Stewart Byars

19 07 2008

He’s gone. He left us this morning on to his next adventure.

To my friend Stewart I give my favorite poem by W.H. Auden, long before Four Weddings and a Funeral gave it a resurgence.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

I will miss him more than you will ever know. More than I can express in words. Today is the day we mourn. Then we will remember his laughter and the joy he brought to us.

Stew, we love you. Then, now and forever.

His words:

According to “science”, they like to say that the universe started from a single pinpoint of energy. A pinpoint that expanded at an incredible rate. Remember this part.. a single point… a point from which the universe has continued to expand. From what I can tell, that sound an awful lot like a center of the universe doesn’t it? Yet, they also say that there is no center of the universe, nor an outside edge. Which are we to believe? That’s the paradox.

But, the paradox continues kids. Here’s another part that strums my thinker big time. If in fact, there is no center, and no edge, then how can there be a direction outward? Outward from where? You mean away from something? Like um… the center?

From here I leave the pondering to you. I don’t pretend to know the answer to these questions. I just continue to maintain that it’s possible “they” don’t know it either.

He had a beer at the hospital. He wanted one so he had it. He made me laugh one last time.

There are no words left right now.


Michael Savage On Ted Kennedy

21 05 2008

I was at the office yesterday working on some stuff when I heard the news about Ted Kennedy. My heart sank a bit for more than just the obvious reasons. Kennedy has a brain tumor as I’m sure you already know.

My mother had a brain tumor. Her’s was metastasized from another location. I knew when I heard that he had a seizure, as she did repeatedly, that when he was rushed to the hospital it wasn’t of the good.

If you have ever been through something like this, then you know how bad it is.

I noticed that most folks regardless of their political affiliation have been very kind about his health.

Everyone but Michael Savage.

Beautiful Bald Women

22 04 2008

My mother lost all her hair when she had cancer. We ended up shaving her head. It was hard but then again, as we were and are a family that laughs when we are in pain, we teased her and she even called herself Spock because her ears were kind of pointy.

It was better for her because the chemo made her hair fly about and it was hard for her to breath.

I thought she looked fabulous.

My friend, Katrina, talks about losing her hair and writes about it with such a frankness and a sense of humor that I can’t help but admire her. I know she looks great.

So, Robin Roberts, I salute you. What you said is wonderful and, thanks, because you are helping people like my mom.

“I’ve taken my cue from people here and from viewers, especially [cancer] survivors . . . who said, ‘When it’s time to literally flip your wig, you’ll know,’ ” Roberts said. “I am not my hair,” she said, quoting from the song by India.Arie. “I am the soul that lies within and that’s it – no more wig. That’s it.” Roberts will auction her wig to raise money for a charity that helps “those who don’t have insurance and can’t afford this.”

None of these women want to have cancer. My mother didn’t want to lose her hair.

It’s good to see someone not define themselves by flowing locks.

So I think this is really wonderful.

What GenBetween Said:

7 04 2008

And this is what she wrote:

According to Dr. Harvey Gilbert of the Gilbert Guide, there are several factors to consider in the assessment includes functional status, other illnesses, social support, medications and more.

Though the length of survival and quality of life depends on the type of cancer and the treatment, there are some factors that assist the physician in life expectancy discussions.

When my mother was sick, one thing we never asked was “how long?” because it was obvious that a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer wasn’t good, and I really didn’t want her to hear a prediction because I felt that she might behave and respond as if the time was a known fact.

Healthcare is an odd, evasive thing these day.

Serious illness is also evasive, what do you say? What don’t you say?

It must be done. Ask the always practical and beautiful Katrina. She is a perfect example of dealing with an illness with grace and courage.

And I adore her.

Put GenBetween in your feedreader. Immediately. She’s a nurse. Also put Katrina in your reader. They both are of so much value and grace.

And they are both fantastic.

Today We Will Talk About Hope And The CaringBridge

28 02 2008

I’m not going to write about my mom today. I’ve done that before. Today is the tenth anniversary of the death of my mother. For me to go into any detail of this day, which is significant in the life of my family, I would just say it means a lot to us and I’m trying to figure out what to do on a personal level that would have some significance for myself about today. It’s a private thing that runs as deep as the Mississippi River. It’s hard to put those feelings into words.

