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Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

Continually I am asked by the ones that are closest to me, “Are you fine?”  “What is the matter?” “No I don’t think that is the reason, so what is it?”  If I try to answer the first two questions, most likely I receive the third question in response to my answer.

This brings me to a point in my life where I ask a question, “Why is it when I say what is the problem, I am told that my reason is justified and that I don’t understand the situation.  The situation is mine I think and after all this time of living I should hope that I know what my situation is.  But, there is a difference.  When I was young I would never think of telling someone what was bothering me.  Now I do and I think that is the basic problem.  I was an expert at covering up what I was feeling.  Well, how could I tell them when my self esteem was even lower than it is now.  Back then I felt I could never be truthful because I felt that the truth would hurt me more than them.

Now, it feels more important to me to tell the truth.  Yes I suppose I could sugar-coat it a little, but then usually these same people don’t sugar coat much for me.  One is M. who is so troubled with the way that I am, particularly in my reaction to acquaintances and friends, as well as himself.  Well, as two examples of his worry,  one friend has used up all the care and help that I have for her.  I have helped and helped and been there, and been there for her and what have I gotten in return is a plea for more help.  I just don’t have more to give since now I feel I must take care of me and so I stay away as quietly and politely as I can.  Another is a new acquaintance, who I thought might become a good friend.  When I realized that the “the sale–the job–the inevitable bit of money made” was more important than understanding what I wanted and dealing with it.  Yes I was the client, but it didn’t seem to matter much.  I was quickly told that I should understand that what I wanted to happen, (I had full rights to ask for what I wanted)  went against the grain of the acquaintance.  I understood in a moment that the commission in the sale was the most important.  Well, as I am known to do, the axe fell on this supposed relationship and now I am questioned why I made the decision I did.

I often think that this is the most appropriate time in my life to say what I am, what I want and how I see it.  If I don’t act now on my beliefs what am I going to do during that long journey with in my Crepusculum.  I can just imagine how my care can take quick turns that I don’t believe in.  That fact is catalyst enough for me to know I must grab a hold of my own life and start letting everyone know my wishes.  I just can’t sit in the quiet “corner” any longer.  This is all different to me as it is to the others who question me, but I believe this current life turmoil and questioning must be during my transition  from quiet toad sitting on the side of life, to a new, determination that makes people say, “Guess I can’t run over him any longer!”  Its not easy to change.  If you are  like me then agree  to  take a chance to stake out your independence.  Grab a hold of your wishes and sell them boldly to all you meet.  That little change will make you begin to see that it is possible to journey through Crepusculum with a modicum of respect and enjoyment.

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When I was in undergraduate school, I became very interested in Anthropology/Archaeology. That led me to take enough courses to get a BS degree in it without taking many more courses. Before I officially turned in a portfolio for grad school, I toyed with the idea of getting the Bachelor of Science in Archaeology first and then go to grad school! If I had, I am sure that I could have arranged to enter grad school the following year. My concerns in art and the complexities within the studies of Anthropology and Archaeology are interwoven in my mind and because of their simularities many issues in Anthropology helped define my art.

I have always envisioned being a part of a team of Archaeologist excavating a mountain’s surface and exposing layer on layer of rock, sediment, debris and different forms of life that create the intervals of growth and help to supply material to determine the age of the fossils sandwiched between the stratum. As archaeologists uncover the remains of an ancient people’s midden their story unfolds as the site is uncovered tier by dusty tier. Each layer of excavated soil is carefully sifted to find artifacts that will tell a story and give a time line for the living that inhabited that particular spot. In comparison, our thoughts, memories and emotions become multiple tiers in our mind that lead us to self-understanding and expression. Regardless of which idea they both demonstrate a passage of time structured by a complex cycle of growth, life and decay.

Many spiritual dogmas, in the past and in our present day, enlighten the cycle by believing in an afterlife. When I think about the artistic possibilities of life being spiritually continued I imagine a line of hollow, fragile forms. Each represents an empty homogenous soul that waits patiently for a heavenly tomorrow. In reality, I imagine souls serenely floating in azure blue skies accented with billowy, white clouds as they pass through the immense golden gates of heaven. On the other hand, the souls may become a part of an interminable final que and as the line of fragile forms sway, one by one the souls fall and become anonymous hollow pods that are brittle, frail and worn from the passage of time. The fettered, empty shells give little information of who or what they were. Yet they are the remains of countless people who have lived throughout history.

Death Scene         Gothic Illustration          Girl Reading Book

Cave  at Lascaux        Simone Martini         18th Century

At times, it is those people, probably us in another five hundred years, that makes me stop and try to remember them for a moment. Can you possibly guess just how many people have preceded you in death. Can you look at the three images and feel that their lives were equal to our current existence? In the majority of paintings or illustrations held in Museums there is never information about the people that are in the painting, unless they are infamous.  Nonetheless, they need to be acknowledged. Imagine that the death scene, from the Lascaux caves, probably was drawn by someone with blood and urine.  The death scene had to have been important to the artist to have recorded it and is as important as one that is recorded today.

