February 16, 2018
I guess for some people, it is no problem. But if I spoke with any person it did not bother, I can’t recall when. But, today, I finally did the one task I never wanted to think about, let alone actually carry out.
After looking into most of the funeral homes in the area that appealed to me, I settled on Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home. I was immediately drawn to them through their website, which is marvelous – (I strongly recommend looking through the website pages.)
The following, from their website:
“Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home is family owned and operated by Joseph, Ranee and Michelle Johnson. All of our employees are carefully screened. We feel honored to know them, and believe that you will feel the same way we do. We all believe that a funeral need not be costly to be psychologically or emotionally beneficial. Everything on our General Price List is itemized which is very important, because if you do not use something, why should you have to pay for it.
When we opened Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home on March 15, 1993 we dedicated it to the Lord for the healing of the broken in heart. Back then we had four goals:
1. Have a beautiful funeral home where families can come and find peace.
2. Have our prices be approximately half of the other funeral homes.
3. Have the quality of work be far superior to any other funeral home.
4. Counsel and help families stay within their financial means.
We do not have an answering service. We personally will answer the phone 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You are welcome to call us at any time and we will schedule an appointment at your convenience.
We also provide a wealth of information on our web site so you can learn more from the privacy of your own home.”
I had phoned the Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home a few times, hoping to secure an appointment so I could go in, arrange for and purchase my cremation plan. But because they are so busy, I was not able to schedule my appointment until today. 3:30 pm.
I took the freeways to an older part of town and arrived early. The Chapel was once an elegant manor, built in 1905. It is breathtaking and I would love to have seen the estate in its heyday. It is two stories, white, and bordered with pristinely manicured landscaping. It is nothing like a funeral home from the outside.
I went up to the front door, Michelle answered and welcomed me inside. As with the exterior, the interior of the Chapel was beautiful! Every room I saw was furnished with antiques, a perfect complement to the historic structure of the building. On the walls were what appeared to be vintage oil paintings of landscapes, seascapes, forests, Yosemite, serene countrysides, and more.
It was as if I had stepped back in time, to a grand home from a bygone era. There was nothing of that heavy, suffocating atmosphere of the funeral homes I have been to in the past. I was in a home and peace suffused every breathable pocket of space. The ambience was relaxing and restful.
I was taken upstairs and told to have a seat at a large, long antique table. Michelle left the room to collect the necessary paperwork. (On the wall opposite me was an oil painting of Yosemite – I knew I was where I belonged.) Michelle returned, sat down with me and I told her what I wanted in my plan.
She went over the features of the plan I was interested in; what is offered at their lowest price, and what services could be added until you reached their maximum price. Ranee came in later to go over the final paperwork, offered to answer any other questions I may have, and further explain what is included in the plan I purchased. I signed the papers and it was done!
I chose the plan that provided the most coverage. If, at the time of my death, not all the features I paid for are needed, my husband will be reimbursed the difference.
I found each person on the staff with to be personally engaging, friendly, professional, helpful, knowledgeable; calm and pleasant – exuding tranquility. After I drove home, I telephoned Wildrose and spoke with Joseph. I told him how impressed I was with everything about my experience and I shared how I’d love to mention my observations in my blog. He gave me permission to do so, which thrilled me. Everyone should know that planning for, and obtaining your funeral plan need not be unpleasant, morbid, or macabre. It can be satisfying and liberating!
On the drive home from Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home, I felt like my spirit could fly. I felt “set-free” and jubilant. It was such a load off my mind and heart. I had so deeply dreaded doing that task, never knowing it could have been totally different than my experiences with funeral homes in the past. WOW!
Having that behind me has released that dark foreboding and left me exhilarated. It is an odious weight, having to plan ones own funeral arrangements, and as a result, many never get it done – leaving family members or strangers responsible to do it after the fact. I have learned it need never be like that. Thank you Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home, and staff!
Now I can relax….
February 20, 2018
You may witness what I am going through, see it with your eyes or feel it empathically with your senses. But you can only see it through the projection of my reality.
Today I started back with the shots and yesterday I started again with the three weeks of pills. I guess that kind of reality really brings it home. I’m living in a nightmare, dealing with a disease that is terminal unless they come up with a new treatment, down the line, that addresses immunotherapy.
I talked with my oncologist about the emotional and mental roller coaster I go through. The near-normal days, the just-okay days, and the deep, dark days. How the frame of mind can shift from day-to-day and hour-to-hour. She stated that what I was describing is normal for metastatic breast cancer patients. I found relief in hearing that.
In some ways I feel I’m being selfish, having these feelings – rather weird to feel that way, but I do – inasmuch knowing there are other people who are in far worse condition or situation.
