Showing posts with label death. Show all posts
Showing posts with label death. Show all posts

Saturday, March 30, 2019


Obituary for Joseph Thomas Butler Jr.

Beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Joseph Thomas (Tom) Butler, Jr died peacefully on March 19, 2019. Tom fought a hard fight after treatment for cancer in 2017. He was born January 24, 1938, in White Castle, Louisiana, and lived in New Roads, Louisiana, in his childhood and youth.

Tom attended Louisiana State University where he received bachelor's and master's degrees. He then attended Southeastern Louisiana University and received another master's degree.

In 1969, Tom moved with his wife and three children to Thibodaux, Louisiana, to accept a position in the library at Nicholls State University, where he worked for 34 years. He was Associate Director when he retired from the Ellender Memorial Library.

Tom is survived by his wife of 58 years, June Barrosse Butler, originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, son Patrick and wife, Marlet, son Timothy and wife, Cindy, daughter Alison Butler Costanzo and fiancé, Frank DiVincenti, and six grandchildren, Joey Butler, Bryan Costanzo, Ashlynn Butler, Andrew Costanzo, William Costanzo, and Joshua Butler. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Thomas Butler, Sr and Laura Janis Butler.

Tom's funeral service celebrating his life will be on Saturday, April 6, at 2PM, with visitation beginning at 1PM, at St John's Episcopal Church, 718 Jackson St, Thibodaux LA 70301. A reception in the church hall will follow the service.

The loves of Tom's life in addition to his family were gardening, fishing, and a small wooden boat museum, The Center For Traditional Louisiana Boat Building, established in the 1970s by Tom and John Rochelle, first at Nicholls State University and later in its own building in Lockport, Louisiana, on 202 Main Street. Tom served as director of the Center until very recently.

In lieu of flowers, tax-deductable donations may be sent to Friends for Traditional LA Boat Building, 202 Main Street, Lockport LA 70374.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


For all his flaws, and he had many, I believe John McCain cared about our country. The symbolism of his requests to former presidents Barack Obama, a Democrat, and George W Bush, a Republican, to speak at his funeral seems powerful to me. He campaigned for the presidency against both men and lost. I believe at the end of his life he wished for Americans to come together, not at all an ignoble wish.

May God give comfort, consolation, and peace to all who love John.

The Big Orange Divider-in-Chief was not welcome at the funeral.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


As if I wasn't sad enough... A little over a week ago I posted the following on Facebook:
Leonard and I have a close relationship, only he doesn't know it. I love his poetry, songs, and voice, even when he sings in his gravelly old man's voice, speaking more than singing the lyrics.

We have a lot in common: We are contemporaries, born in the same year in September, only three days apart. He has back trouble and is more or less "confined to barracks", as he says, and as I am. Except for the fact that he is male and a genius poet, song writer, lyricist, and singer, we are just the same. See?
Leonard's final album You Want It Darker arrived a few days ago. I didn't want it darker, and I especially didn't want it darker this way, but I love the sad, haunting album. Leonard is gone, but his music lives on.

From Rolling Stone:
"My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records," Cohen's son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. "He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor."
As we grew old together, the resonance of Leonard's songs grew ever greater and deeper over the years.

From Cohen's 2012 album Old Ideas.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Friday, September 12, 2014

DIANA - FEBRUARY 21, 1997 - SEPTEMBER 12, 2014

Diana with St Francis

Today we made the difficult decision that Diana's quality of life had deteriorated to the point where it was time to let her go. She was still eating but not enough to keep her weight. Her usual weight varied between 30 and 34 pounds, and she was down to 22 pounds.  She had only one eye, but her eyesight in the eye was very poor.  She was deaf, with severe arthritis, and failing kidney function.  She'd take her medications for arthritis and kidney function only concealed in a piece of hot dog, and she was refusing the hot dog, so she was no longer getting relief from arthritis pain from the anti-inflammatory.
Our kind veterinarian, Dr Scott, at Ridgefield Animal Hospital agreed we were not making the wrong decision, that Diana had only a short while to live, and it was unlikely that she would have good days, along with bad days, as had been the case a few weeks ago.

