Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Doesn't He look Good?

A good friend of my husband died recently. He fought the cancer battle for two years. My husband and he worked together for 12 years. Pete was in his early sixties, robust and healthy for most of those years. He was a large man with a loud voice. There was no way to lose him in a crowd. If he wasn't seen he was heard. I once accused him of bellowing orders. He laughed at me. But two years ago he learned he had cancer.

We are all going to lose the battle with death sometime. Most of us hope we can put it off for, well, forever. But we know that won't happen. Seeing Pete as he lay in his casket made me keenly aware of that. The big guy we were used to had shrunk to a shell of himself. People would stop by and look at him and think, "He looks good, doesn't he?". Really? You should have paid more attention to him. He does not look good. He looks dead. Why do people always say the person " looks good" or "they made him look good"? A human being who is no longer alive doesn't look good.

Seeing a friend lying in a casket makes me think of my future. I'm about the same age that Pete was. How many years will I have? That answer is not given to anyone. We all hope to live many healthy and productive years. We have things we want to do or places we would like to see. The one thing it reminds us is that life is really short. No matter the age at death, there was never enough time. One thing that really bothers me is that death brings so much sadness. Why? Sure we will miss that person. But life goes on. Are we sad at the loss or do we mourn our future?

Funerals bring family and friends together to honor and reflect on the life of the departed. We may also realize what we took for granted. Every funeral I have ever been to was tinged with sadness. When I go I don't want people to be sad. I want them to think, "Thank God the old bat is gone!" Well, maybe not. But I have always hated funerals and burials. I have always wanted someone to have a party and laugh, not cry. Remember the good times. Put the money someone would spend on a casket/funeral to use helping someone else. Yes I know that tradition and relgious upbringing dictate that we give the deceased this homage. But does it get us to Heaven any faster? Nobody has ever come back from the dead to give any information.

Even as a kid I thought a cemetary was a waste of space. Yes, I know what most people think. "I want a place where I can be close, or talk..." Then we move and never get back. Just what do we say to a plot of ground or a headstone? 'Hi, how are you doing? How's the weather?" There is less and less land available. The oceans are losing the reef structures. I thought I would like to be creamated and my ashes made into part of a reef. Or I thought I would like to have my ashes thrown into the ocean. Of course I am also a cheapskate. Cremation is cheaper. Then again, I'd rather not think that my family has to share custody of the urn. Knowing my family...nevermind.

I just would rather people remember me in the good times. I don't think I will look good dead. I can't see myself in a box that cost several thousand dollars. I'd rather know that a round of drinks for all in celebration of my life, not death. And please, don't anyone say "Doesn't she look good".

Friday, November 11, 2011

How Did This Happen? How Did We Miss It?

The scandal at Penn State University is all over the news. It is without a doubt horrible. To think that a trussted employee of a major university would do something like this to children is, well there are no words for this. We read about this all the time. How many times do we see news stories all over the country about adults hurting children. What makes this even worse is that a major university is now going to have to figure out how this happened and why nobody did anything. How can this be fixed? Fire the man involved. Fire the Head Coach, Fire the school President.

Is this the answer? Many large companies have a "chain of command" that employees have to go to for problem solving. In this case when Joe Paterno was informed of what was happening, he apparently notified his superiors. But he did not call the police. Apparently no one did. Who was responsible for calling the police? Who knew what was going on and did nothing. Is this what a major university does or doesn't do? Was it right to fire Joe Paterno, the "face" of Penn State football? Did he know this was going on? How long did he know? Was it right to fire him because he did not call the police? Did he see this himself?

For years I have enjoyed college football. I've always been a fan of three major college coaches. I grew up watching Alabama's Paul "Bear" Bryant coach his teams and do things for the community. He frequently did things for families that the general public never knew. Coach Bryant coached for many years before integration. During this time he knew of good football players who were not white, and he often helped these players get into colleges where they could get an education and a future in the NFL, if that is what they wanted. He was the heart and soul of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

When I moved to Austin, Texas I watched the Texas Longhorns and Coach Darrell Royal. He, too was a football "God" in college football. He built a following no only with his players but the fans of football. Players knew he wanted the best for them both in college and after college. Many of his players went on to sucess in the NFL. In 1972 Texas played Penn State in the Cotton Bowl. That year I read a newspaper article about the two head coaches, Royal and Paterno. The writer wrote that either coach would be a good role model and teacher for any young man going to either school. Both coaches were highly regarded among their peers.

All three schools, Alabama, Texas, and Penn State are steeped in a long history and traditions. Fans live and die with the wins and losses on the football field. The Lions, Tide, and Horns are always fun to watch and hope they become National Champions. Both Bryant and Royal retired as beloved icons of their schools. But not Paterno.

Joe Paterno will not have this. He will not retire a winner. He once said he didn't want to retire because football was his life. There was nothing else for him to do. At his age maybe he was trying to life long enough to be Penn State Head Football Coach for 50 years. That will not happen. Now the university will have to figure out what to do. Their image and trust is gone. Many students rioted when they heard Paterno was fired. Will we ever hear JoePa's side of the story? To allow an assistant do what he did and say nothing is wrong. No question. How could Paterno not know? Why didn't he call the police? If he had to tell his superiors instead of calling police himself, why didn't they? Why? why? why? How many children will come forward and how can we help them?


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

To Death Us Do Part or Until You Change Your Mind?

It seems that the entire world is talking about Kim Kardashien, again. She seems to constantly be fodder for someone. People are feeling duped, or upset that she is divorcing her husband of 72 days. One has to wonder how her husband,Kris feels about now. I saw a clip of him telling Kim that by the time they decided to have kids, no-one would care about them. In other words they would be old news, very old news. But that won't happen. Kim has decided to leave the marriage. By the way how many people really care? And just how much did they spend on that over the top wedding? Was it 10 million or 20 million? That's a lot of money to spend on a wedding even if it was to be a long lasting marriage. I can't help but think that a lot of charities would love to have that kind of money donated instead of thrown away. My thought, when I heard how much the wedding cost was "You could feed a small country for that kind of money".

My parents met during World War II. They knew each other six weeks. They had nearly 25 years and would have had more but my mother died of ovarian cancer when she was only 49. I'm sure they had their share of problems in their relationship. Most marriages go through both good and bad times. I tried to make my first marriage work for 17 years. But it was not a good relationship and ultimately ended in divorce. I tried to keep it together for my children. I did them no favors. I should have left sooner. But that was then.

These days "Hollywood" sees many stars "hook up" and have children with multiple partners and never get married. Over and over I see stories about someone having children before marriage, if they marry at all. That would be shamefull thirty years ago. Not now. But at least so far, Brad and Angela seem to be together forever. They have had or adopted a total of 6 kids. That takes work. Good for them. Others seem to marry and within a few months decide they don't want to be married. Hollywood is filled with a history of short marriages of stars.

Marriage is something that needs work. It seems that some, like Kim Kardashien, use the excuse that knew they should not have gotten married but did not know how to get out before they said "I do". In this case I don't know. Kim's mother, Kris Jenner and the rest of the family are defending her decision. But the viewing public seems to be outraged at her decision. They call her marriage a sham. Was it just for money? It has been said they did not make any money from showing the weddin on tv or in the magazines. Really? So what will happen with the show now? Will Kim keep the $2,000,000 ring? Should they return the gifts? Why is everyone asking? Does anyone want to know how the spurned husband feels? Inquiring minds want to know...oh wait I changed my mind, I don't want to know.