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Archive for the ‘Passing Away’ Category

        When cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar it brought nothing but death and destruction.  The government has been severly overwhelmed and prideful in the past about being able to handle anything.  The whole country is in mourning…but is in crisis mode just to survive themselves.  This is a situation that is going to require help from other nations but, overcoming past suspicions is not easy.  Accepting help that is being offered is going to be the key to rebuilding their country.

          The destruction of land, property, and lives is such, that it is going to take massive relief from other countries.  The sooner the Myanmar government “allows” this help the better.  The numbers are being contested and thrown about here and there…but, there is no doubt that the loss of lives is massive.  It is estimated that over 22,000 people are dead and 41,000 people are unaccounted for or missing.  Those numbers are subject to change and not for the better i am afraid.

         The peoples of Myanmar are angry…angry because of a government crackdown on peaceful protests by monks back in September.  The people of Myanmar don’t feel that the government properly prepared the people for this storm.  Some precautions could have been taken, with proper notice, to find some safety for many of the people.  They were caught unprepared.

           Now, the  Irrawady delta region was flooded by the massive storm surge and not only the lives were lost but the area of the delta which is called the rice bowl.  This is where the large portions of rice were grown and produced.  This will have long lasting effects on the country because of the lives lost and the ability to earn income in that area that was devastated.

        The government of Myanmar did ask for assistance from other countries which is unheard of.  This should tell us that the circumstances are dire indeed.  Now, relief efforts are underway.  This will require large scale coordination of aid workers.

        Fresh water, food supplies, building supplies, medicines and clothing and other basic necessities are scarce.  This is all in relation to the damage from the storm.  Think about the large scale need to bury this many bodies before disease sets in to the area. I am sure that the military will have to pitch in to help bury this many dead people.   These deaths could cause massive infections and diseases if the bodies of those lost is not properly taken care of. 

          In the meantime, cleaning up the damage is critical to getting the aid workers into the region.  Giving them room to work that is safe for those offering help.  Pray for those who are grieving and trying to survive physically at the same time.  Time and genuine human compassion are required not to mention funding.   Relief efforts will also require teamwork.  The fear is going to be tremendous at a time like this.   We need to unite at times like this…because, therefore, but for the grace of God…this disaster could be visited upon any of our countries, at any time. 

        

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      Terrible news is breaking at the moment of a woman who was involved in the Washington DC prostitution ring..she was convicted of federal charges recently.  She swore that she would not go back to prison…not for even one day. Deborah must have been terribly fearful and desperate.   She had already served time for prostitution related charges back in the nineties.  You have to wonder why would she risk doing the very thing that sent her to prison in the first place if she was desperate to avoid repeating such a consequence?

          She was going to be sentenced in July.  How horrible for her elderly mother, who was the person who found her.  That is a terrible thing to do to someone who brought you into the world.   Deborah hung herself in a shed near her mother’s home.  There were letters found that revealed Deborah’s  apparent intention to commit suicide.  I don’t think too much of what was written, has been revealed just yet.  I am sure more details will eventually be released.  It is just a shame…a waste of life.

          Quite often you hear people say that prostitution is a victimless crime…I wonder how Deborah’s alledged clients are feeling at this moment?   Some of them are very powerful people in the Washington DC area.  There were politicians, and others who were involved in obtaining the services that Ms. Palfrey business provided…will they be charged with a crime as well? 

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http://youtube.com/watch?v=pgyuYHXqlO4 

         Randy Pausch is a gifted speaker/teacher. He made the Last Lecture, to teach his children his view on living. He inspires us all to choose to fulfill our childhood dreams…what are any of us waiting for?  He is dying physically; but, he is living fully in the here and now.  After listening to him…i really felt impressed to condense his message to me in three small words…  

 1).  Latitude….Be present where you are…in the here and now, make the most of your time. 

 2).  Attitude…Be aware of how you perceive things…be positive…work hard not to dwell on negativity

 3).  Gratitude…Be grateful for the loving people in your life-friends & family, for your physical and mental well being, for the gift of spirituality,  the ability & creativity to provide dreams for yourself; and, for the wisdom to know, not to waste any of it!  This is the Last Lecture, and the Only Lecture, we need to get Inspiration.

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        Well, if you do any research at all on grieving you will find some very pat answers to describe what are considered “normal” stages of grieving.  There are actually “lists” and books of normal stages. 

