Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Always Do Right. This Will Gratify Some People and Astonish the Rest." -- Mark Twain

Hello everyone! And welcome to another death-themed blog post! Hopefully, this will be the last one for a while. I'd love to just come in with a light, fluffy, goofy post, but what can I say?

Of course, the biggest event that has occurred lately has been the death of my stepmother Linda, who died on 1/29 due to flu complications. She and my dad had been down here in San Diego visiting and they both picked up the flu bug before heading back up (to Oregon). A few days later, she was in the hospital with lung-related complications... and never left.

She and my dad have been married since (my best guess) the mid-1980s, so I've known her a good three-quarters of my life. I've never been as close with my dad and Linda as I'd like to have been - there's always been something between us. Still, her passing was a shocker to say the least.

Death makes me mad. I want to treat it lightly, with humor, just to show it disrespect, as though that's my way of getting back at it. But I don't want to be misunderstood, especially by my dad, who is understandably having a hard go of it. He says he feels like half of him is missing. He also told me it isn't any easier, having gone through the same thing already with my brother Bryan a dozen years ago. It's as hard as that, all over again.

But my dad's strong, and his faith is solid. He'll be all right, I'm sure. It'll just suck getting from here to there.

There, a row of puppies makes everything better...

So speaking of death scenes, I witnessed two separate ones in the realm of entertainment that left huge impacts on me... I don't normally see really powerful, Boromir-caliber death scenes very often - maybe once per year, but I saw two on the same day... both a couple days before my stepmother passed. Maybe there's a reason for the timing, I don't know.

First was in a movie called The Grey, starring Liam Neeson, which is sort of a survival/adventure movie. A group of oil-rig roughnecks working in Alaska board a plane to travel from a-to-b, and end up crashing in the middle of the Alaskan nowhere. About 8 of them survive the crash, and set out to try to survive the weather while being harassed by a wolf pack. But right after the crash, when the survivors are gathered inside one of the fuselage fragments, one guy is badly injured and is bleeding out. So Liam talks him through his death, in an amazingly riveting scene, the rest of the men staring open-mouthed. I wish I could find the scene somewhere online so you can see it. Trust me, it would leave its mark on you.

The rest of the movie is ok. Kinda predictable and often far-fetched. But it's worth it for that scene alone.

The second scene was in the latest episode of Downton Abbey, in which Lady Sybil's character (Jessica Brown-Findlay) dies after childbirth, in a remarkably ugly, unexpected death scene. I found it ironic that they had the "pretty" daughter put herself through the ringer like that, visually. Man, what an acting challenge, not just for her, but the rest of the cast. They could have gone the soft route and played it safe... sweaty, covered with a blanket, out of breath, reaching out for her hubby's hand, etc. But she was screaming and wrenching, back and neck arched, veins bulging, while the room was in an uproar... it was shocking, especially for PBS.  Not sure how long I was holding my breath without realizing it, but the slow, shaky sigh afterwards was shared by Wifey, watching beside me. The details surrounding the death are sure going to have some interesting ramifications for the rest of the family, immediately. It was an interesting storyline choice.

So, yeah, two heavy, powerful, memorable death scenes in one day. It seems to be in the air.

I suppose I could wax eloquent about the subject, and throw some scripture out, and talk of heaven and life and death, but no doubt I'm testing the limits of your endurance as it is, so I will spare you. But Easter is 8 weeks away, so it's Easter Drama time. The Lord's death and resurrection. I want to come up with something that fits with the season, without being focused on death. I don't want to minimize it either.

Wish me luck.

I finished a book called The Shadow of the Wind, by author Carlos Ruiz Zafon today. It's about a boy in post-WW2 Barcelona who finds a book that changes his life, and embarks on a quest to find out the mysteries behind the enigmatic author. It was a highly recommended and well reviewed book (the Zafon book, I mean) so I've long wanted to read it. Bottom line, it has a lot going for it - a memorable character and an abundance of great word choices and tasty sentences, but ultimately, I found the book tedious and grueling, and couldn't wait for it to end. The author (Zafon) relied way too much on lengthy exposition to reveal the convoluted story, robbing the story of it's sense of "mystery"... I don't know... I'm glad I finally read it, but likely won't ever read it again. (3 out of 5 stars)

I think I'm done for now. Hopefully, the "death" theme will be limited to January. It wears down the heart after a while.

Hope your weekend is a great one,

Dave the Dreary


Sally said...

I'm so sorry to hear your sad news, especially as it was so sudden.

logankstewart said...

Ah Dave, I'm sorry for the loss. Sincere condolences to you and your family, and prayers from across the nation.

As for the rest of the post, I'm just glad that I'd already watched that harrowing episode of Downton. Throw up a SPOILER ALERT next time... sheesh! Seriously, though, that was an incredibly powerful scene. The whole episode was great.

All the best, friend. Good luck with Easter planning. My son will be born Easter week: 3/27. Should be an exciting season.

Larry said...

Jesus let me wake up to singing this morning. Turn your eyes upon Jesus Linda and I were singing in a congregation someplace and HIS PEACE was there. I know I will see Linda and Bryan in the resurrection and although it hurts like sixty I pray Jesus gives you this same sense of His control OF EVERYTHING... I love you son and thank you for the respectful blog as a tribute to my wife and your step mom.... Pop

Anonymous said...

My girls and I were saddened to hear about Linda's passing. The last time they saw her she was giving of her time, graciously helping us pack and move.

Hope that you and Larry can take this time to build what was broken many years ago. Time is precious and short. For obvious reasons, our family always parts as if it's the last time, and surprisingly, it's built a loving and strong bond between us.

Blessings, Beth

PS: I know what you mean about trying to make things light and humorous. People who haven't been touched by much tragedy don't realize that it becomes a coping mechanism, and by delegating the really heavy stuff aside, it saves a lot of heart pain.

Paula Titus said...

I get what you mean, about death. I can't wait til the day when Jesus punches it in the face.
I am wishing you rows and rows of puppies this week.

David Wagner said...

Thank you to everyone who left condolences.

Love you, Pop...