These dark moods often come upon me unbidden, sometimes prompted by an upcoming medical procedure, test or appointment. Too, I’m having difficulties breathing, which started this weekend. So, I’ll need to have my chest drained again. I called to schedule an appointment, but that department is extremely busy and I’ve not heard back from them.
It’s been coming on since this weekend and arrived in full today.
I want out of it, away from… my nightmare.
February 21, 2018
His voice is that of the most skilled tenor on the planet
with a lyrical quality so robust it blooms with just one note.
His love, warm, like the flame in a hearth is at your side
when worry envelopes you in its cold embrace.
His touch is the breeze that skips along with you
as you walk the beaches of lake and sea; the touch
that swirls the tall grasses in the fields by the roadside.
His breath carries the recent past: the trace of perfume
worn by the woman who, moments ago, walked the nearby path;
the scent of a candle snuffed out wafting from the open window of a dwelling now dark.
His is the voice that sings as it brushes through the limbs and pine needles
in the trees above you as you walk through the forest.
His love is the calming presence that sits with you in the waiting room of a hospital.
His is the touch that tickles the water’s surface–shattering the moonlight
into fractured glints of silver as you sit under a canopy of stars.
His breath brings the balm of rain falling a few miles away;
the musty tang of damp leaves on the ground;
the scent of newly mown grass;
the fragrance of fragile blossoms in new bloom.
His is the voice on the wind that speaks to you of secret places you cannot see.
His love flows around you when the phone rings in the middle of the night.
His touch is in the laughter of children, the tinkle of wind-chimes,
the splash of a fountain, the babble of a river, the beat of the tide, and the pulse of a storm.
His is the breath whistling ’round you in the cooling night’s air;
full of the flavor of earth, and the memories of the day.
His voice, His love, His touch, and His breath are with you throughout the day and the night: On the wind, in the air, in the voices of the earth. He is with you in the city, in the countryside, in the rush of life’s routines, in the quiet moments before you fall asleep. He is in the giggle of a child, the fragrance of a rose, the steadfast look of the dog at your feet.
And if He is in your heart–you are never alone. And you will be with Him long after you have left the earth and your body behind. For He will be in your spirit and His spirit will fill you with His love, His breath, His touch, and His voice.
© K. Pippig
February 21, 2-18
Creator, you know I pray for the spirit-soul of every animal lying dead on the roadside. Every creature that leaves its home here on earth. I pray that you will be with it there: give it a life full of fun, love, companionship, happiness, and play.
Now I would add a prayer for myself, Creator. I pray when I leave this place I be allowed to go to the Heaven where all the creatures I’ve prayed for reside. I would love to see them in their forever home. To welcome the new arrivals. To see their bodies whole. Their spirits reveling in their new life. To see them play. And to join them in the fields of grass as they tumble and roll. Pounce and stalk. Listen to their happy voices. Catch the glint of sunshine in their bright eyes. Stroke the gleam of fur, warm under my hand.
And when a small kitten winds itself around my legs, Lord, I want to be there. To bend down and slide my hand under the furry belly, cradling her tenderly as I lift her to my chest. And then to bury my face in her fur. And as I mumble soft words to her… to hear her purr, contentedly.
Dedicated to Jolly, the finest feline I ever had the joy and honor to share my life with.
© K. Pippig
February 24, 2018
All Is Intertwined
I have often wondered what my contribution to the world in which I live is worth. How is my measly existence going to impact anything? And now, after my diagnosis, I want more than anything to bring something of value for those around me, familiar and strangers. But, I also acknowledge one person’s journey may affect the destiny of many, even of a planet. No one of us is an island – we are not secluded or cloistered, because…
People forget that all things are connected. Our relationship – our kinship with the earth is ingrained in us. Yet we have forgotten how deep those ties go; even though much of how we see ourselves, express ourselves reflect those same ties.
Take for example how we describe our moods and feelings: Stormy. Sunny. Down-to-earth. Hot and fiery. Warm. Cold and frosty. Blustery. Airy. Her face clouded over, or she quaked with fear. He thundered. Their response was lightning quick. The earth is angry. The earth is at peace.
But above our planet, our earth; above the clouds and atmosphere – the sun shines, space is clear. Beyond this plane of our existence – it is no different – the suns shine and all is made transparent in the cosmos. And all things are connected; great and small.
Our contribution is measured by our deeds, not our size. And the import of our actions is immeasurable – both here on earth, and beyond this plane of reality.
So, when you ask, “How could one person’s journey affect the destiny of a planet?” You need only think upon each individual’s interaction and interdependence with everything that is around and in us, for we are all one, and the Creator is the architect of ALL…
And, the Son shines and all is made clear.
© K. Pippig