It was a warm, sunny late afternoon. As I approached the intersection, I saw several police cruisers. Just beyond the cruisers were the yellow police tapes. There were several policemen standing around. Then I saw the body. It was covered with a pink orange blanket from an ambulance.
Was it a homicide? An accident? An overdose? There are quite a few homeless people in the area. Was it one of them?
A few hours later, on my way home, I passed the intersection. The police cars were all gone. The yellow tapes were on the ground and the area where the body was wet. It had been hosed down. After I crossed the street, the skies opened up with a heavy rain. I was drenched by the time I got my umbrella out from my knapsack.
I checked the news sites and police reports when I got home. But there weren’t any reports. Nothing. Whoever it was – rest it peace.
This is a beautifully written story by Catherine Porter formerly of the Toronto Star. I took a peek at the story and couldn’t divert my attention.
What’s weird is that at a webinar this morning, there was a demonstration about putting your life’s priorities first before taking on the other less important but time consuming tasks. People were given a empty bowl along with 2 bowls. One had small gravel representing the many urgent but not important tasks in life. The other bowl had large rocks representing things like health, passion, love, family – the important things in life. They had to fill the empty bowl with the contents from those 2 bowls without going over the top of the bowl.
Of course, if you filled the bowl first with the small gravel, you couldn’t add all the big rocks in. The trick is to put the big rocks in first and then pour the small gravel so they fall all around spaces left by the big rocks.
Sometimes I think life sends us messages in many different ways.
I got an email a few weeks ago that my uncle passed away. I didn’t know him that well. He had 2 wives and growing up, we only saw the cousins from his first wife. There were already emails alerting us that his health was very poor and he was already on “do not resuscitate”. So his passing wasn’t a surprise. I think my relatives are relieved that my uncle passed away in his sleep. His physical suffering is now over.
A few weeks ago, I was messaging with a friend from Xanga. We had chatted a few months ago and he told me he was expecting his second child in February. I didn’t hear anything from him so I emailed him. So he messaged me back the next day with updates and pictures of his baby boy. He also chided me for not having Facebook where he posts all his updates. His baby boy looks exactly like him. I liked the photo where he and his daughter are both kissing his son. We chatted for awhile. I then told him I needed to make dinner. He told me his daughter was cuddling him while he’s feeding his baby boy. It reminded me at one point in my life, I wanted to have a child. I feel sad that I can’t make that dream a reality.
Life goes on.
My sister told me one of her neighbours passed away. I didn’t really know him. No one did. He lived alone and did everything on his own. He moved in after I moved out so I don’t know much about him. It’s a sad case. The police broke into the house when a relative couldn’t get in touch with him. I was told the house was a mess, covered with garbage, cat feces and dirt. The neighbours helped out with the lawn, shoveling the snow, wiring etc… but apparently he’s not a sociable guy. I think he was a recovering alcoholic. There won’t a funeral. Aside from that relative, I don’t think he had any friends. No one visited.
I worry I will end up like that man.
I was at a hospice recently to attend a service. It was my first time there although my sister has been there a few times. We were there to attend a remembrance service to honour those that have passed away recently. The service was held at the front lobby which the emcee described as a sacred place. There were names of those who have passed on a large banner against the wall. While my dad passed away at home, the hospice provided support for us.
After the service, I chatted with someone who lost her husband. She told me this was a very special place. It was small (only 1 floor) and there is a volunteer staff that cook homestyle meals daily. She talked a bit about the wonderful staff and referenced back to the lobby as sacred and special. I thought about all the names on the large banner and figured that was what she meant. She then said the hospice’s philosophy could be summed up with this: “You come in through the front door and you leave by the front door.” When someone dies at the hospice, the body is carried through the front door. The staff wait at the front lobby with candles and there is a simple ceremony. There isn’t a back door where death is quietly ushered away.
I never thought about death in those terms before. It’s not an easy subject to write or to read about. Maybe there’s a lot more on my mind than I want to admit to myself.
I held his hands and told him what an awesome dad he was. I thought he moved his fingers a bit. I watched as his breath grew shallower and slower. I yelled for my siblings to come to the room. We watched him take his final breath and said our goodbyes. Just moments before I thought I could sense my mom but maybe it was my imagination. He wasn’t in pain or discomfort. We made sure the there were enough meds. He had his last rites just hours before. Our house is just a modest home but to him, it was his castle. He loved it and died there.
Goodbye dad, I love you. We’ll miss you. Give mom a hug from all of us. I’m happy that you’re with her now and free of the pain and suffering from your illness.