Category Archives: Death

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

The Second Reading from today’s Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is: I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.

From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me,but to all who have longed for his appearance.The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.

And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

via USCCB.

We must always “keep our eyes on the prize;” inasmuch as there are so many distractions and attempts to thwart our perseverance by the world, the flesh and the Devil. We must remain steadfast in our Faith.

This Reading is a good one to known and perhaps memorize portions of, for all those times we feel like quitting.

Saints persevere. We sin, but we get right back up and resolve to do better so that we can also attain the “crown of righteousness.”

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The stark realization that it could all end

I think that one reason why we feel pain when someone dies, be it person or pet, is that the pain of the loss connects us to the reality that there is more to life than just the “here and now.” Someone was here, is now gone, and we can’t just visit them or email or connect with them online. No phone calling. They’re gone. There may be “something more,” and at a level that differs amongst all of us dependent upon the depth of our spirituality and religiosity. And if you don’t believe in an afterlife, then oblivion awaits and that scares you. The result from either belief is numbing and expressed through sorrow over the loss. For believers, we long to cross that chasm because we just know that the “something more” is better than the “here and now.”

The stark realization that it could all end….

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Death sucks.

Death sucks.

Someone, be they a human person or an animal person, is in your life for years, then they’re not. And it’s not like they moved to some far off strange place like California, where you can still email, Skype or Facebook with them. The distance they travelled is measured not in miles or kilometers. But in time.

It’s a wide chasm. We may take a few more years or decades to get to the point where we can cross it. That is a part of the chasm separating those on the other side from us. But forgetting the amount of time between now and when we die, that chasm is just huge. They’re in eternity. We’re not.

But there’s a hole left behind. That space in your life that they filled is now empty. They are no longer there. That space can’t be filled by anyone else.

This post was caused by the death of our cat, “Mr. Onyx,” whom I nicknamed “SpeedBump.” He died this morning. He’s the black kitteh in the picture. The cutie on the right is his girlfriend, Jerrie. Nice headshot of him is right after.

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I nicknamed Mr. Onyx, “SpeedBump,” after his penchant for laying right between wherever anyone was sitting and wherever a doorway is, as well as slowly walking down the hallway before you.

We don’t know how old he was as we didn’t get him as a kitten. His previous human died from cancer and untreated alcoholism and we took him in as no one else could.

He lived with my wife and I for almost exactly 6 years.

He is survived by two other kittehs, Jerrie and Ninja.

He had an amazing impact on our lives, bringing much joy, love and FUN into them.

We will bury him in a Mary Garden, next to our house, and we’ll plant stuff around him that would attract the birds and bunnies he so loved to watch from the patio window.

Where are our beloved pets, after their death? That is for another post. But Mr. Onyx’s death is really hitting me. The death of a pet in not inconsequential.

Pets matter.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Getting ready for November

November is due to arrive at the end of the week, and that is an important month for myself and this blog. The Solemnity of All Saints on the 1st and the Feast of All Souls on the 2nd are two of my favorite days on the Church’s liturgical calendar.

Not to mention that my Mom died in 2005 on the 7th. I noticed that 8 years ago, today, she was transferred from the ICU to a private room at the hospital from where she died.

And so I will attempt to write more on death, dying and the devotions regarding such things like I usually try to do. Most of the material that is not original to me (such as links from Spirit Daily, New Advent and other people’s blogs) may actually be posted to the social network Pages this blog has. Links to them are here:

The Four Last Things on Facebook and The Four Last Things on Google+.

So please “Like” or “Circle” them if you wish to see everything!

Thank you.

 

 

 

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Your Digital Afterlife: A book about digital death and legacy

I am currently reading the book Your Digital Afterlife: A book about digital death and legacy. It is something I hadn’t bothered thinking too much of in the past, having considered my so-called “digital legacy” to be a frivolous worry. After all, I don’t use online services that much to store digital images and such, and don’t regard Facebook postings as something worth being concerned about after I die. It isn’t as if there will ever be a bestselling “The Collected Facebook Posts and Likes of (Enter a Name Here).”

However, the book does indicate in a very systematic, methodical and thoughtful manner the importance of our online lives, and how interconnected we all are, and that our online activities are indeed worth considering when we plan our Wills and Estates.

Basically, the book is about “What happens to our online stuff when we die?” And, “Where is it all, and who controls and has access to it?” The explorations and answers are eye-opening and worth checking out.

You can order the book through the link in the first sentence. Also, the authors have a website set up to provide ongoing news and information about digital legacies. It is here:

The Digital Beyond | Insight about your digital death and afterlife

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

On this date in 1995 my father died

Feeling a little more melancholic than usual, perhaps as this is the 18th anniversary of my Father’s death. So, a repost.

NOTE: This is reposted from an earlier date:

On this date in 1995 my father died.

He and I weren’t very close, (“fathers and sons …”) generational and attitudinal differences separated us.

As a result, I didn’t really grieve over his death. I mean, I was saddened and did feel the loss, but I wasn’t ripped apart by his death like I was over my Mom’s 10 years later.

This relative lack of impact was aided by the fact that I was 2,500 miles away and hadn’t seen him in 4 years.

I went home for his funeral, and reconnected with the family, but when I returned home to California I continued life as usual. I had started drinking heavily to cope with life’s problems a year before (failed romance) and my drinking picked up a little more upon my return, so that may have softened the need to grieve in a sober manner.

