• To live in hearts we leave behind
    is not to die.

Tomorrow is National Day of Encouragement….



  National Day of Encouragement

National Day of Encouragement is observed annually on September 12. This day is dedicated to uplifting people around us and making a positive impact. National Day of Encouragement was intended for all of us to do something to offer encouragement to those around us, whether it is someone at work or in our personal lives.


Make deliberate acts of encouragement. Offering reassurance and inspiration to people around you. You can high five someone, tell someone “great job” if they deserve it, contact a family member or a friend you haven’t talked to for a while, help your friends along if they need it. And don’t forget to smile because a sincere smile is one of the most encouraging things in the world.









 We drove to the city under gloomy gathering black clouds after getting a distressed call from Donna, Margaret’s mom.  The weather could not have been more appropriate for our day…


    “The news isn’t good. The doctor just came in. He said I have an aggressive cancer. And that chemo won’t even work on it. Not that I want chemo. Oh god.  It just gets worse and worse.“


    As we travelled toward the hospital where Donna has been a morphine-loving cheerful patient for four days, since Tuesday, when we rushed her to the ER with terrible upper right quadrant abdominal pain that turns out to be caused by either the huge tumor in her lung or the tumors in her liver (just discovered, though we didn’t know this as we drove), we tried our damndest to attribute our sense of blind panic to our dear matriarch’s misunderstanding of something a doctor had said, perhaps…


    No such luck. Our fourth “hospital day!” as we call our 6-10 hour vigils by her side ,  gave us the worst possible news. Stage four lung cancer .  6 months to a year and a half to live.




   She took it well.  “How are you?” we said as we came in her room , having been told about the liver cancer.


   “Ha, how do you think I am doing? I am going to die!”


     What do you say to that? It’s true. But probably no time soon, seeing how insanely conscious and vital she is now. 


   She taught us today how to assimilate the knowledge of one’s impending death.


   Tomorrow I want to try to encourage the hell out of her to make the best of the time she has left.


   This might even increase the time she has left…


    And the dark sky? It exploded its nourishing rain, and then some!

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.


Views: 379

Comment by Margaret Feike on September 11, 2015 at 8:48pm

And yet. 

She's still with us. She's still excited about her first great-grandchild.And she wants to come home, to us.

Thank God you are here to welcome her back.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 11, 2015 at 8:51pm

i shall be her comrade in front of the tv , cnn and msnbc, sucking up her vast political wisdom in this election season , hoping she can survive to the election of 2016 babe.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 11, 2015 at 8:53pm

the 'and yet she is still with us' stuff is jarring, isnt it?

a woman told she is gonna die not too far off in the future is still here, maybe even more vibrant than she usually is..for now she has being-toward -death....a heideggerian bit of philosophical diagnosis...

the being toward death

makes us most alive.

Comment by Margaret Feike on September 11, 2015 at 9:06pm

Something tells me she's going to teach us a whole lot of things when she comes home, about both living and dying.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 11, 2015 at 9:08pm

and about being toward death.

nerd cred, you said.....

Comment by nerd cred 25 minutes ago

It's going to be extra good for Margaret to have you with her now.
(That's what came to me.)

There are better and worse ways to die.
My parents both went pretty easily.
I wish you all nothing but the best.

thanks my parrents went easily too but i dont think this is the wa¥ donna will go until the very very end. she will rage against the dying of the light.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on September 11, 2015 at 9:11pm

Bring her home and let her do what she needs to do with the time she has left.  Engage pain management and hospice providers and make her comfortable with your love for her.  From what I've heard great grand children have a wonderful palliative effect.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 11, 2015 at 9:19pm

thanks jmac. yes, bring her home.

let her do what she needs to do.

she needs to be useful, and i will make her so. i value her opinion. i want her thoughts. they are useful to me.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on September 11, 2015 at 9:31pm

Speaking from experience, there's little in this world that is so precious to an elderly person than to engage the interest of younger people.  Encourage the grandchildren to join you in your inquiries with the Mama Donna.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on September 11, 2015 at 9:45pm

yes just so jmac thanks.

she offers her hospital food to the kiddos when they come...

'do ya want some fries? ahh, i couldnt finish em. how about a candy bar? margi got it for me but i dont wanna eat it.. ect etc"

Comment by koshersalaami on September 11, 2015 at 10:11pm


I'm so sorry. You didn't need this. 

Thank God you've got James out there. 


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