Saturday, March 27, 2010


DIALOGUE 1 Thank you again for visiting. Our friend is "Where she is." She is preparing herself to die in a sense. I think. The last several times we've talked she moves a step closer it appears. Today, she was talking about "hope" that the next round of chemo might give her a while longer. I don't exactly know why but she's not ready it appears. And, then of course, who knows! I think that as the cancer progresses, the body shuts down and when and how is way beyond me. Because I am working on Rose's book, using the blog I've kept all along, I seem to be more accepting and kind of pre dealing with my grief. The will to live, the fierce instinct for survival is far more than I could ever understand .

DIALOGUE 2 I sensed the same thing - planning for her death but fighting it tooth and nail - and can only say, "No one knows until they are there." I keep thinking I would simply ask for a morphine drip and let go, welcoming the trip Home...but so few terminally ill people I've known have felt like that. I guess that doesn't happen. That will to live, as you say -- so strong. And I think it's the same whether people have great faith or no faith...they simply don't want to let go of all that they know. Bless her -- she is grace personified and I had the hardest damn time letting go of her as she clung and sobbed when I was leaving. As my mother used to say when she talked about the afterlife: God, you have got some explaining to do about why you let things happen. (And, knowing my mother, God was pretty intimidated when they finally met in heaven!)

With all you have gone through, with Rose and Victoria and countless others, I think steeling yourself for the loss of this dear and wonderful friend of so many years. Pre-dealing is a good word for it. You know it's coming, you cannot stop it and you simply have to prepare for it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This came from a former parisherner:

You would have loved to be at church on Sunday. It was "Glenn" (Glenn was this African American guy who regular hit me and the Church up for funds, mostly related to some scam) revisited! It's about 11:50, the pastor is wrapping up her "non" sermon (she admitted to being OBE last week so hadn't prepared a "true" sermon), and the door at the back of the church opens, and it was obvious someone had come in. I didn't turn around to look, but after saying hello, it was obvious she had been distracted. Finally, she invites the person to come in and sit down. A black gentleman, dressed in a 70s type suit, enters and sits in the front row on the side by the piano. Ella Ray finishes her comments, starts into the benediction and stops to ask the gentleman his name ... Pastor "somebody or other." I couldn't understand his name. He stands up, tears flowing down his cheek and says how wonderful this church is, how it's the third church God had lead him to this morning, and it was obvious we were colorblind. The story continues. I'd like to believe it was real, but I'm skeptical; however, it was well done. He's on his way to Tracy from Colorado to start a new job Monday morning at 6:00 a.m. The job ... his own "reality" show. His background? He's a four-time grammy award winner, having written "Oh Happy Day," in 1969, another hit for Earth, Wind, and Fire, and two for MC Hammer. He's a little down on his luck and needs $390 for a truck to move his furniture into the house in Tracy and get his wife and 11 kids out of the motel. His parents abandoned him as a child, and his grandmother raised him, requiring him to go to church every Sunday. He's supposedly 53 and a diabetic. (I learned that information downstairs.) Whether or not all this is true, and I doubt it, this guy is REALLY talented. The pastor asks him if he can sing, and he sits down at the piano, plays and sings, and he's GOOD!!! It was one of those, "You had to be there moments." I know he collected at least $60, $20 from Bobbie, and $40 from Sterling downstairs, and I'm not sure what he got upstairs. He said he'd be back because this was a good church and what's a little drive to worship God. So, we may have the reincarnation of Glenn! LOL sma

I ran into a guy, (seems to be African American types more often; I think it has to do with they've figured out how to appeal to our collective guilt). Anyway, this guy started his spiel. Well dressed, stranded, etc. I stopped him midway and said, "I think you are scamming me but here's twenty, just in case there's some truth in it." He was happy and I hedged my bets in case there was truth in it. Reminds me of this priest I use to work with. He would tell these tall stories and one day the commander called him on it since he was late for a meeting. Something like he was late because he had stopped to help someone in an accident, had to pull bodies from a flaming car, etc. The cdr sends someone to check--Finally going to get this guy. You could read his mind. Guess what? Turns out to be true. The Priest had stopped to help some folks who had plunged down a hill, pulled the people from the car. So....WHO KNOWS? My philosophy? Don't take a chance.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

THE NAM: Chaplains' Assistants--unsung heroes

Returned from visit to my mom's in NJ and found your book in my mail, thank you very much. I turned immediately to the page you marked and found what you had written about me to be great, thanks again. One small note though, I was Presbyterian, not Catholic.*** I would like to give you a little history as to how I got to where you were in the Nam. I enlisted in May of '66 and requested Airborne - Viet Nam. All my training was 11B from basic, leadership training company, advanced infantry training and jump school. Along the way I specialized in indirect fire weapons - mortors - the 60, 81mm and the 4.2, this changed my mos to 11C. After I was assigned to the 101st at Fort Campbell, KY a Chaplain Bell had put in a request for a chaplains assistant for which I applied and interviewd for. There were lots of applicants but I was chosen. I worked for Chaplain Bell untill he was transfered out and Chaplain Brown was transfered in. We were deployed with the advanced party of Eagle Thrust on Nov 22 1967. All My 71M (MOS-military occupational specialty) training came OJT (On the job). I felt blessed because I achieved my original enlistment goal and was able to do a lot outside the scope of normal Infantry, such as working with Special Forces on humane missions in far off Montangard hamlets and villages, helping the Nuns and orphans with items and supplies people back in the World would send to us. But most of all, working with you ( which was a great experience) and Ch. Brown I was able to help my fellow soldiers in a great many ways that would have never happened if I wasn't part of your team. Thank you again...........Casey

***In the Nam, didn't worry about stuff like this--who was Catholic or whatever. I always think that when I hear these disputes and even awful violet happenings like Muslims attacking Christians or vice versa, these really are terms, they are labels and have nothing really to do with the true beliefs of the respective religions.