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On Death And Dying


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Now that I'm in life's fourth quarter and after recent deaths in my own immediate family, within families of friends, or within families here in this community, I'm more aware of how precious life is and how extraordinarily short it can be.

 

When my dad passed away this last December, a poem he'd written was on the back of the program:

 

One summer afternoon, a day forgotten,

When every moment was a friend,

It never crossed my mind

There'd be an end to summertime.

No time to think of yesterday,

There's no tomorrow, just today.

 

One summer afternoon, a day forgotten,

I knew my autumn would begin;

When sunny days must yield

To shadows 'cross a field

A secret unrevealed before.

 

And there's no summer anymore.

 

Bob Williams

 

I don't know when he wrote it, but I suspect fairly late in his life (he died just three weeks short of his 93rd birthday).

 

I'm not a religious person per se, but in trying to make some sense of his passing, I found the following:

 

Death is Nothing at All

Death is nothing at all.

I have only slipped away to the next room.

I am I and you are you.

Whatever we were to each other,

That, we still are.

 

Call me by my old familiar name.

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.

Put no difference into your tone.

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

 

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.

Let it be spoken without effect.

Without the trace of a shadow on it.

 

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same that it ever was.

There is absolute unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

 

I am but waiting for you.

For an interval.

Somewhere. Very near.

Just around the corner.

 

All is well.

 

Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.

 

Henry Scott Holland

 

For those who have lost someone dear, I hope that these words provide some solace and that you can find peace.

Edited by TallRider
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Well said my friend ...........

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Very nice. I am not as religious as I should be but I do take solace in words of wisdom and in the passing of decent human beings. I hope we all make it to 93. God Bless all motorcycle riders and good friends.....even ones I've only met on the forum.

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Great poem by your Dad. Very true words. I don't think most of us really understand the brevity and the how fragile life is until up in our 40s. Some earlier, some later, some never at all. At 40, both my parents and my wife's parents were still alive, I'm 55 now and they are all gone and we had a close call with my wife Donna. Losing a parent makes you stop and take measure. What really made me understand was Donna's cancer back in 2000. All that "working" I was doing, all that "stuff" I had accumulated meant absolutely nothing without her. My outlook on life changed 180 degrees while she lay on an operating table for surgery to remove the cancer. They had sent some lymph node biopsies to the lab to be checked for cancer cells. The Doctor came out and told me what they were doing and said some looked "abnormal". To "brace myself". Said we should know something within the hour. I went out into the stairwell and had a talk with the man upstairs. Made a lot of promises. The results came back negative. That was 15 years ago. What seemed like a terrible thing at the time, turned out to be a gift. I no longer take a day for granted. I work a lot less, and do what I enjoy. I spend time with my family and friends. It's hard to stay focused on this sometimes, but if I ever find myself taking life for granted, I just think back to that day in the stairwell.

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" I went out into the stairwell and had a talk with the man upstairs. "

 

That right there is a profound, true world testament..

 

Thanks Eddie, Bob &, T for postin,

 

:moped:

 

Dave

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Great poem by your Dad. Very true words. I don't think most of us really understand the brevity and the how fragile life is until up in our 40s. Some earlier, some later, some never at all. At 40, both my parents and my wife's parents were still alive, I'm 55 now and they are all gone and we had a close call with my wife Donna. Losing a parent makes you stop and take measure. What really made me understand was Donna's cancer back in 2000. All that "working" I was doing, all that "stuff" I had accumulated meant absolutely nothing without her. My outlook on life changed 180 degrees while she lay on an operating table for surgery to remove the cancer. They had sent some lymph node biopsies to the lab to be checked for cancer cells. The Doctor came out and told me what they were doing and said some looked "abnormal". To "brace myself". Said we should know something within the hour. I went out into the stairwell and had a talk with the man upstairs. Made a lot of promises. The results came back negative. That was 15 years ago. What seemed like a terrible thing at the time, turned out to be a gift. I no longer take a day for granted. I work a lot less, and do what I enjoy. I spend time with my family and friends. It's hard to stay focused on this sometimes, but if I ever find myself taking life for granted, I just think back to that day in the stairwell.

I have a very similar story as my wife was diagnosed w/ cancer back in 98. The summer she was recuperating we spent many a day just sitting in the back yard enjoying the birds, flowers and each others company. We slowed life down significantly and now I look back on that summer and see it as a gift. My wife (of 43 years) is still with us and we try to not take the time we have together for granted.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Losing a parent makes you stop and take measure.

 

 

I lost my Dad two and a half years ago. Your statement is 100% dead on. I can't even describe to friends what the loss of a parent feels like. I think of my Dad every day and usually with a smile or a laugh. He was a bit of a character. But.... there are still days, like today, when I long for that familiar, wordless, gentle pat on the back that he always gave that said, "I love you".

 

Both of those poems are awesome. That second one is actually exactly what I needed to hear today.

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I lost my dad back in 1973. He committed suicide and it was horrible for our family and my mother remarried three and a half years later. My step-father lived to be 90. He and mom had 30 years of marriage. All four grandparents and all but one uncle have also passed. Lots of funerals over the years. Just a couple days ago I lost my best old pal, Buddy my dog. To tell you the truth it was every bit a sad as losing a human relative. He was eleven years and seven months old and suffering a slow painful death when my son & I decided to have him put down. His unconditional love & loyalty are deeply missed at this point. Today I'm riding over to another American Legion Rider's funeral for a motorcycle escort of the hearse to the cemetery and tomorrow I will be in the military honor guard for yet another veteran's funeral. Lots of death and lots of funerals. I miss my loved ones and honor the brave. It's what I do and I'm ok with that.

