Quote of the day

April 22, 2015

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

Today would have been our son Tom’s 28th birthday but he died at just 20 weeks as the result of a degenerative brain disorder, the cause of which has not been diagnosed.

Tolstoy is right and this quote reinforces my belief in the power of love.

It also reminds me that life after the death of Tom, and his younger brother Dan who had the same condition, is better not just in spite of their lives and deaths but also because of them.

Their deaths freed us to live as we couldn’t when we were caring for them but it is only because of what we learned from them that we truly appreciate that.

Their short lives and their multiple handicaps taught us to lose the ignorance and fear we had of disabilities.

They taught us that we are blessed by extended family and friends whose love and support provided so much when we needed it.

Our sons also taught us that good health and ability aren’t rights but privileges.

A lot of people tell me they couldn’t cope had they lost one child let alone two,

I answer that it would be throwing back the gifts our sons gave us if we didn’t make the most of all that they can’t.

Tolstoy’s quote speaks of the power of love and as Robert Fulgham reminds us in The Story Teller’s Creed, love is stronger than death.

 


Percy Sledge 27.11.40 – 14.4.15

April 15, 2015

R&B singer Percy Sledge has died.

He is best known for When A Man Loves A Woman.


Lee Kuan Yew 16.9.23 – 23.3.15

March 23, 2015

Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew has died.

Lee Kuan Yew, the statesman who transformed Singapore from a small port city into a wealthy global hub, has died at the age of 91.

Mr Lee served as the city-state’s prime minister for 31 years, and continued to work in government until 2011.

Highly respected as the architect of Singapore’s prosperity, Mr Lee was also criticised for his iron grip on power.

Under him freedom of speech was tightly restricted and political opponents were targeted by the courts. . .

A charismatic and unapologetic figure, Mr Lee co-founded the People’s Action Party, which has governed Singapore since 1959, and was its first prime minister.

The Cambridge-educated lawyer led Singapore through merger with, and then separation from, Malaysia – something that he described as a “moment of anguish”.

Speaking at a press conference after the split in 1965, he pledged to build a meritocratic, multi-racial nation.

But tiny Singapore – with no natural resources – needed a new economic model.

“We knew that if we were just like our neighbours, we would die,” Mr Lee told the New York Times in 2007.

“Because we’ve got nothing to offer against what they have to offer. So we had to produce something which is different and better than what they have.”

Tight controls

Through investment in schooling, Mr Lee set about creating a highly-educated work force fluent in English.

He reached out to foreign investors to turn Singapore into a manufacturing hub, introducing incentives to attract foreign firms.

The city-state grew wealthy and later developed into a major financial centre. But building a nation came with tight controls – and one of Mr Lee’s legacies was a clampdown on the press.

These restrictions remain today. . .

The investment in education and welcome to foreign investment both paid big dividends.

His methods can be questioned but there is no doubt that he transformed Singapore, taking it from a poor island with few resources to an economic powerhouse.


Leonard Nimoy 26.3.31 – 27.2.15

February 28, 2015

Leonard Nimoy, the man who played Mr Spok in Star Trek has died.

Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83. . .

His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”). . .

From Word as Image:

"R.I.P."


Feedback sought on earthquake memorial

February 18, 2015

The public is invited to give feedback on the six designs shortlisted for the  Canterbury Earthquake Memorial:

The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations.

More than 330 submissions were received from 37 countries after designs were sought by the Government, Christchurch City Council and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

The six short-listed were selected last year and have since been adapted following consultation with stakeholders, including those who lost loved ones and those who suffered serious injuries, and in order to ensure they met design criteria.

“I think each of the designs is outstanding and reflects the Canterbury experience in a different way. Every one of them could be a fitting memorial for what we lost and what we have been through as a city,” says Associate Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Nicky Wagner.

“The public now has a chance to have its say on which design best reflects that shared loss and experience.”

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says this is an important step towards having a memorial space that will mean so much to so many people, here and around the world.

“Allowing the public to have a say in how we commemorate what we have lost, while capturing a sense of hope for the future, will make a real difference.”

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Tā Mark Solomon says: “It is very important for the region, our city and our communities to have an appropriate place to honour and reflect on the events of the earthquakes. I believe as a community we will achieve this.”

