Posts tagged Death
Posts tagged Death
Hello Charlie, by Grandpa Harry
I am your grandfather, Harry. I figure you will be around twelve before your dad forces you to read this, so I am going to speak to you as if you are already twelve.
In the great city of Thebes, the golden scroll of Thoth was unearthed. This would be the same scroll that Isis used to bring Osiris back from the dead … thought I would begin with a real attention grabber! ;)
In reality nobody returns from the dead! So you have to say everything you would like to say to that person while they are alive! So here it goes. You are already getting a great jump into this world because of your parentage, so do not squander it. Let them help you to become the person you desire to be. Do not fear anything that does not hold the capacity to kill you - everyone can take a beating or a bruised ego. Do not confuse love with infatuation. They are two totally different emotions that seem the same. Although I have found that infatuation you feel with your body, while love you feel with your entire being. Find something you’re very good at and go for it with every ounce of vigor you can draw upon. Your dad will explain what vigor is. I think it was a “word of the day” when he was thirteen.
Try to have as many friends as possible, but none who are better looking than yourself. You do not want to catch your girlfriend making out with one of them. Be careful of all your actions towards other people. When you are done living, all you will be is a memory. Whether you are a good one, or bad one, will be up to you!
Now have a good life!!!!!
A Story From The Past, by Barb
Back in the day when we all lived in Chicago I had a friend who I lost to cancer and your dad did something I will never forget. He helped me raise money for cancer. He asked everyone he knew to donate and also to walk to raise money in memory of Therese! I was blown away by all that he did, and at that time in my life I needed to be reminded of the greatness of people and he helped me remember that I shouldn’t be angry my friend was taken away, there are more people as special as her out there to look after me and that is your dad! So one day when you do something out of the blue that touches so many hearts remember you got that from your dad! He is truly awesome and I know you will be too!
Have you ever gone up a roller coaster and spend the entire time freaking out? Have you let that fear just grab hold of you, tense your muscles, and make you hyperfocus on what’s ahead of you?
If so, did it change the fact you were going over that edge?
Of course not. So tell me, why not just take a breath, accept your fate, and release all that tension?
That’s what this post is about. Release. There are certain things that you have fully committed to, and you can’t change. When the fear of these inevitable things grips you, you have to let it go. And you can definitely learn to do this.
Here’s a couple of examples to give you an idea.
Your mom is going to have to go through labor to have you. There’s really no stopping it. It’s going to happen, and the more tense she is the harder it’s going to be. So she’s going to enter the hospital, take a lot of deep breaths, and relax (as best she can). And she’ll be better off for it.
When I would go outside the wire in Iraq and Afghanistan knowing I could step on or drive over an IED that would change (or end) my life; I just accepted the fact it could happen and released the fear. It was the best thing I could do for myself and the guys around me, because it allowed me to focus on what was more important, which was watching for indicators of an IED. But I had to accept that if it was going to happen, it was going to happen - and there was little I could do to prevent it.
You’ll find moments in your life when doing this will be the only thing that allows you to function. And there will be moments when functioning will be the difference between life or death, or perhaps just enjoying something … like a roller coaster ride.
So when you face something frightening, but there’s nothing you can do to change it - take a breath, calm down, and just let it go.
It’s sometimes easier said than done. But just practice and you’ll get there.
Life Tip #1 - Learn First Aid
It’s as simple as this Charlie - for $60 and 30 minutes of practice once a year, you can save the life of someone you love, or a perfect stranger.
I promise you, a time will come when you are presented with an emergency where someone’s life is on the line, or they risk serious injury. When that time comes, I would bet there’s a 99% chance no one there will know what to do - or they’ll do the wrong thing.
Parents will freak out and slap their child on the back when it chokes, bystanders will watch someone bleed without putting pressure on the wound, and many others will just stand their frozen. Trust me, even after all the training I had, even I froze for a good 5 seconds the first time I saw someone seriously injured.
However, the more training and practice you have, the shorter that “frozen time” will be and the quicker you’ll be able to get to work.
So go to the Red Cross, take a class, and practice and share what you’ve learned.
You never know Charlie, you may just save someone’s parent, sibling, spouse, or even child one day. And it will have cost you less than month’s worth of coffee.
Elders are a precious resource you shouldn’t take for granted.
That’s your great grandmother holding your dad. She was the only biological grandparent I met, and she died when I was 21. Her husband, my step-grandfather (who I loved as a grandfather), was a WWII veteran and optometrist. He died when I was a teenager.
I realized after he died that I should have talked to him more often, and should have asked him a lot of questions. Although I was young, I was smart enough to correct that mistake with your great-grandmother. A few months before she died, I sat with her for a week playing cards and talking.
I asked her about the great depression, about the world wars, growing up in Chicago, and about every other topic I could think of. She loved it. She told me everything. Before I left, asked her what the most important thing in life was. She said our health. She was a nurse, and she had breast cancer, so that made sense.
Our elders are not flawless. They are people, like you and I, open to biases and inaccurate memories of their past. But the fact remains, they are our only first-person links to history. They are the only ones you can question, and interact with. And they won’t be around forever.
One day soon, for example, we’ll only be able to learn about the world wars from someone who studied it.
So, take advantage of the opportunities you have to speak with your elders. Think of everything you may want to know, and ask them. I promise you they’ll be flattered, and you’ll be intrigued.
When talking about goals, some people say, “Getting there is half the fun.”
I couldn’t agree more, and I think appreciating this idea wholeheartedly can really decrease the amount of stress you have in your life, and significantly increase your enjoyment of it.
We all have dreams of who we want to be, and where we want to go. But sometimes we are so concentrated on the goal, we forget to enjoy the best part.
Think about it like this: Do you enjoy eating ice cream? Well, if so, ask yourself when is the last time you worked your way through a chocolate sundae, got to the end and thought, “Yes, I’m finally there! Damn, this last bite is so great!”
Negative, you usually enjoy every bite and wish it would never end.
Well that’s how life is. You have to enjoy every bite, as if it were a giant chocolate sundae. And as corny as that sounds, it is still the truth. And like a chocolate sundae, one day you will reach the end.
When that happens (and we never know when it will), I promise you won’t look at your last minute on earth and say, “Yes, I’m finally there!”
What It Means When We Go To War
This is Pete Tocci.
You’ll never meet him, because Pete was killed in Iraq in 2005 on my 26th birthday. Your mother and I cried when we got the news. I called his father a couple days later and told him how great of a Marine Pete was, and how good of a friend he was. I haven’t had the courage to call him since.
I’d like to think Pete and I would have kept in touch for a long time, and that you would have met him one day. Instead, the last time I talked to him was when your mother and I invited him to our wedding, two weeks before he died.
I’m telling you this now, because maybe I won’t talk about these things in the future. However, a younger version of your father thinks it’s worth it for you to know. When you learn about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, regardless of what you’re taught, remember that good people like Pete Tocci were lost.
I am a people watcher.
If your mom leaves me sitting somewhere, or if I’m at a red light, I’ll look around and see what people are up to. I’ll imagine who they are, what they’re thinking, and how they’re feeling at that moment.
One day I watched this old man walk. He was healthy enough to get where he was going, but it was slower than in his youth.
I wondered how he would feel if I gave him back his youth. What would he do?
Then I wondered what I would do, if I were him.
I would run, I thought. I’d chase you around the yard. I’d help your mother redecorate the house. I’d do everything I knew I’d miss once I couldn’t do it anymore.
So that’s what I do now, Charlie. And every time I get tired or lazy, I think about the future me … the old man that would kick me in the ass if I slowed down for even one second. In fact, I will sometimes literally run faster when I’m out for a jog, motivated by the thought of not being able to do it one day, and it’s exhilarating.
Life can be short, son. But it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to live with regrets like others do. Just follow my example and take nothing for granted.
It’s more than just your youth, or your health. It’s time. You should cherish every second of it, and never let anything distract you from what you have now, even if it’s just the ability to run.