The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Monday, December 19, 2005

... and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest


From the Dao De Jing, Chapter 50:

Between birth and death,
Three in ten are followers of life,
Three in ten are followers of death,
And men just passing from birth to death also number three in ten.

Why is this so?
Because they live their lives on the gross level.

He who knows how to live can walk abroad
Without fear of rhinoceros or tiger.
He will not be wounded in battle.
For in him rhinoceroses can find no place to thrust their horn,
Tigers no place to use their claws,
And weapons no place to pierce.

Why is this so?
Because he has no place for death to enter.

My oldest daughter has a friend whose mother has had Lyme Disease for as long as we've know her (maybe four or five years). It wasn't diagnosed in time for any effective treatment to be applied, and she's had to live her life with the progressively dibilitating effects of the disease. When we first met her, she was already restricted to a wheelchair.

When someone has Lyme Disease at the stage she had it, one never gets better. Your body slowly atrophes. You can hold steady for a while, but your health will never improve. You can only wait until the next slip down.

In spite of this awful condition, she had always been one of the most positive people I've ever met. She was fully aware of what lay ahead of her, but that never stopped her from making the very best of her situation as it was that day; and within her constraints, living her life to the fullest.

She ran a company out of her house that provided materials for corporate training. When she became bedridden, and required a ventilator to breathe, her husband quit his job and took over the company. He could work there at the house and still see to her care. Her three kids all go to school locally, so they can live at home and help take care of her.

She managed to be a positive part of her family's lives with intelligence, wisdom, and good humor.

She went from being needing a walker, to a wheelchair, to being bedridden. She had her husband take a wall down to open up the house so she could be better able to see what was going on a be a part of it all.

She was always thinking "out of the box" and finding ways to make the absolute most of her life.

With each slip in her health, she adapted. She always found a way to give strength to her caregivers, her family, her loved ones.

She passed today. The world will be poorer without her. She seemingly had no fear about her fate, because she knew so well how to live. She had no time to dwell on dying, because she was too busy living.

Her example touched many of us. I can only hope that in my own times of distress, I can meet life with the strength and dignity she had, and she had it right to the end.

May God bless you, Mrs Targus.

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