The Foolishness of Eulogies

Coming from a different cultural background, I have always been baffled by the stupidity of eulogies. Think about it. You wait until the person is dead and gone. Then everyone who knew them, cared about them, come together and tell one another how much they cared for, respected, valued the person who is gone. What’s the point?

In the culture I grew up in we did things differently. My father’s passing is a perfect example. When he knew he was getting close to stepping from this wheel of life to the next, he called us all together. He took that opportunity to share with us his thoughts on life, living, how he felt about each of us, what he wished for each of us. In turn we were able to share with him how we felt about him.

The whole scene was one of calm, love and light. Once it was done he seemed to be at peace with everything and he gently passed on a few days later. The memorial service was short and sweet. The biggest thing about it was the give away and the food. He had made lovely wooden carvings, cribbage boards, clocks, etc. as well as hand painted t-shirts and tote bags which he sold at craft fairs. We put them all on a table and encouraged everyone to take something from the collection to remember him by.

Then, according to his wishes, we put half his ashes into my step-mother’s grave and took the other half to Halawa Valley on Moloka’i. There my husband and a group of male relatives paddled out and scattered his ashes in the ocean outside the mouth of the river.

I think Pop gave his stamp of approval because as the guys were paddling back to the beach a rather good sized fish flopped up onto one of my nephew’s surfboards and just stayed there. We took it as a sign and Pop’s contribution to the family BBQ that was about to take place on the beach in Pop’s honor.

So what brought all this contemplation on you may ask?

Joe Beaupre - Sail on!

Joe Beaupre – Sail on!

It’s because of one of my husband’s best friends, Joe. Back in April he was informed he had probably no more than to the end of this year to live. Colon cancer. He has faced the situation head on. He’s been open and up front about it with those he cares about and who care about him. He made the informed decision not to go through chemo or radiation. Rather, he has chosen to accept what is and live every day of the time left him to the fullest of his ability.

I admire this man. I don’t know him very well. I’ve only heard of his escapades from my husband, spent a few days with him several years ago and shared stuff on good old Facebook.

None of us gets out of life alive. By Joe’s example I have been given a road map of how to accept my mortality and make what time I have left as good as possible not only for myself but for those I care about. I have seen how you can be honest about what’s going on and make the acceptance of it by those I love a little easier. I have learned how to face the inevitable with dignity and humor.

Now why would I want to wait until Joe is dead and gone and then tell everyone else these things? I may not make friends for doing so, but I am going to tell him NOW, while he can know he has made a difference in someone’s life. I just hope everyone else will have the courage and love him enough to do likewise.

A Different Kind of Valentine Message

My son posted this to his Facebook page today. He is currently on vacation in Las Vegas, so can’t take part in the search back home on Maui. Yet he manages to be supportive from afar. This is kind of a different Valentine message, but a very relevant one. You can follow the missing person case he references here by visiting here: https://www.facebook.com/MAUIWatch and here: https://www.facebook.com/FindCharliScott

His message:
This is going to come across as a lecture, so if you don’t like being lectured, don’t read this….

Stand up and head into the room where your family is gathered or where your kids are sleeping. Take a good look at those faces you love so much. They feel joy when you love on them. They smile when you make them happy. They are there to receive these things and you are there to shower these things on them.

Now imagine that they were not there for you to look over at. Not there for you to love on and know that you are doing all you can for them. In fact, go ahead and imagine that you now don’t know where they are, or how long they’ve been gone. That they were not there when you went in to find them. Are they fed? Are they healthy? Are they in pain? Are they dead?

I share the “find Charli” posts because I am capable of this imagining. My wife works in Hana sometimes and when she does. she drives out there alone. This could some day be her, or one of your children, sisters, brothers, husbands, or wives.

Each time I see the posts I look over at her and can’t even imagine what I would do if this missing woman were her. This will not go away for the family of this woman. Time does not take meaning from these peoples loss and worry. Don’t become desensitized to this just cause days go by and the posts repeat over and over. What you should see every time these posts come up is your own wife, kid, or husbands face. Their words should come to you with your own voice, your own heartache.

Call me too sensitive, but I can’t sleep tonight cause I can’t help but wonder what new news has come up about this. The weekend is coming up and that will mean some time off for some.

The search is happening in a certain area of the island, but it’s a big island out there, and if she was abducted then she may be in a totally different area than where all this evidence is being found. That is the way of the predator; to mislead and sneak, then strike again.

Take a drive with the family this weekend. Go around the back side of the island for a picnic or some photography. Try Kaupo area. Make a day of it, and while you are at it, do a little investigating of your own. Keep your eyes open. Watch for suspicious characters. Make note of things that may mean something to this cause.

If this IS some malevolent act of some sinister fuck, we should all be moving heaven and earth to make sure that she is found as soon as possible, and we should be equally concerned with bringing whoever is responsible to some much needed justice (if that is the case). There have been a few missing people recently. Are the disappearances connected?

Don’t forget about those women who were abducted and held captive for TEN YEARS, then found just a few years ago. Lets make this weekend a huge push to bring answers to this mystery.

Thank you for sticking with this lecture till its finish. It’s all I can do from Nevada, but I hope this helps keep things in perspective.

Putting it out there may even help me sleep. At 2:00 in the AM…
Cayce

Pharmaceutical Rape

The cost of pharmaceuticals in the United States have been a bad joke for a long time. No other country in the world pays as much for medications as we do. Adding insult to injury, most of those medications are made right here in the USA. Yes, even the ones bought by people in other countries who pay much less than we do.

Think I’m making it up or repeating what I’ve read on the internet? Wrong. I’m stating fact. Let me give you a first hand, first person, no “I heard it on the grapevine” story. Our own story. Unfortunately, I know we are not an isolated case.

In 2010 we were living in Tucson, Arizona. Both my husband and our Australian Cattle Dog were diagnosed with Valley Fever. The medical name for this disease is Coccidioidomycosis. According to the Free Medical Dictionary “Coccidioidomycosis is an airborne infection. The fungus that causes the disease is found in the dry desert soil of the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. Coccidioidomycosis is sometimes called San Joaquin fever, valley fever, or desert fever because of its prevalence in the farming valleys of California. Although commonly acquired, overt coccidioidomycosis is a rare disease. Chronic infections occur in only one out of every 100,000 people.”

As luck would have it, both of them had the rarer, sometimes lethal form, of the disease. There was no question about whether we’d treat it or ride it out. As the doctors told us, the complications can kill you. We laughed about the fact both of them were put on identical medication. We were being prescribed large enough doses that we got the drugs in their original bottles rather than the orange pill bottles the pharmacies usually use.

Fortunately, my husband’s case responded fairly quickly to the $250/mo. medication and he recovered in just over a year. Yes, his cost $250/mo. The dog’s was “only” around $80/mo. Same dosage, same medication, identical bottles, same manufacturer. Go figure. But the story gets better… or worse…

Unfortunately, here we are in 2014 and the dog’s case is still active and being treated. She has a blood sample drawn every 3 months to check her blood titers that is sent off to Arizona, because that is the only place in the country with labs that do the test, or so we’ve been told.

This disease has never been seen here in Washington and the labs practically went ballistic when our vet sent a sample to them to be tested. She ended up being contacted by all sorts of government agencies over it. Turns out, coccidioidomycosis is considered to be a potential biological weapon of war and having it turn up in a Seattle lab started a tempest in a teapot. But I digress…

The large, national chain pharmacies go on about how they can give us better prices for our medications because they can shop around, buy in bulk and thereby save us money.

When it was time to have her checked after we returned Washington State in 2012, after the dust-up with the labs and government settled, the vet handed me a prescription to take to my usual pharmacy. She did not carry Fluconazole and figured I’d get it cheaper and faster from a commercial pharmacy.

I called Walgreen’s since we have all our other prescriptions filled there. I was told a month’s supply (60 tablets) would cost me just under $1000 without any kind of insurance. Of course if we had their saver’s card (which we do) it would “only” be around $485.

Insanity! We’d been paying $250 for the exact same thing in Arizona from the same pharmacy chain. And paying $80 for the same thing from the vet there.

So I went back to my vet and told her what had happened. She said she’d see if she could get it in for me for less. The next week I had TWO months worth of Fluconazole waiting for me at her office. She showed me her invoice from her supplier. $8.12 per bottle. Yeah, PER BOTTLE! She charged me $12.50 per bottle and I was a very happy camper.

Jump forward to yesterday, January 3, 2014. I went to the vet’s office to pick up Lady’s meds and the first thing I got was an apology. Why? Again, I was shown the invoice from her supplier. What had cost her $8.12/bottle for the past year and a half is now $98/bottle! She asked the supplier why it had gone up so much and they could not explain it to her. Basically they just told her, “Sorry but that’s what it is now.”