Diana was with us for 17½ years, a good long run for a dog friend, and we are thankful for all the years together.  She was my companion on my walks until a couple of months ago, and I will very much miss our walkies together, but I have been missing her already.

Last Friday, I expressed my grief publicly on Facebook.  For me, Diana's life with us was pretty much over then.  Here's the picture I posted and what I said:

Tom and Diana in her better days
We are watching our dog Diana, who is 17 years old, deteriorate slowly. It's painful and depressing to see our once lively companion in such a sad way. She sleeps most of the time, but she still eats, drinks, and potties outside. She's losing weight because she eats much less than when she was healthier. Diana is deaf, has only one eye, and is nearly blind in the one. She has severe arthritis, but we give her anti-inflammatory medication every day, and she doesn't seem to be in pain. She's also on medication for failing kidney function.

Our benchmarks are if she stops eating, or can't get up, or can't walk, then it's time. Also, the weight loss is a concern. Most likely, we will pay a visit next week to one of our wonderful and compassionate veterinarians for an opinion about her weight.

Diana is in love with Tom at the moment. On the days when he works at the boat museum, she is obviously depressed, doesn't eat, and sleeps most of the day until he comes home in the late afternoon. On the days he's home, she eats better and follows him around wherever he goes until she decides it's time for a nap.
Tom and I are both at peace with the decision, though we know there will be sad times ahead. We will spread her ashes in our yard and garden, which has become a virtual pet cemetery for our dog, Rusty, and the several cats who have shared our lives over the years, but, this time, Tom wanted to be spared the burial.

St Francis, Diana, and azealeas
Rest in peace, Diana.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West.
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

(W H Auden)
Thanks to my friend Jane on Facebook for posting the poem. Jane lives in South Africa.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


We are sad to report the death of Laptop, the Cathedral cat. The friendly feline had lived at the Cathedral for many years and it was estimated that he was over 18 years old.

Laptop was a free spirit and the exact story of how he came to live at the Cathedral is somewhat of a mystery. It is believed he started his life here visiting the choir boys at Choir House, and this is how we think he got his name, as he was forever trying to jump on people’s lap when they stroked him.
See the cathedral website for more adorable pictures of Laptop.  Surely after 18 years at Canterbury, Laptop ought to have a title, if only honorary.

Monday, September 2, 2013


In David’s Eyes
 for my friend, always “the Broms”

He said wait, at least ten years, maybe more,
if you must tell it, let it age, mature.
And so I have, waited, humored his sure
conviction that time and context restore.

Secretary by day, writer by night,
athlete at university, turned down
by seminary, denied alb or gown
because, for him, lying was just not right.

At the end of our first week, sipping wine,
not that we liked it, concession to chic,
declared us allies, the suffering meek,
destined to outwit the front of the line.

I know you, all edges and sharps, trying
to make porcupines seem positively
cuddly – like it – the mask, deceptively
aloof -- won’t work with me. I do prying.

Kansas slow
, rippling wheat fields in his speech,
way of being, youngest of eight, like me,
confused by the view of society
that last meant spoiled, ruined, like some old peach.

Let me read his short stories, half the play
never finished, but not the novel, shy
about that, evasive until the why
was too clear to miss, a hospital stay.

No amount of prayer or therapy or
pledges of celibacy were enough
to fix or satisfy his father’s tough
Baptist will or mother’s RC ardor.

He simply couldn’t, with direct question,
say anything other than exactly
what he thought he knew, carefully, aptly,
but true, without guile or wise digression.

He knew what he couldn’t do, so tried not
to hate himself, but haunted by childhood
belief in authority, saw no good
in being fully himself, with sin fraught.

Immune system failing fast, the gay plague
new, frightening, friends disappearing, gone
in denial, fear, means of help withdrawn,
loss of job, insurance, excuses vague.

He did not want me to read of his one,
just one, failure to contain, defeat, hide
his fall, the reason he’d been cast aside
by family, church, not prodigal son.

Let me make the call to the one brother
who might understand, might help, when the first
bout of pneumonia scared us both, cursed
or not, family, surely … wrong answer.

It’s just you, my dear, dear Empress of the
Eternal Ephemera. They think death
is my just reward.
Coughed another breath,
closed his eyes, as if that would protect me.