The point of this is that although I wasn’t too close to Dad during his life, I am much closer to him now. That would seem strange to non-Catholics, but for believers with a knowledge of the Communion of Saints, that shouldn’t seem strange at all.

Death doesn’t end a life. Death is just a passage from this life to another. This life is temporary, everything “is”, and then passes away to dust and a dim memory. The life after is eternal. Whether that life is spent in Heaven or Hell depends on what you do in your Earthly life.

There is a connection between those of us still here on Earth and those deceased. It is called, as I referenced in a previous paragraph, the Communion of Saints . (Via New Advent.) This is comprised of the “Church Militant” (those still on Earth), the “Church Suffering” (those in Purgatory) and the “Church Triumphant” (those in Heaven). Only the souls that have damned themselves to Hell are excluded.

“Communion” implies a community, wherein the members still can relate to one another. This relation is conducted by the means of prayer. We pray to the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering for their intercessory power with God. We can somehow sense their presence (although admittedly that “sensing” may be wishful thinking).

They are there to help, comfort and console us. We are separated from them by the chasm of death, but that chasm can be crossed eventually by our own deathly passage.

I said earlier in this post that I am much closer to Dad now than while he was alive. I have grown to be much like him, at least with regard to the practice of my Catholic Faith. (I still haven’t taken up woodworking as a hobby, nor returned to fishing as a pastime, but may in time. I do enjoy yardwork, like he did, and love baseball, too.) I understand him better as the years progress and as I grow older.

To anyone who has lost a parent (or anyone beloved) to death, fear not. They are not gone from you permanently. Consider them as just having moved far away, and the distance you need to travel to meet with them again will take the rest of your life.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Death and Acceptance

I attended an AA meeting today for the first time in who knows how long. I had intended to go to Confession, but I ran into the priest and he told me that it was cancelled for today. Some diocesan shindig. I knew the parish hosted an AA meeting at the same time and so I figured, “What the heck? I’ll check it out.”

The topic was death and acceptance.

I didn’t share as I’m usually reticent about doing so. Fear of speaking at AA meetings go ‘way back. I do when I can offer something. I should have today, but was nervous as I had never been to this meeting before.

What I would have said, had I bothered to was something like this:

“Taking death and acceptance, and putting it into our recovery, all I can say is that we’ve already died once. Our old practicing alcoholic selves died when we entered the program and achieved a lasting sobriety. We’ve been reborn, in a way, when we got that sobriety and learned a bit about the Steps.

I think the book “Daily Reflections” has a reading from (I think June) which says something about how we alcoholics are fortunate to have lived two lifetimes in one life. There’s the life we lived as drunks, and now our new one as sober alcoholics.

All we have to do is “keep our side of the street clean” against the eventuality of our own death.”

Not bad. But it was enough to conquer the fear of attending a meeting for the first time, much less expecting me to talk. What I said was hinted at anyway by some other speakers, so really no big deal.

Maybe next time.

 

 

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Twenty-five years

Twenty-five years ago today, on March 19, 1988, my sister died. She had fought a battle with cancer and lost. Nowadays she probably might have been a survivor, but with the treatment available in the 1980s, no.

I was living in Washington, DC at the time, and when I heard the news I got numb.It was my first real experience with someone dying. There had been family members who had died before her, but they had all been people more distant from me, no one in my litany of siblings, now lacking a name.

I left my apartment and wandered around downtown DC. The streets were deserted, at 2 or 3 AM people were long gone. A city, deserted.

I had planned on visiting her grave either yesterday (for the “vigil”) or today, but various circumstances and commitments prevent this. I will have to make a trip later, perhaps in a few weeks after Easter.

Nothing much else to say, I just had to make note of it, here.

She is missed.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Remember you are dust…

Today Lent begins, the season of penance leading up to Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter.

If you received ashes during Ash Wednesday Mass today, the priest or Deacon had the option of saying the traditional, “Remember thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.”

This is to remind you of your mortality. You will not be alive for ever, some day you will die. This annual reminder of that may be the only one of your own mortality, apart from the death of a loved one. I think this is important, as it is the only reminder of mortality that you have that isn’t distracted by grief and other emotions. You can meditate on it. Consider that.

Repent, and believe in the Gospel. (That was the other option to be said at the dispensation of ashes.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

To Bury the Dead

On Sober Catholic I am writing a series of posts on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. This one applies to this blog’s topics and so I am reposting it here.

To bury the dead is the last of the Corporal Works of Mercy. It is an act of kindness, and of hope in the resurrection of all when Jesus return to judge the living and the dead.

The graves remind us always of our last end, and that there is an eternity afterwards. Time spent in a cemetery is time well spent both honoring those buried there, as well as reminding ourselves of our own mortality.

Bury the dead. In a metaphorical context applied to this blog, it can also mean to bury our past. Our past is back there, dead, but not forgotten. We no longer live back there, but we can remember the pain.

What do we do with the time remaining? As alcoholics and addicts we had lost considerable time to our addiction. Time can be redeemed by learning from our mistakes and applying that knowledge to the future. It is called “experience.” We can take what we know and teach it to others.

If you click on the image below, you’ll be taken to the “Works of Mercy” store at Artist4God (my wife’s online shop.) Buy anything from the “Works of Mercy” store and a portion of the proceeds go to life-affirming charities.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"