Tag Archives: Death

Sadness Met Me at the Edge of Life and Death

Carl Lansdale Edwards
1942-2020

“Sadness Met Me the Edge of Life and Death” by Joan Y. Edwards

Sadness met me at the edge of life and death. My husband, Carl Lansdale Edwards’ heart stopped beating and God took him to be with him on Monday, August 31, 2020  at 7:21 a.m. 

Thank you, God, for Carl.

Carl carried a Gratitude Rock in his pocket. When he touched it, he would say, “Thank you, God” and name someone or something he was grateful for. He was especially thankful for his family and friends.

***

Carl’s obituary is on HankinsandWhittington.com. 

***

On Tuesday, September 8, 2020 we had visitation and rosary at Hankins and Whittington, followed  by a funeral Mass at St. Peter’s Church, and we buried him at Evergreen Cemetery in Charlotte, NC.

Deacon Jim Bozik, a longtime friend of Carl’s and mine gave a wonderful homily sharing stories about Carl during the Funeral Mass. Carl’s friend shared the story of how he saved Carl’s life in high school. Here’s a link to watch and listen on Facebook. You don’t have to have a Facebook account to view it. I put it on public. Anyone can view it. If for some reason, you can’t get it to work, let me know.

https://www.facebook.com/joanyedwards1/videos/10224009854217914

***

Please pray for those who are taking care of others. When we get close to the edge of life and death, it is a powerless feeling. At that time we realize that God created us to be here on earth for a special reason. He knows when he creates us what day he is going to take us away. The thing is we don’t know when that day is.

Doctors get frustrated because they can’t figure out what’s going wrong and fix it.

Patients get frustrated because they can’t be independent and do what they used to be able to do. They are afraid that death is around the corner. They get angry about the situation they are in. They are hurting so much that on the one hand; they want death and on the other hand they are afraid of dying.

Perhaps people who are sick forget their good qualities. It helped Carl to write good things about himself on 3×5 cards and keep in a basket and on separate cards to write his complaints or fears and put them in a different basket. It’s important for people to realize other people think good things about them. HOWEVER, the most powerful words that reach the inner self are the words you say to yourself. All I know is that it helped Carl love himself a little more and be more relaxed before he went to the hospital the last time.

Loved ones have mixed emotions; fear that death is coming; sadness and grief that what they’ve tried to do to help hasn’t seemed to help keep death away.

The spiritual area is where we can reach them. Through God’s help, our words and actions may help them.

***

Carl gave people he met in stores, restaurants, doctor’s offices, and hospitals a ball point pen with this message inscribed: “Do Something Good for Yourself; You Deserve It.” 

Here’s how he explained it on Thursday, August 24, 2020.

“I give you this pen. That makes me happy.
You receive this pen. That makes you happy.
You read the message. That makes you happy.
Each time you read the message or think about the message, it makes you happy. You think of me and that makes you happy. NOW that makes me happy.”

***

Sunday afternoon, August 30th, I went to visit Carl. I took his pens with me. I gave one to the nurses in the ICU unit. A nurse came to check his blood sugar. I told her that Carl would like for her to have this pen. She said, “Oh my goodness! My husband and I were having a tiff about this very thing this morning. He said, “You need to take more time for yourself. I screamed at him, “I don’t have time to take time for myself.” She asked me why she had screamed at him.
I told her she had mixed emotions. On the one hand she loved being a nurse and helping others; on the other hand, working 12 hour shifts didn’t actually leave her any time for herself. I suggested she take just 5 minutes to do something that made her smile that day.

She turned to Carl and said, “Thank you for this pen, Carl. I am going to do something good for myself today. I do deserve it.” 

Carl nodded his head, “Yes.” This was a big sign that he was still alive.

How great that his last encounter with giving one of his pens was so meaningful! Thank you, Lord.

***

Carl was talking with his daughter on Saturday, August 29th before he died on Monday morning. He said, “You know. I always thought I would take the A-Train. But I think I’ll climb the Golden Stairway.”

Stairway to Heaven

Song Sung by Ralph Stanley https://youtu.be/nQZpehrQmPg

Lyrics https://www.classic-country-song-lyrics.com/stairwaytoheavenlyricschords.html

Stairway To Heaven
Recorded by the Stanley Brothers
written by Bill J. Grant and Ralph Stanley
                                 
1. 
Have you dreamed of a stairway to heaven
A home just beyond the blue
A stairway of gold to God's heavenly fold
A stairway that's waiting for you
                                   
Chorus
There's a stairway (golden stairway) stairway to heaven   
That leads to a home bright and fair
Step by step I'll climb till His hand touches mine
Then I'll rest at the top of the stairs
                                
2.There's a stairway that leads up to heaven
That others before us have crossed.
They've gone to a place that Jesus prepared
At the foot of the throne of God.

