Thursday, May 28, 2009

Email Exchanges on grief, family, war

***I suppose this is a busy weekend for you. It is a difficult one for me as my
emotions seem to be divided up between honor and anger. I continue to
concentrate on my brother's memories so they do not fade as I grow older. I
know it is hard for the loved ones of those killed in Vietnam to figure out
a good reason for their death because of the way our government pulled out
of there when we could have been victorious, but I keep referring back to my
brother's letter where he wrote "we don't belong here...these boys should be
back home....but if it means it keeps my little brother from having to come
over here....then it is all worth it! As usual...he was always thinking of
others. I miss him dearly.

Ruth, it is so great hearing from you. I think of you so very often.

One of the things I've learned about grief over the years is that
there is no timetable. I'm sure you miss your brother terribly and in
many ways, it is just like yesterday. Plus, there is no right way or wrong way to grieve. Whatever way you do it is the right way.

Today I had a wedding. In fact, I decided that it was the last one I'm
going to do. And, I will have to say that it was a good one to end on.
An African American couple who wrote their vows and he sang his to her.

My connection to the bride was through Rose, that I drove to her chemo appointments every week for almost two years. (I've kept a blog called, Rose died last Oct. Charlotte,
the bride, lived in the same apartment building and was so kind
to Rose and when she asked me to do her wedding, I couldn't refuse and
did it in honor of Rose. I still miss Rose terribly but feel her
spirit is here as I'm sure you do with Tim.

I was watching the Memorial Concert tonight and as usual, it was
wonderful. But, I couldn't help wondering about the young soldier who
had lost half his brain and was so severely impacted--they featured
him on the program. I just wondered if the soldier had been given his
choice, what would he want? To die on the battlefield or to be in the
state he is now, hardly knows he's in the world. His mother and sister
giving up their lives to care for him. Is that what he would want.
What do think?

Ruth, so great hearing from you, a wonderful Memorial Day gift. Thank
you. God bless.


Jerry, I am sad to hear about the passing of your friend, it sounds like she had a
difficult battle towards the end. In the last 12 years I have visited my mom
in the nursing home I have come to one conclusion and that is I will never
let myself live to the point where I am in my own world that can not be
shared with others. That would be such a lonely place to be.

I don't understand the fact that we will put our pets out of pain and misery and yet
we let our love ones live on in a place no one but them understand or do
even they? They say life is suppose to be a journey and where can one go if
they are tied to a wheel chair, slumped over and seem to be caught in between
two would seem like they were lingering and the loved ones are
to selfish to let them go and the nursing home is still making a buck on

I am sure if these people would know before hand they would be caught
in limbo, they would ask for the same mercy we give our pets. I think Dr
Kevorkian had the right idea but just the wrong process. Everyone should be
able to make choices. People speak of suicide and how it is a sin, but I
don't think the God I know would view it as such, why would he want anyone
to suffer unnecessarily. Are we so selfish in wanting them to stay? We are
asking them to be in our world and under our conditions...yet we can not
share their world as we have no idea where that is.

It also angries me, the media does little to cover the wars and conflicts where loved ones are dying on a regular just seems as no one cares anymore. They give no reports of the number of soldiers who come back with PTSD, missing limbs, brain dead or many other traumas. It seems like Paris Hilton and Britney
Spears and their parties or rehabs of taken over the news, now how silly is
that or should I stupid is that? Memorial Day is no longer what it
was set up has just become the "first summer holiday" for three
days of boozing or boating, fishing...the first week-end back to work no one
talks about what the did to honor someone on Memorial Day but rather where
did they go out of town. I feel sorry for the young man you were talking
about, what a sacrifice he has made. But if he was able to tell his family
how he felt, I have no doubt he would ask them to let him go. I would not
want to see his family giving up their lives to tend to him. In early wars
they did not have the medical expertise that they do now. If someone had
half his brain blown away...he would have died.Bottom it greed
from many sources that keep these people in limbo keep living?

My reborn again sister is still living outside of the world of reality. She
says she believes in the rapture. She told me on the day...if the pilot of
a jet was a Christian and the passengers were not....the pilot would be
taken by God and saved and the rest of the non-Christian people in the plane
would crash and die. She goes to a church that talks in tongues. She is up
set with her kids as she does not think they go to church enough. It is
almost like she loves them more if they attend church.

Ruth, thanks for the family slitrep. Families can be something else to
say the least. My brother and I have just finished our family memoirs
of our growing up years on a tobacco farm in eastern North Carolina.
It has been about seven years in the making and my family is pretty
much opposite than yours.

Religious right wing types are somewhat of a phenomena: they proof
text the scriptures, meaning they take one little portion and zero in
on it and that is all they give credence too. As my seminary professor
use to say, "you can prove anything you want by the Bible but you
can't prove anything you want too by the whole Bible. "

In writing our family memoirs we were often badgered with religion of
the right wing type but what made a vast difference in our family is
that my Dad who in present day terms would be spiritual but not
religious. We laughed lots about it and my aunts who were so involved,
along with my Grandpa who was a Pentecostal preacher. My Dad would
often laugh at their antics and they laughed at themselves and that
made all the difference in the world. My brothers tell stories of my
aunts shouting and falling onto the floor. It was something like an
earthquake since my aunts topped the scales at close to 300 pounds. We
still laugh and talk about it.

God richly bless you.

*** To read more of Ruth's writings go to READ RUTH'S BOOK: FACES BEHIND THE NAMES