Hell of a Guy
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it - Henry David Thoreau

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Driveway…


Have I mentioned I live in an old farm house in the middle of what was a 120 acre dairy farm?  Our Hell of a Guy house is a half mile off the paved road along a meandering gravel driveway.  About a quarter mile of it is on a downgrade, and therein lays the issue.  We have made this our habitual abode for eight years and still very much love it, though the outside maintenance is beginning to take its toll on me.  It’s the driveway that bugs me the most.  As my dear departed mother might say, “It’s a pain in the ass.”

Over the past three years, call it global warming, climate change or whatever, the severity of the thunderstorms and the frequency of them has increased and caused the driveway to washout time after time.  It is beginning, scratch that “beginning” crap; it pisses me off.  I no longer have the financial wherewithal, as if I ever did, to have someone come in and repair the driveway every time we get a violent thunderstorm, and I do not own a tractor or a pickup truck that would make repairs easier to manage.  I do, however, have a source of material to fill in the ruts and the holes.

Just this morning I gathered up six buckets, put them in my explorer along with a shovel and a rake, and drove down the drive to a gulley where previous storms have deposited a lot of gravel and filled the buckets so I could fill in the ruts.  I did this three times, sweating like a pig the whole time; three loads of gravel maybe with a total weight of 300 pounds.  The buckets were emptied where needed and raked level.  Nicely done, if I must say so myself.  The driveway is smooth and passable once again and I have the aching back to prove it, but hold on, zoo breath, no so fast!

As I sit here writing this, please, make note: the skies have opened up and the dam has broken.  The wind-driven rain began about thirty minutes ago.  Water is cascading down the driveway carrying all my hard work south.  I am speechless, this is maddening. 

As I have said so many times, I am fully responsible for what happens to me in my life.  I accept the storm visited me because I created it.  I can live with that, but can my aching back.  All I can do laugh at my situation and make a plan to be ready tomorrow to do it again, and to do it with a smile on my face.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Beauty of the Last Breath…


Now this may be a strange, almost weird subject to write about; however, I am going to see if I can put my recent thoughts on it in a HOAG post.  I have mulled over this and ruminated over it a number of times since my dear mother-in-law’s passing on June 16th.  Over the years I have lost my parents, two sisters, a whole host of relatives and friends, but I have never witnessed someone taking in their last breath.  Kate’s last was my first.

I have written previously about my mother-in-law and what a neat lady she was.  She suffered a serious stroke on May 28th, and we were told there was little hope of recovery.  She put up a valiant fight in the battle for life, her courage and valor never questioned, though the outcome was preordained at the moment the stroke occurred.  The morning of June 16th Nancy and I met her dad for breakfast and as we finished eating we got a call from Kate’s caregiver saying it appeared the end was near.  We hurried to get there to be by her side.  As we entered her room we could see she was struggling for every breath; she made no sounds other than short gasps.  Nancy held her right hand, her dad Kate’s left.  Nancy read Kate a prayer as the three of us gathered around her mother.  At 10:04 Kate gave into the inevitable; she was at peace.

I was struck by the beauty of the moment because I had never before given thought to dying as having any sort of beauty at all.  Death had always been portrayed as a sad event, an end.  There was a spiritual feeling that overtook me as I watched this sweet lady take her last breath and drift from this dimension to the next.  Kate was at peace; her spirit had moved on, I could feel it all in my heart.   

Many of you believe her spirit, the essence of Kate, has gone to the Heaven as described in the Bible, while non-believers merely will maintain her existence in any form is over, done, kaput.  I enjoy subscribing to Neal Donald Walsch’s view that Kate’s soul, her essence, her spirit, now that her purpose for being here is complete, has rejoined the Soul of Universe, the One Soul, the Soul of God.  Regardless of what your take of death and an afterlife may be, a physicist will tell you matter cannot be created nor destroyed, it merely changes its physical state.  So no matter what you believe, there is a forever existence after death.

There were many instances during the three weeks between her stroke and her final breath that Nancy and I asked the question to ourselves of where she might be.  She was with us, but was she really with us.  For a while she answered our questions – short answers, but answers.  As time moved on, Kate drifted in and out, giving us pause to think she was in another place, a happy place.  Perhaps she was with her own departed family and friends with them asking her to come join them?  Perhaps she wanted to go, but wanted to stay in the state she had existed for 82 years, to be with her husband of 64 years and her children?  We will never know; well, that is, until our own time has run out.

I cannot help but wonder what taking that last breath must be like.  Is there a consciousness connected to it?  Does one know it has happened?  All I can say about it is that I thought it a very beautiful moment, one I will remember for the all my remaining days and one I will never fear.

And that is all I have to say about that…