Chorus
There's a stairway (golden stairway) stairway to heaven 
That leads to a home bright and fair.
Step by step I'll climb till His hand touches mine
Then I'll rest at the top of the stairs.

3. There's a place at the top of the stairway
Where we'll rest when we're all safely there.
And friends that we leave someday we will meet
In our home at the top of the stairs.

Chorus
There's a stairway (golden stairway) stairway to heaven 
That leads to a home bright and fair.
Step by step I'll climb till His hand touches mine
Then I'll rest at the top of the stairs.

Here are four hymns that Carl and I liked. They played all of them at the Visitation and three of them at the church. I hope they bring you solace and help you realize how much our creator loves you.

  1. 10,000 Reasons

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E
Lyrics: http://myktis.com/songs/10000-reasons/

By Matt Redman

10,000 REASONS LYRICS Matt Redman

Bless the Lord O my soul
O my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name

The sun comes up
It’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes

You’re rich in love
And You’re slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing

Ten thousand reasons
For my heart to find

And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending

Ten thousand years
And then forevermore

 2. It Is Well with My Soul (Wintley Phipps)

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXbM8rgiIM4
Lyrics: http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/It_Is_Well_with_My_Soul/

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.

    • Refrain:
      It is well with my soul,
      It is well, it is well with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.
  1. Amazing Grace

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3XdXEJEI4E&feature=youtu.be

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come,
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

  1. Thank you, Lord.  Lyrics by Don Moen.
    Song: https://youtu.be/1UwBdCMcYVALyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/donmoen/thankyoulord.html

I come before you today
And there’s just one thing
That I want to say
Thank You Lord, thank You Lord,

For all you’ve given to me
For all the blessings that I
cannot see
Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.

With a grateful heart
With a song of praise
With an outstretched arm
I will bless your name.

Thank you, Lord.
I just want to thank you, Lord.
Thank you, Lord.
I just want to thank you, Lord.
Thank you, Lord.

For all you’ve done in my life
You took my darkness
And gave me your light.
Thank You Lord, thank You Lord.

You took my sin and my shame
You took my sickness and healed all my pain.
Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Lord.

With a grateful heart
With a song of praise
With an outstretched arm
I will bless your name.

  1. Thank you, Lord.
    I just want to thank you, Lord.
  2. Thank you, Lord.
    I just want to thank you, Lord.
  3. Thank you, Lord.
    I just want to thank you, Lord.
  4. Thank you, Lord.
    I just want to thank you, Lord.

Thank you, Lord.

Another song they played at the Visitation that went along with the Mountain theme of the program was:

Go Rest High on That Mountain

By Vince Gill

I know your life
On earth was troubled
And only you could know the pain.
You weren’t afraid to face the devil,
You were no stranger to the rain.

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, your work on earth is done.
Go to heaven a-shoutin’
Love for the Father and the Son.

Oh, how we cried the day you left us
We gathered round your grave to grieve.
I wish I could see the angels faces
When they hear your sweet voice sing.

Go rest high on that mountain
Son, your work on earth is done.
Go to heaven a-shoutin’
Love for the Father and the Son.

Source: LyricFind

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2020 Joan Y. Edwards

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How to Keep Out of the Snares of Long-Term Sadness

“How to Keep Out of the Snares of Long-Term Sadness” by Joan Y. Edwards

Sadness is a feeling that can be extremely intense and actually cause you pain. It can be a fleeting moment in time, or it can last a long time. Sometimes you are sad for a couple of days or a week at the most. Sadness that lasts months at a time may be called depression.  You want to keep out of the snares of long-term sadness. It’s a  sickness in itself. In order to help you keep out of the jaws of the depression traps, I believe my suggestions and those in the resources will help you.

Are things really as bad as they seem?

Are you jumping to conclusions?

Did you cross the bridge of bad things before you got to it or before it even existed?

  • Worrying causes sadness.
  • Focusing on the worst-case scenario of what could happen
  • Failure to be able to accomplish what you want
  • Loss of a job
  • a break-up with a friend, a friend moves away
  • a pet is lost or dies,
  • Being sick  or seeing someone sick

Of course they say sadness can deepen into depression. I want to help you prevent that:

How to Lessen Sadness

Recently, I’ve been surrounded by people who were close to death…so close they were afraid they were going to die. I, too, had thoughts that they might not live, but hoping and praying that they would live.  With loved ones on the verge of dying, I was extremely sad. I know it must be hard for them. Months and months of illness, in comas or coughing so much, you can’t think straight is difficult for those who are sick. Then I happened to think. I should be celebrating that my friends are still alive. They are very much alive. I was crossing the bridge of death before it was built.

In 1994, many moons ago, my ex-husband died, two uncles died, and two others died within a few months of each other. I was devastated. I felt like they were all screaming at me saying, “Come on up here with us.” They wanted me to come up there to heaven with them. I told them, “Sorry. I’m not ready.  I’m not coming up there yet.”

Four years ago on March 18, 2009, my Mother, Ethel Darnell Meyer died. Last year on March 25, 2012 my older sister, Judith Carolyn Thomson died. When people in your immediate family die, it may affect you more than you realize. You and I must say to them, “Sorry. I’m not ready. I’m not coming up there yet.”

With yourself and your loved ones, you want control of the situation.  You want to stop sad things from happening to them. It is definitely not always possible to do that. Once you let go and say, “It’s all right if they go and it’s really great if they stay, it releases that stress inside your emotional self. You’ll notice your muscles aren’t as tense.

Thinking that if they die, you cannot live may lead you into a long state of sadness, into depression. Make an effort to create a balance in your life so that you are not too sad.

Focus on setting a goal for something you would enjoy doing in the near future. Give yourself something to look forward to doing.  Those who are sick or who have died don’t want you to spend the rest of your life being sad. They wouldn’t want you sad for months and months. They would want you to achieve your dreams and be everything you can be.

The older I get the more I think about the possibility that my time for dying is getting closer. But then, you say. “Joan, everyone is getting closer to the time when they will die.”

You’re right. Some people die before they reach 70. Not everyone who is in their 70’s dies. Not everyone who is in their 80’s, 90’s, or 100’s dies. It all comes down to when God is ready for you, he’ll call you whether you are 10 minutes old or 115 years old. Methuselah died when he was 969 years old according to Genesis 5:27. I personally think they must have counted years differently back then.

Being calm enables you to help those who are caretakers of the sick and the dying. When and if they die, then you  can deal with it. After you’ve admitted the possibility of death and also the possibility of living, it is best to focus on making the best of the situation. Focus on living. Be thankful for as many things about that person as you can list.

Do something new. Go somewhere different. Get books to learn something new. Make something. Bake something. Try not to focus in your mind about them dying or being dead. Focus on the fact that right now, they are alive. Do everything you can to help them live. When you’ve done everything you can possibly do to help them live, then you’ll be happy with yourself, knowing that you did everything you could to extend your loved ones life. God will certainly be happy with you. If God is happy with you, don’t worry about anyone else.

  1. Prayer – Remember that not only does the sick person need your prayers but also the doctors, nurses, technicians, janitors, cooks, etc. in the hospital need prayers and thanks, too.
  2. Visit
  3. Gift
  4. Letter
  5. Card
  6. Flowers, food
  7. Email
  8. Phone call
  9. Money to help defray medical costs
  10. Money for services in the hospital that’s not usually provided – nails, hair stylist.

It is important to do things for you so that you will have the power and energy to do things for others. Here are a few suggestions of things to do for you:

  1. Take a bath or shower.
  2. Put on your favorite outfit.
  3. Treat yourself to a rubdown massage.
  4. Get your hair styled.
  5. Get a manicure and/or a pedicure.
  6. If a man, get a shave at a barber shop.
  7. Eat at your favorite restaurant.
  8. Watch funny movies.
  9. Watch a sad movie.
  10. Read a good book.
  11. Listen to your favorite music.
  12. Take a walk.
  13. Go bowling, play basketball or a sport.
  14. Go grocery shopping, get stuff to make a favorite dish
  15. Play cards or other games.
  16. Sew.
  17. Create or paint pottery.
  18. Build a bird house or other creation from wood.
  19. Write a story, poem, or song about you and the person who is sick.
  20. Take Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin C… Ask your Doctor or Health Care Provider first. This may calm your body and help you lessen stress of your body and mind.
  21. Talk to a friend about the situation. Just talking about it and sharing your feelings lightens your load.

If you are a caregiver, remember that you must take care of you so that you can take care of your loved one. You are a blessing and a gift. Like the flight attendant tells you on a plane, put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then help others put on their oxygen masks.

I really liked reading “12 Things Happy People Do Differently:” http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/08/30/12-things-happy-people-do-differently/

Resources:

  1. Jacob Sokol. “12 Things Happy People Do Differently:” http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/08/30/12-things-happy-people-do-differently/
  2. Lisabetta DiVita. “What Are the Causes of Sadness?” http://www.livestrong.com/article/89621-causes-sadness/
  3. Sen. “Stop Being Sad:” http://www.outofstress.com/stop-being-sad/
  4. Web MD.”Causes of Depression:” http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/causes-depression

Thank you for reading this blog post. I hope it keeps you out of the snares of long-term sadness. Please share ways that help you handle sad situations.

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Celebrate you three times today. Once for what you were, once for what you are, and once for what you hope to become. Visualize it as if you’ve already achieved it.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards