On The Northwest’s Tribal Nations

August 21st, 2015

9-15 totem pole

In recognition of Native American Day on September 25th we encourage you to learn more about the indigenous peoples of the area. The Pacific Northwest was and is home to several tribal nations. Some nations are recognized by the United States government and maintain some degree of Tribal sovereignty, which grants them internal legislative powers.

One of the nations not currently recognized is the Duwamish Tribe, is currently suing the federal government for recognition. The Duwamish Tribe had been recognized under the Clinton administration but a 2001 Bureau of Indian Affairs decision that the tribe had gone extinct.  The Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center, located along the Duwamish Waterway in West Seattle, is a tremendous learning resource. Their art gallery and exhibits are free entry and are open 10:00am-5:00pm Monday through Saturday.

A little farther north, the Hibulb Cultural Center in Tulalip is a relatively short drive from Seattle proper and is an extraordinary resource for learning about the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, and Skokomish tribes. The Hibulb Cultural Center (or HCC) has an immense 50-acre natural preserve, and the center itself has a longhouse, canoe, and rotating exhibit. The current temporary exhibit (through September 27th) is Roots of Wisdom, a hands-on exhibit dealing with traditional practices and the underlying science beneath.

A common complaint about the core conceit of Native American Day (or Indigenous Peoples Day on October 12th) is that it oversimplifies tribal cultures by implying they are a singular, monolithic thing. Compare, for example, the willow and yucca Kiith that the Serrano lived in and the wide, semi-subterranean Pit Houses that the Shasta people built. Even within a given region art, architecture, attire and mythology could differ greatly– the same motifs might appear but their meanings and the ways the expressed themselves setting each culture apart.

Perhaps a better way to look at these holidays is as an invitation to learn more about each specific native culture and its history.  With such a wide range of extant cultures in our region, whether recognized or not, we should take every opportunity to  learn, enrich ourselves, and give back to these cultures.

 

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BBC’s The Forum: Grief

August 20th, 2015

Every week, BBC’s The Forum “brings together remarkable minds from around the world to talk about the subjects they’re experts on – and the ones they want to know more about”. Recently, host Bridget Kendall discussed the topic of “grief” with Susana Moreira Marques, who spoke about her experiences in rural villages in Portugal, Bharati Mukherjee, who talked about mourning rituals in the Hindu tradition, and Barbara J. King who focuses on responses to death among animals.

After suddenly losing her grandparents, Susana Moreira Marques found herself feeling a combination of guilt and anger that she had not been there for them at the time of their passing. These feelings served as one of her motivations to follow palliative care providers through rural Portuguese villages similar to the ones her grandparents had lived in. To her surprise, she found villages where the youngest inhabitants were sixty years old. The younger generations had traveled either to Portugal’s coastal cities or elsewhere in Europe, leaving only the oldest generations in the villages of their birth. This often meant that the deaths Susana witnessed represented not only the passing of an individual or even a generation, but also the disappearance of a way of life and unique set of cultural traditions.

Susana’s grandfather rarely spoke about his childhood when he was alive and she recalls him stating that his “story would not last” after he was gone. Realizing the importance of giving the vanishing generation a voice, she took the time to listen to the life stories of numerous individuals and their loved ones. At first she worried that she was intruding upon these intimate spaces and conversations, but found that families were extremely generous and that having an opportunity to talk and preserve their stories was an important part of their grieving process.

In contrast to deaths that occur at the end of a natural lifespan, Bharati Mukherjee chose to focus on responses to the tragic 1985 terrorist attack on Air India Flight 182. This was a “double tragedy” for the family members since not only did their loved ones die suddenly and prematurely, but in many cases the families were unable obtain the sense of closure brought about by recovering their bodies. A traditional Hindu funeral consists of laying the deceased in a funeral bed, covering them in flowers, and finally culminates in a cremation which is lighted by the eldest son in the family. Bharati explains that in many of the cases where a loved one’s remains could not be recovered, families instead would perform the funeral using a figure made of straw as a placeholder. This shows how valuable these traditions are to the families of the departed, giving them some sense of control over how they say goodbye to a loved one even in the midst of a terrible and uncontrollable tragedy.

Finally, Barbara J. King, who had recently lost her mother, explored the question to how universal the grieving process is. Despite the fact that humans mourn through such a diverse range of practices and traditions, she argues that these approaches all share the same drive toward meaning-making. At some point in human prehistory, communities began to come together to bury their members who had died. Archeologists have found ornate bead necklaces and clothing buried along with the dead, indicating the morning rituals can be traced back even to some of the earliest humans. Barbara also asks to what degree animals share our ability to grieve. She recounts a case in which the death of an elderly elephant named Eleanor prompted a “vigil” spanning multiple days in which other elephants gathered around her body where they would rock back and forth and gently touch her with their trunks or feet.

