A Good Death

It’s been more than a decade since Diane and I embarked on the odyssey towards her death. An odyssey that lasted nine months and ended with a call to the Vanderbilt anatomical donation office to pick up her remains at the Hospice House. The doctor told us she had terminal cancer, a week after we returned from a trip to New Orleans and two days after she won a 5K race. The news was shocking, to say the least. No warning, no warning signs, just the pronouncement of her impending death and the prediction she had only a few months to live. When telling our daughters, we softened the news because our youngest daughter, Blair, was pregnant with her first child and having some physical difficulties with her pregnancy. We explained that the situation was serious but that Diane was undergoing chemotherapy to mitigate the disease. Our grandson, then eleven, continued with his weekend visits. Always lifting our spirits with his humor, wisdom, and affection. About two weeks after the initial shock, Diane and I returned to our usual upbeat notion that life was to be enjoyed, regardless of prevailing circumstances or eminent doom. Our attitudes remained in that mode for the nine months she lived. Though gentle, delicate and diminutive, Diane was emotionally strong, authentic and pragmatic throughout the entire ordeal. She set goals for herself and us. She would live until the end of the year to see grandson enter junior high in the fall; be around for our fortieth anniversary and the birth of our granddaughter in late October; and participate in one final family Christmas....

Ten Virtues I Live By

You have to be present to win Be in Service – It is better to serve those you know than to give alms to the poor. Be Adaptable – There is no future in the past. Be Thoughtful – Thoughtfulness expressed is worth more than treasures given. Be Smarter – Success always comes from learning something new. Be Friendly – Be nice to everyone.  Pick close friends and cohorts wisely and cherish them. Be Responsible– Do unto others as you say you will do. And, do the same for yourself. Be Moderate – Avoid excesses but delight in second helpings Be Adventurous – Try most things once, some things twice and many things never again. Be Appreciative – See beauty in everyone, everything and everywhere. Be Joyful –...