Thursday, October 24, 2013

Deaths

It's been a long week of so many emotions.  Last Wednesday, during dinner, I received a call from Greg who wanted me to learn about the death of his step-son from himself, and not through the usual grapevine.  Initially he said that Curtas had shot himself but a few days later the info was that it was an accidental death that happened during cleaning the gun.

I am so sad for the whole family, particularly the mom, Roberta, who has been dealing with Greg's throat cancer.  And the other siblings.  The funeral was held on Saturday and it was also sad to attend. I am not a fan of what I call "open mike night"  at funerals but often families request this.  There were so many unusual comments and stories told by Curtas' friends which brought laughter and smiles through tears.  I cannot imagine how hard this is, to bury a child.  I talked with my godmother, Patsy, who buried her only child, a child who was born with so many difficulties, and who Patsy always waited for Jeffrey's final breath.  And Patsy agreed that it is so hard for a parents.

I do know that whatever the cause, the moment of death begins the healing for us all.  It doesn't matter what our lives may be because we each suffer and are pained and are disappointed sooner or later.  And we each learn how to cope, some learning better than others.  Others don't learn at all.  And we all hurt others, no matter how hard we try not to do this.  Very few people share all the same ideas and philosophies.  Sometimes other people can see through our behavior better than we can.  How wonderful it would be if we could all exist together in peace but often that requires a lot more effort than we are willing to give.

And at this point I wanted to insert a comment that altho it doesn't exactly connect to death, because of it death results.  Bullying. The sad thing about the death mentioned about is that there seems to be something very serious going on with his girlfriend, who bears tats with her 2 former boyfriends who have all committed suicide. Last week a young student shot up a school and killed a teacher who tried to protect his students and bullying has been mentioned.  Last night a 14 year old killed his 24 year old math teacher and there's no reason given.  But bullying had been a topic yesterday on Good Morning America. Guest panelist was Dr. Robin Silverman, Child Development Specialist.  She has an A, B, C, D list that helps her determine if there is bullying being had.

A.  Is it Aggressive? is it an Attack on levels of social, physical, or emotions?
B.  Is the Balance of power unequal...older/younger, bigger/smaller?
C.  Is it Consistent? happening more than once, over a period of time?
D.  Is it Deliberate:  Is there an intention to harm?

I found these to be very much to the point and useful to remember, easy to remember.  The incident that brought about this panel discussion was a high school football game that ended up being 91-0.  Some people apparently thought this was bullying but when you apply what you learn about this game (the winning team had their 3rd string in long before half time, the coach never called a time out allowing the time just to run out and just told his team to play the game...and yes, probably this team needed to be in a conference with other teams of similar strengths) to the A,B,C,D list you realize there was no bullying involved.  Yet, there are often bullying seen in schools, on school buses, at parks, even in homes between parents and children.

NOW  BACK TO DEATH, the topic as listed about.  This morning my friend called to chat which is the best way to start or end my day...chatting with her.  She reads me an obituary for a friend of hers who has died.  And of course, I had to go look it up online so I could remind myself (and/or my kids) when I die that my obituary had better NOT be like this one.  I have deleted names and dates to protect this poor woman who barely got a 4 line mention:

 XXX
On Oct. ## 2013, history records the death of one of the few remaining children of pioneer parents. XXX was the daughter of YYY, who came to Utah with the William Preston Pioneer Company in 1863. Her father was nearly 70 when she was born, and he lived for six years and taught XXX pioneer standards. She also learned the duties of a pioneer wife and mother from her mother, ZZZ, whose mother came to Utah in the Daniel MacArthur handcart company of 1863. 

The first duty of pioneers was to make sure their children utilized the talents acquired in the spirit world. As a result, XXX made certain her six children received advanced college degrees: 111, Ph.D. from Princeton; 222, four year nursing degree from Weber, M.B.A. degree from Utah State; 333 M.D. degree from University of Utah; 444  and  555  Juris Doctor from BYU, and 666, Master's Degree in Education from Utah State. Her children married in the Temple and are the parents of 32 children, five of whom have already earned their doctor degrees. 

XXX has also been blessed with # great-grandchildren and # on the way. XXX has also been a help to and devoted to her husband, BBB, whom she married in the Salt Lake Temple  (they claimed their marriage was planned by XXX’s  father and BBB’s  grandmother as they came to area in the same pioneer company). BBB held such occupations as lawyer, mayor, city and county attorney, bank director, hospital board and circuit judge, and church assignments as bishop, high councilor, and especially as Patriarch for 30 years, in which she was told and obeyed the instruction that the Spirit must always be present in a Patriarch's home.

XXX served faithfully in the Church as teacher in Sunday School, Primary, and Mutual, as a Cub Scout leader, librarian, ward historian and monthly spiritual message writer for the ward newsletter. She was an active member of Daughters of Utah Pioneers for 26 years and served in nearly all the various offices.


 I had to agree with my friend...this was a sad obit.  I am glad this XXX has passed on and hope she didn't know this was going to be written about her.  According to my friend, the woman was dear and kind and sweet and so much more than what was barely written about her.  Sad to think that this woman's value was totally dependent on how much education her offspring and their offspring received.  I want to hope that she taught all these generations a whole lot more.  For me, this would be the letter you send out to brag at Christmas.

After Curtas' service, I was chatting with Jim about our deaths.  I told him how he will probably marry rapidly after Jan dies (should she die first)  because as my other friend Jan Fish says, men can't be alone (which Robert enjoyed telling Jan that this philosophy was pure doctrine..."it's not good for man to be alone"....haha).  I announced that I was not going to have a funeral, no viewing, no open mike night, no casket etc.  Jim thought this was cold...that it didn't provide closure for my friends and family.  To this I replied, "Well, say good bye to me now because I might not live past that moment...and thus you may have closure everytime you see me."  Basically he growled at me but I realized how true this was.

If we could treat everyone we see as if it would be the last time, how would that change the things we do and the things we say?  Do you know anyone who has committed suicide or died due to some accidental whatever?  Did you ever not have the chance to say goodbye?  Do you remember how that felt?  Wouldn't this be a great time to change each day while we can yet say goodbye!  I know with all these various deaths, in whatever forms they took, that all this has been preying on my mind...a lot.  Now I just need a way to remember how I feel today and how to do what I want to do.....any suggestions?

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