Life and Death

I miss my Dad today. Yesterday my grandson, Morgan did something that was very obviously an inherited mannerism of Dad’s. I don’t think of him every day, but when I do, it is like a punch to the gut.  So, I looked up some quotes on life after death, life and death, the meaning of life, etc.

Unfortunately, it still did not make me feel any better. Obviously, I do not believe in reincarnation because the Bible says that man only dies once.  But the thing that makes me feel the worst is that I do not believe that I will ever see and know my Dad again.  Some people point to the fact that people recognized Jesus after he rose from the dead as evidence that we will know each other. But the fact is, he had not been to heaven yet, because he told people not to touch him because he had not yet risen.  Nobody saw him after he did.  And would heaven be enjoyable if we were aware that some of our loved ones were missing?  If we will know each other, won’t we be aware that some people aren’t there? I just don’t see it. I can’t imagine myself in heaven running around looking for someone who has not yet been accounted for like someone who has survived a natural disaster trying to gather all of their family together.

However, I will not entirely discount the possibility of reincarnation. The Jews of Christ’s time were aware of the concept.

“And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:2

The implication is that the disciples thought it was possible that the man had sinned before birth. Christ did not address that issue and instead just told them neither had sinned to cause the blindness and that it was caused to serve some purpose of God’s.

Josephus was a Jewish historian who wrote the history of the Jews for his Roman employer.
“All pure and holy spirits live on in heavenly places, and in course of time they are again sent down to inhabit righteous bodies.” Josephus.

But one could argue that if the Jews had not been unduly influenced by the different societies that they had lived amongst during their captivity, then Christ would have had no need to come at all.

Most of this stuff is kinda heavy, so I thought I would start off on a lighter note.
This quote proves to me that you can simultaneously be profound and stupid. WLT

Question: “If you could live forever, would you and why?”
Answer: “I would not live forever, because we should not live forever,
because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever,
but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.”
Miss Alabama, 1994 Miss Universe contestant

“’You’ll get over it…’ It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it’ is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not erased by anyone but death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no one else can fit. Why would I want them to?”

ANONYMOUS

I don’t agree that the pain stops. It is just like any other cronic pain, you just learn to live with it. WLT

“I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of millenniums. All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, promptings in me. Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born.”
Jack London, The Star Rover

“I have been born more times than anybody except Krishna.”
Mark Twain.

When he was asked if he believed in an afterlife; After a moment’s hesitation he said no, that he thought there was only “some kind of velvety cool blackness,” adding then: “Of course, I admit I may be wrong. It is conceivable that I might well be reborn as a Chinese coolie. In such case I should lodge a protest.”
Sir Winston Churchill

“As long as you are not aware of the continual law of Die and Be Again, you are merely a vague guest on a dark Earth.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The Celts were fearless warriors because “they wish to inculcate this as one of their leading tenets, that souls do not become extinct, but pass after death from one body to another…”
Julius Caesar

“I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of millenniums. All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, promptings in me. Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born.”
Jack London, The Star Rover

“Live so that thou mayest desire to live again – that is thy duty – for in any case thou wilt live again!”
Freidrich Nietzsche

“The virtues we acquire, which develop slowly within us, are the invisible links that bind each one of our existences to the others – existences which the spirit alone remembers, for Matter has no memory for spiritual things.”
Honore Balzac

“The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal.” “It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals… and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some strange new disguise.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I look upon death to be as necessary to the constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning.”
Benjamin Franklin

This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.

– George Bernard Shaw

Life is meaningless only if we allow it to be. Each of us has the power to give life meaning, to make our time and our bodies and our words into instruments of love and hope.

– Tom Head

You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering.

– Henri-Frederic Amiel

We spend most of our lives conjugating three verbs: to want, to have, and to do.

– Evelyn Underhill
I try not to live that way and to concentrate on “To Be.” WLT

The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started.

– Norman Cousins

Respect for the fragility and importance of an individual life is still the mark of an educated man.

– Norman Cousins

Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

– Mark Twain

Life has got to be lived — that’s all there is to it.

