A Chance to Say Goodbye: Reflections on Losing a Parent

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Throughout the years, Lisa and her dad had a tenuous relationship. In her youth, she was disappointed and angered by his behavior, distancing herself from him and blaming him for the sudden end to their intact comfortable family life. As a young adult and after her father’s sudden heart attack, Lisa was given a second chance to heal their relationship. Over the next three decades they became closer, enjoying time together, including travel. When her dad entered his eighties, and while still raising her own children, Lisa found herself unprepared for his steady health decline. Suddenly, she was thrust into the role of overseeing his care as he began to experience increasing disability and the beginnings of dementia.

Not having prepared for or anticipated such a role, Lisa floundered as she attempted to address his ever-changing situation. The closeness and healing they had achieved was challenged as her father resisted conversations about his failing health and his care, exacerbated by a western medical system that fell short to prepare them for the end of his life.

A moving tribute to a remarkable man and a daughter’s experience of losing her dad, A Chance to Say Goodbye gives rise to reflections about what is important in living and dying.

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Praise for A Chance to Say Goodbye

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Forgiveness

As a human being on this planet, I have ample opportunities to practice forgiveness. Every time I drive my car, I may encounter someone who cuts me off, fails to use their turn signal or drives slowly in the passing lane. Each time I dine out, there is the potential for slow service, a forgotten request or an error in the check. When I email, text or even talk to someone, my words might be taken in a different way than I intended. A stranger or a friend might snap at me because they are going through a rough time and their nerves are frayed.

I recently read the book, The Disappearance of the Universe by Gary R. Renard. The author advocates forgiveness as perhaps the most important thing we can do while we inhabit this place we call Earth. Renard states, “It’s just as important to forgive the little things as the apparently big things. Anything that disturbs your peace of mind is disturbing your peace of mind, and that’s not the peace of God. You have to be willing to forgive everything equally.”

Now when I drive and another driver irritates me, I say, “I forgive you.” I immediately feel better and soon completely forget the incident. It is a relief to let that sort of trivial event go quickly! I also realize that I too have cut people off, forgotten to indicate a turn, butted in line and driven slowly when someone wanted to pass me. I am not a perfect driver!

Today’s political scene is the most polarized climate I ever recall. Blame and anger are predominating the media and conversations on both sides. Many people are throwing their arms up in exasperation and confusion of what to do or think during these unsettling times. When the world seems crazy to me, I narrow it down to my own life and see what I can do differently. Renard states, “The people of the world will never live in peace until the people of the world have inner peace.” [Read more…]

Oneness

A person only needs to browse the newsfeed of Facbook on Election Day or Inauguration Day to see hatred flung at each other. In fairness, I also see some posts that are classy and positive on both sides of the political pendulum. But I see more mud slinging than I have ever seen before. It feels to me like our country is in civil war. Not north vs. south. All corners of our country seem to be dividing.

One of the reasons that I am an independent in terms of politics is the two sides repel me with negativism and intolerance. From the book Oneness, “The systems on which your society is based will, most likely, experience a fundamental breakdown as they are built on a foundation of diminished vibration that cannot sustain itself under conditions that continue to accelerate.”

So what do we do now? We have a new president. My answer is to look at myself first. How do I behave, think and feel? And how do I express my values to the world? How do I interact within my family, with my friends, in my community and with each and every interaction of my day?

Again an excerpt from Oneness, “For your world situation is no more than a magnified reflection of the energy of the collective consciousness. You are part of that group dynamic. And the only way to shift the worldview is to shift the thrust of what you project upon it. Each of you. One conflict at a time. [Read more…]

My Favorite Books of 2016

On Goodreads, I read and reviewed 52 books in 2016. Yes, that is a lot but some were short and many were on Audible while I drove to and from Breckenridge and Denver. I love books and find them as necessary as food. It is challenging to pick the winners of a year. I am going to pick 4 non-fiction books to highlight.

Oneness

Not only did Oneness make the top of my list for 2016, it is in the top 5 of my lifetime. It is very spiritual and requires deep contemplation. It is not for everyone. For those seeking to understand the complexity of your life patterns, why things happen in your life and the big picture, this book will be profound.

