Thursday, February 22, 2018

Billy Graham has died. Here's how he approached his own death. - The Washington Post

 "As for his future, [Billy] Graham made clear that he anticipated his demise as a door to a new life in heaven. “I’m looking forward to it — I really am,” he said in 1995, in his late 70s. “I’ll be happy the day the Lord says, ‘Come on. I’ve got something better planned.’ ”  To be sure, Graham admitted that he did not look forward to the dying process itself. He said he had seen “some of the terrible things that happen to people that are dying. I don’t want that.” But beyond the event itself stood heaven as a place of glorious fellowship with the Lord, saints, loved ones and invigorating work to do. “Think of a place where there will be no sorrow and no parting, no pain, no sickness, no death, no quarrels, no misunderstandings, no sin and no cares.” The preacher even speculated about golf courses and beloved pets — whatever it took to make folks happy."

Billy Graham has died. Here's how he approached his own death. - The Washington Post:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

No one can tell you how to grieve

From a Slate advice column for parents:

Four and a half years ago, I birthed beautiful, perfect twins. One ended up very sick with an untreatable genetic condition. She functioned as a newborn until she died before her third birthday. All of it was soul-crushing. I considered killing myself, but I didn’t, and I survived. Not only have I survived, but I am happy. Yes, at times, I am sad and miss my daughter, but I love my life and I am blessed and I’m pretty much OK 95 percent of the time. So what’s the problem? I want to move on. I could never forget my daughter, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life always taking a moment to remember the daughter I lost. I lost myself when my daughter was diagnosed and we were fighting to save her. I lost myself when she died. I am finally me again, and I want to be able to just live my life without judgment that I don’t miss her enough. For example, for our second Christmas without her, our family scheduled a holiday photo shoot with our remaining children. Some people commented that they wish I had done something in that photo shoot to include her. Am I wrong? Should I live my life under an inescapable cloud? If I’m not wrong, do you have any advice on what I could say to these people? I understand they miss her. I miss her too. But I shouldn’t have to miss her for every single second of the rest of my life, should I?

From the answer:

It is understandable that people close to you might want to manage the way you express your grief, but I am here to tell you that you have every right to say to yourself, quietly but with certainty, fuck that. No one can tell you how to grieve. They can offer support and love, but you needn’t take their advice seriously.

The guilt we feel about happiness when circumstances tell us we should be suffering is a kind of second arrow, unnecessarily extending the pain of the initial wound.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Modern Love Podcast: Alzheimer's Story "Magically Interrupted"

“Well, there is a theory,” he said, interrupting, “that people with Alzheimer’s heal themselves of their diseases. Because they forget they have them.”


For my grandfather and me, having to witness JoAnn’s Alzheimer’s had been agonizing — like watching “The Miracle Worker” backward. Every day seemed accompanied by a new limitation. But for my grandmother, the disease had seemed liberating. For the first time in all the years I’d known her, she seemed truly happy.

Imagine: to be freed from your memory, to have every awful thing that ever happened to you wiped away — and not just your past, but your worries about the future, too. Because with no sense of time or memory, past and future cease to exist, along with all sense of loss and regret. Not to mention grudges and hurt feelings, arguments and embarrassments.

One Last Swirl: On Modern Love, a Dad Confronts Mortality