Monday, October 18, 2010
“Oh that I had wings like a dove!
For then would I fly away, and be at rest” Psalms 55:6
Our beloved Grandpa Mac has passed away today at age 83. He was surrounded by his Sister, and two Grandsons at the time he left this world, & went peacefully.
He lived a long and wonderful life, and was more like a Father to me than a Father-in-law. He was an amazing, multi faceted person.
First an foremost he was a wonderful Father, Father-in-law and Grandfather. We looked to him to be the wise mentor. When I got together with his son, and we created a blended family, Grandpa fully embraced the family into the fold. He loved the Grandkids and traveled across the country annually to spend time, and they almost always built in a visit to one of the National parks for our get togethers.
He and Grandma conspired to spoil the children fully, with gifts & desserts, but also with their time & wisdom.
For many years Grandpa called us weekly on Saturday mornings. We loved to share what was going on in our lives, talk about current events, and our views re progressive politics. When the kids got older, he & Grandma asked for permission to take the kids to travel and visit for the summer months. As a result the kids saw Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, Colorado, Utah, Yosemite, Yellowstone, The Tetons, D.C., Olympic Ntl park, Crater Lake Ntl park, and Hocking Heights Ohio & umpteen trips to the Oregon coast.
They had fun traipsing around with the kids, and having family time together.
Yes indeed.... it was quite nice & the last time I visited with them was a trip to the Redwood Ntl Forest, before Grandpa got cancer, and had bypass surgery, stroke, a pacemaker installed, and fell and broke his hip.
Grandpa lead quite a wonderful life, with many twists and turns.
He was both a (liberal) Minister, and a College Prof.
When he, his wife & their young daughter became sick with polio, the polio passed in Mac & the daughter, but his wife became physically disabled for life (pre polio vaccine).
In fact she was pregnant (with my husband) when she became ill. Near term, they did an emergency c section & hoped the virus did not cross over into the baby. He was taken & quarantined & spared the disease. There are photos of Kathy in an iron lung. But even in the midst of her tragic health situation, she did not let that slow her down. In a wheelchair, she went on to get a Master's degree, and create a home health service, allowing disabled people to live at home & get the help they need.
She lived before the ADA (Americans with Disabilities act) existed, so they had to pioneer ways to get her around & function in a world with stairs, curbs, and non accessible bathrooms.
Theirs is the only really happy IRS story I know of... they were audited- they brought her in the wheelchair with stacks of their receipts & the IRS auditor wound up finding additional medical writeoffs they could take!
Grandpa was present for the MLK "I have a Dream" speech. A group from his church took a bus together. He said he was just a tiny speck in that huge crowd. He was also involved in the Southern Christian Leadership conference- he took the affluent white neighborhood discarded (newer) school books down to the deep & deeply segregated Mississippi, so the children there could have books to learn from. The impoverished areas & lack of equal rights put black children at a huge disadvantage. He was involved in the Civil Rights voters registration campaigns as well, at a great personal risk to himself.
He took his son, my husband to the famous & historically huge March in D.C. opposing the Vietnam war.
He got in trouble with his congregation for openly welcoming GLBT people into their church.
Some old members left that church & took their money with them, but Grandpa was all about peace & justice & equal rights. He did not waiver. Even into his early 80's Grandpa still went to peace vigils, and turns out he was involved in many things- donor for a collective land trust for low income housing, a "no one alone in the hospital ER" companion program. He ministered to those in prison & helped keep families in touch throughout incarceration. He worked to help & feed & care for the homeless, did vigils against death penalty sentences. He did all kinds of wonderful, loving, helpful things his whole life. A lot of it he never mentioned, just did these compassionate things, quietly & behind the scenes.
Grandma Kathy passed away before our first child was born. She never got to see him, but knew he was on the way. Her two grandsons & I never got to meet her. A few years later, Grandpa remarried, another Minister, Grandma Naida. She was the driving force in putting together family get togethers, and a pretty amazing lady. A strong feminist, and also another person with an amazing list of things she did in her life, including a long stint teaching at a girls school in Africa, and later doing socialwork/ministry in the low income neighborhoods of Cleveland.
She had a Master's degree, and Grandpa had a Phd. They were like a set of bookends.
