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On the burial of a young man

Beautiful stories written by YOU about a person or event that changed your life, gave you hope, made you dream...
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fredcowie
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Post by fredcowie » December 23, 2008, 9:09 am

I wrote this after the funeral of a young man, 18, who died of the same disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, that my son, Christian, 25, has. His last symptoms parallel my son's.

Twelve Below
© 2008 Frederick J. Cowie, Ph.D.

The ground, frozen through and through, was not a willing recipient of the casket, no more willing to receive than the young mother was to let go. The reception that followed was bittersweet, with friends laughing at the remembered antics of the one lost, while simultaneously grieving inside at the loss. The preacher had been eloquent, for he had tiptoed between Christianity and natural religion, allowing the family of Indians to deal with their gods as needed. Today there was none of the fire and brimstone and hatefulness and pentecostal pontificating seen at the last funeral that all there had attended. At that ceremony, all wondered why eternal damnation was offered up as the only alternative to submission to the preacher’s narcissistic will. Today, there was a mix of joy felt at the termination of the boy’s suffering and sadness at the removal of that smile that warmed the world. And the world, at twelve below zero, needed some warmth today, that was for sure.
The church cleared out as attendees buttoned up and flung scarves around necks headed outside to find, after a long treks through the snow, cars parked at a distance. One family, mother and father, and two sons, headed to their separate domiciles. Mom and dad held hands, silently, watching their boys. One tall and strong, bending low to hug and kiss and say goodbye to his elder brother, sagging low in his wheel chair, suffering from the same disease that had just sent their friend to his frozen grave. All there knew that they would be attending an unending number of future funerals, memorials to lives lived under the shadow of muscular dystrophy. All knew that all others grieved in their own unique ways. Some laughed. Some cried. Some just held it all in an eternal numbness that belied emotional upheaval on a level of the Laramide Orogeny that had given their homeland the Rocky Mountains.
“Hello, my son,” said the father and he entered his son’s apartment later that day. Bending down, he lowered himself to hug his son and kiss his head.
“I have a book for you. It is by the man I told you about. Viktor Frankl. He lost all—mother, father, wife, at least—in the concentration camps.” He knew his hero had lost more, but he could not find anything more to say, He gently threw the book on the kitchen table. He moved it so it would be within his son’s reach.
“That chair is your concentration camp. Muscular dystrophy is your Nazi guard. Like Frankl, you are trapped by circumstances that you had nothing to do with. Like him, you have the choice of your life: give in and surrender, or look death in the face and smile, and say, ‘You will not break my spirit, though you take my body.’ Read the book and know that you are not alone, you are not the first and, hopefully, you will not be the last to look the devil in the face and spit back a smile.”
His son hated books. Hated to read things people came and gave him, for he was one more accustomed to make his own way than to follow paths more traveled.
“I will try to read it. After all, I have nothing else to do. It’s so cold I can’t go out.” Both knew he was like a cold blooded reptile, a victim of circumstances, in need of the sun’s warmth to remain warm when outside the security of his hermitage.
“I love you son. Remember our bet. The last one alive wins!”
“Yeah, and today, you and I both won,” he said, spitting back his biggest smile.
Frederick J. Cowie, Ph.D. Please visit my website at fredcowie.com, my FACEBOOK(/fredcowie) page where I post my writings and my paintings every day. Peace!

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Mammy
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Post by Mammy » January 2, 2009, 7:06 am

((((((((Fred))))))))))) sounds like an exceptional young man you have there :)

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lupinelinda
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Post by lupinelinda » January 2, 2009, 7:23 am

Dear Fred,

You are a great father and it appears you have a great son.

May you continue to create magic together, knowing that this illusion will one day end, but that the magic lasts forever.

Blessings, Linda

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Post by BEATRICE KOTEY » January 6, 2009, 3:14 am

I WAS REALLY TOUCHED WHEN I READ IT. YOU ARE A GOOD FATHER KEEP PIT UP luv luv luv

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fredcowie
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Post by fredcowie » January 6, 2009, 5:12 am

Thanks for the understanding comments. We all have our individual challenges and to meet them takes work and endurance. Would that we all persevere. Fred
Frederick J. Cowie, Ph.D. Please visit my website at fredcowie.com, my FACEBOOK(/fredcowie) page where I post my writings and my paintings every day. Peace!

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