Why Dogs Live Less Than Humans

tan and white short coat dog laying down in a brown wooden floor
Photo by Bruno Cervera on Pexels.com

Dogs really are man’s best friend. Most people have had some sort of pet sometime in the life and can attest to the fact that they were a joy to have. Dog’s are usually the most favorite kind of animal that people have. There is no other pet that is so adoring, loving, faithful, happy, and dedicated to their masters. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and for many people, this sad time can be very sad, depressing, and lead to a great deal of despair. On the other hand, there are some instances in which people remember fondly their pet, learn from the situation and move on. They look at the circumstances from a different perspective.

Such is the case in today’s story. A dear college friend of mine, Heidi, sent me the following story which…I am sure…will warm your heart and, maybe, cause you to look at life a little differently.

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Here’s a surprising answer from a 6-year-old child.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owner Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle,

I examined Belker and found that he was dying of cancer. I told the family that we couldn’t do anything for Belker and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for their old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me that they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped away peacefully.

The boy seemed to accept the transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that dogs’ lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It changed the way I try and live.

He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life like loving everybody all the time and be nice, right?” The six-year-old continued.

“Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay for as long as we do.”

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Live Simply.

Love Generously.

Care Deeply.

Speak Kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When your loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be faithful.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

 

That’s the secret of happiness that we can learn from a good dog!

 

 

The Chair

Photo Credit: Michael Ngilen via CC Flickr

It is an amazing thing to me, what people do to cope with the unfortunate circumstances and situations that they have been dealt in their lives. Some people will become pessimistic, despondent, isolated, and secluded…shutting off their friends, family and the rest of the world, while others will flee to the world of alcohol, drugs, or some other form of entertainment or vice, to lessen the pain that they are experiencing.

Transversely, other people try to look at their situation from a different perspective with a positive outlook. They decide that they are going to get their priorities in order, learn to enjoy everything about their lives even more then they used to do, and/or “make lemonade out of the lemons” that were given to them.

Today’s short story is a beautiful illustration of how an individual decided to spend his last days here on earth…

A man’s daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The priest assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were expecting me,” he said.

“No, who are you?”

 “I’m the new associate at your local church,” the pastor replied. “When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.”

 “Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”

Puzzled, the pastor shut the door.

 “I’ve never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church, I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head…”

 “I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, ‘Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here’s what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because he promised, ‘I’ll be with you always.’ Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.”

 “So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”

 The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue the journey.

 Then he prayed with him and returned to the church.

 Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon.

 “Did he seem to die in peace?” he asked.

 “Yes, when I left the house around two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, In fact, beyond strange–kinda weird. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed.”

 

Live Every Day As If It Were Your Last!

 

Navigating the Seas of Grief and Despair

Jeremy Segrott
Photo Credit: Jeremy Segrott via CC Flickr

The death of a close friend, a dear sibling or spouse, or a loving relative can lead a person to great depths of grief, despair and hurt. There are times when the death seems like a blessing because the person was suffering from an illness or some other misfortune, and they are now free from their suffering. In some instances, the individual expires because of old age or in other occasions, the passing of an individual is sudden and shocking. Regardless, when someone a person knows passes from this life, there is usually a time of great sorrow and pain.

Over the course of this past year, I have had the unfortunate experience of knowing some family and friends of mine who either died suddenly or have been going through the dark valleys of their lives. I came across the following story a while back that was written by an older gentleman, who had written his response to someone who had asked the following question in an editorial in his newspaper: “My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.” Many people responded but there was one old man whose incredible comment stood out from the rest. What he stated might just change the way we approach life and death:

“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, parents, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.

 I wish that I could say that you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever someone I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter.” I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if that scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and love. And scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

 “As for grief, you’ll find that it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with all of the wreckage around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was…and is no more. All you can do is float. You find some piece of wreckage and hang on for a while. Maybe it is a physical thing. Maybe it is a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float and stay alive.

 “In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they crash over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. If might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave keeps crashing…but in between waves…there is life.

 “Somewhere down the line, and it is different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall…or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at an airport. You can see it coming and for the most part, you prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

 “Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come…and you will survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of love…and lots of shipwrecks.”   ~ Source: Pinterest

It is my deepest hope and prayer that this commentary can help you or someone you know who may be “drowning” in a Sea of Despair or Grief. I know this…it helped me when I read it a while ago when my lifelong and best friend died, and who I miss every day…my Dad. So’s here to hope, grace, and happiness…and remembering the times with your loved one…the memories that will last a lifetime!

