Transfixus Sed Non Mortuus

Here I Stand, Pierced and Transfixed

Browsing Posts tagged death

My Bird Died

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This morning was a dark and cloud-filled morning. The wind was whistling against my apartment’s outer wall and I woke up at least once to some rain beating against the window. An ominous warning, to be sure. As I got up and got ready for the day, I uncovered my cockatiel’s cage and found her dead at the bottom. Bau Bau had been having some health issues prior, so it wasn’t a complete surprise, but I felt a lot of emotion when I realized what I was looking at.

As I rode my bike into work, I thought about all the history that we had shared. My friend Sophia gave her to me while I was attending university. At first, Bau Bau and I had a little rocky relationship while we learned to get along, but soon, she would jump right onto my hand and sit on my shoulder while I was home. She had this cute little way of turning her head one hundred and eighty degrees while looking at me out of one of her eyes. I loved to stroke her crest feathers and she always loved that too. She would nuzzle so gently up against my chin and make little soft noises while I went about my business at home.

Bau Bau used to have this habit of sneaking out of her cage. I’m still not sure how she did it, but one night, I woke up in the middle of the night to some “thing” crawling on my shoulder. I got scared and knocked that thing into the the air. Turns out, it was my lovely little bird that I had hit. For two or three weeks afterwards, she was scared of me and really seemed to act like she was mad. I remember I got her out of her cage at one point, and she flew straight to my sister’s shoulder and seemed to be saying, “ha” to me. I felt so horrible about it, but she eventually forgot or forgave me, and our relationship went back to normal. Eventually, she stopped breaking out of her cage too, which I’m very grateful for.

My roommate Adam had a cat named Layla. Layla was a little timid, but was still a cat. She would sit for a very long time watching Bau Bau play at our old apartment. Then, every once in a while, she would try to get Bau Bau. However, Bau Bau was always wary and would fly straight to me, or would turn and face Layla. Layla would either stop or run away in the face of the fierce snapping beak and giant flapping wings of Bau Bau. It was certainly an uneasy situation, but it never got out of hand.

I remember all the mornings when I lived on Dexter Ave where she would wake me up. The sunlight would stream through the east-facing window of my bedroom, and she would start to sing softly. Then, as the sun kept rising, she would get a little louder until I got up and wished her good morning. Some mornings, I would be mad at her for waking me up, but looking back on it now, those memories are showered in a golden hue.

Bau Bau taught me a lot about how to love. She required a lot of patience to train. She could be really ornery sometimes without any known reason at all. Sometimes, she would sit in her cage and scream at me if she wanted me to play with her some more. Other times, she would leave droppings on my favorite shirt. She taught me that loving one of God’s creatures can be hard, but at the same time, it can be very rewarding in those moments of joy when she would gently whistle in my ear or try to groom my hair. It’s kind of funny to me that a simple creature could teach me so much and also fill a piece of my heart in a way that no other creature has.

She was with me through a lot of life changes, including multiple moves, relationships, and job changes. She was always there wanting to play with me every day when I got home. It seems strange to think that she won’t be there when I get home tonight. I feel bad for the times I felt too busy to play with her more. I also feel like I am going to miss her for a very long time to come.

This young gent had osteosarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer) and knew he was going to die. Watch his story:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NjKgV65fpo#!

You can either sit in your basement and wait [for death]…or you can do some stuff

Here’s his video “Clouds”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDC97j6lfyc

I Hit a Bird

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Yesterday, I was riding home from work on my bicycle. The sun was shining off and on through some light and feathery clouds. There was a bit of wind, but it was fairly gentle for the most part. I had just passed through a stop light and gotten onto a large wide bike trail.

As I passed under some trees, I noticed a bird flutter to the ground a just a few feet in front of me. It looked like I startled it and it started flying away. However, even though it looked like it was flying away, it turned wing and flew right into the spokes of my front wheel. Horrified, I watched as it got stuck in my tire’s rotation and shot out the same side that it had flown in on. It landed on the road in a crumpled mess of feathers.

