august 8, 2014

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See It Through by Edgar Guest

“When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!”


in this place
in this place


This is the little church my grandmother Adams worked so hard to help build. She spent many a day and night cooking over hot stoves to feed the community, buying dinners and baked goods she and the church women made to support the building and maintenance of their sacred space. When she talked about her end of life services, she said she didn’t want to be in the church. Not because she really didn’t want to be there, but because she thought it would be too much trouble. It was not too much trouble for the last remaining founder. We overruled her. Seven months later, when the 2012 tornado tore through town, hers was the only church left standing, suffering only slight roof damage. She would have been pleased.


It’s been a tough summer for many people I love, and it’s had me thinking quite a bit about legacies and end of life arrangements. Mamaw had done most of the work for her exit; making sure there was a will, her wishes known for the service, and money set aside to pay for it. You don’t have to be 98 years old to do this. Illness and accidents can befall us at any age, and if these points aren’t in place, things can get really weird. The sweetest people can get hostile and greedy when grief sets in. I’ve seen it happen more than once, and it’s ugly. If you don’t have your wishes written down, that angry grief can cause unspeakable misery. If you don’t have a financial mechanism to pay for your services, that money has to come from somebody else. Even cheap funerals cost thousands. A person’s estate, however big or small, can become a big mess if not prepared for eventual dissemination among the benefactors. Why make things worse for the people you’re supposed to love by not preparing anything at all? Like many, I have labored under the delusion that I’ve got time to sort this out later. This, despite the fact that too many people I love walked on in their 20’s and 30’s. You’d think I’d know better. I don’t. Or at least I didn’t until recently. So, I’m embarking on a happy plan to see a lawyer and write it all down. I’ll have the money in place to pay for it, and say exactly who gets what so that the people I care about don’t have to question the last things they do for me. That’s only fair to them. And it will put my mind at ease knowing I’ve done the work. Then I can get back to the business of leaving something behind that can weather a storm.


after the storm
after the storm

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