A Man and a Fork

5908895414_7e3b59ae4c_b
Photo Credit: Waferboard via CC Flickr

There was a young man who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as he was getting his things ‘in order,’ he contacted his Priest and had him come to his house to discuss certain aspects of his final wishes.

 He told him which songs he wanted sung at the service,what scriptures he would like read, and what outfit he wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the Priest was preparing to leave when the young man suddenly remembered something very important to him.

 

‘There’s one more thing,’ he said excitedly..

 

‘What’s that?’ came the Priest’s reply.

 

‘This is very important,’ the young man continued.

‘I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.’

 

The Priest stood looking at the young man, not knowing quite what to say.

That surprises you, doesn’t it?’ the young man asked.

 

‘Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,’ said the Priest.

 

The young man explained. ‘My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.

In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say,

‘Keep your fork.

 

‘ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming …. like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie.

 

Something wonderful, and with substance!’

 

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’

 

Then I want you to tell them:

‘Keep your fork … the best is yet to come.’

The Priest’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young man good-bye. He knew this would be one of  the last times he would see him before his death.

But he  also knew that the young man had a better grasp of heaven than he did. He had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice his age, with twice as much experience and knowledge.

 

He KNEW that something better was coming.

 

At the funeral people were walking by the young man’s casket and they saw the suit he was wearing and the fork placed in his right hand. Over and over, the Priest heard the question, ‘What’s with the fork?’ And over and over he smiled.

 

During his message, the Priest told the people of the conversation he had with the young man shortly before he died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to him.

 

He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

 

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your  fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.

 

Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed.

They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.

 

Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share. Being friends with someone is not an opportunity, but a sweet responsibility.

Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND… and  I’ll bet this will be an Email they do remember, every time they pick up a fork!

And just remember … keep your fork!

The BEST is yet to come!

Why Teachers Are Heroes

Vicki Soto
Victoria Soto – An American Hero

I have been a teacher and a coach for 30 years. My mother was a teacher for more than 45 years and my wife, and now recently, my son, are teachers. It have always found it intriguing, personally as a teacher and coach, and by watching other educators, how possessive and protective that we can become with our students. The fact the we spend almost 8 hours a day with them, five days a week (or more), can lead teachers to have those kinds of relationships.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise to me, that when a calamity or a dangerous situation takes place, a teacher can become a fierce defender and protector of their charges…sometimes giving the ultimate sacrifice…their lives, for their students. That’s why, a story like the following one that I found on Oddee.com, touches my soul so deeply.

Aside form this, teachers can also have an effect on a young person’s life and their future, by the example that they demonstrate each day in their classroom or on the field. It’s the reason why, in my opinion, teachers will always be heroes.

“Like astronauts, every good teacher is a hero. It bears repeating that the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary should never be forgotten.

On December 14, 2012, 26 people – 20 students and 6 adult staff members – were shot and killed at Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT.

A 27-year old teacher, Victoria Soto, sacrificed her life when she hid her students in a closet to protect them from crazed gunman Adam Lanza. When Lanza entered her classroom, she told him that the students were in the gym. The terrified kids started running from the closet and Lanza began shooting. Soto threw herself in front of the children and was killed. The last moments of her life were spent protecting her young students by using her body as a shield against bullets from the deranged madman’s gun.

Principal Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach sprung into action, but were killed when trying to keep Lanza from entering the building. Teacher Lauren Rousseau hid her students in the bathroom in her attempt to protect the children and also died while doing so.

District Superintendent Janet Robinson noted these and other “incredible acts of heroism” that “ultimately saved so many lives.””

Saying Goodbye Can Be the Hardest Thing

Abbey1
Photo Credit: Unknown

I recently came across an incredibly heartwarming story on USHumor.com (not a funny story), that will melt your heart and maybe bring a tear to your eye. There are millions of people who have pets. Their pets become like another person in their family. They go to stores, walks, car or truck rides, trips, and a host of other things together. Pets grow up with their owners and become an integral part of their masters lives.

For many people, when their pets die, it can be absolutely devastating. There are some people that I know (and I am 53 years old), that still claim to this day, that losing their pet was one of the hardest and saddest time in their lives.