Love Warrior

This memoir is brutally honest, real and empowering. I listened to it on Audible and the author did an incredible job describing the story of her life. Some will find uncomfortable because she dares to share what is often hidden. [Read more…]

Is It Wise To Build A Wall?

Berlin Wall and view of "No-man's Land" 1985

Berlin Wall and view of “No-man’s Land” 1985

The Berlin Wall existed from 1961 to 1989. “During this period, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the Wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from 136 to more than 200 in and around Berlin. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that had marked East Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period”- excerpts from Wikipedia.

I personally saw the Berlin Wall twice-in 1979 and 1985. Each time I viewed it, I felt its negative energy. It divided people and caused much suffering because many families and friends were separated from each other. I value connecting people instead of dividing them. I also sensed the fear that was created by the visible guard towers and the machine guns poking out of the openings-armed and ready to kill anyone who attempted to cross the barrier.

Donald Trump would like to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. The proposed cost varies but it is in the billions. There is an initial cost of construction and then there are the costs of maintaining this divider. The erection of massive concrete barriers didn’t seem to serve Germany well and was eventually demolished. I wonder if that money could be used in a more positive way? Might we look deeper to solve the root of the issues that prompted Trump to make this suggestion?

Trump says that this will make us safer from illegal immigration and drugs. Will a wall really stop these issues? Might there be other ways for people and drugs to find their way into the United States? If the people within the US continue to want drugs, they will find a way to get them. Might it be prudent to look at the root of the drug problem for a more effective solution? If someone really wants to enter our country, they will find a way around the wall. There are many methods and points of entry. Can all the ways be controlled?

Berlin Wall Graffiti

Berlin Wall Graffiti

Trump claims his wall will be beautiful and that it will have his name on it. Does he really need his name on another structure? Is this desire more about fame than logic? Is a concrete barrier that divides people anything but ugly even if shiny gold letters spelling “Trump” adorn it? Did the Berlin wall graffiti help the Germans enjoy the wall? [Read more…]

My Favorite Books of 2015

I read and enjoyed many books in 2015, but the standouts are worth mentioning. All my reviews of books in the last several years are on Goodreads. As I looked over my completed reads this past year, I took excerpts from my reviews on Goodreads to share with you my favorites.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Guest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

My review:

I devoured this book! The story was enthralling, and I rank it as one of the best books I have read this year! I listened to it on audio and Edward Herrmann was such a good reader, I will likely seek out other books he has recorded. The story was beautifully written with such vivid adjectives that the story came to life in my mind. Magnificent!

 

The Signature of All Things

My review:

Absolutely outstanding! I had read Eat, Love, Pray and thoroughly loved it. This book is incredibly different in style and has increased my admiration for the talent of Elizabeth Gilbert’s skill at crafting a marvelous tale. Her writing is excellent, and it was an absolute pleasure to read. I highly recommend it although I suspect it will be most enjoyed by females.

 

Bel Canto

My review:

I loved this book! So rich in feeling and sensory pleasure that I could almost hear the singing. A real treasure.

[Read more…]

Robert V. Shultz-A Tribute to His Life

Bobby with his father Ralph Shultz

Bobby with his father Ralph Shultz

Robert Vernon Shultz, 1925-2015 grew up in South Dakota but spent the majority of his life in Colorado where he moved in 1951. Prior to his move, he researched which state might have an ideal climate, business opportunities and beautiful landscape as well as a good place to raise his family. His oldest son Robby was born in Madison Wisconsin, but the subsequent 3: Lindy, Randy and Lisa were all born in Colorado.

Ralph, Jane and Bobby Shultz

Ralph, Jane and Bobby Shultz

Turtle Peak Ranch near Wessington Springs, South Dakota, where his son Randy currently ranches, is just four miles from his birthplace and where he grew up. His parents farmed before opening a hardware store during the depression in 1934. He grew up on Main Street, Wessington Springs. He spent summers with Aunts and Uncles on nearby farms. He was proud of his one room schoolhouse education for the first three grades. Like most people in rural 1930’s, he didn’t live in a house with electricity or running water until he was nine.

