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Tag Archives: Death

Growing old gracefully and western civilization, or, do you have parents?

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Both my parents were dead by the time I was 29 years old.  My father had Alzheimer’s, and by the time I graduated from college to come out and help my mother take care of him, it was essentially to put him in a rest home.  He died there one week later.
My mother, due to the stress of taking care of him, contracted lymphoma and died four years later.  Her sister was in a rest home with MS, and we had been visiting her there for years.  With my parents gone it was left up to me.  She had a daughter who lived back east, but she had stopped visiting 5 years earlier.  It was just too painful.  I must admit that the visits came to be less and less frequent.  She was in a new full blown rest home, and she was actually one of the lucky ones.  The place reeked of urine and feces, people were literally moaning and screaming and wandering the halls, mostly in their wheelchairs.  It was a difficult place to visit, and I used to have a few pops before I went up every time.  I think when she passed it had been nine months since I had seen her the last time.
This is how we take care of our old and disabled.
My grandfather was in the VA, and when grandma was alive we visited him almost every afternoon.  We did see hundreds of people in the halls, but most never had any visitors.  We use to walk around award from bed to bed and make sure everybody in there had a little bit of attention and some human contact.  I think I was six years old then, and I still remember how bad it was.
This was all over 30 years ago.  I can’t imagine what it is going to be like when we baby boomers all start dropping like flies.  The lucky ones of us will just die, the unlucky ones will have to live through it.
We go our entire lives assuming that we deserved Health Care, and then somehow it will be provided for us.  Regardless of Obama Care and all of the best intentions, without a major revolution there simply is not going to be any way to pay for our Health Care.
It will literally take a village.  Without it we will be lucky to be given enough morphine to ease the pain as we are left in a corner in her wheelchair to quietly wait for death.
Aside from local governments, I have only encountered one group that is trying to do something about it:  The National Compassion Holiday Petition group http://nationalcompassionholiday.com/ led by Michael  Villalpando is that group.
If you have parents, know of anyone disabled, or plan to ever come incapacitated yourself, you might want to pay it forward and at least sign this guy’s petition. It’s free,  unless you feel called to contribute, and only takes a second.  Your old age Karma might just depend on it.
 

 

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A Dog’s Purpose? (from a 6-year-old)

from my good friend Scott Fornaciari

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.    I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,

”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

 

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