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When I graduated from high school back in 1976, we were all given a small plaque from a bank in town (which I ended up being a teller at for my first two years in college), that had the poem "The Clock Of Life" on it. Last winter, when one of my good friends Mom passed away, I posted it in a group email that 8 of my old high school friends use to communicate, which led to everyone agreeing that "we are getting OLD!" and "it's time for us to get back together before it's too late". 7 of us met for 3 days down in SW Missouri at Table Rock Lake just south of Branson the last week of May this Spring to just be together again. We came from South Carolina, Texas, Kansas and all over Missouri. It was good medicine for everyone of us, and we talked about good and bad, old times and friends and family that had "gone on". This poem, everyone said, is what caused that meeting, and the great time and togetherness none of us had experienced since our high school and college days. Thanks for posting this, TallRider. Sometimes poetry get a bad rap, but it can speak to a guy (or express things that a man can know, but that are tough to verbalize), like no other form of speech or writing. Thanks again.

 

The Clock of Life

 

The clock of life is wound but once,

And no man has the power

To tell just where the hands will stop

At late or early hour

 

To lose one's wealth is sad indeed,

To lose one's health is more,

To lose one's soul is such a loss

That no man can restore.

 

The present only is our own,

So live, love, toil with a will

Place no faith in "Tomorrow",

For the Clock may then be still.

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39 years on, 7 buddies, one of their little brothers, a a buddy's friend and a buddy's dad. They were my family back then. http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1373/13685773/24647519/411427209.jpg

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Thanx for sharing TR, I lost my dad to cancer in 2008. I am continually amazed by the posts on this site. I have learned, laughed, loved, and balled my eyes out with you guys - God bless you all! Luv ya's.

 

As for me, I AM a spiritual man, and follower of Yeshua (Jesus). I am also an ass hole, so no "goody two shoes" here. I do not force my beliefs on others, but in a thread like this I just gotta chime in with just a couple notes.

 

The poems shared are beautiful and comforting, but assume a belief in Christ. Do not neglect this! The only way to the Father is through the Son. Do not be deceived by those heretics claiming "all roads lead up the same mountain."

 

I noticed a couple posts stating something like, "I am not really a spiritual person." Please believe me; talking to God is as natural (and essential to life) as breathing. Try it sometime, and do not be afraid to tell Him how you feel. It will change your life, I promise. It will also bring you great comfort when a life is ending, especially your own.

 

"Oh death, where is your sting. Through Christ we are given the victory."

 

Again, I do not FORCE my beliefs on others, but do feel free to PM me with any requests for Christian prayer. It offers me an opportunity to talk with our Creator.

 

Peace Y'all,

Greg

 

BTW - ever notice how the Bible and Hymns always mention God's Triumphs and Victorys but never His Harley's or Indians. :)

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I'm actually a Christian but like I tell people, I seem to spend more time on the slide than I do the ladder. Like you, I don't impose my beliefs on anyone else.....I am spiritual (as opposed to religious) and have my personal relationship with the Almighty although I still cuss, smoke and drink. One of these days I'll get better. :nod:

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Thanx for sharing TR, I lost my dad to cancer in 2008. I am continually amazed by the posts on this site. I have learned, laughed, loved, and balled my eyes out with you guys - God bless you all! Luv ya's.

 

As for me, I AM a spiritual man, and follower of Yeshua (Jesus). I am also an ass hole, so no "goody two shoes" here. I do not force my beliefs on others, but in a thread like this I just gotta chime in with just a couple notes.

 

The poems shared are beautiful and comforting, but assume a belief in Christ. Do not neglect this! The only way to the Father is through the Son. Do not be deceived by those heretics claiming "all roads lead up the same mountain."

 

I noticed a couple posts stating something like, "I am not really a spiritual person." Please believe me; talking to God is as natural (and essential to life) as breathing. Try it sometime, and do not be afraid to tell Him how you feel. It will change your life, I promise. It will also bring you great comfort when a life is ending, especially your own.

 

"Oh death, where is your sting. Through Christ we are given the victory."

 

Again, I do not FORCE my beliefs on others, but do feel free to PM me with any requests for Christian prayer. It offers me an opportunity to talk with our Creator.

 

Peace Y'all,

Greg

 

BTW - ever notice how the Bible and Hymns always mention God's Triumphs and Victorys but never His Harley's or Indians. :)

Same here. I've got a LOT of rough edges, but that seems to not bother the God who loves me, anyway. Like the Good Book says, He didn't come for the perfect ones. He came for the rest of us screwed up basket cases. Every other day when I do my 4 mile run through the woods at the local state park, the first thing out is the Lord's Prayer, which immediately reminds me that I have a whole lot of forgiving to do before I can even continue with the rest of the conversation that follows. The good news, TallRider, (and everyone else) is that we'll be with them again, and in a place that will make this world look like a sewer by comparison. We truly are just pilgrims on this road, friends. And the friends and family will be waiting at the gate when we get home.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAmBkQDAUh4

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