dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
http://dcseain.livejournal.com/tag/death%20%26%20dying are the now 20 entries thus far tagged with Death & Dying.

This past fall, i led a small seminar that evolved into a discussion of memorial rituals for the deceased.

First, I'm old enough to have attended funerals of family, friends, friends' siblings, family, and the odd work obligation attendance. I'm old enough to have unintentionally missed the funeral of friend of mine. I'm sorry to have missed it, but this it was, and thus it shall be, and i'm okay with that. I carry him in the light, and believe he knows that and meant no disrespect.

Second, I want to say that i believe strongly that funerals are for the living. They're about the dead, but they are for the living. We carry on though they have stopped. Mourning is appropriate and necessary -- i'm a huge fan of the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva. You get a whole week to reassemble yourself enough to keep going without the pressure of seeing yourself or needing to do much other than what you want/need. I wish this practice were more prevalent in our culture. At any rate, someone passing ought not cause one to forget that one is still here, and need must carry on.

Third, i want to say that "about the dead" means that the ritual of funeral is about remembering the departed -- deceased if you'd rather, yet still for those of us yet living. The same type of memorial does not suit every deceased person/living person combination who may be present and/or who had a relationship with the departed.

If one attends a funeral out of other than necessity, one does it in support of the living and their/your memories of the deceased. The living need your support. The dead should be acknowledged in a way appropriate to your relationship to them, and in a way that lets the deceased know that they will be remembered and may/should move to the beyond, then focus again on the living and carry on.

Fourth, some examples:

One friend, who shall remain nameless, had a fraught -- at best -- relationship with one set of her grandparents. After the grandmother died, friend was the one tasked with disposing of their ashes, which she unceremoniously and with anger dumped in location i shall not even bother to specify, far from where the grandparents wanted their remains, in an element that i'm sure likely displeased them, but that carried their remains and spirits such that remained far away from her, her mother, and all of us. That was right and fitting. There was no love lost, and no love went into the funeral such as it was.

My father had an Air Force funeral and was interred, 21 guns and all. Fifteen-year-old me sat their hearing the guns wondering what the students at the nearby high school thought each time they heard that. Funerals are funny that way -- you never know how your brain wil react to anything. Roll with it -- it's all good. Cry, laugh, cry from laughing, dance, sing, wail, do whatever feels right to you. Mourn as you will.

Eventually, likely sooner rather than later if she has her way, my mother shall be interred next to him. Mom's parents were cremated and will be dumped in a beloved body of water that is significant to all of us, that they may swim with the fishes (their words not mine, though apropos).

I want to be cremated, and wish my ashes sprinkled in the Fairfax Cemetery -- the one by the courthouse in Fairfax, VA. My sister and her husband plan to be cremated; i should talk to them about what they want done with the ashes, deferring to my nephews as appropriate at the time.

Another nameless friend's father died some years ago. A Quaker (Friends) memorial service was held for him, as was fitting for him and his family and friends. A part of his family no longer talks to the family here because he was cremated and that is WRONG from their religious point of view, but c'est la vie. He was well-remembered, each got to have their say, it was solemn and respectful and among the most pleasant and lovely of all memorial services i have ever attended.



Fifth, last, and possible most important, it hurts when someone dies. Often hurts a lot. With time, the hurt gets less poignant, less stinging, less frequent, but it never goes away. It returns when you least expect it, blindsiding you, and there is but to embrace the memory/emotion, riding the wave and carrying on best you can til it passes. That may mean you need to take a break -- get some tea or coffe, go for a walk, find a quiet place and cry for a while, what ever. But take a break and own the emotion when it comes.

2012 makes 26 years since my father died. Writing a comment on Facebook left me all verklempt for a few, then i was laughing because my spellchecker knows not verklempt. I should bother to teach it. Heh.

RIP Badger

Dec. 26th, 2011 04:24 pm
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
I learned just now that [livejournal.com profile] badgerthorazine, aka Alice E Washburn, died today. I will miss her. I knew her through the Northeastern US Sci-Fi convention circuit. We first met at ... either an I-CON or an Arisia i believe. I'm glad that she did not have to suffer terribly long at the end as things go in our culture. Peace to you, my dear.
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
My mother keeps speaking of not being long for this world, or of hoping not to be long for this world, while expressing concern about the direction of the world and concern about me, my sister, and the grandkids.

Mom's 61 -- birthday in December -- in generally good health, should exercise more (would it kill her to upstairs once a day to get the mail and newspaper). Her mom died at 64, and her mom at 82. Mom's dad died at 83, and his mom at 85, his dad at 65ish.

I'm not upset by the idea of my mom dying. She has my blessing to pass as she sees fit -- it's her life after all. I like having her around, if a bit less so since Fox News and Glenn Beck, but the cycle of life dictates that she, as all of us, shall pass beyond at some point.
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
Today, for whatever reason, twenty years ago is on my mind: Spring of 1986. Second semester of my firt year of high school. The second year of what was to become six years of drought. Mom was working afternoons/evenings at the time, and i came home from school to Anne, the swing shift nurse for Dad, who was in the bedroom. School, and the perpetual waiting for him to die was the rhythm of life then.

Not sure why this is on my mind today. May be the coincidence of the degree of dryness/drought conditions is similar to what it was then. Or mayhap that my current work environment is as engaging and challenging as school was. Dunno. Just thought i'd share. It's not sadness, nor melancholy, that i'm feeling. Just a persistent recollection of a moment in time.
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] happypete posted a brief memoir about the Challenger disaster. That brought back a flood of complex, rather melancholy, memories for me. It was a Sunday, and i was finishing some homework in my room.
It's not long, but it seemed appropriate to cut it )
It's amazing how poignant a memory can be twenty years later. :) I also remember being interviewed by CNN in Mr. Sane's 3rd period (or was the 3rd class called 4th period that year) biology class the next day. And unlike [livejournal.com profile] happypete we lived in Prince William County, so i saw it on Cablevision, many years before they were eaten by Comcast.
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
The intersection of the Terri Schiavo brouhaha and my Aunt Marty's passing brought up some issues for me, as various of my comments at the time may have indicated. The intersection of those two events brought me to write an essay. Finally, after eighteen and a half years, I can look back at that period of my life and honestly say that I've dealt with it. :) That's good news. The contents of the essay are, how did Fred put it, powerful. That was what he called it.

I've provided the full essay below. It details my life from the first appearance of my father's symptoms, up to his death. I feel a need to share it, though you ought not feel obliged to read it. It's much more difficult content than my earlier-posted essay about fishing with my maternal grandfather, at least from my point of view.

And to my more anal friends who may read this, totally feel free to pick apart grammar and punctuation; content is what it is, unless you find it unclear somehow, in which case i'd like to know. Though I wonder that a couple of the paragraphs might be a bit long; I've only done minor editing to date.



The full three-page single-spaced story best as I recall it. )

Sigh...

Apr. 22nd, 2005 10:36 pm
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
My friend Nadya in Berkeley called me tonight. It turns out our mutual friend Ricardo Negron died in February, due to a stroke. He was 36. Somehow, I failed to find out until now, as several other people apparently failed to make touch with me at the time. Ah, well; apparently I was meant to miss that, as much as I would have liked to have been there.
dcseain: (Cacao Pod)
My aunt Marty, my father's younger sister, died at approximately 8 PM EST on 30 March. She died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, as did my father, their mother, their maternal aunt, their maternal grandfather, and maternal uncle. She had been put on a respirator just 3 days ago. Based on her symptomology, we had anticipated that she would live into the latter part of this year, so her passing, though expected, was rather sudden.

I'm glad that Leroy, her husband, shall no longer need to care for her, and my heart goes out to him for his loss.

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