Saturday, September 30, 2006

Simmering soup on a soggy day
The rain has pattered steadily on the roof for hours, another very wet day that has been typical of the past four or five weekends. In fact, there has been measurable rainfall every two or three days for the past month. This is a minor inconvenience for me, and an excuse not to clean up my garden, but local farmers are having difficulty harvesting the corn in the very soggy fields. I passed a few farms recently and saw where the harvesters had cut the periphery of the fields in one or two swaths, but had to stop as their heavy machines sank into the mud.
We went out in the country this morning to a small family-owned market where local fresh produce is sold. Our sweet corn will only be available for a couple more weeks, and I wanted some fat, fresh cobs to make one of my favourite fall soups. There were a variety of winter squashes to choose from as well as green and yellow beans.

Native Americans considered corn, beans and squash to be “Three Sisters”. Corn would be planted in a mound and after it had grown a few inches in height, pole beans seeds were placed around it. The corn would support the beans and the beans produced nitrogen in the soil for the corn. Squash was then planted around the beans and the spreading vines acted as a mulch and protector of the beans and corn. These vegetables were staples of the native diet and provided balanced nutrition throughout the winter. The simple soup I make is called “Three Sister Soup”. I clipped the recipe from a magazine several years ago. It was created by chef Bertha Skye of Jackfish Lodge, Saskatchewan, Canada, and won a gold medal in the 1992 Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt.
It brought a spot of yellow sunshine to a dull day.

3 Sister Soup – Iroquois style

Made with the three sisters of corn, beans and squash, this traditional Iroquois soup is both healthy and delicious.

2 cups corn kernels
2 cups green beans, chopped
2 cups butternut squash, cubed and peeled
1 ½ cups potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. softened butter
3/4 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

In a large pot, bring corn, green beans, squash and potatoes, and five cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat, then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are almost tender. Blend flour with butter and stir into soup; increase heat to medium and cook stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Trail walk through history
Our city and region has a large network of walking and biking trails which are very well maintained. Many are built along hydro right-of-ways, while others follow unused railway lines through country and city landscapes. My favourite is the Walter Bean Trail, which will extend 78 kilometers along the Grand River when finally completed. I have canoed the waters of the Grand River, and walk its banks every week where the trail passes below the hospital grounds.
Last week, The Becka and I walked the section of trail that is near the original homestead of my husband’s family. The family cemetery is close to the river and has a monument commemorating our ancestors who travelled to this region in 1800 by covered wagon, all the way from Buck’s County, Pennsylvania. These Mennonite families settled on the river and gradually cleared the surrounding land as they began farming. The Pioneer Tower is a monument that has been built to commemorate these settlers. I am dismayed to see the suburban sprawl that has limited access by road to this historic tower, but from the opposite side of the river, the city is not visible at all. I imagine that people stood on these bluffs and used to watch for visitors, perhaps a mail or supply boat, or just for a magnificent view of the surrounding area.
These photos were taken in the early evening, as the sunlight is gone by a little after 7:00 PM now. The changing tree colours were illuminated by the low light and the river reflected their beauty.
I think of this river, 206 years ago, and imagine what life would have been like, starting a new community with a river and wagon trail for access and heavy bush all around.

What will it be like 206 years from now? Perhaps I would rather not imagine that. It will take action and imagination to preserve our heritage. (Click above photos for enlarged view)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A family matriarch speaks I did not come into a life of privilege, but was born in 1880, one of 22 children, to a working family in Liverpool, England. Most of my mother’s babies did not survive infancy but I grew to adulthood, maturing early, and needing to support myself. My first love died suddenly before our engagement was consummated in marriage. I then met a man, handsome and worldly, who was from Jamaica and had come to England to find work. We were married and soon I was carrying his child, Dora, who died at the age of 2 in England. After the birth of my daughter Eveline in 1905, we moved to Jamaica to be close to his family while he worked on the Panama Canal project. Life in the West Indies was so different than life at home. I was often lonely as he was away for extended periods of time. On January 14, 1907, there was a great earthquake in Jamaica and many people were killed. My son John received injuries that would soon claim his life. My daughter Eveline alone survived. Of the three children I had carried only one was left. British citizens were allowed to return to England by boat soon after the earthquake and the Salvation Army arranged for our passage home. I left without my husband and I never saw him again even though we corresponded by letter for the next seven years. It was at sea that John died. The two of us landed in England with nothing and soon afterward I had to put Eveline in an orphanage so I could find work to support us. Young Eveline was a beautiful child, but her racial background was visually apparent and she was the recipient of prejudiced thinking in a WASP culture. I tried hard to protect her from this all of her life. Later, in 1921, the two of us moved to Canada and settled in the Toronto area working in a biscuit factory to earn our living. While we were in Canada, Eveline fell in love and married a Dutch immigrant in 1928. Through his kindness we had a home and I was able to live with her family until the end of my life. They gave me four grandchildren, who together had 13 great grandchildren, who then had another generation of 28 great-great grandchildren. Who says life isn’t hard? Who says we cannot rise above our circumstances and move ahead in spite of those hardships? I was a little woman, only 4’10” tall, living in a time when women were not empowered to live out their dreams. I had faith, faith in God and faith in myself that the future could be better. I left behind no money or tangible riches but have left each of you a legacy of strength, courage and determination in the face of adversity. Catherine Hackett 1880-1974 (Information on Granny Hackett obtained from Family Historian Aunt, Dad, Musical Aunt and Cousin S.) See this post for a picture of the family.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Superhero in the smoking shelter
Our staff and patients must go outdoors in order to have a smoke and the hospital has provided two “bus shelters” for that purpose. The smokers brave the wind, rain, ice, snow, or summer heat several times a day for their nicotine fix, often getting more exercise than the average person, who may sit in the same place all day eating jelly donuts. (I don’t smoke, nor do I recommend it!..but eating badly and sitting around does a body harm too.)
Off the pulpit, and back to my story...

One of my middle aged patients had a cervical spinal cord injury 30 years ago that has left him with a spastic quadriparesis. He can walk, a stiff, awkward gait, but relies on a wheelchair much of the time. He visits the smoking shelter regularly. A couple of weeks ago, he was there with another patient who had suffered a stroke which had paralyzed his one side. They were minding their own business, when a total stranger drove up, got out of his truck and started harassing them. The verbal exchange escalated and the stranger started physically assaulting my patient. This caused the hemiplegic to move from his wheelchair to attack the perpetrator. Now there were three in the fray. My patient stood up and managed to land a well-aimed kick in the groin of the stranger…so effective that it knocked him out of commission. The police arrived and arrested the deranged man, who had no relationship to the hospital at all. He was admitted for a psychiatric evaluation and then taken to jail.

My patient has many physical problems, and struggles with chronic pain and depression. This incident gave him more of an emotional boost than any of the drugs or psychotherapy he had received. In spite of his disability, he was able to defend himself and his buddy... a quiet and reluctant hero, but nevertheless, one who was very pleased with his efforts and the outcome.

I do not watch many action movies, am not a proponent of vigilante justice, nor do I recommend fighting crazy people, even in self defense. But I do know that the average male dreams of such encounters, his primal instincts barely hidden at all.
So hats off to my disabled superhero for living out his dreams!

(Sketch of Dare Devil by The Becka)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Market-able music of the masses
We have a number of fine farmers’ markets in our area and this is the peak time of year to visit them. The Becka and I went to the largest one today. The grey, muggy atmosphere and drizzle was brightened by colourful displays of mums, pumpkins, apples, other seasonal offerings, and of course, all those people! In previous posts, I have mentioned the “music idol” phenomenon and also the diversity of musical genres available that make group participation in music increasingly difficult.
Street musicians market their melodies all over the world with portable instruments and spontaneous, reproducible tunes. Canada has a large cultural diversity that can be described as a mosaic rather than a melting pot. These three musicians were at the market today, and each of them entertained the locals and tourists with well played, international music. The young woman with the violin was accompanied by her father on a guitar. She had a sign by her violin case saying that all donations received were for an AIDS clinic in Africa. Her Celtic jigs and light classical offerings inspired some to dance and clap as they walked by. The handsome piper had many admirers including this pair of Scottie dogs who visited with their master during a break in the music. The Scottish heritage in several surrounding communities is fiercely protected and Highland festivals attract large, enthusiastic crowds.
Finally, this recent immigrant played his Andean bamboo antara pan flute and had a table with handmade crafts from his native Equador.
Folk music is music by and of the common people. It emerges spontaneously in tunes and rhythms that identify times and cultures.
On the way home, we heard more street music…that heavy thump of amplified sound from sporty cars usually driven by young men...another form of portable, personal musical expression!
(click on photos to enlarge)

Friday, September 22, 2006

A list of some accomplishments this year…

Jaspenelle tagged me, so I shall be a good sport. I stopped making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago, and try to set myself small goals at frequent intervals instead. In middle age, it is easy to fall into a routine and stop learning new things. It really does get harder to accept change as you get older. But,
“It is necessary to try to surpass one's self always; this occupation ought to last as long as life.”

I have visited places this year that I had never seen before including some parts of northern Mexico and Manitoulin Island

I have worked to keep healthy with exercise, good eating habits and stress management

I love my job and look forward to work every day. It is so rewarding to help people gain strength and independence.

I have also learned two new computer charting and statistics systems at work since March (without too much complaining)

I can now understand some HTML codes

Blogging has given me a creative outlet for all the ideas and experiences I was going to write in a book (when I retired). It has allowed me to interact in a new way with family and new friends.

I read the manual for my digital camera! (my photos are getting better…surprise!)

I worry far less about what people think of me and have way more confidence than when I was half my age (why did that take so long??)

I rode a motorcycle

{I think my next list should be some goals that I want to achieve in the next year...a good exercise...thanks Jaspenelle}

dementia unit

locked doors
keep the wanderer safe.
small windows
restrict the outside view.
pace the floor
trying to escape.

can’t remember
place or time or date.
language gone,
how can you know my needs?
family visits,
i don’t recall their names.

hug me,
smile and talk and sing.
hold my hand,
please let me feel the sun.
love me.
remember who I’ve been.

this sweet lady was so sad today... our staff tried to comfort and cheer her.... i wonder what the world looks like to bubba... world alzheimer's day sept 21, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Spiritual Identity

This Real Age tip came to my mailbox...
Taking time to nurture your spirit may be a path to better health, according to some researchers. But what does it mean to be spiritual? The truth is, it's not about what you do, but how you feel. Any activity that gives you hope and strength, adds meaning to your life, and comforts you could be considered a spiritual endeavor. And the positive impact that spiritual practices have on physical health is just one more example of the powerful mind-body-spirit connection…
Nurture your spiritual health, and the feel-good glow that results might light up your physical health as well. Meditating, spending time appreciating nature, attending religious services, and working with charities are just a few of the ways people care for their inner selves. And those who do so tend to be happier with their physical health than nonspiritual people are. So do what you can to nurture your spirit and find meaning in life . . . you'll feel better, inside and out.
Religion, spirituality, and health status in geriatric outpatients. Daaleman, T. P., Perera, S., Studenski, S. A., Annals of Family Medicine 2004 Jan-Feb;2(1):49-53.

My spirituality is important to me and if it is not nurtured, I feel out of balance.
In my reading, I have noticed there is a tendency for some people to “bash” Christians, painting them all with the same brush. In every era, Christianity has been an abusive tool for some, who have used it as an excuse for political empire building, for murder and war. Religious hypocrisy is abhorrent, and religious power, Christian or otherwise, can be used to inspire fear in order to control groups of people.

Jesus was a very popular individual during his time on earth.
He was loved by the masses,
hated by the religious establishment.
A life patterned after Jesus’ example is not offensive.
He mingled with all groups,
showed love and compassion to rich and poor,
sinner and self-righteous,
the sick, strangers and foreigners,
those marginalized by society.
He valued women and children and ministered to their needs.
He did not have a political agenda on earth,
signed no petitions against the Romans,
did not seek fame or power.

There are many true Christians in the world who have sacrificed time, money, ambition, and even their lives in order to reach out to others. “Jesus loves me” is not their focus, but rather, “I will love you, because Jesus loves me”.

Elizabeth Sloan

I am a Christian. Because of my faith, I will strive to respect and befriend others, even those different than myself. This may mean showing kindness to my enemies, caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and using my resources wisely. At my workplace my patients and coworkers should be recipients of my love and compassion. I should not expect recognition or reward for my deeds. There are days when I will fail to demonstrate my desired behaviour, but I will persevere in my efforts to be Christ-like.
I am not your judge. I want to be your friend.
1 Corinthians 13

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Celebration of the Equinoxes

I re-read one of my childhood books this week, one that I received as a child in South Africa. Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories provided imaginative explanations for things that were part of my world. I read this book to my children when they were small and their absolute favourite short story was The Elephant’s Child. It was read so often that my youngest daughter could repeat it perfectly from memory at the age of four. Her preschool teacher was so impressed that she videotaped her doing so. The poetic rhythm, repetition, and clever alliterations that are used to describe the life of the little elephant who was full of “’satiable curiosity”, made the story a treat for the ear.

Each time the phrase “great grey-green greasy Limpopo River all set about with fever trees” was read, the girls would break out in giggles of laughter. Every equinox I remember that the Elephant’s Child's adventure starts in the middle of the precession of Equinoxes and continues when “there is nothing left of the Equinoxes, because the Precession had preceded according to precedent.”
Follow the links provided to read this story as well as others in the book. The site even provides the original illustrations by the author that are included in my book.

Happy Equinox!

(2006-09-23 04:03)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Chocolate Trade OffEvery day I stand here on the first floor of the hospital and make the decision whether to take the elevator or the stairs to my 4th floor office. I do not participate in organized sports or belong to a gym so my fitness regime is something I fit into my day. I take the stairs, walk during lunch hour, take the dog out in the evening, and do exercise videos at home. My patients are my inspiration as so many of them are suffering from lifestyle related illnesses. I am constantly reminded of how inactivity, poor eating habits, smoking, and stress can impair the body’s ability to perform the way it should.

My other motivation for taking the stairs is that it allows me to have a guilt free treat, usually something chocolaty. I found this Robin Hood recipe recently in our local newspaper and the chocolate and ginger combination is a winner. I modified it slightly with the changes in parentheses.

1 egg
300 ml (1 1/4 cups) regular evaporated milk (plain soy milk)
75 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable or canola oil
75 ml (1/3 cup) liquid honey (maple syrup)
15 ml (1 tablespoon) grated orange zest (omitted)
625 ml (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour (half whole wheat)
15 ml (1 tablespoon) baking powder
2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) salt
5 ml (1 teaspoon) ground ginger (didn't have any)
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) chocolate chips (dark chocolate)
50 ml (1/4 cup) chopped crystallized ginger
Topping (did not do topping, but it would be good)
50 ml (1/4 cup) finely chopped crystallized ginger
45 ml (3 tablespoons) granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 180 C (375 F). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl, beat together egg, evaporated milk, oil, honey and zest.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and ground ginger. Add to liquid ingredients, stirring just to moisten. Stir in chips and 50 ml (one-quarter cup) chopped ginger. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
For topping: Combine ginger and sugar. Sprinkle over top of muffins.
Bake in centre of preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Makes 12 large muffins.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Niagara Tree Climbers

This is the end of a week of vacation from work, a week that has been interesting and restful. Our final day trip was to Niagara-on-the-lake, one of the prettiest towns in Ontario. On a clear day you can look across the lake and see the CN Tower and Toronto skyline. Today was a cloudy, misty day with a surreal atmosphere. The orchards and vineyards were loaded with ripe fruit and many people were involved in harvesting the crops. We drove up the Niagara Parkway to Queenston Heights. This is the other end of the same escarpment we climbed earlier in the week. The Niagara River was grey and misty as it emptied into Lake Ontario. The flowers at the Brock monument were vivid in comparison. I was surprised to come across a pair of sisters climbing a cedar tree with strong and well positioned branches. They were delighted to pose for a photo. It is a long time since I have seen children in a tree! So I was inspired to write a little triolet…

Descending from the tree above
Hear laughter of two titian nymphs.
Their view is shared by squirrel and dove
Descending from the tree above.
Grow strong and brave and free to love
Climb to the highest bough, triumph!
Descending from the tree above
Hear laughter of two titian nymphs

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Cup and Saucer Trail
Northern Ontario is defined by granite rocks of the Canadian Shield, trees and lakes. Manitoulin Island is geologically part of Southern Ontario with its sedimentary limestone cliffs and areas of farmland. However, rocks, trees and lakes also dominate the landscape.