– Eleanor Roosevelt
The utter simplicity of that one struck me. Put one foot in front of the other. WLT

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

– Albert Einstein

I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.

– Agatha Christie

I believe in cultivating opposite, but complementary views of life, and I believe in meeting life’s challenges with contradictory strategies. I believe in reckoning with the ultimate meaninglessness of our existence, even as we fall in love with the miracle of being alive. I believe in working passionately to make our lives count while never losing sight of our insignificance. I believe in caring deeply and being beyond caring. It is by encompassing these opposites, by being involved and vulnerable, but simultaneously transcendent and detached, that our lives are graced by resilience and joy.

– Fritz Williams

Everything you now do is something you have chosen to do. Some people don’t want to believe that. But if you’re over age twenty-one, your life is what you’re making of it. To change your life, you need to change your priorities.

– John C. Maxwell

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring.

– Oscar Wilde

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because some day in life you will have been all of these.

– George Washington Carver

Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired.

– Erik H. Erikson

Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more.

– David Steindl-Rast

Nothing else matters much — not wealth, nor learning, nor even health — without this gift: the spiritual capacity to keep zest in living. This is the creed of creeds, the final deposit and distillation of all important faiths: that you should be able to believe in life.

– Harry Emerson Fosdick

Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life and that to destroy, harm, or to hinder life is evil. Affirmation of the world — that is affirmation of the will to live, which appears in phenomenal forms all around me — is only possible for me in that I give myself out for other life.

– Albert Schweitzer

Ethics cannot be based upon our obligations toward [people], but they are complete and natural only when we feel this Reverence for Life and the desire to have compassion for and to help all creatures insofar as it is in our power. I think that this ethic will become more and more recognized because of its great naturalness and because it is the foundation of a true humanism toward which we must strive if our culture is to become truly ethical.

– Albert Schweitzer

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?

– George Eliot

What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful.

– Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.

– Frederick Buechner

“Unitarians may disagree about life after death and life before birth.
But we all know there is life after birth. That’s what we’ve got to focus on.”
– Rev. Webster “Kit” Howell, Unitarian minister

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
— Thomas Campbell (1777-1844), Scottish poet

Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, “Did you bring joy?” The second was, “Did you find joy?” –Leo Buscaglia

This one is one I try to live by. WLT
Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow. –Unknown

If I think more about death than some other people, it is probably because I love life more than they do. –Angelina Jolie

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. –Albert Pike

This is only true if you believe you do not benefit from what you do for others. WLT

Be of good cheer about death and know this as a truth–that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death. –Socrates

“God conceals from men the happiness of death that they may endure life.” – anonymous
I cannot agree with this, given that I have seen people in severe pain at the moment of death. I can only hope that they forget the pain, in the way a woman begins to forget the pain of childbirth as soon as it is over. WLT


Of course I had to add some quotes from Science Fiction and Fantasy writers, because they write in search of meaning, what could be, and what if.

“I don’t believe that life is supposed to make you feel good, or make you feel miserable either. Life is just supposed to make you feel.”
– Gloria Naylor

“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.”
– Isaac Asimov

“If you’re not ready to die, then how can you live?”
– Charles de Lint, Svaha

“Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.”
– A. Sachs

“It gets under your skin, life. … It’s a habit that’s hard to give up. One puff of breath is never enough. You’ll find you want to take another.”
– Terry Pratchet, Hogfather

“Firstly, there no such person as Death.
Second, Death’s this tall guy with a bone face, like a skeletal monk, with a scythe and an hourglass and a big white horse and a penchant for playing chess with Scandinavians.
Third, he doesn’t exist either.”
– Neil Gaiman, The High Cost of Living

“Dying is a part of living — a natural progression. Should I ignore the natural order of my life, twist it to MY liking and thereby become something I was not meant to be?”
– Charles de Lint, The Little Country

“Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished:
If you’re alive, it isn’t.”
– Richard Bach, Illusions

“Death is a tragedy … but only for the living. We who have died go on to other things.”
– Charles de Lint, Into the Green

