Sunday, March 29, 2015

death and taxes

I have the federal taxes done, and am working on the state taxes, or I should be, but i'm writing a blogpost instead. I sat at my computer to print off some forms I need and their instructions, and then found myself wondering what was going on in Blogland.

I can't procrastinate too much longer, as 15 April is looming, and I like to have everything ready before then, so I have time to double-check everything before sending things along.

That's the tax part of things. Well, I can rant on about how insane they are, and why can't we just have a flat tax and be done with it all, but I just don't have the oomph right now.

I'm sure two recent deaths have something to do with that. One was a someone I knew only from sailing. I met him a handful of times, and know his de facto brother-in-law quite well, so I felt as if I knew this man better than I did. The last time I saw Juri, in fact, was when we went sailing. He once again borrowed my kayak when we were anchored, and later on jumped off the schooner with a few others who decided not to let the brisk water temperatures keep them from doing so.

He had melanoma, which I didn't know. He got the diagnosis right before the sailing trip, and never mentioned it. So, when his de facto sister-in-law's email arrived in my inbox to say that he was now in hospice, it took me a little while to process that. She had opened with, "As i'm sure you all know by now..." and mentioned Juri's cancer very matter-of-factly.

I've also met his wife, Diana, on the same sailing trips. They were together for many, many years, and quietly got married the Saturday after he found out he had cancer. Well, it's just easier, isn't it? Rather than have to jump through hoops telling authorities you don't need a piece of paper to love someone so dearly, and that yes, you DO have this person's best interests at heart. It's just so much easier to say, "I'm the spouse," and doors open. Why they hadn't married before was never explained to me, and I figured it was none of my business.

I passed along my well wishes, and kept them in my thoughts and prayers. Wondered if I should travel nearly 600 miles to see them, but with so many snowy days, it was hard to know when it was safe to go, or once I left, if I could get back safely.

And then came the group email, the one that let us know Juri had died. He and Diana were snuggled side by side. She was reading to him. He struggled to breathe, and then was gone.

It could have been very much worse. There could have been so much more pain and anguish. One of my prayers had been that if truly, there was nothing that could be done, could the tide please go out easily. And, easily, it went.

I was not able to make the memorial service yesterday, although some other dear folks I know were able to get there. I thought of them travelling on Friday, when I received word that another friend, this one at my last location, died from brain cancer. This hit hard because i'd known this woman for over 24 years.  On Friday night, I was slated to attend a concert, which was a fundraiser for a local singer/songwriter here who has throat cancer. All monies raised were going towards his medical bills.

I'm glad I went to the concert. Many fine local musicians performed, nearly all mentioned how they met Bob or how he helped them, and it was a community in action. He was bowled over by the sellout crowd, tons of well wishes, offers of help with a multitude of things. He was one of the musicians I met last summer (mentioned in this blog post), and I often found myself in tears as the various performers sang their songs. Some full of hope, all sung with love.

I'm not sure of his prognosis. He sang one of his songs at the end, and his voice was clearer than it's been in a long time. I have to hope that his treatments worked and continue to be successful.

It was a reminder to me not to put off things, the card we mean to send, the phone call we mean to make, the kind thought or deed we can do.

And so this weekend, I cherished doing the small, everyday things, and looked to see what kindnesses I could pass along. It turns out there are plenty, if we just keep our eyes and hearts open.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Wedding wishes from acoss the Pond

to John Gray and Dr Chris

Remember, marriage is an institution, so now both are you are institutionalised.

Welcome to the ward!