Bob Shultz in high school

Bob Shultz in high school

Growing up in South Dakota included working on threshing crews, general construction and a short stint as the drummer with Les Kutil and his Kings of Swing (originally Lane Ramblers), the beginning of a lifelong affair with Swing, Jazz, and Blues. “The Waltz You Saved For Me” was his theme.

And he liked Ford V-8s, Buck Jones, Aunt Grace’s baked beans, Ruskin Park, Winchester rifles, Colt six-shooters, Stetsen hats, Hieser and Fred Mueller saddles, Northern Plains Beaded Indian goods, beefsteak, rhubarb pie, and hunting jack rabbits. [Read more…]

Robert Vernon Shultz Obituary

Cowboy Bob9Robert Vernon Shultz, 1925-2015 grew up in South Dakota but spent the majority of his life in Colorado. He was proud of his one room schoolhouse education for the first three grades. He lived in a house without electricity or running water until he was nine years old. His parents, Jane and Ralph Shultz, gave up farming, moved to town and opened a hardware store in Wessington Springs.

After graduating from Wessington Springs High School, he volunteered for the Navy in 1943. He was assigned to the Battleship USS Missouri during World War II as a radio operator. The ship was the site of the Japanese Surrender Ceremonies ending the war in Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945.

Bob married Norma Schwabauer in 1948, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1951 and then moved to Colorado. He started his insurance career with O’Rourke and Daniels in Denver and with his wife raised four children, Rob, Lindy, Randy and Lisa, in suburban Cherry Hills Village. He founded The High Country Corporation in 1955 and sold out in 1979. [Read more…]

The 70th Anniversary of VJ Day-The End Of World War 2

September 2, 1945
This was the day World War II ended in the Pacific. The Japanese surrendered aboard the USS Missouri, the battleship my dad Robert V. Shultz was on at the end of the war. View a video showing about the ceremony.

 

Here are my Dad’s words about that day:

It started out as a gray day, sort of cool. Ships everywhere and lots of small craft. Busy, busy. Plying to and from the ships. Battlewagons, Cruisers, Tin Cans, Supply ships, Service Craft were everywhere. Must have been the biggest assembly of ships ever. Lots of war planes too. Heavy patrolling. Everyone on board was in awe of the scene. We were in Tokyo Bay, at anchor, the first real port city since leaving Pearl Harbor in December while we were still on Condition Easy. All guns manned, but you knew it was over. The defeat was complete. It was hard to believe what we heard about the big bombs. [Read more…]

Are You An Internet, Email and Facebook Addict?

I will admit, I am an addict. Yes, checking my email and Facebook is a part of my day, every day throughout the day. I have attempted to wean myself with occasional, moderate success. I have thinned out my email, unsubscribing to newsletters and other unwanted notices. I have reduced my inbox to under 50 and on a good day to under 20. I have created files of important emails to keep as reference and I periodically review and weed out obsolete items. I think all that just means I am an organized addict and that I am fooling myself to think that those measures make me less hooked!

Despite becoming efficient and proficient, I am obsessed with checking my email and checking in on Facebook. I log on in the morning and review my accounts over my cereal and coffee. I don’t feel I can move on to other things of greater importance like writing my next book or this article until I have cleaned out new emails and reviewed the newsfeed on Facebook. Real work or productivity comes second.

I have made strides in posting less on Facebook unless I am traveling (I love to post travel pictures). Now a few days can go by without a Facebook update from me but never a week! I love to feel connected to my friends and relatives, many of whom live far away from me and I might be out of touch with their lives without Facebook. I learn things, laugh and feel a part of a community when I browse the newsfeed. If I don’t look in, I feel a loss of not knowing what is going on in the world (I have stopped watching TV) and I begin to feel invisible.

I recently finished reading the book The Shallows, What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. He described having more difficulty keeping his attention focused on concentrated reading and deep contemplation. I have been noticing this trend myself, and it bothers me. [Read more…]