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Subject: Thought about Death/Funerals - just need some catharsis rss

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John Stimson
United States
Menomonee Falls
Wisconsin
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I know a terrific old man, who is dying. Just 12 months ago, he was a vigorous healthy man, but the cancer has him now. He can't eat, so he's slowly starving to death. He's part of the greatest generation. He is the proud kind of man who everyone would love to have as a grandfather. The kind of man who wouldn't ask you for a nickel if he was flat broke. About 6 months ago, he checked into a nursing home to die, and "curses to him" he actually got better and returned home. He wanted to go quick. He's in a hospice now, and I'll miss him. He lived a great life and enviable life. If you believe in God....

On another similar note, I grew up in Iowa as part of a very tight knit family. I spent endless summers with aunts and uncles. Unfortunately, time and employment opportunities have spread us to the wind and I haven't visited as often as I should have, or would like to, have visited. In fact the last time I went to IA it was to attend my uncle’s funeral in November 2007. He was 80 years old and lived what I would call a charmed life. He has 5 terrific children, dozens of grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc….

At the funeral I was struck at how many people loved him. The church was literally overflowing with people. The minister wept. I was struck by the comments of one man in particular. He was about the same age as my uncle and was with my uncle shortly before he died. He stood up to say, with a cracked voice, that my uncle asked him to “pray to God that he takes me tonight.” A few second later he said in a hushed voice “so I did.” Then he broke down. This moment I will remember forever.

Another thing that sticks in my gizzard about the day of my uncle’s funeral was how many people went out of their way to tell me that they appreciated me attending. It’s quite a long drive for me. I got the distinct impression that people were actually surprised. I understand they were just expressing gratitude, but they would follow up with comments like “you didn’t have to” etc… YES I DID. I HAD NO CHOICE. When a great person I know dies, I’m going to be there to pay my respects, no matter what the cost. When I was 21, I made that mistake once when a cousin died and I was too far away to attend. I sincerely and severely regretted that ever since, I’ll never make that mistake again.

Well that’s about it. I feel better now. Thanks for “listening.”
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Sterling Babcock
United States
Longmont
Colorado
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Wow. That is a touching story. I am sorry for your loss.

It is true that there are people who really touch our lives and we need to pay our respects to them. It is amazing to me how a few people stand out in my life like that. (not how few, but how a few)

My step-mother was a wonderful person who we lost to cancer about 15 years ago. I will always remember her and her down home ways. She was an amazing individual.

Just last year I lost a coworker to cancer. That is a shock, when someone about your own age just disappears from your life in just one month. I am glad that I knew him.

It makes me want to stay in touch with people I do know who are still around. I have met a few people who just stand out of the crowd as people I want to know as long as I can.

I guess that all came out as a bit of a ramble. Sorry about that.
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Robert Wesley
Nepal
Aberdeen
Washington
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Yes, this is quite sad and yet uplifting to hear, but with the 1st mentioned person, then what about some of those "Nutritional Supplemental Drinks"? They're not exactly 'cheap', but getting that by the 'case' at COSTCO will bring the cost down to somewhat being reasonable. Best regards to you and them on it all also.
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Scotty Dickey
United States
Brandon
Mississippi
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Very well written. Thank you for sharing. I will forever regret missing my maternal Grandmother's funeral. At the risk of taking this thread in a direction you may not have intended, Ecclesiastes 7:2 declares:

"It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart."


There is obviously an explicitly Christian message here about the wisdom of considering one's mortality. Even apart from the religious implications, there are tremendous personal and social benefits associated with reflection on (not obsession with) death. It is a very healthy thing to consider one's end. It is also a wonderful thing to honor, and suffer along with those who are dying.
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Scott Russell
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Our family has also spread out as John has described. When I was in elementary school in Indiana, there was our house, next door (A quarter mile or so) were my grandparents, then an uncles'. Another uncle lived on the next road a half mile behind us through a field. The "distant" uncle was ten miles away. In high school, my grandparents sold the farm and retired to Texas where an uncle had moved the year before for respiratory reasons. Today, my father and one sister are still in Indiana, but the other kids are spread from Michigan to Colorado.

Last summer, my grandmother died and the funeral was in Indiana. It was amazing how many folks turned out even though she hadn't lived in the area for twenty some years. My wife and I have lived in five different houses since we were married and at eight years, the current one is the longest. We know most of our neighbors at least enough to nod to them at school, but have never been part of a community like the one where I grew up.

This line of thought caused my wife to be concerned that no one would come to her funeral, so I promised to hire professional mourners if needed. But it raised an interesting thought. As our network of friends and families grows more physically distant, but perhaps more intertwined electronically, what are funerals going to look like in twenty years or so?
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