Take stock in past, look forward to future

This past fall was a particularly stressful one, with 3 major surgeries and a brush with the 'C' word
To help you get perspective on the new year, try writing your own epitaph.
To help you get perspective on the new year, try writing your own epitaph.

A friend on the West Coast turns to the obituaries every morning, first thing.

If her name isn’t there, she makes a pot of coffee and begins the day.  

When you get to a certain age, it seems as if folks you know are dropping like flies.

This past fall was a particularly stressful one, with three major surgeries and a brush with the “C” word, so reading the obits was a regular thing. We rejoiced with those who made it to 100, or almost, and wondered at the young ones (well, younger than us) and what had gone wrong. It became a whole new way to look at life.

With 2017 passing into history like the kidney stone it was, Year One of the current political fault lines stands out as one of the vastest chasms in recent memory.

When nuclear wars and natural disasters actually seemed not only possible but inevitable, the national malaise of PTSD (Post-Trump Stress Disorder) began showing itself in alarming ways.

I know a doctor who says that people get sick when and where they need to. You just have to look for clues.

For example, a friend had surgeries on his neck and lower back for intense pain.

The surgeries didn’t help.

But as soon as he got divorced, the pain stopped, and the doctor said “Of course! You had a pain in the neck and a pain in the a**, and you got rid of both.” 

Think about how we speak of things in our lives — that we just can’t stomach something, can’t see it, won’t stand for it, can’t swallow it, carry the weight of the world (this from a friend with serious scoliosis).

It makes me wonder about what it was that broke my heart and was such a pain in the tush it made a cancer there. Have to think about that.

So at this particular beginning of the new year, taking stock of events is a good thing to do.

A useful project is to write your own epitaph. Or your famous last words. Or your obituary.

At least then it will say what you would like to be remembered for. Then give it to someone you trust.

What are we grateful for?

A family doctor who saw what was going on with the heart valve and immediately sent me to the best place possible, best hospital possible, and best surgeons possible.

Neighbors who showed kindnesses beyond measure to help recovery.

Friends who kept in touch and kept us laughing; nothing is better exercise than the internal jogging of a big laugh.  

So as we look at the social and personal chaos in our government and society, we can see it as the distraction it is, keeping us from recognizing the lockstep order of the gang of wrecking balls in the Cabinet and halls of Congress that are systematically undoing everything done for our citizens since Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.  

We’re seeing the largest economic gaps since the fall of the Roman Empire, and the Ugly American in charge is busy tweeting about trivial opinion chasms in our country and around the world.

Whose fault is it?  

If you mean “fault” as in San Andreas, it’s ours.  

Fissures can be spanned. But not if you keep digging.

Karen Cookson lives in Sharon Springs and is a regular contributor to the Sunday Gazette Opinion page.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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