The Cup and Saucer trail covers 12 kilometers of ground with sections that are level and well groomed and other sections that are very steep to climb.

Another shorter trail runs under the cliffs and offers a chance to explore caves that are there. Appropriate hiking footwear is important for the more challenging sections of the trail, and on the easier sections if it is wet or icy. There was early morning frost here in the second week of September.
Many trees, including cedar, balsam fir, maple, aspen, birch and oak, grow in the soil and rock. We have had some severe summer storms this year and a number of trees with more shallow root systems were downed, completely blocking areas of the trail. There was evidence of work done to clear the debris, but in some places a new trail had to be made as there were too many trees down to restore the older paths.

I was amazed at the resilience of some of the stunted cedars that grew out of the rocks on the edge of the cliffs.
I am not fond of heights. After my experience of falling out of the boat earlier that day, I kept a safe distance from the unprotected edges of the escarpment. There were spectacular opportunities for a brave and well balanced photographer (not me!).

Next time there is an opportunity to return here, I will be prepared to take a day do the entire trail. Fall is a perfect time for a good hike as it is cool and the annoying mosquitoes and black flies of the spring and summer are gone. The colours in a week or two will be spectacular. (click to enlarge photos)

Recommended reading

I found a book by Geoffrey Corfield called "Northern Ontario and Manitoulin Island: There is more to Northern Ontario than just rocks, trees and lakes. ". It is humourous account of the history and geography of the area. The author, also known for his cartoon "Inkblot", has written a couple of other books about Ontario. I cannot find his books on Amazon but his publisher is DESPUB, 2340B Clifton St., Allanburg ON Canada L0S 1A0

Thursday, September 14, 2006

We spent a few days on Manitoulin Island this week, fishing, hiking, and sightseeing. I had never been there and found it beautiful in the late summer season. Manitoulin literally means “den of the great spirit” in the Ojibwe language, in reference to their deity Gitche Manitou. It is the largest fresh water island in the world and also contains the largest lake within a fresh water island. We stayed at a camp on this lake, Lake Manitou. The weather was cool and breezy making it a little rough on the water.

These were the clothes I was wearing when I lost my equilibrium and went head first out of the boat…no injuries…lifejacket on…water surprisingly warm…a good laugh was had by all.

The island is part of the Niagara Escarpment, which runs from New York state to Niagara Falls, north through the Bruce Peninsula, into Lake Huron forming Manitoulin Island, and west to Michigan. White limestone cliffs, with caves and unique vegetation are found along the escarpment.
At the west end of Lake Manitou is an interesting land formation called the Cup and Saucer. The escarpment drops vertically twice creating the saucer effect. There is a fabulous Cup and Saucer hiking trail which I will describe in another post. The island has a number of dairy farms, and split rail fences line the picturesque roads. The town of Manitowaning was the first European settlement on the island and the old Anglican church and lighthouse are still in use today. The museum in this hamlet is well worth the two dollar admission and gives a visual history of the native, European and marine history of Manitoulin. We only explored the eastern part of the island, and hopefully a return trip in the future will give time to see other interesting natural and historical sites.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts...Ecclesiastes 3:11

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Eighteen days later...

We left on September 10th for a few days on Manitoulin Island leaving The Becka to babysit the butterfly. This is what it looked like early that morning. I thought it had likely died as it was completely black.

Later , exactly 18 days from when the caterpillar pupated, the butterfly finally eclosed. A very excited Becka called me with the news.