Thus, today’s story and the sweet response that someone decided to do to help mend a broken heart…..


Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter, Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God. I told her that I thought we could…so she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she was sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending you a picture of her so when you see her, you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, “To Meredith” in an unfamiliar hand. Inside, there was the letter that we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and send it to me. What a wonderful mother that you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember…I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find, I am wherever there is love.

Love, God

A Tale From A Deathbed

jon dawson
Photo Credit: Jon Dawson via CC Flickr

Every once in a while, I come across a story that touches my heart, brings a smile to my face and a giggle to my soul. Such is the case with today’s story. 

Doug Smithberger is on his deathbed at Allegheny General Hospital and knows the end is near.

 

His nurse, his wife, his daughter and 2 sons are with him.

 

He asks for 2 witnesses to be present and a camcorder be in place to record his last wishes, and when all is ready he begins to speak:

 

My son, “Bernie, I want you to take all the West End houses.””

My daughter “Sybil, you take the apartments over in the Bottoms and up toward Neville Island.””

 

My son, “Jamie, I want you to take the offices and apartments over in Neville Island and Coraopilis.”

 

“Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings on the banks of the river between McKees Rocks and Coraopolis and up the valley toward the airport.”

 

The nurse and witnesses are blown away as they did not realize his extensive holdings, and as Doug slips away, the nurse says,

“Mrs. Smith, your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property”.

 

Sarah replies, “Property ? …. the jerk had a paper route!”

HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! I hope this brought a smile to your face and made your day a little brighter! Love life and smile often.

Why Sitting Down Might Kill You

Photo Credit: Bark via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Bark via CC Flickr

I recently came across a great little picture that explains to us the dangers of excessive sitting. I believe that this is even more of a problem than most people realize. In today’s day and age with the increasing usage of the computer, TV and video games, we have made ourselves people who are out of shape, lethargic, and a generation of couch potatoes.

While it is true that sitting down and resting is a good thing for us, it is the extreme quantity of sitting that can cause serious health issues and physical problems. I trust that the following information will benefit you (if you fall into the category of a big sitter) and present you with some helpful tips.

Photo Credit: Unknown
Photo Credit: Unknown

How Will You Be Remembered?

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn via CC Flickr

When I was growing up, my grandma (aka Grammy) used to live with us. Every once in a while I would see her at the dining room table or sitting in her favorite chair reading the newspaper. I would ask her what she was reading and she would usually give me the silly answer..I am searching the obituaries to see if my name is here.

Of course it wasn’t but it would make me think…how when the day comes and I leave this earth…how would people remember me? How would I WANT people to remember me?

The following short illustration which I found on Great Motivations is a great reminder of the legacy that we will leave behind someday. 


“About a hundred years ago, a man looked at the morning newspaper and to his surprise and horror, read his name in the obituary column. The news papers had reported the death of the wrong person by mistake. His first response was shock. Am I here or there? When he regained his composure, his second thought was to find out what people had said about him. The obituary read, “Dynamite King Dies.” And also “He was the merchant of death.” This man was the inventor of dynamite and when he read the words “merchant of death,” he asked himself a question, “Is this how I am going to be remembered?” He got in touch with his feelings and decided that this was not the way he wanted to be remembered. From that day on, he started working toward peace. His name was Alfred Nobel and he is remembered today by the great Nobel Prize.

Just as Alfred Nobel got in touch with his feelings and redefined his values, we should step back and do the same.”

What is your legacy?

How would you like to be remembered?

Will you be spoken well of?

Will you be remembered with love and respect?

Will you be missed?

Remember, take the time each and every day to build and improve your character. How will you be remembered by your family and friends?

A Father’s Last Will

Photo Credit: Ken Mayer via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Ken Mayer via CC Flickr

Doug Smithberger is on his deathbed at Allegheny General Hospital and knows the end is near.  

His nurse, his wife, his daughter and 2 sons are with him.

He asks for 2 witnesses to be present and a camcorder be in place to record his last wishes, and when all is ready he begins to speak:

My son, “Bernie, I want you to take all the West End houses.””

My daughter “Sybil, you take the apartments over in the Bottoms and up toward Neville Island.”

My son, “Jamie, I want you to take the offices and apartments over in Neville Island and Coraopilis.”

“Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings on the banks of the river between McKees Rocks and Coraopolis and up the valley toward the airport.”

The nurse and witnesses are blown away as they did not realize his extensive holdings, and as Doug slips away, the nurse says,

“Mrs. Smith, your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property”.

Sarah replies, “Property ? …. the moron had a paper route!”

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I hope this brought a smile to your face!! Have a fantastic, uplifting day!

A Love That Death Couldn’t Destory

Photo Credit: Candida.Performa via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Candida.Performa via CC Flickr

A short time ago, I came across a beautiful story written by Anna Rumer on zanesvilletimesrecorder.com that showed a steadfast love that truly lasted a lifetime. I have always thought that it is a astounding testament of the true love a couple shares whenever their marriage lasts for their entire life together. I can only hope that my life and marriage will be blessed as much as these folks.

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When Helen Felumlee passed away at the age of 92 Saturday morning, her family knew her husband Kenneth Felumlee, 91, wouldn’t be slow to follow her. The couple couldn’t bear to be apart very long, and Kenneth passed away only 15½ hours after his wife of 70 years.

“We knew when one went, the other was going to go,” said daughter Linda Cody. “We wanted them to go together, and they did.”

After Kenneth had his leg amputated 2½ years ago because of circulation problems, Helen became his main caretaker, making sure he got everything he needed. She continued this up until three weeks before their deaths, when she became too frail to care for him.

“She was so weak, she could hardly do it,” Cody said. “But she was still pushing his chair; she was still filling his water cup.”

When Kenneth’s health started to fail, Helen began sleeping on the couch to be near him. The two hadn’t slept apart in 70 years, the family said. Years ago, when the two took an overnight ferry equipped with bunk-beds, they chose to both sleep on the bottom bunk rather than be separated for even a night.

Soon after Kenneth, Helen’s health also started to go downhill, and she was confined to a hospital bed near the end of her life. Kenneth took this particularly hard.

“He would just reach out and grab her hand, but he would keep his head down because he couldn’t stand to see her hurting,” Cody said.

Upon his wife’s death, Kenneth was ready to join her, family said. “She was staying strong for Dad and he was staying strong for her,” Cody said. “That’s what kept them going.”

Helen and Kenneth’s love story began when they were just 18 and 19 after Kenneth’s ex-girlfriend, a friend to Helen, introduced the two. They immediately hit it off, dating for three years before deciding to elope.

Lying to their parents, the two said they were taking a day trip to Kentucky to visit Kenneth’s old basketball coach. Heading to the courthouse with only $5 in their pockets, Kenneth and Helen arrived with barely enough to pay the $2 fee. The couple were wed Feb. 20, 1944, two days before Kenneth was legally old enough to get married. “He couldn’t wait,” son Jim Felumlee said.

When the couple returned, they were too nervous to tell their parents right away, so they lived separately several weeks until Kenneth developed the courage to break the news of their elopement.

“I would have liked to have been there for that conversation,” Cody said.

The newly official Felumlee family grew almost immediately, as Helen quickly became pregnant with the first of their eight children.

Caring for a household of eight children was no easy task, but the couple was determined to make it work. Both Helen and Kenneth had grown up working, and they weren’t afraid to put in the extra effort.

Kenneth worked at the B&O/Chessie Systems Railroad as a car inspector while also operating Felumlee‘s Garage. He later worked as a rural mail carrier for the Nashport Post Office. In addition, he was active in his Nashport-Irville United Methodist Church as a Sunday school teacher and member of the Council on Ministry and administrative board. He also was a member of the board of education from Frazeysburg-Nashport schools, Tri-Valley schools, and the Muskingum County School Board.

His children recall him coming home from one job, grabbing the only hour or two of sleep that he ever operated on, and then heading off to his other job. At night, it wasn’t uncommon for Kenneth to leave the house in order to go help someone whose plumbing or car had broken. “Some days, he wouldn’t sleep,” Jim said.

The long absences could be hard to deal with, but Helen supported Kenneth in all his endeavors. “There would be hours he wasn’t here, and she had all these kids, but she understood that it was a need in him to help other people,” Cody said.

Helen spent her days cooking and cleaning not only for her growing family, but for other families in need in the area. She even changed diapers for a neighbor’s child, as the father was not keen on the task. She taught Sunday school and served on the Council on Ministry and Friendship Circle at the church, but was known even more for her greeting card ministry.

