Showing posts with label Life Celebrations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life Celebrations. Show all posts

Saturday, May 6, 2017

On Grief


May 5 2017 ~4pm.
Peter our dog died peacefully late this afternoon. He has been dealing with neuropathy for a month and apparently his heart just couldn't deal with it any longer. Prednisone made him comfortable but apparently the strain was too great. A wonderful pet. Happy to have him a part of the family for these nearly 8 years. RIP Peter,you earned it beautifully.

Grief is ones immediate reaction to the fact that the person or animal that has been an important part of ones emotional support team is no longer an active part of that team.  It is the sudden realization that those little continuous indications of mutual love and support, have ceased and can no longer be relied on and new substitutes must be found.  They are not the big things, a hug in a happy situation can always be found as will sympathetic tears in a sad one.  

It is the "Hi you are back" whether verbal or a tail wag, the food or treat that will no longer be provided as a recognition of all the emotional support provided.  The quick stopping by "just because."  The vetting of visitors to the property and to the house as known friend, unknown person, or possible foe.  "Never trust anyone your dog doesn't like."  But part of the recovery is the realization that those things aren't lost, just not active any more.  That unlicked bowl now needs to be rinsed for the dishwasher, but you still remember the patient waiting begging only with the eyes that you taught with the service provided as the reward.  And you still put the bowl on the floor instead of the table to remind yourself that hesh is still waiting patiently begging only with his eyes in his death dreams; or yours for herm.

Atheists and others have a beautiful ceremony celebrating the life of a deceased love one in part to keep those death dreams of the deceased alive in the real dreams of the survivors.  We call them memories, but what is a memory but the reliving of an event in a dream like state that may be a reflection of the loved one's presence.  


The House Dog's Grave : Robinson Jeffers.

The House Dog's Grave (Haig, an English bulldog)

I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read--and I fear often grieving for me--
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope than when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided. . . .
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.


Robinson Jeffers, 1941


A Friend's tribute to his late wife

An atheist friend of mine lost his wife of 33 years recently. The following tribute is his beautiful response:

When someone has sweetened your existence with a strong “sense of life,” transforming every dark and shaded place around you to warmth, even the grief one feels in the hours of separation appears out-of-place in the brightness of her after-glow. It is easy to see her mark upon the Earth, etched forever in the hearts and minds of those that she loved and those that couldn't help but love her, too.

When a life-thread so vibrant is unexpectedly snapped, this awful circumstance comes upon us like a dark cloud; for some time we feel we cannot find our way without her guidance. Look carefully and you will still see a trail lined with candles that she left for each of us, to help us find the path to joy, to take up those candles, to light them and to share them with another person trying to find their way through life. 

On Atheist Priests.

beliefnet

I was part of a Requiem sung for a good Catholic friend. There was no hypocrisy there, for the duration of the requiem I was a believer helping other believers send their loved one to herm Lord Jesus Christ. My beliefs or lack of them had absolutely nothing to do with the performance. I was a human being helping other human beings deal with their grief.

A very good Catholic friend asked me to pray with him in a bereavement situation. He knew I was an atheist, but he also knew that I knew his God. We were on our knees together in a chapel praying for the gift of strength for him to deal with the situation. Was I being a hypocrite or was I helping a friend in a difficult situation? He was the one that told me that atheist prayers are more valuable to God as they are always sincere.

I see no problem with an atheist priest suspending disbelief to perform his offices for the benefit of his parishioners. Since there is no God to care anyway, what is the difference if the priest complies sincerely with the rituals for the believers in his parish. If their belief in the myth helps them get through the week, what is the problem with an atheist facilitating that belief? He is simply a human being helping other human beings, not judging them. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Suggested Life Celebration for J'Carlin


N.B. This post is referenced as part of my Advanced Directive which has not been needed yet (7/2/16.)  It was a hurry-up job under the gun of some grim medical procedures.  Any confusion as to time frame of the celebration is regretted.  For the moment at some time in the future:
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As people gather play the Second movement of Bruch's third violin concerto (Arcado by preference) to include sister Janet as part of the celebration.  Encourage the who, what composer, etc speculation. No spoilers from those in the know.  After the third movement resolves the second, someone should tell the story of Janet and I having to leave home frustrated and Janet calling her friend at the radio station for the ID of the out of print vinyl.  J'Carlin kept a long vigil till the CD set we just listened to was reissued ADD.

No podium speeches, but encourage everyone to tell a neighbor a story about J'Carlin that was important for them.  

After a bit of chatter a music break including the Intuit and Kyrie from the Faure Requiem, the Bogoroditse from Rachmaninoff Vespers, and "Don't Stand by my Grave and Weep" from Rob Paterson's Eternal Reflections  If a choir I have been a member of would like to organize a celebratory group for the Faure and Rachmaninoff I would request that the usual gig fee be paid to the director and accompanist.  If Kevin and Alex would sing Amazing Grace for their usual gig fee it would be nice.   A reading from "Thinking on the blue roads" would be nice.  http://jcarlinbl.blogspot.com/  Kevin might read his post #4 from http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/message_list.asp?pageID=1&discussionID=252718&messages_per_page=16  he speaks for both of us.  Order and breaks ad lib.

When the food and drinks start someone should start a musical wine glass chorus in Celebration of Dorothy's 80th.  That should get enough stories started to make everyone enjoy the party.

I would like to continue Janet's tradition of distributing cremains to people who will take them to meaningful places.  Including the Mist trail at Yosemite. If possible including them in a small bonfire in the Desolation Wilderness and the John Muir Trail.  Scattering them "Leave no trace" with the fire ashes.  Also some blown into the Mississippi from a bridge in Minneapolis to join Mom, Dad Janet, and anyone else who might care to join us.  


Note: Blog is CC3 If anyone wants to use this as a template for a Life Celebration modify at will.  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Recycling Churches

beliefnet
Don't forget performance spaces and restaurants.  I know of a few churches, still conducting services for a handful of parishioners to keep their tax deduction that are prime concert venues.  Others have revamped their service to appeal to the SNBR and basically are run by a minister, a custodian, and a booking agent.  A trend I highly approve of as an Indie performer. 

Many SNBRs like the Sunday Country Club and will support a church that doesn't demand compliance with doctrine and/or bigotry.  On any Church Street you will find several places where you will feel quite comfortable as an atheist (if you like that kind of stuff and can put up with references to the Greater Being.)  They will even host your Celebration of Life and cater the party afterward at very competitive rates compared to a commercial venue. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Live a Life Worth Dying For.



Good Bible quotes for Atheists
Ecclesiastes 9 -
5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost.
Good old Ecclesiastes: Probably the first atheist. How he got into the Bible is still one of the great mysteries of life.   

I would, as an atheist, modify 9:5 ... they have no reward but the memory of them in those they have affected. 

Forrest Church is remembered and probably will be long remembered for, among many other things, "Live a life worth dying for."  Even special animals can live on if only as an abstract in fiction:  Balto the sled dog IRL and Lassie representing all working/companion dogs. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Beliefnet
 iamachildofhis wrote:
 JCarlin wrote:
 iamachildofhis wrote:
iama:  We know that "all die."

JCarlin: End of story.  Get used to it.

iama:  You have evidence?

Yep.  In a long lifetime with many friends of all ages, I have been to many funerals, and other rituals associated with the end of life.  In many the celebrant said nice things about the deceased being "with God" and that we should be happy that their alloted life of woe and sin is over, including the devoted wife and mother of a 2 year old child I was godfather for.  In 100% of the deaths, the living had no further contact with the deceased, except for memories of the good times when the deceased played, sang, enlightened, and otherwise brought joy to our lives.  It didn't matter what faith they were, real memories, were the only contact anyone had.  Ever. 

I was at a Catholic Requiem Mass recently where the celebrant made rude comments in the homily about celebrations of the lives of the deceased, implying that those lives were worthless, and that the only important thing was that the deceased was happy in heaven or would be at some point.  But all those still living wanted to talk about was the influence the deceased had on their lives and how they would miss it now that (whisper it) the deceased was with God.  

In all the funerals, and celebrations of life, I have been to, not even once has the deceased been present in the moment even lying in the casket, to share the stories, the songs, and all that made their life worth living.  Nor has any been back since except in memory to report on their experiences with God, or the worms, or even the mingling of the material remains with a beautiful sacred place for them. 

No matter really, the living do it for them and keep the meaning of that sacred place alive for them.   Part of the cremains of my sister are near the grave of her beloved Chopin, and even the picture of her son placing them can evoke the many times she shared Chopin and others with us on whatever piano was available.  Actually, not even a picture is necessary, any thoughts of her always included either her sharing music or her kitchen with all who loved her for both and the wisdom and love that were a part of either sharing.