To say I feel sort of lost and insignificant is an understatement.


No, this morning, I want to talk about life and survival and one woman who I have so much respect and admiration for that it’s hard to put into words.

Read the rest of this entry »

And Sometimes The News Isn’t Good

31 01 2008

I’m wishing Scout many kind wishes this morning. Her grandmother is ill. I worked with gma for years before she retired in 2006. There are kind women in this world and Scout’s grandmother is one of them. She literally was the backbone of local politics for fifty years in our neck of the woods as she worked in the County Mayor’s office up until her retirement. She is a blessing and things are grave.

Nurse Elizabeth noticed that my grandmother (We’ll just call her gma, the Finn/Scout texting abbrev for grandmother) had turned an eerie shade of yellow this past Sunday. Gma came home from church early because she was “too tired and weak to stand it anymore,” and Elizabeth convinced her to go to the doctor the next day. Despite gma’s trying to talk Elizabeth out of it, she couldn’t put up enough of a fight and ended up being taken to the doctor anyway. At the hospital, they determined that she had hemolytic anemia and needed a blood transfusion pronto so my sister and dad took her up to a hospital in Paducah to have the transfusion done. Her doctor took one look at her and ushered my dad and sister out in the hall for a conference. He said that he believed that the lymphoma she’d had three years ago had come out of a dormant state and was very quickly taking over her blood because it had come back much stronger than before.

Arrangements are now being made for chemotherapy, but the doctor is not really giving us much hope at this point.

We are sending much love to Mrs. Doris and to her entire family right now.

We Give What We Can

15 01 2008

The last two weeks have been pretty amazing. I’ve learned a great deal about my community, about the human spirit and about myself.

The benefit last night went very well. We think we raised roughly $10,000 for the Stewman. Final tallies aren’t in, but that’s what I was told last night. It could run a bit less or a bit more.

I was thinking about all of this as I was drinking my coffee this morning. I talked to some folks last night that have been impacted by the devastation of cancer and how they gave back. In this world, money is important, but there are other things that help our neighbors and friends.

You know, sometimes the money is just part of it. God knows it helps and is necessary but there were other things I learned last night that were such a wonderful example of the human spirit.

—-To the woman who gave her hair to Locks of Love. She didn’t have any money, but she had something to give, and give she did.

—-To the artists who called me and said I only have my work to offer. Is that enough? Jeez, yes. YES. It’s more than enough. You gave yourself.

—-To the two people that worked on the event during their off time dealing with their own health issues, I am awed and humbled to just be in your presence and you know who you are.

—-To Chris Brinkley’s son, who fell asleep during the auction and looked so completely and utterly beautiful as he was being carried out. Who gave his time as well, as his father worked diligently to raise money for his friend.

—-To the people in the blogosphere who have left comments on The Stewman’s blog and let him know that you were thinking of him. Those kind words mean a whole lot more than you think they do. As the Great Ivy told me once, getting a comment is like getting a $20 bill. Those comments mean a great deal. Communication, even with those people that you don’t know, is so very important.

—- To those of you who donated financially to the event to a man you do not know, I thank you.

—- A special thank you to Holly, who drove an hour and stayed with Scout, taking money for T-shirts, DVDs and CDs who stayed much later than I even expected her to. (And had to be back at school at 7:30 a.m this morning.) If you do not know Holly and Scout, you should. They are lovely people who gave a most valuable commodity and that is their time. They live-blogged the event, and they were really funny and utterly charming. And yes, I did go into the bathroom with a dude. Completely and purely innocent, I assure you.

—-To the guy that sat down with me who gave me a break for a few minutes where we talked about politics. (Imagine that.)

I have two favorite quotes and I put one over at The Friends of The Stewman blog yesterday.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

“Well-behaved women rarely make history”

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

The last quote I just like.

So thanks.

Now back to your regularly scheduled Newscoma.