These are more about survival. WLT

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
– J.R.R. Tolkein

“Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in your own home.”
– Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett, Good Omens

One final subject, which may be a little weird for some, but if you have ever been there, you will understand. Near Death Experiences. WLT

“If I lived a billion years more, in my body or yours, there’s not a single experience on Earth that could ever be as good as being dead. Nothing.” – Dr. Dianne Morrissey, a near-death experiencer

“I knew with total certainty that everything was evolving exactly the way it should and that the ultimate destiny for every living being is to return to the Source, The Light, Pure Love..” – Juliett Nightengale, near-death experiencer

“[The light] showed me that God is love. By spreading love, you make God stronger. By making God stronger, He can, in return, help you. He told me your love has to be unconditional. That is the only rule he really has.” – anonymous

“From the light we have come and to the light we all shall return.” – Josiane Antonette, near-death experiencer

“After you die, you wear what you are.” – St. Teresa of Avila

“One of the near-death experience truths is that each person integrates their near-death experience into their own pre-existing belief system.” – Jody Long, near-death researcher

“Death is nothing more than a doorway, something you walk through.” – Dr. George Ritchie

“Although my near-death experience was nearly thirty four years ago, there is virtually not a day that goes by that I am not aware of making decisions based on that experience.” – Geraldine Berkheimer

“As each second passed there was more to learn, answers to questions, meanings and definitions, philosophies and reasons, histories, mysteries and so much more, all pouring into my mind. I remember thinking, ‘I knew that, I know I did, where has it all been?'” – Virginia Rivers describing her near-death experience

“I now feel that my life is totally guided by God … To me it was a case of total surrender and total freedom.” – Janet, near-death experiencer

“When snatched from the jaws of death, tooth marks are to be expected.” – Hal Story, near-death experiencer

“It [suicide] is like killing a plant or flower before it’s full-grown or before it’s served its purpose … The only thing that I can think and comprehend is that to try and understand reincarnation. That somehow, instead of evolving, you would regress.” – a quote from a near-death experiencer in Dr. Ring’s study

“While the person who commits suicide dies only once, the loved ones left behind may die a thousand deaths wondering why.” – anonymous

“I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness.” – George Fox

“I still live. Pretty.” – famous last words of Daniel Webster

“I knew that I was in a state of hell, but this was not the typical “fire and brimstone” hell that I had learned about as a young child. …. Men and women of all ages, but no children, were standing or squatting or wandering about …. Some were mumbling to themselves. …. They were completely self-absorbed, every one of them too caught up in his or her own misery to engage in any mental or emotional exchange.” – Angie Fenimore, a near-death experiencer

This one was pretty well on the mark. If you experience this, you will  return with a renewed sense of purpose, and newly aware of how your actions affect others.WLT
“The “hell” that I experienced was the pain, anguish, hurt and anger that I had caused others, or that I suffered as a result of my actions/words to others. “Hell” was what I had created for myself and my own soul through turning my back on unconditional love, compassion and peace.” – Tina, a near-death experiencer

“Hell is a state of being we create by being away from God until we choose to return to him. It is a state totally devoid of love.” – Sandra Rogers, near-death experiencer

“The only thing that burns in hell is the part of you that won’t let go of your life: your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away, but they’re not punishing you, they’re freeing your soul.” – Meister Eckhart

“I had a descent into what you might call Hell …. I did not see Satan or evil. My descent into Hell was a descent into each person’s customized human misery, ignorance, and darkness of not-knowing. It seemed like a miserable eternity. But each of the millions of souls around me had a little star of light always available. But no one seemed to pay attention to it. They were so consumed with their own grief, trauma and misery.” – Mellen-Thomas Benedict, a near-death experiencer

“We are going to link up, hold hands, and walk out of hell together.” – Mellen-Thomas Benedict

Good Grief

I found an article about journaling when you are grieving; whether it be loss of a human or loss of a pet.(anyone who has a pet knows they are missed as much as people when they pass on)  Here is the article and the url where I found it. The questions are personal, so I doubt that I post my answers here, as they would be meaningless to others.  But I have started answering them.

Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak, whispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break. (Shakespeare)
How to Write and Share Your Story of the Loss of a Loved One

(by Harley King)

The Power of Writing to Heal the Pain

“One of the best salves for healing the pain and grief that you feel is that of writing. The process of putting your feelings, thoughts, and experiences down on paper will give you the opportunity to work through the pain and the sorrow.”

Unfortunately, many people in our society don’t feel they can write. Many feel that writing is something for professionals with creative talents. It is not something that the common person can aspire to. Yet the writing process is one of the most powerful techniques you have for clarifying your feelings and working through your emotions. By opening yourself up and expressing your pain and grief on paper, you will release the emotions that are suffocating and depressing you. Giving vent to our anger and pain through writing sets us free.

14 Guidelines for Grief Support Writing

I want to share with you a process that if you follow it will begin to heal your wounds and help you to recover from your grief.

1. Write for fifteen minutes every day. Discipline yourself to write even on those days you don’t feel like writing.
2. Write longhand with a pen or pencil. Do not use a computer. (**See my note at the bottom)
3. Begin either with the phrase, “I remember,” or “I feel.”
4. Write about the good times you had together with your loved one. Write about the bad times. Write about the death.
5. Write without stopping for the full fifteen minutes. Keep your hand moving at all times.
6. Whenever you run out of things to say, begin again with the phrase, “I remember,” and keep writing.
7. Write without thinking. Give free rein to your emotions and feelings.
8. Feel free to say whatever you want. Don’t worry about what others will think.
9. Be as specific as possible in your writing. Put in descriptive detail.
10. Don’t try to be creative or cute.
11. Don’t worry about spelling, or grammar or what your English teacher taught you. You are not writing for a grade.
12. It is okay to cry while you are writing. Keep writing through the tears. Don’t stop.
13. Keep writing as long as you need. If you wish, you can expand your writing time to 30 minutes or an hour.
14. Do not share your initial writing with others. They may not understand you expression of your pain or may be hurt by the things you say.

Writing and Sharing Your Story

Once you have begun to heal your grief through Grief Support Writing, you may want to turn your experience into a story that will help others heal their pain and give them the needed support.

Using the techniques of Grief Support Writing, write out a response to each of the following questions. Be sure to be specific and concrete with the details of your story. Put in details that will help others to picture the story.

After you have written a response to each question, edit your material into a chronological story. Put the story away for three or four days, then rewrite the story as many times as needed to make it read well. Reading the story aloud will help you determine if it sounds good.

Once you are satisfied that you have written it to the best of your ability, submit it for publication or publish it yourself and give to family and friends.

Questions To You Help Write Your Story

1. Identify your loved one’s name (if a pet: type of animal, breed, male or female)
2. If a pet: Describe the how you acquired your pet. Was your pet a gift? Adopted? Purchased? Found? What were your thoughts and feelings? Why did you pick his/her name?
3. Describe 4 – 6 special moments that you and your loved one experienced together?
4. Describe the kind of relationship you and your loved one had. Was he/she a friend, a soul mate, a member of the family or just a pet?
5. Identify the lessons your loved one taught you about life.
6. Describe how your loved one died. When did your loved one die? Month/Year? How old was your loved one when he or she died?
7. If a pet: If you had him/her euthanized, describe the experience. How did you make the decision? Did you stay with him/her when he was put to sleep? How do you feel about euthanasia? Did you feel guilty?
8. Describe your emotions or feelings when you lost your loved one. Did you find yourself in shock and unable to believe that your loved one was gone? Did you ever feel like withdrawing and hiding from everybody? Did you experience any anger at yourself? Your loved one? Your family and friends? How did you express this anger? Did you try to strike a bargain with God or others to allow your loved one to live? Did you feel guilty? Has the sadness ever been overwhelming or paralyzing? Have you ever felt that you have accepted the death of your loved one?
9. Describe funeral or burial arrangements. Any prayers? Any rituals? Ceremonies? Burial or Cremation? Why?
10. If a pet: Describe what you did with your pet’s special toys, dishes and leashes. Did you keep them? Give them away? Bury them with your pet? What have you done with the photographs of your pet?
11. If a pet: If you had other animals around your house when your pet died, describe how they reacted? Did they seem to notice that the pet was gone? What expressions of grief did they display?
12. Describe how you coped with your grief and pain? What helped you to work through the pain and grief? What type of support did you receive from your family and friends? Did you join a support group? Did you grieve by yourself? Did you share your grief with others? Did you seek grief counseling? What has helped you overcome the pain?
13. Describe other experiences that you have had with a loved one’s loss. How have you coped with the losses? What have you learned from the different losses? What do you remember about the first loss of a loved one that you experienced?
14. If you ever experienced the death of a relative or close friend, describe the loss. What is the differences between the experience of grieving for a human being and grieving for a pet? What are the similarities?
15. Identify what you learned from the experience of a loved one’s loss. Did you learn something about yourself? Did you discover that you were stronger than you thought? Did you discover that you were not as strong as you thought?
16. If a pet: What advice would you give to someone who was grieving for his or her pet? (For pet loss stories by other people, read the book, It’s Okay to Cry, by Maria Quintana, Shari Veleba, and Harley King. Available through Amazon.com or by calling 1-800-247-6553.)

