bill? It must be awful for her.”

We pulled up to the edge of the curb, backing the van into the driveway. Together, CJ and Bill went to the front door of the modest little house. A thin older woman opened the door and welcomed them inside. Bill cleared his throat and asked which room they would need to go to. The woman motioned to the end of the hallway. The woman beckoned CJ to be seated there on the sofa. The poor woman had been through this drill before. This was the third time in a little more than a year. It would be the last time, also. I could sense a tightening in CJ’s frame. This was very sad, indeed. You see, Mrs. Downey’s husband and two sons all had been ill with Huntington’s disease. It is a sure death sentence, that disease.  When she married Mr. Downey, some forty-odd years earlier, not much was known about Huntington’s. It was known that it was an inherited disease. The cruelest part was in not knowing whether her husband carried the gene. There was no such thing as pre-natal testing for the unborn. The disease was on his side; some of his family had succumbed to it. If he had inherited the gene, there was no way to know until he began to show signs and symptoms, which did eventually present in his early 50’s. By that time, the boys were in their mid-twenties. They appeared healthy. This would not be the case later for both of the sons. Signs had appeared in them before they hit 30.

One by one, first with the father, then with the sons. Each progressively lost their ability to ambulate, think, talk, or take care of themselves. It is indeed an awful course progression, in which the brain degenerates, thus taking the body with it until death is inevitable. Now, the last son had passed away.

The mother was a dedicated woman; she cared for each of them at home, at their various stages of this killer disease. She looked worn and very tired. Too tired to cry at this moment. CJ struggled to find the words she could say that would be of any comfort. What do you say to someone who has lost her entire immediate family? Instead, she awkwardly reached out to the lady to give her a hug. No more was said. CJ went out to the van with Bill, and they returned with the gurney, went down the hall, and carefully placed the man onto it. He was so ravaged he scarcely made a lump beneath the blanket.

They paused to walk away, giving Mrs. Downey a moment to kiss him goodbye for the last time. Then as they rolled him out the front entryway, a tear began to roll down her cheek. CJ’s hand tightened gently around me, remaining there until she was back in the van.

No one spoke during the short ride back to the mortuary. It was just too hard to find words.IMG_0001

Episode 6 – The Poker Game

Posted in Death, Funeral home, Grief, Loss with tags , on May 20, 2013 by Morguie

playingcardsToday I decided to hang out with CJ. I am not usually permitted to do this as she is always busy doing her work around this place. Mr. B sends her out on road trips a lot, too. She said as long as I was out of sight, she didn’t mind today. We started our day, ordering embalming supplies and doing a casket inventory. The latter part of the day was spent in the casket showroom, dusting and cleaning the various models there. Mr. B likes to keep the lids closed until a family comes in, due to the dust. He doesn’t want the linings and fluffy pillows to get dirty. I skipped along the tops of them as she moved from one to another cleaning them. We were going to have an appointment the next morning so she opened each to unfurl the draping, fluff the pillows, and tidy them for the selection process. I slipped off  an emerald green lid with very shiny gold trim and plopped right onto the thick comfy velour pillow. Ahh! Very nice! I filed that into memory…in case I needed some winter nesting stuff.

CJ shot me a panicked look as Mr. Becker entered the room. “CJ, we just got a house call. Go get ready and pull the van out. I’ll be with you in a few minutes.” With that, CJ scooped me out of the bottom of the green casket and put me into her smock pocket. We made our way down to the prep-room office where she removed the smock and put on her ‘house call’ jacket. I leapt into her purse, and hid there.

Mr. B always had CJ drive to the calls. He did not always accompany her, but he told her ‘Joe’ was a long-time friend of his. We drove for a while, and then pulled into a long driveway made of gravel, which continued up a hill to the house. Mr. B got out and went to the door while CJ waited in the van. A few minutes later, he returned and the two of them removed the ‘cot’ or gurney, then they went up to the door together. CJ didn’t know I was in her jacket pocket now. However, I just had to know what went on at these house calls. When we entered the house, it was dimly lit. There was a group of men seated at the kitchen table, playing cards. One of the men got up, went to a cabinet, and came back to the table with five shot glasses and a bottle of whiskey. He filled the glasses, and set one out for each of the men at the table, and handed one to Mr. B. The man raised his glass in a toast and the others joined him, all except for one. YIKES!300px-Small_shotglass

“To you, Pa!”    “Here, here!” chimed the men, before tipping back the glasses and emptying them. “Dad sure loved a good game of poker. And, he always knew when to fold.” With that, Mr. B and the sons carefully removed Joe from the chair he’d been seated in, wrapped him in a sheet, and lifted him to the cot. We slowly and somberly rolled Joe out of the house. I could hear one of the men say “Goodnight, Pa.” Then the door closed quietly behind us.

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