…on Death and Dying (part 2 – July 2022)

Good afternoon,

Last January, I wrote about death and dying (here) and wanted to explore the topic again today.

We went to the library earlier this week and I bought a used paperback copy of Kubker-Ross’s book, On Death & Dying.

On Death and Dying (1969), first introduced the idea of five stages of grief, or the “Kübler-Ross model”

 

I grabbed this used book for my nephew because when he visited last month the topic of coping with death came up. I started to skim the book and even though I have known the Kübler-Ross model for a long time, I enjoyed skimming.

I woke to the news that Ivana Trump died – possibly from a fall down the stairs! I first thought of my friend Casey, from Winter Park, FL, in 1992. Casey wore her hair like Ivana. The blonde up-do with little pieces of hair hanging all around. She called it her “Ivana look” and I didn’t know anything about Ivana.

Then I remembered how our life is a vapor here- and we never know what a day will bring forth! A fall down the stairs and that’s it? And 73 years of age feels too young to go.

I was ordering my mother her aloe vera the other night and had an hour-long conversation with business man Ken Gillette. It was such a God appointment because I called the number at night to leave a message and he picked up the phone. We chatted like old friends and he agreed to do an interview for Priorhouse blog. Anyhow, Ken was born in 1932! He made it to 90 years old (and claims being part of AA for 41 years was a big part of his success).

Then in my newsfeed today I saw the recently discovered self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh

– it was hidden under glue and paper covering.  I thought about van Gogh’s troubled journey and how he had no idea of what his sister-n-law would do to protect and promote his paintings after his death! In his day, some folks turned his art to the wall and did not appreciate his work. In our day, finding one of his works made global news.

***

I walk by my neighbor’s house, the one that died in January. I see his garden and smile at the gladioli and irises. I remember when he hugged me near the mailbox and said how much physical pain he was in! I thank God for that hug – he died about 60 days later.

 

We had a few challenges to work through this July and it really is kind of silly stuff! I can’t share details for a few reasons – but someone said it is a period in a paragraph – or a .5 out of ten! It also related to a church matter and reminded me that one day I will write a very long book on topics like spiritual vs religious!
☀️🙏

I agree to the smallness of the matter – but it still does not mean it came stress free. It still doesn’t mean it did not need problem solving and prayer. It is pretty resolved now – but when it was being worked through – I walked by my neighbor’s garden – and remembered how he is not here anymore – and I shook my head – because if people thought of death more – we might not be so stressed out over little things! We might not be such a hard ass! We might be nicer!

If we thought of death more, we might smile and appreciate the air in our lungs!

We only have so many days in our “window of time” (our dash between birth and death) so perhaps we can be less autocratic and not so authoritative – maybe strive to be democratic and aim for unity (with genuineness and honesty and not this fake facades – manners of course – but genuine).

Perhaps if we remembered our days our numbered and we only get so many hours – we might lighten up and try not to “take someone down” with punitive measures; instead, work through it with respect, offer grace, offer embrace, and ask how we can grow or learn to connect more.

Overly punitive  measures are often dispensed by the displaced or hurting individual. Sometimes it is a power play and other times – overly punitive measures just come from reaction and habit!  Or maybe come from lack of empathy or from so much personal anger that they feel a sense of justice when they make someone else hurt or get reprimanded!

We know from prison reform research that punishment only has certain (limited) outcomes and the whole idea of rehabilitation is to not just punish – but to enrich and rebuild!  How we respond to infractions, mistakes, and conflict determines if it brings closeness or distance.

I then shared an email with Liesbet,  (here), who always inspires me with her approach to having less worldly possessions. The open-hand approach she models with less “stuff” (as opposed to having a closed fist and clinging to materials) helps me assess my relationship with possessions. For example, I bought two large paintings outside of Toronto back in 2016. I don’t have a spot for these paintings and they sit in a closet? I am working on releasing them (and other art pieces – but want to keep most of what my children made). But why do I keep those two paintings in that closet?