**Note about writing in longhand versus the computer: Some people, including me, write much better on the computer. I can sit and stare at a piece of paper and not think of anything. At other times I think of things way to fast to write them down – losing the thread of what I was thinking and getting it all jumbled up and not being able to read it later. Because I can type much faster than I can write I don’t have those problems when I write on the computer. Also I find that I can think much better without the distraction of the pencil and paper. Also when I type I can write about more personal things. I have written things I didn’t even know I was thinking until they appeared on the page.
Nothing works for everyone and I think you should try it both ways to see which feels more natural to you.

http://www.dennydavis.net/poemfiles/memgrief.htm

Being Preoccupied

I haven’t made any posts for a while. My Dad was diagnosed with terminal stomach/esophaghus cancer in November and he passed away on April 12th.  I have been searching for devotionals and quotes to help me through the grieving process.

I have also decided that I am going to scrap all of my photos of Dad.  I kept thinking about where to start. Then it came to me. Someone once said begin at the beginning.  So, tonight I did a layout of Dad as a baby.  It is a regular scrap page, not digital.  I wanted to use the photos as they were.  It helped me some to imagine my Dad as a child and not remember him the way he was at the end.

To that end, here are a few of the quotes I found for the grieving process and about fathers.

My Father When I Was…

4 years old: My daddy can do anything.
5 years old: My daddy knows a whole lot.
6 years old: My dad is smarter than your dad.
8 years old: My dad doesn’t know exactly everything.
10 years old: In the olden days when my dad grew up, things were different.
12 years old: Oh, well, naturally, Father doesn’t know anything about that. He is too old to remember his childhood.
14 years old: Don’t pay attention to my Father. He is so old-fashioned!
21 years old: Him? My Lord, he’s hopelessly out-of- date.
25 years old: Dad knows a little bit about it, but then he should because he has been around so long.
30 years old: Maybe we should ask Dad what he thinks. After all, he’s had a lot of experience.
35 years old: I’m not doing a single thing until I talk to Dad.
40 years old: I wonder how Dad would have handled it. He was so wise and had a world of experience.
50 years old: I’d give anything if Dad were here now so I could talk this over with him. Too bad I didn’t appreciate how smart he was. I could have learned a lot from him.

A Dad is someone you never outgrow your need for

Fathers are men who give daughters away to other men who aren’t nearly good enough…
so they can have grandchildren who are smarter than anybody’s.

My father taught me to be independent and cocky and free thinking, but he could not stand if it I disagreed with him. (Sara Maitland)

It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

God’s finger touched him, and he slept. – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I can see your falling tears, I can hear your cries and prayers, Yet I smile and whisper this : — “I am not that thing you kiss; Cease your tears and let it lie: It was mine, it is not I.”
– from After Death, by Sir Edwin Arnold.

If you would like to see what I made with baby photos, here is the link. Daddy