Not only would Helen just send birthday cards, she would also send sympathy cards, greeting cards and holiday cards to everyone in her community, each with a personal note inside.

“She kept Hallmark in business,” daughter-in-law Debbie Felumlee joked.

Jim added, “If you would forget your birthday, she would remind you.”

Together, the couple served their community, were active in the lives of their many grandchildren, and visited nursing homes on Sunday. Beloved by the community, Kenneth was jokingly dubbed the “self-appointed mayor of Nashport” by those that knew him well.

When Kenneth retired in 1983 and the children began to leave the house, the Felumlees began to explore their love of travel, visiting almost all 50 states by bus.

“He didn’t want to fly anywhere, because you couldn’t see anything as you were going,” said Jim.

The two grew with every day, their children said, and remained deeply in love until the very end. Even in their last days, Helen and Kenneth would eat breakfast together while holding hands.

About 12 hours after Helen died, Kenneth looked at his children and said, “Mom’s dead.” He quickly began to fade, and was surrounded by 24 of his closest family members and friends when he died Sunday morning.

“It was a wonderful going away party,” Cody said. “He was ready. He just didn’t want to leave her here by herself.

If Tomorrow Never Comes…

Photo Credit: Parker Knight via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Parker Knight via CC Flickr

If I knew it would be the last time that I’d see you fall asleep, I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door, I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise, I would video tape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time, I could spare an extra minute or two to stop and say “I love you,” instead of assuming, you would know I do.

If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day, well I’m sure you’ll have so many more, so I can let just this one slip away.

For surely there’s always tomorrow to make up for an oversight, and we always get a second chance to make everything right.

There will always be another day to say our “I love you’s”, And certainly there’s another chance to say our “Anything I can do’s?”

But just in case I might be wrong, and today is all I get, I’d like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget, Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike, And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you’re waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?

For if tomorrow never comes, you’ll surely regret the day, That you didn’t take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss and you were too busy to grant someone, what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today, whisper in their ear, Tell them how much you love them and that you’ll always hold them dear, Take time to say “I’m sorry,” “please forgive me,” “thank you” or “it’s okay”.

And if tomorrow never comes, you’ll have no regrets about today!

————–

lifeofhope.com

Tears in the Eyes

Photo Credit: Shakira120 via morguefile.com
Photo Credit: Shakira120 via morguefile.com

Barbara was driving her six-year-old son, Benjamin, to his piano lesson.

They were late, and Barbara was beginning to think she should have cancelled it. There was always so much to do, and Barbara, a night-duty nurse at the local hospital, had recently worked extra shifts.

She was tired. The sleet storm and icy roads added to her tension. Maybe she should turn the car around.

“Mom!” Ben cried. “Look!” Just ahead, a car had lost control on a patch of ice. As Barbara tapped the brakes, the other car spun wildly rolled over, then crashed sideways into a telephone pole.

Barbara pulled over, skidded to a stop and threw open her door. Thank goodness she was a nurse – she might be able to help these unfortunate passengers.

Then she paused. What about Ben? She couldn’t take him with her. Little boys shouldn’t see scenes like the one she anticipated. But was it safe to leave him alone? What if their car were hit from behind?

For a brief moment Barbara considered going on her way. Someone else was sure to come along. No! “Ben, honey, promise me you’ll stay in the car!”

“I will, Mommy,” he said as she ran, slipping and sliding toward the crash site. It was worse than she’d feared. Two girls of high school age are in the car. One, the blonde on the passenger side, was dead, killed on impact.

The driver however was still breathing. She was unconscious and pinned in the wreckage. Barbara quickly applied pressure to the wound in the teenager’s head while her practiced eye catalogued the other injuries. A broken leg, maybe two, along with probable internal bleeding.

If help came soon, the girl would live.

A trucker had pulled up and was calling for help on his cellular phone. Soon Barbara heard the ambulance sirens. A few moments later she surrendered her lonely post to rescue workers.

“Good job,” one said as he examined the driver’s wounds. “You probably saved her life, ma’am.” Perhaps.

But as Barbara walked back to her car a feeling of sadness overwhelmed her, especially for the family of the girl who had died. Their lives would never be the same. Oh God, why do such things have to happen?

