Living and dying and everything in between


At 3:30 AM the cat yowled to be fed. I am used to it, he is an old man with special needs. I think he might be suffering from hyperthyroidism. He wants to eat round the clock and I let him. I don’t want to put him through all kinds of tests, vet visits are traumatic for him, so at this point I will keep feeding him. After stumbling back to bed I was wide awake. Thinking about mortality. I asked God how on earth I will handle this little furry creature’s death when it comes. Then I asked how I will ever handle Mom and Dad’s when their time comes.

Then I thought, who will be alive to care when it’s my turn? And then I thought about their obituaries and what they will say……then I thought of my own.

And I wrote them all in my head, including my own.

And poor Elaine, I am celebrating her Birthday today, what a morbid post for her special day. But then writers can’t control the flow of thoughts and words that come, so I will try my best to weave all these tangled threads together somehow. She understands me, bless her.

Of course the answer to the question of how I will deal with any of it is: “With God, with God.” Well, He kind of whispered, “With me, with me.” Life is fleeting and oh so precious. People ask why I make a big deal about Birthdays, but I do it because we aren’t guaranteed another one, that’s why. So I try to remember the important ones.

So many people quietly enter and exit the stage door of life every single day. Some with much fanfare and some with barely a parting of the curtain. Like small pebbles dropped into a pond, only a ripple tells you something just happened.

But one thing I know is that God personally celebrates each life. None are more important than the next, all are equal to Him, and all equally worth celebrating.

I am thinking of a dear friend who just passed into Heaven not long ago. She was dearly loved by all who knew her. She loved life and living it. I read her obituary and everything in it was true, and although her family is deeply grieving and missing her, they know where she is and that is great cause for hope.

So today, as I celebrate my very best friend’s Birthday……”Happy Birthday, Elaine!” I am also thinking of our other friend Ginny and honoring her life and her memory. For I know she would dearly love to still be here with her friends and family, and yet even they wouldn’t ask her to leave the incredible beauty that surrounds her now.

It’s a perfectly beautiful day down here, a perfect day for a Birthday. A perfect day to love life and living it. Gotta go and do some celebrating now, and of course, a German Chocolate cake is waiting to be baked.

“Where’s my cake?” The Birthday girl just walked by and asked.

“It’s coming, it’s coming!” I said. But bloggers gotta blog.

She knows me so well.




I’ve never thought about how it would feel to have a Birthday on Memorial Day but she takes it in stride, happy for a day to celebrate both. Last night as we were watching the Memorial Day concert hearing about all those tearful testimonials, she looked over as I grabbed yet another tissue and said, “They died, you know… we could be here, doing this, enjoying life, being free.” Yes…..they did. So today as we celebrate them, I will also celebrate my best friend whose Birthday it is today.

She hasn’t had an easy week. The school schedule was crazy and she stayed late helping another lady with her bus at the end of the shift. By the time the day was over she was fatigued and ready for it to end, but then the care home called and she went by to check in on her Mom and ended up staying there for 3 hours, and taking she and one of the aides out to dinner. A long story goes with it but suffice it to say, by the time she got home she was spent.

My friend, Elaine spends a lot of time sacrificing for others. She may not be in the military, but she gets up each day with her boots laced and polished, as ready as any person in combat has to do. The fight or flight instinct kicks in early when you grow up with an abusive older brother and that never really goes away.

Even so, somehow she remained ever joyful, ever hopeful for things to change. She was the kid who got to know all the neighbors and did their lawns in the summer.

Much was expected and not much was returned and yet she is one of the most positive people I know and the most fun to be around. She’s one of those people who bring a party wherever she goes. If she’s in a room, you know it by the laughter that erupts soon after. She truly is a people person, and they know it.

Strangers tell her things and old people and kids gravitate towards her. Every Thanksgiving she ends up helping some older lady pick a Turkey out of the bin.

This kind of thing happens all the time. I will ask her about someone she talked to for 15 minutes and she will tell me all these incredible details about their life, in addition to what kind, make, color of car they drive, how many kids they have and what illness or heartache they are currently dealing with. And she doesn’t even pry, they just tell her voluntarily. She has one of those faces you trust.

She is a truly unique individual and I mean that in the best possible way. She is a fixer of people and things and she never likes to throw anything away if it can possibly be salvaged. She is always saying, “I can fix that.”

And usually always, she can.

So today, it’s a privilege for me to celebrate her life and her Birthday. She may not have ever been in the military, but she has fought many battles and won. And my wish for her today is that she would see herself how God sees her and know just how much He loves her and celebrates her too!

Happy Birthday, Elaine. You are a blessing to all who know you.