Do it now!

Listen to that little voice, call them tonight not tomorrow.

I should be telling you about my latest project to get you excited about it as I am.

I should be spending time with my characters, making sure that they are not naughty.

I should be doing a lot of things that make me more productive.

Today I did none of those things.  I got up at my usual time, got dressed in drab clothing fit for the somber event that was hastily scheduled for today, and headed downtown to mourn in public.

The weather participated in the event, making sure that everyone was wet and cold.

A few weeks ago, one of my friends was going to be in town and suggested we get together for lunch.  That is an easy decision to make as this person was a beacon of light on a cloudy day like today.  Our schedules did not match up this time…

You notice I said ‘was.’

A few days ago, I got word he died of a heart attack.

I write about heart issues, but I don’t write about physical heart issues.  I write of love and torment but not about clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and of course, high cholesterol.

Not many would read a novel about such things, but, a love lost would garner your attention.

Today, friends of mine who loyally read these blogs, I have something for you to do.  Actually, I have a few things I would like you to consider.

Firstly, if not for you than for your family and friends, make sure your health is in check.  Many don’t take that stuff seriously, and they should.

Next, make sure that your loved ones do the same thing.

Finally, don’t put off calling on your friends, family, and so on, as you never know when the bell will toll.

We all contribute to that butterfly effect.  What you do in Mumbai or San Francisco will have an impact on others in distant places.  This very blog is read in countries and areas I have never been but would love to go, just to meet those of you who spend your time reading it.

I read many of your blogs.  While we may never meet in person, I feel like I know many of you.  Some of you have such a beautiful soul.   You honor me by spending time on my site.

Today I said goodbye to a good friend, the likes of which I will never see again.  I have many friends, each of them, like yourselves, is different.  You are each unique and bring to the table a sense of wonderment, joy and your personality that I love to experience.  When I write these posts, I love to see who liked it, who commented, and read about what is going on in your lives.

This fellow was like that.  He had a servant’s heart, and was a model for many; that light has faded away.  There are no do-overs when you don’t take the time today to go have that lunch or dinner or just talk on the phone.  When the Bell tolls, you waited too long.

I was speaking with a young man who waited too long to tell this lady how he felt about her.  She stopped waiting, and someone else found her.

That sounds like the stuff of Hallmark or Harlequin, but…You can and should think outside the box.

We, as people, are still about ownership.  We marry because we want to own that person.  It is archaic and backward thinking.

Plug for Saga of the Starduster.

We don’t have to own anyone to enjoy them.  Firstly, there is no ownership of anyone.  Yes, you can exchange vows and rings but in the end, if you abuse one another those nuptials will vaporize like Jelly beans in a room full of two-year-olds.

There are many ways to enjoy someone without carnal expressions being part of the mix.  That friend I lost today was married, had children, and I cherished the time we spent together.

Many of you who write from your heart, much like this blog, are sharing an intimate part of yourselves with many.  Carl Sagan said if you want to know someone, read what they wrote.

In my novels, the characters are me.  That is so true and so telling.  We share our most intimate thoughts and feelings as I am today.

You do that as well, and I applaud you.

Make time for each other, and take care of yourself.  There is only one you and even if you feel totally bereft of love,  whatever your circumstances, I do offer love on this blog.

When I sign ‘much love,’ it is from the heart.

Take care of yourself.  Much love -TW

 

 

 

Quality of life or Quantity of life?

How would you answer this?

 

If you have ever heard that question before you know where this blog is going.

Today, Well yesterday…it all blurs together when you are sleep deprived, a very dear friend of mine was asked this very question by their doctor.

I was there in a supportive role.  Expecting such a thing did not lessen the sting.

Quality of life and death with dignity or Quantity of life while we do all this stuff to prolong your existence.

Many of you reading this might very well be asked this one day.  How will you respond?

More than the how is they why?

You and I walk through our daily life expecting the sun to rise in the morning.  We anticipate that whatever is on our schedule for this day we will have to deal with.  Taking the kids to the doctor or school or possibly some problematic task to tend to at work we know it is on our calendar.

All of these things are distractions really.  They are distractions from our own mortality.

If you are one of my many followers you no doubt have read my account of the accident that befell me years ago.  You know that I faced death once.  Facing our own mortality is different than facing your friends or families death.

My friend through some herculean efforts by different medical facilities could possibly live months to years longer.  The steps necessary to pull that off would interfere significantly with not only their life but those of their loved ones.

How would you face such a thing?

If you put out your friends and family in a pretty big way, you could live longer.  Your quality of life would be limited.  You could ostensibly live a reasonably normal life other than spending several hours a week tethered to some machine.

My heart breaks for my friend.  I don’t know what decision I would make if it were me, so it is impossible for me to judge them.

This situation runs askance of my beliefs, but I do think that assisted suicide should be legal.  While Hospice is wonderful the person going through it must suffer while the organs and other tissues die from lack of nourishment or the buildup of toxins cause them to shut down.

Why in god’s name we cannot just allow them to go with a morphine drip is beyond me.  This country alone kills tens of thousands of babies every year but is hung up on letting terminally ill patients push a button that starts a morphine drip. This action slowly overwhelms their body with a sedative allowing them to just float away.  It is, in fact, an overdose.