That reminded me of George Carlin’s comedy skit about “stuff” and then it reminded me how long after Carlin’s death – his comedy STILL lives on because so much of it is timeless.

That reminded me more of how we need to lighten up! Because today, comedians are getting slapped, silenced, or ousted. Sigh

 

____

Closing with three Elisabeth Kübler-Ross quotes:

  • Those who learned to know death, rather than to fear and fight it, become our teachers about life. 
  • Negativity can only feed on negativity.
  • When life puts you through a tumbler, it’s your choice whether you come out polished or crushed.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

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46 thoughts on “…on Death and Dying (part 2 – July 2022)

  1. I read this book back in the 1970’s. I must try to get a copy at my local library.
    As a person that doesn’t save or hang onto anything, It’s difficult to know how someone who does hang onto things feels about letting go. I can see the similarity of the inability to let go of things, because there’s a comfort in hanging on to these things, and holding onto someone because we cannot let go of them when they die.
    I have a daughter who’s son commited suicide. He was 24. She cannot let go. Her life is a sad life. I’ve had the strength and the ability to put the emotions about my grandson where they belong, but she cannot. I will have to get her this book to read. Great post … Isadora 🙏🏻

    Like

    1. Hi Izzy
      I think I recall hearing about your grandson a while back
      And sending condolences 💛
      And prayers for the mother that she would find a way to detach (healthy detaching) and protect her health.

      Complicated grief can impact the immune system and really pull from health and vitality<

      Also – check out therapist aid
      Here

      https://www.therapistaid.com/search?query=grief

      Because they have excellent resources on grief
      I have sent many folks there and most say it helped them.

      ☀️😊🙏

      Like

    1. Hi Carl!
      Thanks for that hymn – I never heard it before (and I don’t really know a lot of hymns anyway) but it was delightful
      Have a great day sir
      ☀️😊

      Like

  2. Grief. We all handle it in our own way, and the circumstances can make a big difference. I very much agree with the last of the quotes but we never know how we will respond until we’re tested. I often use the Charlie Brown expression ‘good grief!’ but I’ve only just stopped to wonder if there is such a thing.

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    1. Hi Jo,
      Great point about how we just don’t know how we will handle grief in our own way and my limited experience with bereavement has me also agreeing with you about “and the circumstances can make a big difference”
      Because with my FIL- we thought we lost him in 2019 but he rebounded and then when he passed almost three years later we were much more ready. In contrast, our neighbor’s illness came fast and it surprised everyone.
      Thanks for chiming in restless Jo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great message. Life is too short and it took me years to realize that. Now my granddaughter asks me why I don’t get upset or mad when things happen. I told her life is too short to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diane
      Sounds like you have a healthy approach and then you also model that for future generations
      – that is so important
      And not sure if you heard of Martin Seligman, he helped launch the positive psychology movement and part of his story includes a moment with his grand daughter.
      They were gardening one day and she called him a mean grump!
      It was eye opening and he realized he lacked joy and worked very hard to move away from pessimism to optimism – such a cool story!
      Thanks for sharing 😉
      ☀️☀️☀️

      Like

  4. I had the same thought about Ivana–way too young. But death can come at any time. We should not run away from talking about it, though humor does help! (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, what a fasinating post, this one. I’m trying hard to get rid of stuff I don’t use, give it to someone who can use it right now. It’s hard, but I’m trying. I don’t have children to leave stuff to, so the older I get, the less it matters. Enjoying life, and helping others matters. And I love your final quote… so true!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa
      You said Something that was spot on/ when we release stuff we can allow others to possibly use it – And thanks for the nice comment about liking this post –
      And I do think of death sometimes when I walk by my neighbor’s place- esp as his death was unexpected (healthy / happy / dead – which is how my hubs wants to go… ) and everyone has an expiration date

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great post Yvette!
    I love all of your sentiments here and Elizabeth’s work.
    I love your heart, reaching out, the interview with the 90 year old and the gifts aging imparts. Life is fleeting and fast and you ponder questions that help bring richness to our ordinary moments . 73 does seem young to pass to me the closer I get. You blended so much food for thought into this one post!!! Great job!
    💕🥰
    💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy / thanks for taking the time to actually read some of the longer posts (not sure how you do it with your large blog community of connections) but you get it done!