She took a number of photos for me including one when the wings were still folded and wet, and one a while later as the wings opened up. Twenty three minutes elapsed between the two photos. It stayed indoors overnight and was released on the sedum early in the next morning when T.B. went to work. When she came home it had flown away.
A happy ending for all!
(click photos to enlarge)

Friday, September 08, 2006

More on Monarchs.....
Our caterpillar pupated on August 23rd, 15 days ago. Bev, from Burning Silo, said that it took eight to ten days for their butterflies to eclose. I feel like an expectant parent waiting for an overdue baby. In the meantime, we are seeing many monarch butterflies flying around the city this week. The Becka took this photo of a butterfly (and bee) on the sedum in our garden this afternoon. (click photos to enlarge)

Our chrysalis has become transparent and the detailed markings of the butterfly inside are now visible. This butterfly is most reluctant to leave the cocoon, but it should emerge soon and be flying in the garden with the others.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sameness is the mother of disgust, variety the cure. - Francesco Petrarch
It is easy to misunderstand those who are different than ourselves, but contrast and variety do make life interesting. Our region has a large Old Order Mennonite population. These modest, peace loving and hardworking people travel by horse and buggy and live in homes without modern conveniences such as electricity and telephone. My father took this great photo when he was visiting our area. It was a moment of contrast caught through the windshield of our moving car. The drivers of both vehicles in the picture were involved in their business of the day, a culture apart.

Each summer, our city hosts a weekend multicultural festival. It is a great opportunity to taste food from around the world and to enjoy music and dance from other countries. This photo was taken at the fresh lemonade stand, the modestly dressed young woman serving the woman in more standard North American summer attire. Despite the differences among the people in the park that afternoon, there was a sense of community and sharing that would be wonderful to see around the world.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Music Idol
In a previous post it was pointed out that we do not sing or make music as much now as was done in the past. Programs such as American or Canadian Idol entertain many people and encourage ridicule of musical performances.
I once knew a little girl who loved to sing and dance and she did so with gusto. One day a classmate told her she sang too loudly, so she stopped singing altogether.
Sarcastic, critical "humour" is very hurtful and can make people afraid to express themselves, especially musically. My nieces and nephews in Mexico are all very musical and perform confidently. My niece recorded her first CD of songs she wrote the lyrics for when she was 15 years old. (You can listen at her My Space website) The recording was done by amateurs, but she has talent and should be encouraged, not belittled.
We should be able to enjoy playing an instrument or a sport without feeling that we have to be as good as a particular music or sports "idol". And if we are part of the audience, we should be gracious and liberal with our praise.

Monday, September 04, 2006



It is the last official long weekend of the summer and in reality, September is the beginning of a "new year" to me. I love the fall, much more than January, and find the change of seasons invigorating. It has been a cool, wet weekend...the kind of weather that motivates me to complete projects in and around home. My husband was up early this morning to set up his smoker. He is cooking salmon that has been marinating in a flavourful brine for the past 24 hours. The neighbourhood is blanketed with the smell of smoking wood chips, a sharp, pleasant contrast to the damp air. We will be going up north shortly for one last fishing trip of the season. Hopefully the weather will improve a little and there will be some more fish for the smoker.
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 1:3

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Since the day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying. Jean Cocteau

This week one of my patients made an active decision to die. She has multiple medical problems and has relied on dialysis for a number of years to live. She is tired...she is getting weaker...she is ready to die and is refusing her medical treatments.

As a young graduate, I was afraid of my dying patients. I preferred working in ICU with unconscious patients on life support, because I didn't have to talk to them. I simply could not bring myself to discuss death with people who were alert and aware of their condition.

This is the tombstone of my husband's grandparents. (click photo to enlarge) They lost four of eight children in infancy. In the pre-antibiotic era, life and death were entwined. Now, we often view death as a medical failure, or worse, as a failure of faith.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross states, "It is difficult to accept death in this society because it is unfamiliar. In spite of the fact that it happens all the time, we never see it. "

Our western society has removed itself from the cycles of nature. Our meat comes in tubes and packages, far removed from the slaughterhouse and carcasses of animals. Our dying are given treatments to prolong life and give false hope. We often deny people the right to prepare and accept death with dignity.

I am learning to be comfortable with the dying and can now talk to them about their life and impending death. You may read their stories in future postings as they have much to teach us.

I think we all fear dying more than death. This quote by an unknown person sums it up well.
When I die, I want to go peacefully like my Grandfather his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Sept 5/06...the patient I mentioned above passed away peacefully on September 2/06, about the time I wrote this post. She had a strong faith, and I know she is now pain free and with God. I will remember you, Nancy...