As they sort out the legal details of who is paying for what the patient, my friend is in limbo as to where they will go to live out their remaining days on earth.  Calls are made, but of course, they are not returned in a timely fashion.  Insurance will not pay for long-term care if Hospice is involved and Medicare will not pay for Hospice if they still need medical care.

The merry go round of the bureaucracy is never-ending.  To them everything is numbers.   A funeral today is up to $20K if you already have a plot!  That is here in Dallas.

Everything is about money!

Listening to the doctors, I got the idea that they were talking them into death with dignity and quickly as it is less expensive to keep you around since you need so much care.

Possibly I am jaded as I sat there for days on end watching my friend decline.  I see the bureaucracy, and it is rampant!   Wading through it is a nightmare.

  • Do you have a living will?
  • Do you have life insurance?
  • Do you have a regular will?
  • Do you have a long-term care policy?

No, not selling anything like this and I certainly do not want to bring you down.

You who follow me know that I love people and I want the best for my friends.  In a genuine way that includes you who follow me here.

One never knows when the sun is not going to rise, and that is a sad but true fact.  We don’t know what is in store after this life is over.  We hope that we will be back with our loved ones and even snowball the cat.  I see the afterlife that preachers sell, and I will not sell that here.

Having said that, I think and believe that faith is essential.  A spiritual connection is paramount to dealing with the death of the body.

Christians call it fire insurance and I scoff at that.  I must admit that if you don’t take it too seriously, it is funny.

I have many thoughts on this subject, and if there is interest, I will expound upon them at a later date.

If you are a spiritual person I encourage you to lift me up in your thoughts and prayers.  I have this friend who will be dead in a short while, and I have another who suffers from an incurable disease that will most certainly end their life as they know it as well.  Two close friends at the same time.

This will present a considerable loss to me personally.  My writing has already suffered as the characters are taking a hiatus while I deal this.

My thoughts are with the one on death’s door and the other who is trying to find death’s door on which to knock.

Thanks so much for your kind thoughts and prayers.

Much Love -TW

 

Are You Blind?

Time is our stock in trade, use it wisely.

This topic has never been lost on me.  As we age and we bury more and more of our friends and family life takes on a new meaning.

I watch social media accounts and am consistently amazed at people.  “Damn, tomorrow is Monday!”  “Yipee, Tomorrow is Friday!”

I used to think like that.  I had a job that I liked most of the time, but it had its moments.  Carrying a product sample kit into a large medical facility in the Texas Medical Center during the summer is a task all to itself.  Add a tropical “disturbance” into the mix along with the August heat, and it is like being in a steam room only with hot water hitting you as well.

Walking into a clinic for cancer patients puddles off rainwater were around me as I closed the umbrella trying to make myself look as if I had not just been in the torrential rain when an older black man caught my attention.  There he was in a suit, tie, and hat looking as if he were headed to meet with some group of investors.

No, that man was a patient, and he just wanted to look his best.  He was jovial, and I was trying my best to understand him as we got on the overloaded elevator. We were in fact headed to the same place so as we walked together down the hall I asked him, “How about this Houston weather?”

I was expecting him to complain like most New Yorkers do, or to grumble as most would who just walked several blocks in the rain from the parking lot but no, he amazed me.

He said, “It is a beautiful day!” Ok, maybe the guy was blind.  “Beautiful?”

“Any day the good lord lets me suck in air in the morning, it is a beautiful day.”

It was me that was blind.  I never forgot that.  I look at life differently as I make my way through each and every day.  Did I use my time here in a productive way?  Did I assist someone else on this journey we call life?

Yesterday I was at another funeral of a family member.  The drive was long, and the traffic was brutal.  The church was out in the middle of nowhere, but I got there early.  As family members came through the doors, it was a mixture of tears and laughter.

The funeral is not for the deceased it is for you, and the rest of us “still sucking air.”

Indeed this was a celebration of this man’s life.

After a lengthy service, we ate a meal together provided by the church.  We visited with family that I had not seen in years and made a promise to keep in touch.  One last thing to do before the sunset was to drive another fifty miles to this small cemetery out in the country and say our final farewells to this man who brought so much happiness to so many.

The wind was out of the north blowing, howling actually, bringing the windshield down to the teens.  For Texans that is cold!

I was dressed for it, but many were not.  As the final words were said, the first spade of soil was tossed into the hole by his last remaining brother.  There was not a dry eye there as turns were taken to throw some dirt in the grave.

We departed the cemetery as the last rays of sunlight were casting auburn fingers across the sky as if to reach in and grab the soul of our family member, and take him home.

Driving the several hours back to Dallas the day played through my mind.  Each and every conversation with family members, each hug, handshake and the warmth of the members of that small country church played through my thoughts.

Late last night as I checked my e-mail I read of yet another friend who passed away and soon I will making my way to East Texas.

As I write this tonight, I wonder if I made the best use of my day today. I was tired and did not do too much of anything.  I played with the cats, wrote on my latest book, tried to teach myself another song on the guitar and admired Mary Chapin Carpenter for her talents.  I am ending this day thinking of you who take the time to read my blogs and novels and of course tweets.

Don’t let today slip away my friends, it will never repeat itself! Did you make good use of your time here sucking in air?

Much love!  -TW