Retreated into dark laughter, childish
games to pass the time when he was too weak
to write, chutes and ladders with the freak
former altar boy
, bruised, near the finish.

Portmanteau, his favorite word, better
than pedestrian baggage
, imagined
his story fine lingerie examined
by nuns at the thrift store, blushing chatter.

Tried to convince him to unpack, reduce
the weight, the volume, to just a valise
lightly carried, trust God’s wisdom, release
the burden of human error, abuse.

His answer, the burning of the pages
typed in pain, preserved in plastic binders
long stacked on brick and plank shelves, reminders
of hope fading with the AIDS, in stages.

Wept, when I brought an Episcopal priest
brave enough for communion with modern
leper, outcast, sinner, to his cavern
of private despair, in one touch, true feast.

Bathed him, still shyly insisting on swim
trunks for the immersion, demure, proper
but craving the gentle soaping, lather
and warm water defying all the grim.

Wrapped his emaciated six foot two
in blankets fresh from the dryer to warm
the perpetual shivering, the storm
within raging, winding down, but not through.

Made the call, after spreading his ashes
in the Charles, as requested, his mother,
“Oh, if only I had known ….”  A kinder
me would have comforted, spared the lashes,

“That’s what everyone says, to pretend,
soothe their own guilt, knowing full well the lie
of it, your shame in wanting him to die,
to stop being your lost, a wound opened.”

It was not kind, but it was my hand that
wrote his letter, begging, at last, for her
forgiveness, love, one final little stir
of maternal instinct, last words private.

There was no reply. Just a look exchanged.

In David’s eyes there was a knowing,
and I was honored by its showing.

Marthe G. Walsh

"In David's Eyes" by Marthe G. Walsh.  © 2012 Marthe G. Walsh.
Reprinted with permission of the author.

Marthe's two books of poetry, Among the Thorns and Heretic for a Loving God may be purchased at Lulu.

Monday, July 29, 2013



Today is the second anniversary of the death of my friend Göran Koch-Swahne.  I first 'met' Göran online, and then we met face to face at our bloggers meeting in Leeds in England. The story of our gathering is here.  He flew in from Sweden to be with us.

Göran embodied the essence of the word 'gentleman'.  He was courteous, gentle, humble, and a man of great dignity. His knowledge of theology and Scripture was wide and deep, and his brilliance in demolishing the foolish arguments of those with far less knowledge was unmatched.

Thanks to John for the reminder of the anniversary and for honoring Göran by laying flowers at his grave and praying for him.  I still miss Göran.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Marie Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs, usually known as Lindy Boggs (March 13, 1916 – July 27, 2013), was a United States political figure who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and later as United States Ambassador to the Holy See. She was the first woman elected to Congress from Louisiana. She was also a permanent chairwoman of the 1976 Democratic National Convention, which made her the first female to preside over a major party convention.

She is the widow of former House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, and the mother of three children: Cokie Roberts (a television news commentator), Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr., (a prominent lobbyist), and the late Barbara Boggs Sigmund, a mayor of Princeton, New Jersey, and a candidate in the 1982 New Jersey Democratic senatorial primary election. No female representative from Louisiana has served in the House since Boggs left office.
Lindy and Hale were ahead of their time in Louisiana in support of civil rights. Though Lindy's life was not without deep sadness, as both her husband and daughter died untimely deaths, she courageously carried on after being elected to Congress and in her retirement, for she never retired from doing good.

In a 2000 interview recounting the tragedy which thrust her into a political career, Mrs. Boggs displayed the grace and charm for which she was known.

“I’ve been very privileged. I’ve had some heartaches, but I’ve also had some wonderful privileges,” she said.

[Cokie] Roberts called her mother "a trailblazer for women and the disadvantaged." 

When Boggs announced her retirement in 1990, she was the only white representing a black-majority district in Congress. "I am proud to have played a small role in opening doors for blacks and women," she said at the time.
Read the rest of the lovely tribute to Lindy, the steel magnolia, icon to many women, especially southern women, who had such "grace and charm", and who was never challenged by an opponent in the 19 years she served in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lindy was born on a plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, where Grandpère spent his childhood and youth on a small farm. She was cousin to Mayor deLesseps "Chep" Morrison, who is thought by many to be one of the best mayors New Orleans ever had.
O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our
prayers on behalf of your servant Lindy, and grant her an
entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of
your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for
ever. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer)  

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Thomas was the first female officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Correspondents' Association, and the first female member of the Gridiron Club.
Helen was one of the best, a bulldog journalist, my hero. Once she had hold of a story, she wouldn't let go.  When presidents tried to veer away from the subject of her question, she persisted and called them out.

Friday, May 31, 2013


Fr. Andrew Greeley, an eminent sociologist of religion who also happened to be probably the best-selling priest-novelist of all time andthe Catholic church's most prominent in-house critic, died Wednesday inChicago. He was 85.

Over the course of a career that generated a staggering 72 nonfiction books and 66 novels, Greeley became the voice of the liberal American Catholicism of his generation -- critical, but deeply loyal. Greeley could be too Catholic for both some on the secular left and the most embittered of the church's dissidents, as well as too outspokenly liberal for the Catholic establishment, but he was always a compelling and commercially successful player on the American stage.
I read several of Greeley's racy novels, starting with The Cardinal Sins, his first best sellerGreeley insists the mildly erotic passages in his fiction sprang from his imagination, for he asserts that he never broke his vow of celibacy.  I believe him.
"At the most basic level, people learn from the novels that sex is good," Greeley said. "Then they get the notion that sexual love is a sacrament of God's love, that sexual love tells us something about God. They also understand that God's love tells us something about sex."
The idea that sex is good, a gift from God, which many Roman Catholics had already discovered without the help of the celibate authorities in the church, was affirmed publicly for the first time by a prominent member of the RC clergy for many - um - practicing Roman Catholics, whose consciences had been disturbed generation after generation by the intrusions of Roman Catholic clergy into their bedrooms.

Not everyone in the church approved of Greeley's fiction.
The National Catholic Register, for example, opined that Greeley had "the dirtiest mind ever ordained."
Oh, I doubt that very much.  Whoever wrote the words in the article, ordained or not, probably had a dirtier mind than Greeley, because he had to have read a lot of dirt to know that Greeley's mind was the dirtiest.
The progressive Catholic values of the 1960s informed Greeley's approach, both to secular politics and to the church. Over the years, he supported ordaining married men and women as priests, attacked what he saw as the inflated power of the Vatican, and railed against what he termed the "original sin" of clerical culture: envy. He was no less a lefty in secular terms; his last nonfiction book was titled A Stupid, Unjust and Criminal War: Iraq 2001-2007.
"The progressive values of the 1960s" were right and true.  That the RCC backed away from the values was a sad mistake.

From time to time, I read and enjoyed Greeley's columns in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Andrew.  Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.  Amen.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


My sister Gayle
I love Gayle, and I still miss her, and I expect I always will. The picture shows her getting ready for a party, and Gayle loved parties. She's wearing a tuxedo, which was the style for women some years ago.  Gayle and Frank, her husband, came to visit us, and apparently we were to attend a party.  When she unpacked her tux, I said, "Gayle, come see."  I went to my closet and took out a nearly identical tuxedo.  Too funny.  If I remember correctly, we did not wear our tuxedos to the same party.

Gayle was the person closest to me whom I've lost.  I love my mother, but we were not really close, although we were together quite a lot.  She was a good mother and, in many ways, a strong woman, as good as she could be under the adverse conditions of our family life as we were growing up, but she was emotionally distant.  My youngest sister died too young.  I love her, too, but for many years she was estranged from our family, so when she died, I grieved, especially that we were out of touch for so many years, but I didn't miss her constant presence.  I finally forgave my father before he died, but to say we were in any way close would be a lie.  We were on speaking terms, and that's the good news.  There you have our family life.

Though Gayle lived in Kansas City, we were in touch nearly every day, either by phone or by email.  I'd guess we would be communicating on Facebook if she was alive today.  I think of her often and wish so much that we could talk.  Gayle's husband, Frank, and her children, Donna, Gretchen, and Eric miss her presence, too.