Always humble, making a difference & they were not preachy preachers... they truly walked the walk.
So when Grandma Naida passed away in August, I think a part of Grandpa went with her.
Grandpa Mac set the bar high for us to even try to follow in his footsteps.
He was one of the most amazing people I ever met & came to love & know.
It is bittersweet- we will miss him greatly, but we are thankful he suffers no more.
Free at last!
Friday, October 15, 2010
These days, they have so many whiz bang medical interventions, surgeries, procedures, it is possible for Doctors to stop & fail to and assess whether using all those tools in an end of life situation is reasonable, ethical or compassionate. Obviously, it is a very personal choice. But I have to admit, I've always thought, when I get to that "stepping off place", that I might very well say I'm done with medical intervention. I am going to let nature take it's course. I envisioned myself, instead of being in a hospital all hooked up on machinery, I'd be on a park bench feeding the ducks, enjoying nature, sitting in a forested environment.
And so it is with Grandpa Mac. Last October he fell and broke his hip. Life has never been the same for him. He did many months of therapy, but many complications set in, and honestly, I lost track of how many times he went to the hospital in the 12 months since then, sometimes major "events" that almost took his life. He was on a medical roller coaster & it was a wild ride. But each complication took a little more out of him. In August, he developed a life threatening infection, that resulted in the Doctors going back into the hip replacement zone & totally undoing the entire hip replacement, in order to get the infection to clear. With the idea that after the infection cleared, they would go back in & redo a new hip replacement surgery. He would lose a year, all that hard work to recover, and be back at square one. In fact he did not consent to the major surgery, they were supposed to go in & do an interim cleaning up, but once they got in, they determined they had to do the major undoing of the hip replacement.
A few weeks after the surgery, his wife died. Since then Grandpa has decided no more.
No more doctors. No more hospitals. No more surgeries.
So there he is, at the pond, watching the Geese, in the trees. This week, the Care Facility asked if the family wanted to install a feeding tube. This would involve going to the hospital, anesthesia, a surgical procedure. Grandpa is not up for making the decision himself as the hip in limbo status is excruciatingly painful & he's on morphine.
Thankfully, the family is all on the same page. We are respecting Grandpa's wishes. He has stated he is ready to die. He has not had quality of life for over a year now. Worse, he is suffering in pain.
We declined the feeding tube. Putting this in God's hands. Letting go.
No more hospitals. No more surgeries.
He still has a doctor, but not going to Doctor's visits. Too painful to travel. Yesterday, they determined he is now in renal failure. His kidneys quit working. He has emphatically chosen DNR- Do Not Resuscitate.
This is the final chapter of his life. My son is there with him. he volunteered to be with Grandpa as a promise he'd made to Grandma. Grandpa would not die alone.
The circle of life will soon be complete. Grandpa will no longer be a prisoner in his body.
We are holding Grandpa in the light. He is an amazing person who lived his life to the fullest.
One of the most outstanding human beings I've ever met.
He lived a good life, he deserves a good death. Godspeed Grandpa.
Then we have "Le Salon de Refuses", the salon of the refused art from the Mayors Art show. In the past, in order to show your piece in Le Salon, you had to show your receipt of being rejected from the Mayor's Art Show. No jury. No editing or censorship- everything goes. Inevitably, Le Salon de Refuses always winds up with some of the best pieces, and some very cutting edge statement pieces.
I always go to both, because it's fun to see the local artists offerings- there is some real talent here, as well as it feels so refreshing to kind of stop the world as we know it, and step into the creative, artistic realms.
This sepia toned nude is an elegant piece that makes the human form a work of art, playing with lighting. How can so simple be so stunningly elegant?
A splash of color, reminiscent of a Van Gogh French Impressionist painting.
This large piece with the gold foil background really needs to be seen in person to do it justice, so you'll have to trust me that it is a jaw dropper.
Anyway~ in this busy/crazy mid term election madness season, remember to take the time to enjoy some art. It'll do you good!
Anyway~ in this busy/crazy mid term election madness season, remember to take the time to enjoy some art. It'll do you good!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Meg Whitman ~ the quintessential Stepford wife... This video must have been made before the revelation that the anti immigration candidate just happened to be employing an undocumented worker.
