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The American Way Of Death

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Do you have a negative attitude about funeral homes? Hate the idea of dealing with a funeral director?  This book, The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford might be what inspired  you to feel that way. I often hear this is THE book that rocked the funeral service world so deeply, even today,  funeral homes still deal with the impact of her words.  I decided to check it out, see what all the fuss was about. How did this book turn an industry upside down for generations? Make those in the funeral industry the bad guys? I can tell, just from the inside sleeves, there won’t be much love for the funeral service world. I guess one of my questions, where do we get our ideas about what a funeral should cost? When did we decide funerals shouldn’t cost much? When did we decide spending money on a funeral is very close to feeling like wasting money? How long have these ideas existed? Before or just after this book?

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Golden Dreams

It’s been a tough few weeks. Big Bangs happen because everything collides at once, right? Let’s say it’s been a booming few weeks.

I wonder what will come of it all when the dust finally settles? Living in a cloud of dust is uncomfortable, you can’t see clearly, can’t control what happens next. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about balancing the things we can control and  things we can’t. I know people who control every aspect of their life, they still seem very scared and unhappy under it all. I also know people who ride through life on the wind. I can’t say they seem any happier or less stressed than anyone else.

Black . . .

white . . . . . .

is grey where it’s really at?

How much can we balance between birth and death? A lot,  or at least we try, we hope, or insist we can.

I’ve been thinking a lot  about L’Wren Scott, the very successful fashion designer who killed herself last week. She seemed to have it all, and it wasn’t enough. Did her pride whisper, “Your life will never be worth $5 million.”,  Or was it Failure that said, ” I’m not something you can ever live with.”

Failure . . . I have known it. Sometimes I have found it, other times it has found me. Is failure friend or foe? Like many other things, failure is not something we like to think about in this country. We are harsh on those who fail. Look at all the pressure on kids to succeed. Why? So they won’t fail? What makes us better? Success or failure?

success . . .

failure . . . . . .

wisdom?

Can you imagine an entire life of success? Ahh, the dream. Yes, I think we have all imagined it.Who would you be if you  only knew success? Never knew who you were in failure? I bet you’d be a lot less compassionate with yourself and those around you. Who is the master teacher of compassion? Failure? Maybe, I’m not sure. Seems pretty likely though.

L’Wren’s life didn’t come with an instruction book, we all do the best we can. I’m sure she faced her fair share of successes and failures, but maybe never ones so profound as the ones she recently faced? Who knows? Of course, She had other choices she could have made, for some reason she didn’t choose them. Sadly, that’s something her loved ones will be haunted with over time. I’m sure Mick Jagger is baffled why he’s lost  love for a few million dollars.  
Failure, the inability to cope with it, can cast a very heavy, dark, unforgiving and hopless net across a person’s ability to find  better solutions to personal problems. L’Wren’s suicide reminds us how vulnerable our hearts and minds can be to failure, especially creative ones,  if we don’t find a way to make friends with particular aspects and levels of failure.

I say, spend some time failing today. Find a way to smile about it. Failure doesn’t have to destroy you. Love can even grow through some  degree of failure. A powerful lesson worth learning sooner rather than  .  . . too late.

L’ Wren and her work-
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the contrast – I admire  L’ Wrens’s ability to have traveled through so many financial and cultural ecosystems. It’s not easy to swim through so many levels and adapt to each levels required adaptations. At the end they say, if they’d have known how alone she was . . .

 

Peace, love, and compassion to all those who lost her in their life in a physical way.