Drugs, Death, Dignity, and Decency

21 06 2017

Carrie Fisher died.

She was someone’s child. She was someone’s friend. She was someone’s beloved. She was sick and she succumbed to her illness.

That is the end of the story. Period.

Now, I know many of you will say, “But, she was using drugs. She died from using drugs.”

No, she died from complications of her illness. The drugs were the rash and the fever; they were NOT the disease.

We need to stop blaming people for being sick.

There are many diseases that are exacerbated by, perhaps even caused by, lifestyle choices. None of that means a thing, once the disease takes hold. At that point, no matter what happened before, the person is sick. They should be treated for their disease.

We need to stop blaming people for being sick.

Sure, we can lament the cost of other people’s bad choices on our society’s healthcare system.  We can point fingers and whisper – or outright accuse – that “they brought this on themselves,” but we should never be so smug as to think that we are immune to bad fortune.

We need to stop blaming people for being sick.

We all make poor choices that could lead to serious health issues.

We drive too fast.

We use our phones behind the wheel.

We fail to hold the rail when we’re carrying a basket of laundry down the stairs.

We share our (should be) private lives in very public forums.

We ALL make poor choices.

We need to stop blaming people for being sick.

Let’s stop pretending that we lucky ones are somehow better than sick people, regardless of their disease, whether they were complicit in its damage to them or not. Blaming people for being sick makes us a special kind of ugly that even the best plastic surgeon can’t fix, and we truly do have only ourselves to blame for that.


A Month of Thanks – Chapter Four

23 11 2016

You know that it’s never wise to tempt Fate; she always rises to the challenge. A Month of Thanks has surely energized her, but the duel’s not done yet,  so here’s my final thanks of Turkey-month 2016.

This week, I am thankful for:


Take THAT, Fate!

Fate gets a big middle-finger salute; the rest of you deserve an explanation.

A little more than six years ago, I lost my daughter. She was murdered by Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  It was the worst thing that ever happened to me, because Jessica was the best thing.  No one could have told me how much she would affect me – that she would make me a lot stronger, a little smarter, and immeasurably kinder than I would have been without her brief and sparking twenty years.

Am I saying I am glad I lost her?  Of course not.

Would I change the course of history to have her back? Absolutely.

But, I can’t.

We all face terrible abuse at the hand of Fate. She is capricious and feels no pity for any of us. She does not care about our broken hearts, so railing against her is just a waste of energy. It’s like yelling at the wind. You’ll grow hoarse, but it will blow until it is ready to quit of its own accord.

When the wind stops, that’s the time to assess the situation. What have we lost?  What has been damaged?  What remains?  What has been uncovered?  Was some wonderful something hidden revealed?  Look.

This week, I am thankful that – not in spite of, but because of loss – I understand more deeply and appreciate more fully the wonder,  joy, and love of family and friends.

Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving.

What Are You Afraid Of?

29 10 2014

It’s like we’re all holding onto an electric fence . . . I’ve just let go.

These words were spoken to me by a very young – but very wise – man, describing his family’s behavior during a time of real crisis. While there was no denying the horrible situation that had taken them off the tracks, the response to it only made things worse. Sound familiar?  If it doesn’t, you’ve lived a charmed life.

Let’s face it: we’re hardwired to form habits. When fate steps in and disrupts our plans, we fight to re-establish routines.

Sometimes, especially when the thing that has interrupted us is enormously frightening or painful, we rush into counterproductive behavior patterns – just for the sake of pattern. We don’t have to think. We don’t have to decide. We don’t have to really feel. We just slog along, following the ruts in the road, because it is “easier” than building a different path. We do things, not because they are helpful to getting us through whatever “it” is; we do them because they seem to be the easiest to do.

While it might seem easy, the new “normal” we hastily accept usually isn’t. Although it is easier to make right turns than lefts, continuing along that path is assuredly a vicious circle.  We run out of time and energy and we are left – with our ugly little baggage – on the side of an unpleasant little road, instead of taking a new route and leaving “it” in the dust.

I am afraid of change – lots of us are. Fate does not care what we like or don’t like.  Fear of change does not mean inability to reckon with it.   Things will get in our way. Plans will fall through. Loved ones will leave us. We cannot avoid change.  We can only decide how to respond to it.  It takes courage to let go, but there is no healing in holding on to pain.

Let go of it and embrace life’s goodness; hug your friends.


p.s.  In addition to change, lots of us are afraid of bugs. Happy Halloween from Simon Spiderpig and Ladypig Newton.

halloween spiderpig a halloween bugnewt a