      Back in the 1980s – my mother had a colleague die at her work and he was 25! They kept saying how young he was to die of a heart attack and as a tween I was like “25 young? That is so old!”
      Hahah
      And now I view 73 as too young to die !!

      Anyhow – hope your weekend is going well
      💮💮💮💮💮

      Like

  7. This post really resonates with me so much. We have a dear friend who is on the journey of dying. So young and fit he was. One never knows and each day such a loud message for us to live each day fully.
    I have read the book but not for a long time and am going to find it again. Thank you. Hugs.

    Like

    1. Sue thanks so very much for your comment and sorry to hear about your friend who is on the the closing journey

      💛☀️ when I was talking with me nephew (his brother died, grandmother died, and an uncle was diagnosed with terminal illness) I told him to actually start getting ready for more and more experiences of loss because it is part of life. I also shared how CS Lewis noted we don’t “get over” the loss we adapt and move on in new ways with the loss (like someone that lost a limb) and so finding the used book for him was awesome! I also got Helen Steiner Rice poems and a watercolor book – all for five dollars baby! Yup- life is good🙏

      Anyhow – I hope you find a nice used copy of the book because it really educates and empowers!
      💛☀️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Dan! I am so sorry you lost your dad when he was 60. And that book seems to have helped a lot of people (I have come to find out!) and we almost lost my dad to a heart attack k when he was 60 but my sister n law was there to help at the right time and he had another ten years after that!
      And somehow – that close call really did help when he passed in 2004! Still not easy but helped so much.
      ☀️💛

      Liked by 1 person

  8. HI Yvette, I came back to check if my comment posted and I see it did not so here it is again. A most interesting post. I didn’t know Ivana Trump had died. Awful to fall down stairs and die as a result, isn’t it? My children’s and other purchased artworks are everywhere in my house.

    Like

    1. Hi Robbie
      I appreciate you coming back to share !
      And it sounds like you found a great way to hang your art! The problem I have is that we don’t like a lot of stuff on walls / and I had two art walls during the pandemic and loved it – but then it felt heavy.
      But the art we do have up is exactly what we like so I just need to release some of the extras and maybe if I have a physician office again someday I can hang some of the children’s artwork there!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My walls are covered with art of all sorts and none of it matches. My sister hates it. I’m sure she closes her eyes when she walks down my passage. I like it that way and hubby would never say anything about it.

        Like

  9. Sometimes it is hard to process grief unless, like in the case of my mom, though I loved her very much, her lack of mobility, being bedridden the last five months of her life and having dealt with 72 years of pain and 42 operations from being hit by a car at age 11, the end could not come soon enough for her. I did understand that, but because she died so suddenly, there really was no time for me to prepare with the finality. I was numb, but accepted it shortly thereafter.

    I am so disorganized these days Yvette – I look around and cringe at the house and yard, but, though I feel badly about it, I remember my good friend/neighbor who got me to start this blog and she battled COPD and was tethered to her oxygen machine the last few years of her life … she often said to me “go out, enjoy yourself – I would give anything to go outside like I once did.”

    A friend of mine died in May. I never met him in person, but he was introduced to me through Facebook, by my friend Carol who lives in NY, that I’ve known since high school. Carol connected us as he loved animals and took care of multiple feral cats (like Carol does). He also fed the neighborhood squirrels. So we had that little “squirrel love” thing going – nothing more, just a fellow nature lover. He was in his car, stopped for a light and a dump truck driver plowed into him as a result of texting. My friend was pinned in his vehicle, extricated by a crane and airlifted to a hospital where he had internal injuries, a broken back and his neck was broken in three places. He died two days later. This made me sad – a life snuffed out at only 46 years old. I told myself “you will continue to go out and enjoy each day, even if disarray greets you at very turn.”

