“I Shall Imagine Life”

IMG_3390 (2)

By E.E. Cummings

Presented in honor of the 34th birthday of Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau

I shall imagine life
is not worth dying, if
(and when) roses complain
their beauties are in vain

but though mankind persuades
itself that every weed’s
a rose, roses (you feel
certain) will only smile

~

Lauren’s story is so much more than the story of her passing – and yet a Google search will find mostly the story of her passing. We can overcome that. Today is June 8, 2016 – the day Lauren Rousseau would turn 34. Spend some time with her story and with her family. Learn something about Lauren’s life. Your understanding of her will become a part of her legacy.

Continue reading ““I Shall Imagine Life””

Fox in the Henhouse of Mental Health Care

Peter Gøtzsche is a sort of anti-vaxxer in the field of mental health care.

The Danish physician is head of an organization called the Nordic Cochrane Center at Rigshospitalet, a Copenhagen, Denmark, hospital (which does not, by the way, list mental health care on its website as among the services it offers). The center has made recent assertions that challenge solid presumptions of traditional medical care.

  • They claim mammograms subject women to significant, long-lasting emotional trauma, but produce barely any statistically significant medical benefit, such as reducing breast cancer mortality.
  • They (and Gøtzsche himself) also claim the medications used to treat mental illness actually produce symptoms of mental illness.

Continue reading “Fox in the Henhouse of Mental Health Care”

Extending Memorial Day

life
LIFE magazine, June 27, 1969, featuring a portrait of U.S. Army specialist William C. Gearing, Jr., one of 242 American servicemen killed in a single week of fighting during the Vietnam War.

In the Ward family, birthdays routinely stretch into weeks, Mother’s Day is an attitude, and even Christmas can be shifted to accommodate the complicated schedules of our extended, blended families …

… So bear with me if I insist on extending Memorial Day past midnight Monday. (I believe they deserve it, those who have died in the service of our country.)

I was 12 the year Life magazine published its controversial project called “A Week’s Dead” in the June 27 1969 issue of the still popular news and lifestyle magazine. The project, stuffed between ads for cigarettes and booze, included vignettes of 242 men who had died “in connection with the conflict in Vietnam” during the week of May 28 to June 3, 1969 – which included that year’s observance of Memorial Day. (There were photographs of most, and basic information for all.)

In the introduction to the 11 full yearbook-style pages (plus a few additional photos), Life editors expressed their concern that the nation was being “numbed by a three-digit statistic which is translated to direct anguish in in hundreds of homes all over the country” and urged that we “must pause to look into the faces.”

Continue reading “Extending Memorial Day”

“Lift off.”

An address from, to, for the Class of 2016 in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, by Donovan Livingston, Ed.M. ’16 – which phrasing sells way short what you will experience if you play this brief and inspiring video.

[Some very brief biographical information: Mr. Livingston is a 2009 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill (BA History), earned an MA from Teachers College in 2011, and became a member of Phi Beta Sigma in 2008.]

And here, for posterity, is the transcript of Mr. Livingston’s address, as provided by the Harvard website:

Continue reading ““Lift off.””

Memorial Day

25atwar-burana-heisler-blog480

(Above photo by Todd Heisler / Rocky Mountain News)

Monday, May 30, 2016, is this year’s Memorial Day – a federal holiday set aside to honor Americans who died while serving in our nation’s military.

Officially, the day has been noted in some manner since 1868, when it was called Decoration Day. It is not to be confused with Veterans Day – Nov. 11 – which honors all of our nation’s veterans.

Monday – Memorial Day – is a time to honor the more than 1.3 million Americans who have perished during their service over the 241 years of our wars and conflicts and operations, from the beginning of the Revolution that brought us our independence, through Operation Inherent Resolve.

Lily Burana’s extraordinary post from the May 2012 New York Times, along with Todd Heisler’s image of love, heartbreak, dedication, tell a story that echoes across all those years.

~

In my own family, we will be honoring my Great-Great-Great-Uncle August Heller …

Continue reading “Memorial Day”

And to all a good night …

On a Christmas Eve more than 50 years ago, my parents got me out of bed and took me to the window nearest the head of my bed.

“Can you hear that?” my father asked. “I think I hear bells!” he said. “Look up there! Does that look like a sleigh?”

He was pointing up through the pine boughs, and yes, I believed that I could hear bells, and that I could see a distant sleigh coursing across the sky.

I learned many years later that our kind and generous neighbor Charlie Finnegan had been hiding behind a tree, shaking a set of sleigh bells – creating the perfect fantasy for a young boy who hoped Santa might be on his way.

Tonight, on this particular Christmas Eve, my wish for you is that you can feel what I felt those many years ago – what I still feel every year.

I hope you have trust in the revitalizing power of magic and community, whatever that means in your life. In mine, it means that Charlie Finnegan is still ringing the bells from behind the tree.