Rather than resting in peace, I hope Gayle is partying in the great beyond.  I wrote the poem below on the anniversary of her death five years ago.  

Why Couldn't You Stay?

You walked away; you left us
Bereft, bereaved.
How could you go?
It wasn't your doing,
I know, I know.
Yet, how could you go?

Two years passed and gone,
Slipped away.
After you left, I'd think
I'll call her; I'll email.
Oh no! None of that!
You won't answer.

Now I know you're gone.
No thoughts of visits to come,
Seeing your face, hearing your voice,
The sound of your laughter.
Sadness lingers, emptiness remains.
Why couldn't you stay?

June Butler - 04-27-08

The photo above was taken in the Tower of London when Gayle and I traveled together a good many years ago.  The picture makes me sad, but it's the perfect metaphor for me for her death.  She was full of life, and she would have wanted more time, as we all would have wanted more time with her, but go she did.  God bless us every one.

Monday, April 8, 2013


What to say?  I'd like to say R.I.P., Maggie, but what I will say is borrowed from an idea of my good friend Pj on Facebook.
May the Zooniverse look kindly upon Margaret Thatcher. And should the Almighty Ones see fit to send her on another journey through this earthly realm (once she graduates from the re-education center along with her bast mate Ronnie), may they remember to equip her with a heart.
Gold, pure gold.  My comment:
"While Maggie and Ronnie are in the great re-education center in the sky, I'd hope they'd be forced to meet up with people who were hurt by their governance, which might speed up the growth of hearts for the two."
So before I say R.I.P, I'd like that bit of re-education to happen.  Perhaps if Maggie and Ronnie met with the people who suffered from their policies, they might grow hearts that feel empathy and suffer a little for a spell as their eyes are opened.  Pj says further:
If only they could come back and tell their followers what they've learned. 
If only....  Pj, you are an inspiration.

Maggie will have a state funeral a ceremonial funeral with full military honours, without a fly-by at her own request, all the wonderful trimmings, as only the Brits can do it.  Thatcher was all for people taking care of themselves and not depending on the government, but the costs of the funeral will be great, and we know who will pay.

The leaders of both Britain and the United States seem to have got carried away in their initial statements.  We're told not to speak ill of the dead, nor are we to dance on their graves, but surely the commentary from both men is over the top - way over. 
David Cameron, who is cutting short his trip to Europe to return to London following the news, said: "It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher's death. We've lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton."

He told the BBC: "As our first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn't just lead our country, she saved our country, and I believe she will go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister."

In a statement, President Barack Obama said that, "the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend."

"Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will."

He added that her premiership was "an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can't be shattered".
(My emphasis)
Thatcher is not the first woman who would leap to my mind as "an example" for my granddaughter or any other young girl or woman I knew.  Ruthlessness is no compliment to either sex, nor is it character trait worthy of recommendation to those of an impressionable age.

Perhaps the Reformers of Christianity made a mistake when they threw out Purgatory.  My vision for Purgatory would be an afterlife Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in which not just Margaret Thatcher, but all of us confront those whom we have hurt, acknowledge what we have done, and experience at least part of the pain we have inflicted on them.  Then we ask and receive forgiveness and move ahead together through the Pearly Gates.

I much preferred writing about the other English Maggie

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Catholic politicians who support abortion legislation should be refused Holy Communion, says Cardinal Raymond Burke, who heads the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's highest legal tribunal that rules on canon law.

"There can be no question that the practice of abortion is among the gravest of manifest sins,” The American cardinal told the Irish newspaper Catholic Voice in an interview published recently.
Cardinal Burke, an official of the Vatican, a foreign sovereign state, is out of order when he threatens Irish politicians if they cast votes of which he disapproves.  
Cardinal Burke said that Catholic politicians must support legislations that will "most reduce the evils which attack human life and the integrity of marriage."
The legislation, which allows for the termination of a pregnancy when the life of the woman is in danger is in response to the horror story of a pregnant woman who died of blood poisoning in an Irish hospital.
Savita Halappanavar, 31, a dentist who was 17 weeks pregnant, went to the hospital with back pain on October 21.

Her husband Praveen Halappanavar said she was told she was miscarrying, and after one day of severe pain she asked for a medical termination.
But her repeated requests were refused for three days, he said, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they said they were legally unable to perform the abortion.

Mr Halappanavar said his wife was "in agony" the whole time.

Eventually the foetal heartbeat stopped and the foetus was removed. But Ms Halappanavar was by now seriously ill, and was taken to the high dependency unit and then the intensive care unit, where she died of septicaemia (blood poisoning triggered by infection) a week after she first arrived at the hospital.
How does allowing Ms Halappanavar to die "reduce the evils which attack human life". Where is compassion in the cardinal's judgement?  He says Ms Halappanavar's death was tragic, but, according to the Vatican rules, there was nothing to be done by the doctors but stand by and watch her die. I'm sick and tired of the Vatican's interference in the governance of countries around the world. I hope the politicians in Ireland vote their consciences and put a stop to such barbarous treatment in Irish hospitals.

And if the cardinal thinks so highly of the integrity of marriage, why isn't he married? 

Monday, January 14, 2013


David Hayward - “the need to leave” (watercolor on paper, 7″x10″)

...of age
...of arthritis
...of energy
...of time

Contrary to the words of the poet, it is not, as they say, least not yet for me and may require a lengthy period of adjustment.  I think of Walter Cronkite's sign-off, "And that's the way it is."  Except for loosening of time constraints, the other limitations are unlikely to change for the better.  The task is to keep them at bay for as long as possible, so they don't worsen too quickly.  And what is too quickly?  Well, too quickly to suit me, who doesn't care for the limitations at all.

At the age of 78, I'm bound to think of mortality and view the future as somewhat compressed, right?  Some folks, like Grandpère, live in denial of the reality of death, but when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 51, I looked death in the face, and there was no turning back to denial.  To me, it's both funny and tragic when people deny death.  I'll never forget the time I told GP, "The death rate is 100%," and he said, "For whom?"  My black humor did not go over well.

Anyway, I'm easing into a completely different mindset about life in general and my own life.  There are so many things that I want to do and so many changes that I want to see happen before I die, but I know I will not do or see most of them, and I must come to acceptance and ease with the reality.  The difficulty is to sort out the priorities of what is still possible to do and move out of stasis.

If you detect a pinch of depression in my diary post, you are probably correct.  It's there lurking at the edge, but I've not yet fully acknowledged and accepted it yet.  We've experienced a good deal of turmoil and distress in our extended family, and, though the situations have improved, I feel I'm allowed a bit of depression now that things are looking up...if that makes any sense.  My depression is not severe, the descent into a black hole sort, so I carry on in hopes that this, too, shall pass.

To all that I've written here, I must add that it's my faith that lifts me and carries me.  The knowledge that I have praying friends who will support me through the tough times, is of inestimable value.  Without my sense of God's presence, I'd face all of what happened recently and all of what's going on now with much more angst, (though angst there was and is) and much less equanimity, and so I say, "Thanks be to God."
You’ve got your limitations; let them sing,
And all your life will waken with a cry:
Why should you halt when rapture’s on the wing
And you’ve no limit but the cloud-flocked sky?...

(From "Limitations" by Siegfried Sassoon)
Easy for you to say at the age of 34, Sassoon, but not so easy to practice when you're 78.  Still, the thought is worth a place in my mind, and the ideal is worth a reach.

The lovely painting at the head of the post is by David Hayward aka nakedpastor.   He posted the painting noting that it was available for purchase.  I waited a few days, but I found the painting irresistible and bought it.  In the poem beneath the painting, David says:
You’ve kept your place. You’ve held your ground. You’ve filled your space. You’ve stayed in bounds.
But something calls. You know you must. You forsake all. You will be blessed.
It’s time to go. It’s time to leave. This much you know: this is your peace.
The wonderful painting caused me to reflect on life, how we are always in motion, leaving and forsaking, traveling, and arriving at new places and eventually led to this post, for better or for worse.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