Ah yes, feel the hypocrisy! Tough on immigration laws, but having an inexpensive illegal immigrant cleaning her own house. Well, thanks Meg, for handing the election over to someone else.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
The calm prozac voice, piano background music, you'd almost think this was a prescription drug ad!
Take one of these on election day, and things will change. Side effects include your head spinning, nausea, mournful regret, and further degradation of the country.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Last night there was an empty band chair in the Rutger's Symphony concert. Missing was Tyler Clementi, a talented violinist, who, this week had taken his own life. Tyler was 18 years old. Tyler was an Honors graduate. Tyler was a student at Rutgers University. Tyler was gay.
Tyler took his own life, after two students invaded his privacy as a "prank", by running a webcam of him in an intimate encounter with another man. His dorm roommate, and another student streamed live from the privacy of his room, essentially outing Tyler and the other person, without their knowledge or consent.
The Symphony band chose to honor Tyler by leaving his band chair in place, but empty.
The Rutgers College football game dedicated some moments of silence, in his honor.
A large memorial vigil was held on campus.
Too bad Tyler did not know of all that support & solidarity before he decided to take his own life.
Once word was out, Tyler would have been surrounded by many who agreed what the students had done to him was wrong.
Even the student whose school canceled the entire senior prom because she wanted to attend with her female date & wanted to wear a tux, although some students blamed her for ruining the prom-- once word got out beyond the school, she wound up on the Ellen DeGeneres show, and was given a full ride scholarship gift, tons of support & even an offer to have a prom even without the need for school permission. She declined the prom offer-- it was the point of the matter, the school should not have discriminated, but she did take the college scholarship & found a groundswell of support for her courage in being true to herself.
Turns out there were five gay teen suicides just this last month.
We need to look at how we as a nation have created such an atmosphere.
It does not help that our nation has allowed the discrimination to persist in the 21st century.
Gay marriage is only allowed in a handful of states.
The Military requires gay soldiers to not tell, and personnel to not ask if they are gay.
If you tell, or even of a third party tells, that is outs you without your consent or permission, you can be thrown out of your military career- regardless of your record of service (often exemplary & outstanding).
Clearly, our country does not grant equal rights.
You might be able to marry in one state, but it won't be legally recognized in another?
Tyler's fear of what society might think, or angst that the other party was "outed" against their will, was prevalent enough to cause him to take his own life.
What is our excuse as a country?
There's a grief that can't be spoken.
There's a pain goes on and on.
Empty chairs at empty tables
Now my friends are dead and gone.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I give you my "Things I hate" list....
• Purses with short straps. I am tall & on the move. I want to be able to strap the thing over my shoulder & out of the way, so I have two functional hands.
• Excessive packaging & that hermetically sealed hard plastic. You just about have to damage things to get them open.
• Clockless waiting rooms in medical offices. Sure they expect YOU to be on time....
• Defenseless drivers. Hey! Clearly you don't value my life, but at least have the courtesy to value your own. Back the hell off my bumper & look further ahead than just the bumper of the car in front of you.
Here's a Clue: A sea of red taillights ahead indicates you need to slow the f@#k down.
• Corporate bullshit: I'll work overtime when you pay me a decent wage to begin with.
• Putting up with mediocrity- If your big ticket new appliance sucks, make them take it back.
A relative bought a dishwasher (Maytag) that does not wash dishes well.
Return it, I recommended. But I've had it 3 months. New enough.
You did not know how the machine performed until you had it installed. It is a big ticket item.
She paid a restocking fee, but she was so happy she does not have to put up with this new big ticket appliance that was funky. I learned from the best! My Mom was the Queen of Consumer satisfaction....
nobody was going to make her keep something she did not like. We all work hard for our money.
Deliver a decent quality product, or take it back. Don't let them get away with it!
• Costco coupons that advertise "$20 dollars off", but fail to name the price. $20 dollars off how much??
• Mudslinging political ads.... Quit slinging mud at the other candidate & tell me what your plan is.
Because if you are not a part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
• Before you wail on the horn in a fit of rage, notice the pedestrians ahead in the designated crosswalk who have the right-of-way. You don't get extra points for running people down!
What are your pet peeves?
You know you have them.....