The short-listed designs can be viewed at www.ccdu.govt.nz/ideas-to-remember and feedback can be given on the website until 15 March. . .


Celia Lashlie has died

February 17, 2015

The world has lost a good woman:

Author and social commentator Celia Lashlie has died after a short battle with cancer.

Her family confirmed this morning that she died last night at 11.40pm in Wellington. She was 61. . .

Lashlie started her career in social work within the prison service in 1985, becoming the first woman to work as an officer in a New Zealand male prison.

Her final role within Corrections was as manager of Christchurch Women’s Prison, a position she left in September 1999.

She was a Nelson manager for Specialist Education Services and was controversially sacked in 2001 for speaking out about a 5-year-old destined for prison, but was later vindicated after a government inquiry.

She then worked for a number of Nelson schools, including Nelson College, where she developed the Good Man project working with male students.

Her work with teenage boys had been extensive and her talks on raising teenage boys, as well as on social justice issues, had meant an extensive speaking circuit in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the United States, her family said.

She wrote the book He’ll be Okay: Growing Gorgeous Boys Into Good Men, based on her work in 2004 on the Good Man project.

That project focused on her research from discussions with pupils in 25 boys’ schools throughout the country.

At the time of her diagnosis, Lashlie was about to begin writing an updated edition of the book to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

She has also written two other books: The Journey to Prison: Who Goes and Why, and The Power of Mothers: Releasing Our Children.

She was the mother of two adult children and ‘Nana’ to five grandchildren.

Her family has asked for privacy but her daughter, Beks, has set up a Givealittle page on behalf of her friends and family who will continue Lashlie’s work, in accordance with Lashlie’s last wishes. . .

She left a final message on her website yesterday:

When We walk to the Edge of All the Light… (16 February 2015)

“The seductive nature of the modern world allows us as human beings to believe we are in charge. In today’s world we think we are in charge. Technological advances and intellectual knowledge we continue to acclaim, leaves us with the sense that we are in control and that there is enough time to achieve what it is we want to achieve.

We become complacent about the need to take care of ourselves… always something more to do. Some of this is driven by our desire to save the world, others driven by the desire we have to reach the many goals we have set ourselves – many of them superficial.

The simple reality is that we are not in charge and that moment of realisation comes to us when we learn of the fragility of the human spirit. For some, that lesson comes unexpectedly and hard.

Late last year I slowly became unwell. The stress of the lifestyle I was living, the demands I made of myself, the demands other people made of me and expected to meet became too great and as 2014 closed I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread to my liver. No treatment, no cure, only palliative care. I’d waited too long to look after myself and my body broke.

To say that it was and is a shock is a major understatement. and as I look at the amazing family and group of friends I’m surrounded with as I now travel a different journey warms my heart. At the same time, there are feelings of trepidation about what lies ahead.

I’m now focused on the moments of magic that are appearing in front of me: The laughter of my grandchildren; a smile of a friend attempting to walk this journey with me and the pure beauty and strength of my adult children as they battle their anger, grief and sadness at what is happening to their beloved mother.

It’s time to leave the work to others now.

My wish is that others will learn to stop before I did, to take into account the limitations of their physical bodies and to take the time to listen to the yearnings of their soul. It is in the taking care of ourselves we learn the ability to take care of others.

“When we walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen :

There will be something solid for you to stand on, or, you will be taught to fly.”

“Faith” by Patrick Overton – “The Leaning Tree”

She spoke at a fundraiser I attended in Wanaka a few years ago. The capacity crowd listened in rapt attention to her inspirational and challenging talk.

One of her messages was the importance of turning boys into good men, a very important one when too many boys have few, if any, good men in their lives to guide and provide positive role models for them.

 


Demis Roussos 15.6.46 – 25.1.15

January 27, 2015

Greek singer Demis Roussos has died:

The star’s daughter confirmed he passed away at the Hygeia Hospital in Athens, Greece over the weekend after battling an undisclosed illness.

Roussos, real name Artemios Ventouris Roussos, was born and raised in Egypt before his parents relocated to Greece.

He launched his career when he joined progressive rock group Aphrodite’s Child in 1967 before enjoying a hugely successful solo career through the 1970s. . .


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,591 other followers

%d bloggers like this: