I’ve never been one to linger over the death of celebrities.
Yes, I’ll feel sad, I’ll probably go to YouTube and watch a few videos, reminisce about what work of theirs I enjoyed and then move on with my life, because while yes, it is sad, I didn’t personally know them and I have limited time and energy.
I’ve often been perplexed by the outpouring of extreme grief for someone the person who is despondent over the loss of doesn’t personally know; I’ve always felt that the excessive time energy and resources spent in mourning, would be better focused on people we know in real life; our friends, families and communities.
I have always felt that “celebrity worship” in general was over the top and that we’d all do better to give more time and attention to the things and people who are in our real lives, every day.
While some of it seems excessive to the point mental imbalance, I understand that characters in films or books become familiar and inspire us, and that those in the music industry literally created the soundtrack of our lives.
As we get older, more and more of those who had impact on our lives die, some before their time. In many ways, these losses represent the death of our childhood, coming of age or other important times in our lives. It’s also a harsh reminder of our own mortality.
The world is rapidly changing, people are more divided than they have ever been (in my lifetime) and many of us fear greatly for global political stability, the economy, the environment and those who are marginalized and often victimized in our society and it’s natural for the loss of something that helped us through hard times or inspired us to have a significant impact when we’re already sad, stressed and worried.
I noticed something interesting with the latest loss of a well known and beloved person. Not only was her work and her most beloved character being mourned, but she was being mourned as a real person, not just a character, a person who did good work on behalf of others, who used her celebrity status to help fight the stigma of mental illness, who was a feminist role model for young women and was a tireless advocate for others.
For myself, when I feel the loss of anyone, be they a family member, a neighbor or someone whose art influenced my life, I am going to carry what they meant to me and stood for out into the world.
For carrying on their work, shouting their message to the rooftops and making sure that their struggles and hard work were not in vain is the best way to honor their lives and death.
Dia De Los Muertos, translates to Day of the Dead.
Once a little known (to us) observance celebrated in Mexico and Latin America, it has become more prevalent in our society, the predominant culture of which is taught to fear death and the dead.
The closest festival that those of us with Northern European/Gaelic/Celtic ancestry once had is Samhain, which was eventually assimilated by our culture and turned into the modern Halloween which has nothing to do with honoring our ancestors and departed loved ones and everything to do with commercial profit.
Sadly, this is beginning to happen to Dia De Los Muertos as is evidenced by incredibly tacky Halloween costumes on sale, and other misappropriations.
Make no mistake, Dia De Los Muertos is not “Mexican Halloween” just like Cinco De Mayo is not “Mexican Independence Day” (it commemorates the battle of Pueblo and achieving victory over French forces against all odds, but that’s a conversation for another day) nor is it about drinking tequila until you puke.
This Huffington Post article speaks to appropriation and misrepresentation of the observance, so rather than wax poetic from upon my soapbox, I shall link it here.
While appropriation and colonization are very real and serious issues based in devaluing and disrespecting other cultures, the United States has always been known as the “Great American Melting Pot” in which many generations of immigrants from different cultures brought some of their own traditions.
We can learn a lot from other cultures and regain some of the connections to the earth and our ancestors we lost when we all melded into a homogenous culture if we approach it with respect and a desire to learn.
This short video explains the basics of the observance…
Today, an example of respectful learning and celebration occurred at the Tacoma Art Museum for Dia De Los Muertos.
A colorful event that included education, entertainment, music, activities for children and sacred spaces created for departed loves ones drew people from all over Tacoma and beyond in the spirit of community.
Offerendas (altars built to honor departed loves ones and ancestors) lined hallways on multiple levels of the museum. Filled with photographs, decorations, memorabilia and often, written explanations about the symbolism and people involved were lovingly built by individuals, families and community groups who took workshops to understand their significance so that they could be created out of love and respect.
I spoke with a Latina woman who was laying out a lovely offerenda she was decorating with feather headdresses, photographs and items of significance or that were favorite things of her departed loved ones. She told me about her father who had passed only one year ago, and her grandmother and aunt. She sadly told of how quickly “the cancer” took one of her relatives and smiled sharing fond memories others.
I then spoke with a Chinese American woman who wanted to take my photograph since I was in costume and we shared stories of observances in our own pre-United States cultures (in my case, Irish) that were similar to Dia De Los Muertos,
I saw people of all ages, classes, cultures and ethnicities come together to learn, share and remember their departed loves one who live in our hearts and stories. I watched people of diverse political leanings learn about another culture at a deeper and more personal level than before. I witnessed healing.
