Roles in Living, Loving and Dying

When a loved one is dying, there are many roles to be filled.

The first is of the person who is dying. Their role is set. It is mostly certain. It is not an easy role, and it is a role each one of us will play one day. Each one of us.

There is the caregiver role. Hopefully there are qualified, compassionate, and loving caregivers for whom this role is a true calling, because it is a special and vital role. They ease the pain, they monitor life, and they work to make the transition as best as it can be.

The role of the loved ones. Oh, the loved ones. Their role at this time is to love. To be present. To laugh, and to cry. To hold on to memories, and never forget. To tell every story, relive the moments, and to listen and truly hear. Loving their someone in it and through it. Loving each other in it and through it.

Finally, there are those who wait. This is such an important role. It is not an easy role. There are those who wait from afar because they cannot be physically present. There are those who wait with and for their friends who are the loved ones. There may be degrees of separation between those who wait and the one who is dying, and those degrees of separation do not matter, it is the waiting that matters. Those who wait hold up the others who are nearer; we hold them up so they can live into their roles fully and completely.

There is great presence in the role of waiting. There is time of intentional sitting, watching, and waiting. There is praying, thinking, sending love into the air and knowing it lands where it is needed most, there is loving from a distance. These are so very important in this time.

If we are fortunate, we will play these roles countless times in our lives, for those we love. They are not easy roles. There are no award shows for these roles. These roles are the gift of loving and being loved.

After all, “We’re all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dass

The Interwebs Is a Small World

“It’s A Small World” first appeared at the 1964 New York World’s Fair in the UNICEF pavilion. The exhibit was moved to Disneyland in 1966, after the World’s Fair closed.

In 1989, the world wide web was invented as an open source space of information, shared between computers and accessed via addresses and locators.

This past week, and especially this morning, the theme of the ride and world wide web’s interconnectedness crashed down on me in a huge way.

The world has become increasingly smaller over the years that the interwebs has advanced. Computers allow us to become a part of communities of like minded thinkers. We can meet and interact with people on the other side of the world at any time of day or night. We meet people and become a part of their lives and they a part of ours.

Last week, I heard of the death of a little boy who, with his family, had battled against pediatric brain cancer for just under a year. Jonny died on Christmas Eve and leaves behind his twin brother, sister and parents. They all have a devout faith, and I hope that this helps them through this time and the rest of their lives.

This morning, I read about another young man, Joe who died a couple of weeks ago. Joe fought pediatric brain cancer also. As he went into surgery a couple of years ago, his mother asked his if he was scared and Joe quoted his father and said “Fear isn’t real.” T-shirts were made with this phrase and sold. I have one of those shirts and will wear it today for Joe and Jonny.

A few minutes later, I looked at the Facebook page of BlinkNow. Maggie Doyne took her gap year after high school and traveled the world. She found herself trekking through the Himalayas, through the most poverty stricken part of Nepal. She met a little girl. Saw a need and an opportunity to change the world, or change a small piece of it. Maggie built a small home, built bigger homes, built a school, and she is still changing her piece of the world. Maggie was named CNN’s Hero of the Year for 2015.

She is well known in Nepal and women and families will bring their children to her to care for and raise. She is changing the world one child at a time. I am not sure how Ravi came into her life but this little bundle has been her heart and soul since he arrived. I am not sure what happened, how it happened, but Ravi died on Wednesday. Maggie wrote an absolutely wrenching post and the pain was palpable. I felt it down to my core. I still do. There are no words.

We love the people in our lives. The pain we feel when they died is sometimes unbearable. The interwebs brings more and more people into our sphere and we love them, celebrate with them, and mourn with them just as much as if we could sit with them, hold their hand and have a cup of tea.

The harder we love, the harder we feel loss. It seems little consolation that if you feel loss very deeply it is because you have loved so very deeply. I hope each of you loves very deeply for the days you are here and we must all help each other through what is on the other end of that love.

Into the Northwest Passage – Day 3


  • 4AM – looked out the porthole and saw some “bergy bits” – that’s what they call the smaller bits of ice
  • 5:45AM – “SHIT! ICE” is what I yelled and Sheila jumped up already dressed. She’d gotten up at 3:15 (looked at the clock without her glasses) and got dressed and went on deck and realized… … so she flopped back on the bed
  • I dressed fast and got up on deck. Folks started to emerge.
  • 7AM breakfast – 2 groups going on the helicopter tours headed off the ship first. Town groups left next and then the zodiac cruise groups got to take our tours
  • 9:30 we headed out for our ice cruise. Back to ship around 10:45, dropped some stuff and then took a launch to town
  • Walked up into town, stopped in a couple of shops. Stopped at the Inuit Cafe for a latte, it was quite good
  • Walked on up to the trail head at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Did what one really shouldn’t do in unfamiliar areas and hiked alone. I told Tagak where I was going and the route I was taking and that I would return and not do the loop and please don’t let the ship leave without me, so I was covered. Walked up the hill to the gold trail
  • Walked up and rose over the crest of the hill to the ice fjord and all of the ice produced by the Jakobshaven Glacier. I sat for a while and had a snack (or two)
  • Met up with Richard and Melvina, we walked back down and decided to get lunch at the Mamarut restaurant – Musk Ox Burger! Oh, my, yum!
  • Walked around town looking for a power adapter for my laptop because I only had the three-pronged plug and that doesn’t work for two pronged European plugs (ultimatley, didn’t need it since I used the iPad plug thing)
  • Bought some herb salt with angelina seeds and took the launch back to the ship
  • Took a quick shower and then we were underway
  • Went out on deck with the camera and took a bunch more pictures
  • Daily Briefing, quick dinner and then back on deck for more pictures
  • Amazing day of ice

Link to the pictures (there are a LOT of pictures today!)