New Orleans - A collaborative effort between local and state government and area community-based organizations is spearheading a variety of events to help raise awareness of HIV and AIDS in our community. New Orleans currently ranks 5th in the nation for AIDS case rates among major metropolitan areas in the United States.
In honor of a relative who died of AIDS contracted from a blood transfusion during heart by-pass surgery.  To this day, the immediate family would not wish his name to be mentioned.  His funeral was private; the extended family was never told the cause of death.  We knew because when one family member went to visit him in the hospital and asked if he had a diagnosis, he laughed and said the doctor thought he might have AIDS, which seemed impossible to him at the time.  As best as I can remember, this was sometime in the 1980s. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


An arrogant and cranky old man and his long-suffering wife were married for many years.  Whenever they had any argument, yelling could be heard deep into the night.  The old man would shout, "When I die, I will dig my way up and out of the grave and come back and haunt you for the rest of your life!".

The neighbors feared him.  The old man liked the fact that he was feared.

To everyone’s relief, he finally died of a heart attack at the age of 98.

His wife had a closed casket at his funeral.  After the burial, her neighbors, concerned for her safety, asked "Aren’t you afraid that he may indeed be able to dig his way out of the grave and haunt you for the rest of your life?".

The wife replied, "So let him dig:  I had him buried upside down.  And I know he won’t ask for directions."


Paul (A.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Two investigations are under way into the death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant, at University Hospital Galway last month.

Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.

This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.

She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.

The dead foetus was removed and Savita was taken to the high dependency unit and then the intensive care unit, where she died of septicaemia on the 28th.

An autopsy carried out by Dr Grace Callagy two days later found she died of septicaemia “documented ante-mortem” and E.coli ESBL.
I simply cannot understand why any church that calls itself Christian would teach that an incomplete spontaneous abortion can't be completed by medical assistance. For doctors to stand by and watch this beautiful young woman die in prolonged agony for the sake of their tender consciences is far beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior. First, do no harm. The medical staff could have saved one life.   

The treatment of Savita in the hospital demands an investigation, which is now in progress.   The Roman Catholic hierarchy has a lot to answer for in the "Catholic country" of Ireland if its teaching demands or encourages this type of cruel treatment by doctors, whose mission it is to heal, in complete disregard for the life of Savita.  How is this behavior pro-life?  How is this treatment in any way compassionate?  The more I think about this sequence of events, the more horrified I am.    

H/T to Jezebel. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Despite a landslide loss to Nixon, McGovern's candidacy and particularly his opposition to the Vietnam War was embraced by the left. McGovern later described the loss as one of the most disheartening points in his life, as South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Charles Michael Rays reports for our Newscast desk.

"I thought the program I spelled out there was the truth," McGovern said. "I thought it was best for America and I'll go to my grave believing America would be better off had I been elected."
As I will go to my grave believing the country would have been better off.  Remember, we voted in Tricky Dick and the Watergate gang again, and despite Kissinger's "Peace is at hand" announcement preceding the election, the war continued until our ignominious departure in 1975.  Nixon was the first and only president in history to resign the office in disgrace.

George McGovern was a brave man, an eloquent man, and a good man. I'm proud to say that I voted for him in 1972.

Isn't the picture splendid?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Dick Cheney by Gage Skidmore
Former Vice President Dick Cheney took a shot at President Barack Obama late Monday night after it was reported that the president has attended fewer than half of his daily intelligence briefings.

“If President Obama were participating in his intelligence briefings on a regular basis then perhaps he would understand why people are so offended at his efforts to take sole credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden,” Cheney told The Daily Caller in an email through a spokeswoman.

“Those who deserve the credit are the men and women in our military and intelligence communities who worked for many years to track him down. They are the ones who deserve the thanks of a grateful nation.”
Hey Dick.  When did President Obama claim that he took out Osama Bin Laden single-handedly?   Poor Dick and the Neocons.  This really sticks in their craws.  Bush probably doesn't care, because he said to Fred Barnes about Bin Laden, “I truly am not that concerned about him.”   

What good purpose was served by Dick Cheney and George Bush participating in the intelligence briefings on a regular basis if the two did not do a damned thing in response to the warnings of his intelligence and national security staff that a terrorist attack in the US by Osama Bin Laden might be imminent?

Picture by Gage Skidmore from Wikimedia Commons