If you didn’t make it this year, you need to put it on your calendar for next year. I certainly hope that the museum will continue to provide this amazing, free event to the community.
There is still time to “get your dead on”. Tonight, on 6th Avenue there is a Dia De Los Muertos
Doors will open at the Studio 6 Ballroom Event space, 2610 6th Avenue, at 4:00 PM for face painting, creating and local vendor setup.
At 6:00 PM a procession will move down 6th Ave, many participants carrying paper mache figures they created in workshops.
At 7:00 PM, there will be live music, celebration and activities back at the event space lasting until 9:00 PM.
Come join your community and departed loves ones, for death is not to be feared, it is part of life and the end, is just the beginning.
I leave you with a charming short film showing a little girl discovering Dia De Los Muertos
Many (far too many this year) are spending their first holiday without a parent, loved one, beloved pet or child who has passed from this earth (losing a child to an early, unfair death or suicide… I can’t even imagine)
I was reading a Facebook post of a friend of mine today who asked if she was the only one who felt melancholy at this time of year.
She mentioned that she wished she had known as a child how precious those holidays with family were despite the fact that even though they were Jewish, they gathered at Christmas when they were free from work and school obligations and spent quality time together.
As many of us are wont to say, “Hug your loved ones; tell them that you love them, for you never know when it will be the very last time.”
Truer words were never spoken.
I do my best to distract myself from the fact that I have no immediate family (I do have some cousins in other states) and that due to my own abusive, dysfunctional, upbringing in an alcoholic household, I have been unable, as an adult to form a lasting functional romantic relationship/partnership (Wow, do I ever “pick wrong”)
I host holiday gatherings with chosen family (which in cases of severe dysfunction, neglect or abuse can be preferable to and healthier/safer than blood family)
I try to make sure that anyone who finds themselves alone at this often emotionally challenging time of year for whatever reason, knows that they have somewhere to go.
I cook, bake, decorate, send out cards and letters and try to give back to my community.
But in the end, there is still, always, that sense of aloneness, of being different-not in that cool, quirky, creative way, but in that “there is something wrong with me kind of way”.
Tonight, I will be cooking a holiday feast for friends/chosen from all walks of life, relationship statuses and faiths (or lack thereof)
I am going to hug them and let them know that I love and appreciate them, because we never know what someone else may be going through inside and because we never know when it will be the last time we have the chance.
I encourage everyone to do the same.
And just to end this rather serious reflection on a positive note, I offer up one of my favorite, past Christmas experiences.
“One Perfect Christmas Moment in Tacoma”
Sometimes when we least expect it, something amazing and profound hits us out of the blue, more often than not, it comes from a source that we least expect.
I am one of “those people” who prefers to use the words “Happy Holidays” to greet people during the winter holiday season in order to respect and acknowledge the fact that the season is shared by many faiths and traditions. It’s not a “war on Christmas”, it’s merely being inclusive and respectful.
I am not a Christian, but I do celebrate Christmas as a holiday of shared seasonal traditions. I celebrate it as a season of light, hope and ideally, peace on earth. To me, rebirth and renewal is a universal concept.
One Christmas morning, many years ago whilst living in Tacoma’s Stadium District, I walked to my neighborhood corner market to pick up something for a celebration that I was going to attend later in the day. The weather was beautiful, the air was crisp and clean, and I was still enjoying fond memories of a celebration with good friends the night before.
As I looked out on to the deep blue waters of Commencement Bay, I also contemplated all the stress and depression that many people feel at this time of year, and how truly sad that is. I thought of all the pressure that our society puts on people to be happy and have the “perfect” holiday, and how many end up disappointed and frustrated. I thought of those who have lost loved ones, and for whom this time of year brings only painful memories of loss.; and as I watched a homeless man digging in the trash, I thought sadly of those who don’t even have a home and a hot meal. It seemed so wrong to me that a season that is supposed to be about happiness and joy brings stress, depression and sadness to so many. I was feeling pretty darn jaded.
I was distracted from my train of thought when I stopped to chat with a friend from work at the little coffee shop on the corner, and was then greeted by familiar faces and smiles at our little neighborhood market. I made my purchases and began my walk back home, my mind drifting back to the sadness I was thinking about earlier..
And then, I heard it on the air.
At first it was faint and distant; then it began go gain strength and seemed to be coming from all around me.
Music, bells, magic.
Stadium is an historic neighborhood where most of the buildings are at least 100 years old. It contains several beautiful old churches.
Resounding across the waters of Commencement Bay, the castle that is now Stadium High School and the old brick buildings filled with history, was “Gloria, In Excelious Deo…” coming from real bells in an old church (I don’t know which one) that has an organ controlling the bells. Next I heard, “Joy to the World” and was reminded that this indeed is a season of hope for many traditions.
I stopped walking and just stood there to listen, appreciate the world around me and experience something that was very powerful. It was then that I noticed other people stopped on the streets, also mesmerized by the magical sounds. They came out of their businesses and homes to sit on the stoops and listen, some even pulled their cars to the side of the road and turned off their engines. Everyone, regardless of their religious upbringing, traditions or even current life circumstances was smiling in shared joy for the beauty in the air surrounding us. Most of us did not know nor had even seen each other before that moment; yet we felt an undeniable connection of the spirit.
For one brief moment, the world stood still, filled with peace, love and joy.
It doesn’t matter which church, religion, tradition or building that joyful sound came from. There are certain messages in this world that are universal.
If only we could all share more moments like the one I experienced Christmas morning in a tiny Tacoma neighborhood.
I have a lot of fun, hopefully interesting and much less serious things to blog about (and absolutely no time in which to do so), but I read something on a friend’s page today that got me thinking about this.
Said friend just got back from the hospital after a scare that involved chest pain. Nothing conclusive was shown (that’s a good thing) and returning for another test (right away) was recommended.
This got my friend thinking about what she would do if it turned out to be something serious enough to require invasive surgery such as a multiple bypass; (an uncle had one) Would she, at her (retirement) age put herself through such an invasive and recovery intensive procedure such as that, or accept that life is finite and just go on about the act of living?
Hopefully, it is tendon/muscle/ligament and/or irritation of the pleura or pericardium, perhaps/most likely something that is easily fixed by a shot of antibiotics, some mild medication or just rest and recovery and this will all be a mute point for my friend.
Since my cancer scare a year and a half ago, I’ve thought a lot about such things. What would I do if it it was ovarian cancer? Would I have chemo? Would I accept localized radiation? Or would I just tell everyone I love that I love them, live my life with as much zeal as possible and then go into hospice on a morphine drip when that was no longer possible?
I’m pretty sure that in that case, I would chose the latter. As a matter of fact, I am as positive as one can be without actually having to make that decision.
Like my friend, I do not have any children relying on me; if I did, I would most likely feel a different responsibility to them.
During that time, I also watched my close friend Houston battle stage four prostate cancer. For a year and a half after the diagnosis (when they told him he only had a short few months to live) he was mostly confined to bed in a nursing home and was in and out of hospitals for surgeries and complications of his disease and treatment.
He fought; he fought valiantly and up to the end remained positive and determined to beat it.
With my medical background, I knew that the prognosis and the likelihood of that happening was so miniscule that statisticians would not be able to quantify it. Granted, I have seen miracles, but did not really expect one in his case.
But this was his fight, not mine, his decision, not mine, HIS… NOT MINE. As long as my dear friend wanted to fight, I would be there with him, holding his hand (even when it required a gloves, gown and a mask to do so) and would support his decision 110%.
I know death. I know death all too well. In addition to having danced with it myself on more than one occasion, I have been with people when it came. I have seen the beauty and peace one feels when ready to end the pain and pass over, I have seen and felt the horrible struggle of those clinging to life they were not ready to let go of as it was traumatically torn from them, and I, as as medical professional have had people beg me to let them die in peace with dignity when the law would not allow it. That is the most heartbreaking thing of all.
So while my friend pondered what they would do and I watched mutual, concerned, loving friends beg, plead and demand action, I remembered a choice I made a year and a half ago.
A little known fact about surgery, about general anesthesia. More people die from general anesthesia, than from the illnesses and injures that require the surgery.
When I went in for my first surgery a year and a half ago, I updated my will and my advanced directives.
The most difficult choice, was finding someone to carry out those directives.
I needed someone (and a backup) that “loved me as much as they loved their dog”
That sounds weird.
I needed someone that loved me enough to pull the plug should things go bad.
I could not choose anyone whose religious beliefs would preclude them from doing that.
