Thursday, July 21, 2005

Journal of a Living Lady #253
Nancy White Kelly

Sharon and I not only shared the diagnosis of breast cancer, but a love of writing and life in general. Ironically, we both enjoyed the works of William Penn. You probably don’t remember him, but you may recognize this famous quote: “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Sharon, who proudly hailed from North Carolina, is now deceased. She died sooner than we both had imagined. Sharon once told me that she would not give cancer the starring role in her life. I never forgot that. Sharon died being Sharon, not Sharon the cancer victim, but Sharon, the dynamic, caring, witty woman she was. She succeeded in keeping her identity in spite of the cancer that overwhelmed her body. I hope to do the same.

This Living Lady wants to be remembered as a unique individual who strived to make a difference in this world. It is my belief that if you aren’t a good example for others, you probably are a terrible warning. I certainly won’t go down in history for notable wealth or fame, but hopefully no one will be able to truthfully say I did any harm.

Last week I stopped by the cemetery where Buddy and I have plots. Several friends are buried near our own coffin-sized parcels of earth. Other friends, still living, have plots nearby and even adjoining. None of us are in a hurry to pitch our tents. Yet, we laugh among ourselves. With vivid imagination, we have on occasion described the great underground festivity we will someday have, complete with old-fashioned party lines and deviled worms.

Of course, none of us believe a word of it. All of us are sincere believers in the real afterlife. It promises to be more glorious than anything we can envision. With the exception of those cremated or entombed in mausoleums, our dead soulless physical bodies will someday descend to the last frontier six feet below. From dust we began and to dust we return. But our soul, that indestructible part of you and me, will continue for eternity.

Some people say it is not the destination that matters, but the journey. I beg to differ. For eternal matters, it is not the journey, but the destination.

In case you think I lost my sense of humor, I have not. There is a season for everything…reflection, sadness, joy, and even laughter.

Not so long ago, Rowland Lawrence LaPrise passed peacefully in his sleep at the age of 83. You remember Larry LaPrise don’t you? He wrote the infamous song, “Hokey Pokey.”

Getting Larry LaPrise into the coffin turned out to be a stressful event for the LaPrise family. You know what that was all about. They put his left foot in and then the trouble started.

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