Slowly Barbara opened her car door. What should she tell Benjamin? He was staring at the crash site, his blue eyes huge. “Mom,” he whispered, “did you see it?”

“See what, Honey?” she asked.

“The angel, Mom! He came down from the sky while you were running to the car. And he opened the door, and he took that girl out.”

Barbara’s eyes filled with tears. “Which door, Ben?”

“The passenger side. He took the girl’s hand, and they floated up to Heaven together”

“What about the driver?”

Ben shrugged. “I didn’t see anyone else.”

Later, Barbara was able to meet the families of the victims. They expressed their gratitude for the help she had provided. Barbara was able to give them something more – Ben’s vision.

There was no way he could have known what happened to either of the passengers. Nor could the passenger door have been opened; Barbara had seen its tangle of immovable steel herself. Yet Ben’s account brought consolation to a grieving family. Their daughter was safe in Heaven. And they would see her again.

The Day Smokey Died

Photo Credit: iphis via morguefile.com
Photo Credit: iphis via morguefile.com

It’s funny how life is. Sometimes when things seem the worst and can’t get any worse, how the outcome turns out totally different from what we expected. What’s the point? The point is, there is ALWAYS hope and life may surprise you and give you a happier, more positive result than what you expected.

I decided to share a story that happened to my brother and I when we were kids that demonstrates this concept in a very personal way…

When my brother and I were growing up, our family would always have pets around the house. My parents were big-time animal lovers which meant that there was never a time that we didn’t have a cat or some other pet around such as gerbils, guinea pigs, salamanders or gold fish.

Primarily, the pet of choice were cats and we usually would have anywhere from 1-5 or six cats running around the house. Every time they were outside and it was time for them to eat their dinner, grandma or my brother, mom or I would simply shake the box of Friskees and those felines would come running.

One of our favorite cats of all time was this black cat that we named Smokey…yep, we named him because he was black…we were very creative back then. Anyway, he was an awesome little thing…he always played with us then would jump up onto our laps at the end of the day, curl up into a ball, then go to sleep and purr.

We lived in a simple, Cape Cod style house and it was located about a block away from a busy highway named Atlantic Avenue. My dad would take that road to drive to work every day as well as my mom. It was also a road that lead directly to the beach…so it was a relatively busy road.

There were many times when we were traveling on the road that we would see the bodies of animals that were hit by oncoming cars along the road, and it would always make us feel bad knowing that somewhere in our neighborhood some kind lost their dear pet.

One morning, my brother and I were in our living room watching TV when my dad called from his work with bad news…Smokey, our beloved pet was dead. He had been hit by a car and my father had seen his body by the roadside.

Needless to say, my brother and I were devastated. We cried and cried. We decided that we would do the right thing. We would go to the road, scoop him up and give him a proper burial…and that’s what we did. I went to the shed and picked out a coal shovel and my brother got a water bucket. We walked to the road, found our cat, put him in the bucket and brought him back home,

We then went to the backyard to my grandma’s garden and chose a beautiful little spot to bury our dear Smokey…and that’s what we did. We even made a little tombstone from a piece of wood and wrote “Smokey” and it date of birth and death on it, just like a real cemetery. After a few final thoughts and maybe even a short prayer for the critter, we said our final good-byes and left crying and heartbroken.

Later in the day, we were getting ready to go to the park and play some baseball. We were standing in the front yard of our house waiting for our friends when, all of a sudden, a real-life miracle happened…we couldn’t believe our eyes as our beloved, dead pet, Smokey came bounding up the sidewalk, meowing and acting like nothing happened. We picked up the cat, jumped up and down in total glee. As we hugged our little buddy, we kept yelling…it’s a miracle! It’s a miracle!

After a while, we looked at each other as said, how is this possible? How could the cat have come back to life? God certainly COULD work in mysterious ways but did He REALLY bring our pet back to life…we had to know for sure.

We decided that we would go back to the grave site that we had made and see for sure how our cat managed to come back to life. Had it really been dead? Maybe it had just been knocked out and we accidentally buried it when it was still alive.

Imagine out great surprise when we arrived at the site and found it totally unchanged. The ground was still the same as we left it and nothing had moved!

What did that mean? We were totally stunned but at the same time we had the biggest smiles on our faces that any kid could have…WE HAD BURIED THE WRONG CAT!!!