We take our beloved fur children to the vet and have them “put out of their misery” when their short lives are going to be filled with nothing but pain, misery and suffering, yet only in Oregon and Washington states, do we have a death with dignity law in which we can make that choice for ourselves.
Whilst that choice would be made by only me and my doctor, well ahead of time, the idea behind it is the same.
Do you love me as much as your dog?
Do you love me enough to pull the plug and end all of our suffering?
Luckily, I have dear friends Janet and Betsy who agreed to do that for me should it come to that.
My advanced directives are clear…
WHAT! You don’t have advanced directives?
Fill them out, have them notarized, DO IT NOW!
Having worked in emergency medicine for well over a decade, I (and most, if not all of my colleagues) would prefer to just have “no code” tattooed on my chest.
Since that is not an option, my advanced directives are clear.
No respirator, no feeding tube. If I can’t be brought back with basic CPR and a zap with a defibrillator, save my loved ones and the staff the hassle of trying to bring me back from a vegetative state.
You see, the brain dies after 4-6 minutes without oxygen. You can “save” someone and get their heart beating again, but it does not mean that they will “live”
As a paramedic, I experienced this far too often.
The expectation, the legal mandate was to “save lives”.
In the absence of “no code” orders signed by the patient and the physician (and not expired), at the bedside, we were required to do what we were trained to do.
Yes, it sounds exciting and exhilarating to bring someone back from the dead and get their heart beating again.
The harsh reality is, that in most cases, they “come back” brain dead, only to code over and over again in the ICU as their family mourns their death many times over, and is driven to bankruptcy in the process, or they “live” in a vegetative state in a nursing home being fed through a tube and have their diaper changed by underpaid staff.
I cried far more often for the patients I “saved” than the ones I lost because I did not feel like a hero, I felt like Dr Frankenstein, only prolonging pain and suffering.
I am not afraid of death. I’ve been clinically dead once as a child with a severe allergy/asthma attack brought back to life with an intracardiac injection of epinephrine and as an adult made peace with the fact that the most likely scenario is that I was going to die after a river guiding accident that fractured my spine and pelvis.
and please in the name of all that is sacred to you, harvest my organs and give them to people who need them. What! You don’t have an organ donor card/endorsement on your license? If you are so inclined DO IT NOW!
What I am afraid of, is having a stroke or an accident and not having a choice, putting my friends and loved ones through hell on earth and being a drain on the system.
But back to my friend.
I fully expect her to live a long and productive life and have strongly recommended that she get back in for the tests ASAP. After all, you can’t make a decision if not given all the information you need in which to make it.
But if for some reason, that is not the way it goes and she makes a choice not to undergo something so invasive.
On Sunday, I went back to dragon boat practice for the first time since November of 2008.
I realized while out on the water, that I had not set foot (or rather butt) on a dragon boat since he died.
His death wasn’t the reason (per se) that I didn’t go back. In addition to the triathlon training, about the time I thought I might be able to go back, I was dealing with the illness, mental issues and traumatic death of my mother.
While out on the water, I thought about Ben; I thought about him a lot.
I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to go back, but I did. I don’t know if I will ever want to steer the dragon again (that is just too intimately tied to Ben and can’t imagine anyone but him coaching me to do so) but it was good to be back.
We do this drill called “hookey”; Despite the fact that someone different was calling it out, I could hear Ben’s voice. (he was so funny when calling it out)
I wanted to laugh and I wanted to cry. (I have tears streaming down my face as I type this)
Today, I finally sanded, dragon decaled and varnished my dragon boat paddle, a project that Ben and I were going to do together.
It was November 10th of 2008, while driving back from Eastern Washington that I got the news that my friend and Dragon Boat Steering Coach Ben died the Saturday before.
He was steering the boat at practice when he had a massive heart attack. They were very close to the dock and the paramedics arrived right away.
They could not revive him and he was pronounced dead at the hospital an hour later.
I can’t imagine how terrible it must have been for my friends, my team to watch one of our most beloved members and coaches die.
I think I hurt for them the most.
I felt guilty for not being there. Although it was said that the heart attack was too massive for anyone/anything to help, I still felt guilty for not being there to do my medic thing and even more so, because I was not there for my friends.
Between the ten hour shifts and commute and training for my triathlon and the STP, dragon boating was the part of my life that got let go. On the week days that I actually got home in time for a practice, I was too exhausted to go. Weekends were spent logging long hours on the bike, swimming or running.
I kept saying that I was going to find the time/energy to go back, and each time I didn’t.
Ben certified me to steer the dragon boat and at one time when I was having a melt down because I did not feel experienced enough to handle a task I was given (in the conditions location it was being held in) and be responsible for the safety of the crew. I had Ben take over my boat and I left the event in tears feeling that I had failed everyone. He gave me a couple of days and then let down his gruff exterior and let his true loving nature show.
Ben was only 61 (at least I think so-the article I wrote on dragon boating last year listed him as 60)
Ben had an infectious grin and made everyone around him smile and laugh.
He was a good coach, and good friend and a good person.
He will be sorely missed.
I was told that at the following Sunday’s practice, the other association’s team paddled alongside our boat (which was three deep in each seat rather than two) out to the flagpole at the end of the waterway and both boats did Bens “salute” with the paddles.
Later, there was a memorial event for him on the water, dragon boat teams from Portland Oregon and Seattle came to Tacoma to participate and honor Ben, who touched the lives of so many.
Once again, life reminds me that we never know when our last moment on this earth will be.
We never know when we may see someone for the last time.
We should treat every day is if it were our last and love and cherish those we care about.
This post is not what you think it’s going to be.
While there has (and will be) plenty of fodder for those who disagree with and/or mock certain religious sects and/or warn against false prophets and scheisters, there really is a greater message that kept popping up through out this whole (non) event.
Many times, from people of many different faiths (or lack thereof) I read the following statement.
“We should all treat every day as if it was our last on this earth”
Regardless of one’s faith and belief in the afterlife (or lack thereof) those words ring true.
Time and time again, I have seen people taken from this life unexpectedly, traumatically and with regrets. As a paramedic, I saw people panic and fight the inevitable, only to lose their battle for life in a way that I would not wish on anyone.
It is not always sudden.
The last words spoken to me by my own mother when I (rather forcefully and emotionally) indicated that she needed to follow post surgical instructions and take care of herself were angry, “I’M THE ADULT, You don’t get to tell me what to do!”. After those words, she took the phone off the hook, barred the doors and windows, refused to answer the pleas of her best friends and neighbors (and the police who were called for welfare checks) through the doors and windows and screamed “GO AWAY! LEAVE ME ALONE”. Legally, no one, not even the police could force entry under these circumstances.
Just as I predicted, just as I told her would happen if she did not at least try to do something, anything to improve her health (not in her psychological makeup to do so, then or ever), she died alone, in her home. I will spare you the details relayed to me by the medical examiner, but they will haunt me for the rest of my life.
While this event (and the life and events leading up to it) were traumatic and will take a lifetime to work through, I do have to give her credit for dying on her own terms, in her own home.
Thank goodness, it does not always end that way.
During my 13 years as a paramedic, I saw a lot of people die. The fact is, if it’s someone’s time, if the injury (and illnesses cause injury to the heart, brain and cells) is too great, even the best and most swift medical intervention can not stop the inevitable.
I have watched a lot of people die.
When someone is ready to die, to move on, to be released from pain and is at peace, it is a truly beautiful thing to watch, and this may sound weird, but I consider myself blessed to have been there for these moments.
Today, one of my very best friends from high school was there when her best friend, father of her children and husband was released from these earthly bonds after a courageous battle with cancer.
I have been privileged over the last year and a half not only to witness this courageous battle, but to experience the love, faith, laughter, tears and finally acceptance of the inevitable.
Even from across the country, I knew that if not today, it could be tomorrow or the day after.
When today’s email came, I did not need to read it to know why it was sent.
This journey was truly amazing, not for the medical treatments and remissions, but for the love and faith Craig and his family displayed even though the most challenging of times.
While he fought the good fight, he and his family also prepared themselves for the end of that battle.
They lived every moment as if it was their last.
While he still had the strength, the family reinforced connections and made memories.
When he could no longer do so, they made sure he had friends visit and call and constantly, they made arrangements to be with him 24/7 and let him know how loved he was.
My amazing friend Nina, almost daily, shared her joy, her sorrow, her fears, her courage and her vulnerability with her friends and loved ones. I’m pretty sure she never slept.
In his last moments on this earth, Craig was surrounded by loved ones (friends, family and pets) in a peaceful place with a beautiful view.
Sometimes we look at other beliefs with skepticism at best.
I can say that the honest, giving, loving, non-judgmental way in which Craig and Nina lived their lives is as “Christ like” as I have ever seen.
