I don’t want any more weeks like the last one. I had an old friend from grade school die young and before his time. My brother-in-law had a heart attack but was lucky it was a minor one. He is at least now contemplating quitting smoking. I am going to write more about that demon weed that has killed many in my family before their time in a future post. My wife has an aunt that suffered a stroke last week. I spent a few days suffering with one of the bugs going around. I coughed so much I had pains in my side and missed a day of work. On top of everything else all the rain has been pouring down the wall of the bathroom I had remolded last year. I need new shingles on my roof and at the cost of about half of what I gross each year I don’t see that happening any time soon. So quite literally when it rains it pours.
So Thursday found me alone at home sick lying on the couch watching TV and wondering if I’d ever be able to speak a sentence again that didn’t contain at least three serious coughs. I watched a movie on HBO that only made me feel sadder yet I recommend that you watch it. It was called,” Taking Chance” staring Kevin Bacon. It is based on the true story of a Marine Colonel escorting Iraqi War veteran Marine PFC Chance Phelps body back to his parents. It is a small film but left me with a big impact. It is a socially conscious movie or maybe it’s not because it doesn’t really take sides in the war just shows the personal impact on those touched by the Marine’s death. It’s the kind of movie I like because it could mean different things to different people.
I can only imagine the feelings of a parent that lost a son or daughter who was serving in the armed forces. I’m sure many want to totally believe their child died for their country. I’m sure there are others like Cindy Sheehan who think their child died in vein. I’m sure some of the parents would wrestle between both of these feelings. Myself I guess I would wonder why those who start the wars and those businessmen who profit most from them are safe far from the battlegrounds. I admire veterans but I wished they weren’t needed.
I’ve met some vets who come home and feel they’ve done their duty and think if another war comes along it’s time for the next generation to do their duty. I’ve met other veterans who think that war is insane and don’t want anyone to ever have to go again. Soldiers who came home from Vietnam like John Kerry and spoke against the war did more to ending that war than the hippies like the Elecpencil that demonstrated against it. Many Vietnam veterans supported the war and blamed those veterans who spoke against it for the U.S. losing the war. I guess veterans are just like everyone else they can all have the same experiences and walk away with different views. I guess I just feel that by now humans ought to have figured out some other way to settle differences around the world without resorting to war. You’d have a hard time convincing me that humans are the most advanced species on the planet.
With a friend dying and two relatives ending up in the hospital this week and me coughing my head off I am feeling a real sense of mortality. I am at that age when I read all the obituaries in the newspaper of people younger than me. With all of our modern science I am still shocked at how many fairly young people I see dying of diseases every day in the newspaper. I am left today sadly remembering friends like: Denny, Ernie, Linus, Pat, Terry, Greg and Michael all gone but never forgotten.
I have no answers to how people deal with death and grieve and therefore look to another culture for these answers. There is an eastern story of a woman who goes to Buddha in her suffering at the loss of her child. She asks Buddha to bring her child back to life. Buddha agrees if she brings back one grain of rice from one household that has not experienced the great suffering of having lost a loved one. The woman thinks the tasks is easy, but after days of knocking on doors, she learns that each family has suffered the loss of a loved one. She returns to Buddha without the grain of rice, but with a better understanding of suffering, and is able to leave comforted, knowing she is not alone. Death is not an end because in our living, in our memory those who were a part of us remain a part of us. Peace and Harmony
Style Council Promised Land
Don’t fear your mortality, because it is this very mortality that gives meaning and depth and poignancy to all the days that will be granted to you.~ Paul Tsongas