Tuesday, July 11, 2017


The other day was my birthday, it is usually a day that I don’t like to think about. I am another year older and therefore who needs that? I awoke and felt saddened about all that was and is no more, I didn’t want to shower or go downstairs. My wonderful wife helped start the day with a beautiful card and a gift that I appreciated. But the day seemed dark.

I opened her present and then I opened a gift that my granddaughter Darby Shea sent me, two of her wonderful artworks, that I will eventually hang in my office. They are on loan to the refrigerator before finding a home on my office walls. But even that left me slightly depressed.

Then I got a lesson in life. I had a meeting at a local hospital. Being chair of the Guardianship Committee for people with disabilities, one who was in deep trouble and I had to meet with the members of the hospital palliative care, and doctor and nurse who deal in this specialty. We were discussing along with another Board member and agency staff about this individual's end of life and the decisions needed to be made eventually.

Since I had never met this person I decided to arrive a half hour earlier than the meeting and visit with her. She is a sweet woman in her mid-fifties hooked up to IV and G-tubes and under great physical distress. I needed to personalize this experience and understand as much as I could about her life. Believe me, this is very difficult as you gaze on someone who is unresponsive and suffering.

As I looked at her it occurred to me that there is nothing in my life to despair about. Getting older is something to celebrate, having as many birthdays as I do was indeed a gift. In spite of the pains and tribulations, the disappointments and sorrow of life, I was doing better than the poor soul who was on her way out, I am ashamed of myself, and all I could do was to pray that I make good decisions on her behalf, that she be eased and free of all her pain and that her death be a relief when it comes.

So when you have a birthday, please be happy, lift your spirits as high as they can go, that you have these wonderful events and be very happy and most of all, thankful.


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