Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thursday April 16, 2015...Preparing for the future

Most of your life you don'‬t think of the eventual ending. When you are young, you are preparing for the rest of your life. When you are a young adult, you are working to establish a good life. When you are an older working person, you are preparing for retirement. When you retire, you plan on all the things you have put off to do in your retirement. We all face an ending sometime, but we tend to put off thinking about it because we have more immediate things to think about.

I am now 10 years into my retirement and have end stage renal failure. That means that my kidneys quit functioning and without them my whole body would be poisoned and I would die. I am now on dialysis (a way to filter my bodily fluids so they don‬‬‬‬'‬t poison me). I was researching on the internet the life expectancy of someone on dialysis. It‬'s hard to be definitive because so much depends on the general health of each individual, but it appears that I should have between 3 and 10 years with an average of 5 years of life expectancy at this point. It‬'s good to be prepared. So many others have no idea of how much longer they will live and it is hard to budget and prepare when it is so nebulous. In my situation, I now know about how long I have and can no longer put off till some future date those things that I have always wanted to do but would get to later. Later is now.

Actually, it‬'s comforting to have a glimmer of my mortality. It helps me prepare and get said and done what needs to be.

I have had a wonderful life up to and including this point. I can‬'t complain. Looking forward, I want to finish up some projects around the house and leave some notes behind of thoughts I have had and knowledge that I have gained. I‬'m really not sure what lies ahead, after death, but it might be a new adventure in another realm. I will go ahead of many of you and be waiting on the other side. It‬'s hard to think that this persona that I have developed over all these years will cease to exist – it seems to be a form of energy and, as we all know, energy cannot be destroyed – it can only change form. I hope that the I of me will continue to exist in this vast multiverse. If not, I suppose I won'‬t know the difference.

I know that I don‬‬‬‬'‬t want burial – just cremation and ashes scattered in locations where my daughters and family will have pleasant thoughts remembering. I don‬‬‬‬'‬t want a long drawn out end-of-life sequence where they extend, by mechanical means, a miserable life for a short time. I‬'m quite ready to accept a quick and painless death without a lot of fanfare. Many of my friends and loved ones have preceded me and I look forward to spending some time getting reacquainted. I guess the question is: does time exist in eternity? And are there alternate universes where I exist without the dialysis? Many things we don‬‬‬‬'‬t know and may not find out, ever. But I‬'m glad I lived when I lived and how I lived and am glad for all the friends and family who shared this time with me. It has been exceptional.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday April 10, 2015...Afterthoughts of Iraq

We're hearing the war hawks speaking again about war - with Iran.

They are once again saying how easy it will be and how necessary it is.

We've heard this all before.

Before we invaded Iraq, all of the Bush administration cronies and war hawks in Congress were saying that the Iraq War would be easy, quick and relatively painless.
In March of 2003, Dick Cheney told Bob Scheiffer on Face The Nation that, "I'm confident that our troops will be successful, and I think it'll go relatively quickly ... Weeks rather than months."
Just a few months later, Condoleezza Rice proclaimed that, "I do not mean that we will need to maintain a military presence in Iraq as was the case in Europe."
And, then-Chairman of the Defense Policy Board and current Senior Fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute Richard Perle said that, "And a year from now, I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush. There is no doubt that, with the exception of a very small number of people close to a vicious regime, the people of Iraq have been liberated and they understand that they've been liberated. And it is getting easier every day for Iraqis to express that sense of liberation."
Well, first of all, there is no "grand square" in Baghdad right now named after George Bush.
But more importantly, every single comment made back then about the Iraq War was wrong.
As we all know, the war that was supposed to last a few months AT MOST has been dragged out for 12 years.
Since the Iraq War began on March 19, 2003, there have been 4,493 US military deaths in Iraq, and at least 32,021 soldiers have been wounded.
And those numbers don't include the tens of thousands of Iraqis - civilian and otherwise - who lost their lives during the war.
Simply put, the Iraq War wasn't easy, it wasn't quick and it certainly wasn't painless.
Instead, it's been one of the longest and deadliest wars in US history.