Generation to Generation

Life is an everyday occurrence, until one day it’s not. ~~ Susanne Strempek Shea

A few weeks ago I was looking at hand tools, many of them with a lifetime replacement guarantee. As I read those words I was reminded there really are no guarantees, not with tools and not especially when it comes to lifetimes. Here today, gone tomorrow — no time outs, no second chances and few replacement parts.

Like most of us when young and stupid I thought myself invincible, that I would live forever. At least I envisioned the inevitable so far off that it seemed that way. Even when I experienced the death of What was I thinkingcontemporaries my attitude, my life style and the risks I often took spoke of an assumed immunity.  That only happens to the other guy, tomorrow never comes! But as one ages — receiving experiences and education that almost always come with the passage of time — we realize the years quickly pass us by. For me the inevitable is a lot closer than it was once perceived.  So, I’ve changed my mind, time to savor the moments. Continue reading

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May 1961: Remembering Michael

During my youth every kid in my Riverdale, Maryland neighborhood had a bicycle, and I was no exception.  I had lived there since I was four and all my earliest childhood memories originate there.  I’m sure I went through three or four bikes during those years, my first being a small Huffy with training wheels, and later upgrading to the most popular of them all, a Schwinn! Continue reading

Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share.
~~ Steve Jobs ~~

Steve Jobs

I had planned to post something different in the morning, but just over an hour ago I saw the news on the Internet of the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs. The fear I wrote of, just a little more than a month ago, that his time might be short, has sadly been realized.

In June of 2005 Jobs left a touching and timely commencement message with the graduating students of Stanford University. From his unique perspective and very personal experiences he urged those graduates to pursue their dreams and to look to the various setbacks of life for the opportunities that present themselves, including death itself.

I’m not sure why I am as saddened about Jobs’ death as I am. I guess it has something to do with his young age and all that he had to offer the world, now cut short in the prime of his life. The world won’t be the same without Steve.

Continue reading

Growing Old is Inevitable

“Growing old is inevitable.  Growing up is optional.”
“Age is just a number.” “You’re only as old as you feel.”
“Growing old ain’t for sissies.”

As much as we might wish it weren’t so and as much as the young think it will never come, we all grow old. At least we have hopes we will, rather than face the alternative. But I’ve also been known to say,  there are worse things than dying, and… there are.

With the passing of each year we draw ever closer to getting older… getting old. I’ve often reflected on how quickly it has come along. Certainly reckless living, eating, drinking and merriment — thinking we’ll stay young for ever, that tomorrow never comes  — will hasten its arrival.  In looking back I wish I had taken more time to stop and smell the roses. Not that I haven’t done that on occasion, it’s only I wish I had done it more. Continue reading

A Few Thoughts on Death and Dying

Heaven

A butterfly lights besides us like a sunbeam. And for a brief moment it’s glory and beauty belongs to the world.  But then it flies once again, and though we wish it could have stayed, we feel so lucky to have seen it.

I lost a good friend nine days ago.  The shock and dismay was far worse than any I’ve suffered before.  I’ve lost quite a few relatives and friends in my life and a couple of them were really rough passages for me.  Only losing one of my children could be worse.  Ironic that I had just written about friends here on this blog 12 days before.  I told another friend that, with this latest loss, I thought myself a better person.  It had taught me a big, big lesson, but I’ve since struggled with changing my mind.  I sometimes wish I could go back to being the other Rick, with my friend still here, my emotions in-check, forget the lesson!  What sustains me in times like these is my unshakable faith that death is but a comma in the continuum of life, ie. life exists beyond the grave.  I’m thankful, better yet, so very grateful for it. Continue reading