I know there are people reading this who will say, “Well just put the dog down and you won’t have that expense.” What if it were my husband instead of the dog who has not recovered. Should I put him down? And that isn’t the issue. The issue is that we are all being financially raped every time we buy a prescription and no one is doing anything about it!

I have a sinking feeling this is part of a trend. I also suspect ObamaCare is going to be blamed for it. But let me point out a couple of things…

  • The disparity between what pharmacies pay and what they charge us is a long standing problem.
  • Now pharmacies are being charged more so we are going to be hit even harder.
  • The people who are being hit the hardest are the ones who can least afford it… the sick, the elderly, the working poor, the people who cannot afford health care coverage.
  • As we have seen in the past months, health care coverage prices are skyrocketing.
  • Those of us who can least afford coverage and our prescription costs are still being hit the hardest.

I don’t have any brilliant answers to the problem. I just want you to know, if you’re in the same boat, you’re not alone. Who will go to bat for us? Who will put a stop to the insanity? Pharmaceutical companies have been holding us hostage and financially raping us for years. When and how is it going to stop?

Check out this guy’s video… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqLdFFKvhH4#t=142 The end is a flagrant pitch but I’ll bite. He makes that much sense!

Here’s another real life example. This time of medical procedure and health care costs: http://www.app.com/article/20140105/NJBIZ/301050005

Happy Mother’s Day, Whether You Like It or Not!

Have you called or visited your mother this fine Mother’s Day? No? Why not? Perhaps because you think it’s not necessary to keep telling her every year how much you appreciate her.

More than likely, if you answered “No” it’s because you don’t feel she deserves recognition. A lot of people feel that way, so you’re not alone.

Daughter Suzanne, Son Cayce, Grandson Isaac and me. Mother's Day 2004

Daughter Suzanne, Son Cayce, Grandson Isaac and me. Mother’s Day 2004, the last time I was with all of them for this holiday.

I am not unique, but at 66 years of age, I am rich in life experience. I know we all tend to make a lot of assumptions. Perhaps the things I have learned may give you food for thought about your assumptions, make you reconsider your view of your own mother. (more…)

A Perspective on the Loss of Loved Ones

I am learning that our perspectives change in the most surprising ways as we mature. Where I once was ready to dive right in to an argument, I hesitate, ask myself whether it’s really worth the energy I’ll expend, and often end up walking away. Where I was ready to force my views on others, I ask myself, “Will my getting involved bring about any positive change?” If I decide it won’t, I don’t waste my time and breath. In things like this, I have a choice.

There are other things that I have no control over. One being my reaction to death. It’s not a comfortable subject, but bear with me. I have a feeling what I am learning is something more people experience than not, but it’s not something we talk about because it hits at such a gut level. (more…)

Happy Birthday, Cayce!

Thirty-five years ago today a wonderful ray of sunshine entered my life. He had tried to arrive a bit earlier, back in December of 1977, but the doctors managed to “keep him in the oven” a bit longer. He was actually due on Feb. 27th which is his father’s birthday. But Cayce Benson Almasin decided he wanted a birthday all his own, so he arrived on the 17th instead.

Such a quiet baby! He didn’t make a peep. Unlike his brother who arrived screaming and then promptly peed on the nurse! And unlike his sister who arrived grumbling under her breath. They laid him on my stomach and he just lay there, looking all around as if he were thinking, “Wow! This sure is interesting!”

He was such a quiet little thing that we called him Mousie. If you were not in the same room with him when he cried you wouldn’t hear him. To think he matured into a metal guitarist/vocalist who rocked any stage he was on! You just never know, do you? (more…)

Simple truths. Words to live by… My New Year gift to you

Simple truths. Words to live by… My New Year gift to you, compliments of Kalpulli Teocalli Ollin:

suzi-thinking

1. I choose to communicate the Truth.
2. I choose the reality of Life.
3. I choose to heal and do no harm.
4. I choose education over ignorance .
5. I choose the power of peace.
6. I choose to love God/Creator (or the Good) and see God/Creator (or the Good) in all humanity .
7. I choose to find the soul in all things.
8. I choose to join the world of inspiration.
9. I choose the principle of cooperation and sharing.
10. I choose to become a co-creator of Life and live more abundantly.

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