I honestly don’t know if there is a heaven or not.
Even though we are of different faiths, I thoroughly believe that if there is one, that Craig is there and he will be joined by Nina and the rest of his family.
I love this photo of their family. What makes it even better is my friend Nina’s statement, “The irony of this photo is that Craig isn’t exactly a fan of the dog.”
This afternoon it became apparent that Lovey was not going to make it after her brief rally Friday night/Saturday morning.
She stopped eating and drinking (I got as much water down her as I could) and became unable to stand or sit upright again.
I brought her upstairs this morning and set her up in the bathtub with food, water and towels for comfort & warmth.
I couldn’t force her to spend her last bit of time on this earth locked in the bathroom wrapped in a towel in the bath tub.
I gently took her outside and laid her in the grass under the grape arbor.
She nibbled a bit of grass, laid her head down and that was it.
And of course, I cried like an idiot.
All the books say that I should have just “destroyed’ her immediately because if she had a disease, even one she pulled through from, she would still pose a threat to the rest of my small flock.
I had to try to nurse her back to health.
I know some people think “What’s the big deal;it’s just a chicken”.
She was a sweet bird, a funny bird, she gave me fresh eggs (and occasionally a run for my money)
I’m going to miss her
I know that chickens are fragile creatures who can have a number of congenital issues as well as cancers. She came from a different source than Mary Ann and Ginger,who thankfully appear healthy and happy so who knows. I know I will never get another chicken from that farm.
I’ve written plenty about that time, the circumstances surrounding her death and my unfortunate childhood.
I will not post about any of that today.
It will take a long time a lifetime to deal with it all.
No one and no situation is all good or all bad.
But I needed to do something today. To, if not honor observe the “anniversary”.
Last week, I received what the public administrators office deemed, “personal effects with sentimental value”.
I will not go into what was or wasn’t there or why.
But there were some things that I knew I needed to re home.
He roommate Pat (and Irish Catholic) left her with many items some of which I received last year and a few that came last week.
I have already re homed three crucifixes. If one was raised with them (I was not, I was raised Methodist) it’s a comforting symbol. For someone like me (who although not a Christian would imagine the it would be about resurrection and life teachings not death) the image of a dead guy nailed to a cross is rather disturbing.
With that said, I know that it is a sacred symbol to many people and I could not dispose of something that Pat considered sacred and that my mother kept. It may not be a sacred object to me, but I respect the fact that is is a sacred object to other people and will treat it as such.
The first three crucifixes were re homed to my friend Jessica in Madison Wisconsin, my friend John in Bonney Lake and Dale.
There was another crucifix in this last batch.
I knew that if I put it out on Facebook someone who appreciated it would take it.
But I emailed my neighbor Francine (a practicing Catholic)
As it turns out, she and her husband were just saying that they needed one for the hallway of their house.
Yes, it was meant to be.
The other items proved slightly more challenging.
First, the photos, letters and unpublished writings of my Bob’s Watson part of my mother’s “first” family, the Watson family also known as the “First Family of Hollywood” back in the day.
These were not my family memories (heck, I was a result of what she was stuck with and she never got over her first husband) but they were someone’s family memories.
I could not throw them away.
My mother was married to Delmar Watson (probably best known to most of you as “Peter the Goat Boy” in the Shirly Temple version of “Heidi”
Since the family was famous, and Delmar was a renowned photo journalist, I was able to track down the reporter who wrote about Delamr’s death and find a family contact.
I contacted the family and they are happy to have what was left to me for the museum.
Another item was the photo book I created for my mother a few years ago. She loved that book and reported carried it with her wherever she went. Her best friend Joyce loved that book and wanted a copy.
Those of you who have been to my home have seen my copy on my coffee table.
I am sending Joyce my mother’s copy.
The last item is a bit more difficult. Her boss’s wife is an actor (I used to act with her in productions at Plaza Players) and artist. She did a painting of the front of the office (a beautiful old Victorian home) with “Thumper” (the kitty office mascot) in front and tittled it “Thumper’s Castle” Thumper died not long ago. I did not want to just send the painting back as that could be considered an insult to the artist. Instead, I sent an email offering to send them the painting, explaining that I’d be happy to keep it, but I thought that it might be more meaningful to them. If they do not want it, I will not dispose of it.
So we will see what we see on that one.
In any event, this is difficult and will be difficult for a time.
But I felt that I needed to observe the day in a respectful manner and this is what I came up with.