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    1. Linda
      That is a sad Tragic accident that happened and it makes me mad because I still see so many folks texting while behind the wheel
      – and your quote at the end of your comment reminds us to put fear to bed and get moving and live life !
      Cheers to that

      And your momma sure had a long journey and how even more special she was able to have you – even after the accident at 11!
      You are such a light in this world!
      ☀️🌸

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for saying that about me Yvette. My mom told me that I was the best thing that ever happened to her and I don’t say that to blow my own horn, but we were close and yes, it was a blessing she had me after so many orthopedic and other operations from age 11 on, but more so after my father threw away a 30-year marriage and cleared all the savings and annuities out to leave the country.

        I feel badly for Kirk who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was a gentle soul who loved feeding and sheltering those feral cats and the squirrels. He had no family who would benefit from any type of monetary settlement by the driver/his company, not that this would bring him back. Donations in lieu of flowers were for the local animal shelter and he had a good friend who made some arrangements with the funeral home/cremation, etc. I suggested if the company made a monetary overture, it could be turned into a trust fund for the animal shelter, something in his memory.

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        1. They suggested the Volusia County Animal Sheltr in the obituary notice, however, I think there should be some compensation to Kirk’s estate because of pain and suffering, then death. So, since there is no family, I think they should set up a fund. His neighbors are taking care of the cats. My friend shelters ferals and has for years. She lives near Rochester, NY and they get whopper snowfalls. She has one inside cat, but has wooden shelters filled with straw and battery-operated pads and heated water and food dishes on her deck all Winter. He was doing something similar. I don’t like the idea of this driver getting off with a slap on the hand.

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        2. Yes – hopefully the driver will have the fitting consequence / but it seems like the Insurance company will be the one making out by not having to pay out ?

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        3. That’s what I am thinking will happen Yvette – the insurance company won’t go out of its way for a payout, even though it is the right thing to do. I’d like to know the outcome.

          Like

  10. I love everything about and in this post. Volunteering in a hospital for many years changed my perspective. Loss of friends too. A good but heartbreaking read is What We Wish Were True: Reflections on Nurturing Life and Facing Death by Tallu Quinn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa
      Thanks for the book suggestion – I’ll stay on the lookout for it 😊
      And thanks for sharing about your volunteering – that is perspective shifting for sure – and in the good way

      Like

  11. I enjoyed your post. I’ve also read a few of Kubler’s books after losing my husband last year. Death seems to be a common topic with me now. I”m glad you got to hug your friend once more before he passed. Last hugs …… ❤

    Like

    1. Hi
      I am sorry for your loss!
      And when my neighbor hugged me that day (he felt so strong) we thought he would be fine (he was 75 and seemed in great health up until he got sick) hmmmm

      Like

  12. Yes, I agree, Ivana was way too young. I did read that her health had been declining and her ability to walk as well. A fall down the stairs is so scary. One of my dear friends lost her mom for the same reason. The tribute to Ivana from her favorite restaurant near where she lived is beautiful. My mom died at 70, 73 is just as young in my mind. I love Elisabeth’s books and quotes. They brought me much comfort as I watched my mom and her dementia take her life. I’m sorry to read you’ve gone through some challenges recently. You’re wise to recognize and work through your feelings. Hugs to you – this was a lovely post full of words of wisdom. 🤗😊
    Elisabeth says, “We’re put here on Earth to learn our own lessons. No one can tell you what your lessons are; it is part of your personal journey to discover them. On these journeys we may be given a lot, or just a little bit, of the things we must grapple with, but never more than we can handle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shelley
      Thanks for sharing about your experience with your mom.
      Also – that ending quote was just so wonderful – and has so many little parts that obvious expound on – like the uniqueness of lessons – discovering more about our journey- how what we are given will vary – and then how never more than we can handle (which is biblical and I am glad I have my faith – and my strength is in Christ etc)

      Oh and the second half of the month is really turning out to have such beauty and joy!
      Almost like seeing how trials do sometimes (often) bring beauty and shifts in perspective
      And sometime eating humble pie is just good for humans – lol
      So now I am brushing my teeth and want to eat regular meals again
      Lol

      Liked by 1 person

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