Nevertheless, the relationship between man and time continues within other relationships. In our youth and early mature years our backs are metaphorically, straight and strong, while we collect stacks of memories and information. Rarely, while we are younger, do we consider our ending chapter, although our subconscious tries to signal that we are changing. Where once our memories were occupied with dense information, later in life as we grow older, we find that they may thin and fray at the edge. Where once the back never tired it now asks for a moment of rest and we begin to understand and accept that there may be passages in life that leaves us perilously fragile and degenerately transformed.

I am sure one day, I will pass through an ominous threshold and I may find I cannot live independently because I am not able to control the escalating fragility of my mind and body. If this happens I will begin a transition towards total dependence for life care. This major, unidirectional modification in life care prompts feelings of vulnerability to the world and apprehensive of tomorrow. It is evident how important it is for me to find that certain, younger person that will understand and follow my directives for my life care. The directives have already been listed in my living will and so my only worry is appointing an executor for the more distant future should I be alone to die.

Death, the end to all this thought, comes when it wishes. There is no preset date or hour, nor is there a preset script. You may think death will come and sweep you away at that unknown moment, that it will whisk your spirit instantly up to the heavens, yet sometimes for some people death lounges at the door letting the person’s degeneration become unbearable for the family and their associates. Death, that final hour, will tick in the background of my twilight…………..

2012                  2014 tick

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2013 tick tick tick 2021                                              tick

2025                                tick tick 2026                                                               tick tick tick

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tick tick 2229 tick tick

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tick tick 2033…………….

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Preamble

Rhoda Goldenberg is my sister-in-law and was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer less than three weeks ago.  Unfortunately she had little time to ready herself for any upcoming passage she was to take.  During the last week before being admitted to a hospice, Rhoda frantically tried to insure that her daughter and granddaughter were cared for without her presence to help guide them.  Now, M., her younger brother, as well as her other siblings are working towards a trust for them.  At the time of posting she was not expected to live more than one or two days.

You are somewhere in a hospice on the sea, near Boca and most likely you will not be there very long.  When I think about it, I should have taken a moment to talk with you when you called to speak to M.  Sure I knew you had pancreatic cancer, but I also felt there was time, a few more weeks or months for me to tell you how sorry I am.  But that day, I felt I should let M. speak to you.  You had a lot to deal with and I quickly handed the phone over to him without taking one short minute to tell you how I feel.   A lesson can be learned from handing over the phone so quickly as I did.  From now on I need to remember to do what is felt in the heart at the moment you feel it and not leave it for another day!

I want to let you know I was glad to have met you and knowing you has been years of gaining an unusual experience in knowing someone.  I want to let you know how wonderful it was when M and I first visited you in Florida.  Dinner on the lanai was the best, as the cool evening breezes softly blew across the screened-in patio.  We sat there for hours following dinner.   The food (made by you and I) was always superb, the wine Sid bought was delicious and yes, watching M. eat the leftovers as we chatted was humorous.  Although, it wasn’t just dinner that was great, it was the idea of living near the ocean, being warm in the winter and being with someone that made me welcome and wanted.

During the past thirty-five years since we met, much has happened to our two families.   Your  Mother and my Father have died.  We each have gained and lost more pounds over the years than most people can.  We have shared many Seders, some with you present, but we haven’t seen each other for many, many years.  I know I couldn’t go to your wedding to Sid, nor has there been any time in the last decade for a trip to Florida.  Yes, we have spoken on the phone many times over the years and I know you quite well through our conversations.  I’ve been able to follow your life with Sid, how you raised Ari and all the troubles you continually have caring for Ruth and Sara.

I think the last few years have been the hardest for you as you cared for Sid.  But now, Rhoda, in your final days you need the care.  Thankfully, you went to the hospice on the sea.  I hope your room is balmy and bright with sea breezes that gently blow in the wind.  You, or no one deserves this particular, swift end to life.  But, it appears that the human body responds correctly,  to allow you to move quickly to your destination.   I wonder, I hope you had a bit of time to reconcile yourself to your own concluding passage.

But before you leave, dear Rhoda, you should know you will be remembered.  To some  people the best memories I have are the little ones like the ambiance of your first apartment, the diet muffins you could make so well, your ability to cook with flair, your ease in answering the many questions I had about Seder or other holidays, your knowledge of Hebrew made you my interpreter or translator when I needed to understand a word and lastly, your memory as a store house of family facts.

Now, Rhoda, you are journeying on your the last hours through your final darkness.  You have just left the many years you enjoyed within your own Crepusculum (the twilight years of your life) .  Thankfully you were able to spend many, many more years in your twilight than others.  I am sure that you and I expected you to have many more years ahead,  but that is not the case and so I must bid you a fond farewell.  I know you will continue to live in the hearts of your sisters and brothers and particularly mine.

To you Rhoda I bid good bye–

To you I will remember the smile on your face–

The shine in your hair–

The quickness of wit in your mind–

Your hands with your rings and the bracelet–

B’ Shalom dear Rhoda!  Peace to you!

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