I screeched to a halt and turned my bike around. I dropped my bike and went to where the poor thing lay. Its right wing was bent over itself and it was on its back. I gently picked it up to move it off the road. It struggled very little, so I knew there wasn’t much I could do. I set it under the shade of a tree and watched it die.

I felt really sad about the whole thing. I know that there is nothing I could have done in that moment, but it still hurts to be the direct cause of ending of a life. It makes me think about what other harm I might unintentionally cause in this world. I believe that I try to do good and not hurt others, but the truth is that I have and I will hurt this Earth’s creatures in this life. I eat meats from other creatures and sometimes I don’t even remember to be thankful that a creature died so that I might live. I have hurt people physically and emotionally as well. I have done all these things. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so. I think that part of my goal in this life is to work towards good and to give other creatures’ lives meaning. Therefore, even though I killed this bird, I can honor its life and how it died by working to not forget my place in this world and my goal of doing good for all the life I encounter.

Here’s a very accessible and quick read that I found interesting on one writer’s grandfather’s final days:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19207134

As we walked on into the woods, we stumbled across a network of trenches. Roots and foliage have caused some subsidence, but these old front-line positions are remarkably well preserved.

The Hanging at Mankato

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Unravel the story of the largest mass execution to ever occur on US soil:
http://canopycanopycanopy.com/13/the_hanging_at_mankato

Helene had learned that another great-great-great uncle named Anders Johan Carlson had served in the Union army during the Civil War, and had been standing guard during the execution of several Indians, the sight of which had made him vomit-even, I imagined, as a crowd stood by stolidly, or perhaps even jubilantly

The Beauty of Life

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Being a little quirky myself, I could really relate to the following article:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/127918148.html
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I knew that Jim Hankin was dead before the medical examiner came out of the house to ask me to identify the body.

Jim hadn’t answered his phone for a week. And he didn’t come to the door when I went to his house Saturday.

But that wasn’t the tip-off.

Jim was a recluse, a modern-day hermit who lived in a house so crammed with old tin cans and piles of newspaper that even a cat would have a hard time slinking into some of the rooms.

Quirky.

Odd.

Sometimes annoying.

Surprisingly sweet.

The reason that I knew Jim was dead on Monday morning was that he hadn’t called his 15-year-old next-door neighbor, Sam, to sing “Happy Birthday” like Donald Duck. It was his signature move.

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/opinion/sunday/10als.html?pagewanted=all

We obsess in this country about how to eat and dress and drink, about finding a job and a mate. About having sex and children. About how to live. But we don’t talk about how to die. We act as if facing death weren’t one of life’s greatest, most absorbing thrills and challenges. Believe me, it is. This is not dull. But we have to be able to see doctors and machines, medical and insurance systems, family and friends and religions as informative, not governing, in order to be free.

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/page/246106_

Claude Stanley Choules, the last known combat veteran of World War I, died Thursday at a nursing home in the Western Australia city of Perth, his family said. He was 110.

I am a little surprised that I didn’t see this sooner. According to MSNBC, the last known combat veteran of WWI died back in May. Having grown up with songs like “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” and “The Green Fields of France,” I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the “Forgotten Generation.” It was a great and terrible war that we thought would be enough to end all wars, but we’ve seen many wars since then.

I wonder what Claude thought of all the wars that have been fought since he set down his tin hat and gun. I wonder what our legacies will be. We live in a strange time where there are more nuclear weapons in existence than needed to kill the entire Earth many times over. How close our lives swing in pendulous and delicate balances of power.

Yet through all this, I find the Earth and its people can be as rich in love and kindness as it can be self-destructive and angry. Again, a delicate balance of many good things and many things that aren’t so good. I think our natures are being played out as we fight the urgings of our DNA with the knowledge we gain in each lifetime.

I am looking towards the future with much hope, though I know that one slight thing could bring about a sad and dreary end. As the “Forgotten Generation” finally is taken from living breathing beings and immortalized into the pages of history, I hope that such a generation shall never have to live that way again.