         One of those lists is from a book called “Death and Dying”; i remember reading this in high school as part of a course on death and dying.  In the book the author, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, identified five different stages of grieving, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.  Another book, written by Dr. Roberta Temes, called Living With An Empty Chair, identifies what she calls behaviors of grieving, she lists Numbness, Disorganization, and Reorganization.   Of course, there are other books that try to simplify the process to help us to understand it better; but, I think grief is much more complex than these lists imply.

        Grieving is different for everyone.  There is no ONE way, no one order of normal grieving that applys across the board for each and every person experiencing grief.  http://www.rainbows.org , http://www.dougy.org/, http://www.centerforloss.com/

        Whenever i see someone grieving, i think of grief almost as layers of an onion.  Each emotion is peeled away only to reveal another emotion or behaviorial response.  When all of the layers are peeled away to the final layer; there, deep inside is a green sprig that represents new life.  The goal is to get to that final layer and feel some sense of peace again.  http://www.journeyofhearts.org/.

           I think that people respond to their losses differently.  Even when a death is expected …emotions and behaviors are triggered that a survivor is not expecting to deal with.  This can be surprising to them; as they may feel that they thought they were prepared.  Facing a death that is traumatic or unexpected is devastating as well.  If the death is in the eye of the public, such as a public figure, or a death that is connected with a crime or tragedy, the grieving may be complicated because of the circumstances.   

          Those previous lists do hit on some emotions and behaviors that grievers experience; but, I feel that there are so many more layers and depths of grief that affect us. 

        Yes, there is shock, denial or disbelief, fear, anger, guilt, worry, busy work, distraction, forgetfulness, avoidance, risky behaviors, a sense of betrayal; second guessing oneself…what if i did this?  What if, i hadn’t done that?  …it is paralyzing to be stuck on that treadmill, when no answer is possible to satisfy the soul of the survivor. 

        For some people who are grieving, there is a sense of unforgiveness, alcohol abuse… sexual promiscuity… or drug use  to achieve numbness, depression, rage, wallowing in loss, hiding in the past, reliving those final moments and drowning in that experience; for some blame, hatred, litagation, revenge, loneliness, hurt, sadness, abandonment, and yes, hopefully acceptance.

         Finally, it should be a goal of the person who grieves to be able to acheive a healthy balance of their personal loss along with their memories of the deceased person.  In this area there can be found some comfort.  Wrapping yourself in positive memories, and positive activities is a very useful tool to move forward.  Setting a future goal to achieve, in memory of that person, can be helpful as well. 

          A person experiencing grief should not allow anyone to tell them to, just get over it…that it is time.  But, on the other hand, if some of your emotions or behaviors are damaging to you; or, other loved ones around you…you would be wise to listen to someone who truly cares and is concerned that maybe you are stuck in any one of those destructive emotions or behaviors. Try to listen if their concern has a genuine basis. 

        There is professional help if you feel you just aren’t on a healing path…but truly, only the person going through the grief knows what is going on inside of themselves.  It is important to give yourself permission to heal at your own pace.  Often, you will hear someone talk about closure…but…closure is an illusion; closure implies an ending to something. 

          Grieving never really ends because you are always experiencing some event or activity that triggers the thought that the deceased person is “missing” from that event or activity.   Closure doesn’t really happen…but, Healing Is Possible.

           There are some things that may help you to heal, in your time of loss, such as, connecting with others going through similar experiences, taking some time to meet your physical and emotional needs, take time off from work or school, finding comfort & support with friends or family who will listen to you and not judge you.   Don’t isolate yourself; find a support group, volunteer in your community, do something to honor the person you are grieving for, make a memory book, tape, video, or journal, take a vacation, seek spiritual guidance, or pray. 

         You know yourself best; and you know if you are not making progress in your journey from your loss…that is a time to seek help in your grieving.  If you are making progress…give yourself credit…and do something nice for yourself to mark the occasion.  Eventually, the good days start to out number the days when you feel lost and alone.  Ultimately time really does become an ally to those who struggle with the pain.

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      If you are one of my regular readers, you know that i don’t do this type of posting often.  However, Petey is a young man who is suffering from a FATAL disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  He is going to be 13 years old on the 18th of April.  Petey is in NEED people, in a big way!  http://petey.heartheirstories.com/.

      Petey was recently upgraded to a power wheel chair; the kind that weigh a couple hundred pounds and take several people to load into a vehicle.  That presents more than a few problems, as you can imagine, when you don’t even have a vehicle.

      Not to worry…Petey has friends who care.  Petey’s friends are trying to raise money to get him a wheel chair accessible van.  Now, that wheel chair accessible van doesn’t come cheap.  Petey is in a very large family (9 children and he is the second to the youngest) and no one in the family has a driver’s license or a vehicle,yet.  That will all change with some $$ help.  http://petey.heartheirstories.com/.

       Jason Marshall, from  Joel Comm’s The Next Internet Millionaire show, is one of Petey’s good friends; and, he is heading the campaign to raise the approximately $40,000.00 for that life changing van. 

         Jason is also an internet marketer, with a big heart. He is a man of faith.  He hopes to rally people to either donate monies; or, purchase some incredible internet marketing tools for a mere price of $47.00 from some really successful internet marketers who are donating some great goods worth a grand total value of 2,487.00 !    Wow, that is amazing trust me.  People really do care…they want to make Petey’s 13th birthday a day to remember! 

         If you aren’t interested in internet marketing tools don’t let that stop you from just going to the sales page and donating whatever your heart and your finances will allow.  If you have been blessed with a healthy body…go there and donate.  If you know someone who has been affected by a muscle disease…please go and donate.

        Help Petey….go to this address:  http://petey.heartheirstories.com/.   Come on, some corporate sponsor’s support wouldn’t hurt either…how about it Ford, Chevy, Pontiac, Honda, Chrysler…Petey needs transportation.  Check out:  http://www.mda.org/.

        

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      This past two weeks has been rough on a young widow.  Her husband was killed in Irag on March 31.  Kynesha Dhanoolal, the widow, wanted to save his sperm as she and her husband had talked often, of having children together.  She wants to be the mother of his children.

     It appears that a will was not on file anywhere and the military had papers designating Kynesha’s husband’s (Dayne) mother as the person to whom the right of handling his remains; should anything happen to him.  It would appear that Kynesha’s mother- in- law at first was not in agreement of harvesting her son’s sperm, initially.

      Days were spent in discussion before an agreement took place.  Experts say that the sperm may not be viable anymore.  It seems after a man’s death…the sperm loose their mobility and their viability to fertilize an egg within hours.  The harvesting didn’t take place until 4 days after his death and that means that the potential to create a baby has definately lessoned.  It would be a miracle it sounds like if a child was to be conceived.

       I can understand wanting a baby together.  I can understand having the choice to have the child of her husband…however, he was in the military.  He is unfortunately no longer alive to help her raise the child or support the child financially.  This whole situation will open a bunch of legal and moral questions.

        If she is blessed with a pregnancy from her husband’s sperm…will her pregnancy be covered under military benefits?  Since the father is no longer alive would the child be entitled to social security benefits?  Would tax payers be responsible for the support of this future child.  Since the potential conception can only take place by artificial insemination…will that be procedure be paid for by military benefits? With the father gone; who will be a positive male role model for the child?   

         Having lost her husband…i am sure all of those issues are not at the forefront of Mrs. Dhanoolal’s mind.  She is grieving the loss of her young husband.  She is grieving the loss of her dreams of having a child with the man she loves.  I am sure she is regretful of having to force such a request on the mother of her husband as she is grieving the loss of her son.  This, I am sure has added another aspect of grieving for both women.  If, after having to wait for those four days, a pregnancy does not occur will the daughter-in-law blame the mother-in-law for not agreeing sooner?   

         If the expert is correct and the sperm is no longer able to produce a pregnancy…the grieving will continue for both women.  There will be no child or grandchild from the man that they both loved.  The war in Iraq has stolen another generation from another family.  The whole thing is very sad.  This service man and his family has sacrificed what so many others have sacrificed before him…a future with their loved ones. 

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      This should make us all weep.  It was reported in the last couple of days that 1 infant out of 50 has been abused/neglected before they reach the age of one. Out of that group, one third of them is less than a WEEK OLD!  Where is the natural protective instinct that even animals have towards their babies?

       These numbers are horrible… even one baby is too many…but one out of 50?  A baby less than a week old is doing nothing beyond eating, sleeping, filling a diaper, and giving/receiving love.  Those beautiful little babies are so dependent on those around them to survive.  Imagine being abused from the very beginning of life; it is a cycle that will repeat itself over and over again if it isn’t stopped.

         Of course, i know in my logical mind about those who are so consumed with addictions and rebellion that they continue to use drugs and alcohol during pregnancy.  My heart is another matter.  I have children that were adopted who were victims of their parent’s drug and alcohol use while they were still forming in the womb.  It burdens those children everyday with learning disabilities, physical deformaties and or limitations, retardation, psychological well being, as well as having socially acceptable skills and life long medical problems.  Is it fair?  No!  Is it abuse?  Yes!   Read up here:  http://www.nofas.org/ or http://childwelfare.gov/.

         The news report went on to educate me further.  It seems that the neglect and abuse before the age of one includes things such as drug/alcohol use during pregnancy as well as after birth.  Trust me…i live with those results everyday.  My children were abused before birth and they struggle in ways most people don’t understand.  They are “special needs children” because of that abuse.  See this organization for information:  http://marchofdimes.com/.

           Then, the article informed me that those same babies that are abused/neglected, before the age of one, includes those situations where the mother did not receive proper, prenatal health care …or the mother did not follow up with doctor appointments and or normal health care during that first year.  Here is some helpful information:  http://kidshealth.org/ .

           Alot of those statistics, i am sure, are a direct result of the health care crisis in America.  Many people don’t have health care coverage.  Poverty is a huge player in this part of the scenerio.  I know money can prevent people from getting the check ups that they need.  To walk in the door at my doctor’s office it costs $84 per 15 minute visit.  Imagine a young mother (or father) having to take that infant in for care every other month or so plus the cost of immunizations.  Check with your local health departments for help with those costs.

           Some of the other statistics were infants under the age of one who did not have proper housing, food or clothing.  Again those numbers are influenced by the national economy.   Take a look at this:  http://feedthechildren.org. or http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/.

            My personal opinion is that a larger section of our population was left out of these statistics; those  little lives who are aborted each and every day.    Is not killing a young life just as abusive as  some of these other abuses/neglects?  The number of aborted babies, i would dare to say, would jump these numbers of abuse/neglect into the stratosphere.  Some would say that abortion is a personal/moral choice some say it is a political choice.   There are organizations that try to help, by offering alternatives to abortion, such as:   http://healthybeginnings.org/ or http://www.bethany.org .  Those who have been affected by abortion often need help healing from the trauma even years down the road.

        It is easier in our minds to dislike the person who physically/ verbally abuses, or neglects to feed or give emotional support to a young child; than it is to understand, that we all must play a part in changing things or we become a part of the problem.  Silence or inaction on these subjects is equal to condoning them.

           If you are able to support a young parent with physical or emotional help…do it.  If you are aware of drug/alcohol use in an expecting mother…educate her to the consequences,  seek medical intervention and/or report it if she refuses help.  If you see or suspect abuse report it; you might save a life.

             While i am trying to wrap my mind around these staggering numbers of affected people…i am also processing the idea of so many young lives being hurt just by being born.  What must we do?  We must make a positive impact on those around us.  We each have areas of influence where we can impact positive changes.  Take a look at this website for protecting children:  http://keepingkidssafetoday.com.

              We must take action.  We must continue to educate.  We must continue to stand between ignorance, addictions, abortion, poverty and plain old abuse and protect those who can’t protect themselves.  We must build up our programs of intervention with jobs, health care, anger management, parenting classes, drug and alcohol counseling, family planning/pregnancy counseling, mental health/counseling; and yes, when necessary even prosecution of those who would visit pain and neglect on our littlest and most helpless citizens.  After all, they can hardly do it themselves. 

         

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       The power of words has never been illustrated in such an alarming way, until recently.  Today on Good Morning America Ashley Grills, aged nineteen, talked about her part in an internet prank on a social networking site that allegedly incited a thirteen year old young lady, Megan Meier, to commit suicide.

       The horribly cruel prank was allegedly played upon Megan as a way to find out if Megan was talking behind another young lady’s back.  Ashley says that the other young lady, unnamed at this point, was an off again, on again friend of Megans.  The friendship turned sour and the young lady and Ashley wanted to see if Megan was talking badly about her. 

        Ashley alledges that the young lady’s mother, Lori Drew, also was involved in the prank.  What they did was to create a profile of a young man, named Josh, who would initiate an online romance with Megan on the social networking site.  It is important to remember that people can “pretend” to be anything they want online; you can’t read the body language of someone online.

         Megan and “Josh” started up an online relationship.  Back and forth it went…creating interest in one another until; Ashley says she felt badly about the prank.  So, she started saying mean things…and, so did others on the social networking site.  Ashley says that she wanted to end the “online relationship” and told Megan that the world would be a better place without her in it.

          In Megan’s house there was a horrible outcome.  Megan’s mother was aware of Megan’s upset.   They talked but, Megan stormed off and went to her room.  Twenty minutes or so later, Megan’s mother opened the bedroom door to find that Megan had hung herself in her closet in despair over the online words and actions.

          Ashley says that the other young lady’s mother, Lori Drew, was involved in writing some of the verbal interactions with Megan.  The news reports state that Ashley has been given immunity to testify against the other young lady’s mother, Lori Drew, in court.  She says that the mother was aware of the whole process and involved.  For the record,  i have read statements that the mother, Lori Drew, denies any involvement.

           The fact remains that the very young Megan is dead.  Her family is devastated.  Their lives will never be the same.  Their child was vulnerable and was destroyed.  

            Ashley says that she is taking responsibility for her actions.  I don’t know what that means other than admitting her involvement.  I would  imagine it would be hard to live with the knowledge that her actions directly influenced Megan Meiers to hang herself. 

             It would be a very valuable tool, if indeed Ashley is sincere in her regrets, if she was to start some kind of community service going into schools and educating young people about the dangers of online harassment.  The old saying, sticks and stones may break your bones; but, words will never hurt me, is not true.  Words have power to influence others…both in good ways and in bad ways!  We must communicate the dangers in harassing others.

        There may be legal repercussions in the future for the participants of this prank.  Whether they can prove the mother’s involvement is not clear at this time.  However, it doesn’t change the fact that this whole situation has had long lasting consequences for all of those involved; It is sadness personified.

          The next time that you are on a website where comments can be made…it is wise to remember that there is still a standard of accountability to be upheld.  Our words and actions have impact on others…why not make that impact a positive influence on others?  Look here, http://theimpactfactor.net?id=35 and see if you can impact others positively in your personal life, business life, or spiritual life! http://theimpactfactor.net?id=35.  

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        I had a magical flashback moment today.  I was listening to a radio station online and boom…there was the voice of peace and love…Luther Vandross. 

         Luther always embodied the beauty of romance and love in his songs.  He was one singer who always touched hearts with his music and his message.  He died about a year and a half ago…i will always miss hearing the music that he would have served up, had he lived.  He was talented and he was gifted in his delivery.   Luther had heart; and, he sang with passion. 

        The song i heard today was, Here and Now; i remember seeing my cousin dance the first dance with her new husband, at her wedding, to that song.  She is gone now; passed away very young from cancer.  However, when i hear that song…i remember her happiness and the Promise of a forever love.

            So, i think i will get out my Luther CD’s and will have me a remembrance today.    There is no one out there like him today musically.  If they could bottle his talent and his skill…someone would be very blessed to own it.

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        She is dead and she needed her daddy.  He wasn’t available because he was in prison for half of her life.  Jayci Yaeger was 10 years old and she had brain cancer.   She had had cancer since she was 3 years old according to news reports.

         Her father is in prison on a 5 year sentence for a drug conviction and he has a year left to go.   Who knows why he committed this crime?  None of us know the whole story.  What we do know, is that his daughter has been dying.  She wanted to see her dad one last time.

           While he has been in a facility that is a minimum security prison…he wanted to be moved 3 1/2 hours closer; so that he could see her.  The request has been repeatedly denied; although, they did allow several supervised visits. 

           Just two days ago…Jayci got her wish.  She got to spend 20 minutes with her father.  She is gone now; but it has been said that when he lifted her upon the table for a CT scan, she wrapped her arm around him.  This was a child so weak she couldn’t lift her arms.  Love is a powerful thing.

            I can’t imagine how horrible it would feel being seperated from your child who was dying and needed you desperately; when all along, it was because you did something illegal and had to serve time.   Paying his debt to society for his crime caused him to miss what would turn out to be the last 5 years of his daughters life. 

            He will never get those years back with his child.  But, it really isn’t him that i feel the sorriest for.  I feel the sorriest for his family…for Jayci and her mother who had to go through this trauma without much of his help.    Jayci obviously loved her father very much, as she improved when he was granted three or four brief, supervised visits once she had been declared terminal back in October.

           Just days before she died she was able to spend a little time with her father…after all, it wasn’t her fault they were seperated.

          

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