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A Death Observed, Part Four

This is a short series on my mother’s death.  It’s meant for folks who may be facing the death of their own loved one, with symptoms they may face, my suggestions to caregivers, and a brief sketch of what I felt and experienced. Part One. Part Two. Part Three.   Hours to Minutes Before Death, […]

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A Death Observed, Part Three

In case you missed them, here are Part One and Part Two of this series on my mother’s death. One to Two Days Prior to Death, Symptoms: May be a surge of energy, followed by recurrence of symptoms. Breathing starts to be a big issue at this point.  As the body begins to shut down, […]

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A Death Observed, Part Two

In April, I began this series of reflections on my mother’s death.  A few weeks before she went to be with the Lord, I received a little blue booklet called Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience (The Dying Experience) by Barbara Karness.  I found it very helpful–brief and to the point, written with compassion–and […]

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A Death Observed, Part One

Today is Good Friday, so in meditating on the passion and redemption of Christ, I thought it a suitable time to begin a series on my mom’s death last December.  No other event in my life has, so far, made me feel my need of Christ’s strength and grace so much.  But I would also […]

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Ways to Be Grateful

I’m sitting in an upstairs bedroom as the smell of pumpkin pie wafts up the stairwell. Tomorrow the family will arrive, starting around noon: not just relatives, but friends and tag-alongs and people I’ve never met before who will be family for one day. Thanksgiving unites us like no other holiday. No matter what one’s […]

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Behind the Bookcase, Part 13: The Art and Imagination Of Man

This is the final installment of a series that began with Behind the Bookcase, Part 1: In Search of A Hiding Place. I had heard the gospel pretty much all my life.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.” But I never […]

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Behind the Bookcase, Week 12: The Guide by R. K. Narayan

  After all these years, I still believe with Lauren Myracle that the development of empathy is one of literature’s crowning achievements.  I believe with J. K. Rowling that imagination is an extraordinary gift: “Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other […]

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Behind the Bookcase, Week 11: Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums

“All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”  The Beatles, Eleanor Rigby Last week, for better or worse, I tried to talk about how I came to a skepticism about language as a teenager.  Looking back, though, the post was really more focused on […]

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Behind the Bookcase, Week 10: A Clockwork Orange

Then I looked at its top sheet, and there was the name—A CLOCKWORK ORANGE—and I said: ‘That’s a fair gloopy title. Who ever heard of a clockwork orange?’ A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is a razor sharp book. It’s not something I’d recommend to most readers. However, it is a famous book. A book […]

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Behind the Bookcase, Week 9: Gender and Nature

“I don’t like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings! but John would not hear of it.  He said there was only one window and not room for two beds, and no near room for him […]

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Behind the Bookcase, Week 8: A Death in the Family

Most YA readers in America stop right here.  From junior high and high school literature, they gain a few basic sentiments–sentiments which may or not be held or recognized by non-readers in their lives.  What are those sentiments?  I’ve tried to detail them up til now: 1) race is just color, signifying nothing; 2)  class […]

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