While the inner-lives of other species may forever be outside the scope of human knowledge, Barbara believes that the very act of seeing ourselves as part of the “bigger picture” in the natural world is helpful for dealing with grief. She agrees with the other two speakers that it is important for those who are morning to be open – when they are ready – to rejoin the “social flow” of the world, which is perhaps the primary aim of all of the diverse traditions which concern death.

Click Here to Read the Full BBC Article

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Women’s Equality Day

August 7th, 2015

August 26th is Women’s Equality Day commemorating 1920’s ratification of the 19th Amendment which federalized women’s right to vote. The amendment universalized women’s suffrage in America, and detractors of the amendment fought it as an undue infringement of the federal government on states’ rights (Washingtonian women had had full suffrage a decade earlier in 1910). The 19th Amendment made its first appearance to Congress in 1878, a full 41 years before its approval by Congress, and 42 years before it was ratified.

The first woman to vote in America was Lydia Chapin Taft, on October 30th, 1756 (164 years before the 19th amendment), when Massachusetts was still a British colony. Her husband, Josiah Taft, was one of the wealthier members of the community until he died at 43. Her town had an impending vote on their community’s support of the French and Indian Wars so the town granted her special permission to vote, ostensibly under the principle of “no taxation without representation,” which had been gaining popularity.

After the United States won their independence the first women to vote were in New Jersey, a state whose constitution enabled them to vote immediately in 1776. Unfortunately, an 1807 law rescinded women’s suffrage to supposedly curb voter fraud.

Ironically the most groundbreaking story linked to the women’s suffrage movement is about a man. His name was Charley Parkhurst. Charley was a rancher, farm hand, and stagecoach driver in California (who’d sailed there in 1848 as part of the gold rush), and is believed to have voted in the 1968 election. He was also designated female at birth. Charley (born Charlotte) was raised in New England and ran away from home as a child. Throughout his life he gained immense respect as a stagecoach driver, and the article in the San Francisco Call death began:

“He was in his day one of the most dexterous and celebrated of the famous California drivers ranking with Foss, Hank Monk and George Gordon, and it was an honor to be striven for to occupy the spare end of the driver’s seat when the fearless Charley Parkhurst held the reins of a four-or six-in hand…

Last Sunday [December 28, 1879], in a little cabin on the Moss Ranch, about six miles from Watsonville, Charley Parkhurst, the famous coachman, the fearless fighter, the industrious farmer and expert woodman died of the cancer on his tongue…

…Then, when the hands of the kind friends who had ministered to his dying wants came to lay out the dead body of the adventurous Argonaut, a discovery was made that was literally astounding. Charley Parkhurst was a woman [sic].”

Charley Parkhurst inadvertently, just by existing and quietly living his own life, created a scenario where the old bigotry that prevented women from having any kind of voice in government smashed head-on with a movement so far beyond 1879’s civil rights horizon that hatred didn’t have time to take root. The unwavering respect that Charley commanded (and the rough-and-tumble nature of it) exploded gender norms and gave people a choice between understanding that women are equally capable as men (and therefor that keeping women from voting doesn’t make sense), but insisting on defining Charley by his genitalia; or defending their society’s stance on women’s suffrage, and accepting Charley as he was.

America’s road to women’s suffrage took far too long to travel, made so by a series of blunt political pressures and social inertia. It’s comforting to think about the battle as ancient history, but 95 years is still within a human lifetime. The reason we study history isn’t to enjoy the distance we’ve come, but rather to hard-won lessons to call upon. We’ve gained considerable cultural distance, but those battles from 1807 and 1879 and 1920 still echo to this very day.

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Children, Grief, and Help

August 2nd, 2015

Grief is one of the most challenging things to talk about with your families or closest friends, let alone other people. Not immune to this challenge are teachers whose students have experienced some sort of loss, be it parent, grandparent, sibling, or classmate.

“Saying nothing says a lot,” says Dr. David Schonfeld, founder of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, “and that’s a message we should never leave a child.” It is exceedingly important for teachers to say something to their students—indeed for adults to say something to grieving children in their lives. The question is how to begin the conversation. In her fantastic NPR piece “Grief in the Classroom: ‘Saying Nothing Says A Lot’,” Elissa Nadworny interviews experts and outlines the common problems teachers struggle with when one of their students experiences grief.

“Saying ‘my father died, too’ shifts attention to a competing loss and away from the grieving student.”

Dr. Schonfeld also recommends avoiding sentences that begin with “at least” as this can appear to make light of the situation or “find the good in the sad.”

“The teacher’s goal should be to support grieving students by making clear to them that they are safe and have someone to talk to.”

The article also trumpets the website GrievingStudents.org which is a resource for teachers dealing with grief in the classroom. It is an astonishingly deep resource– not just for teachers but for any adult struggling to help a child dealing with grief– with fact sheets, advice, and videos made by the Coalition to Support Grieving Students. The site ranges in topics from suicide to cultural consideration to grief triggers and reactions.

If you know a child who is experiencing grief, please reach out to them. Whether or not they will open up to you immediately or at all, it is equally important that they know they are safe and have people in their lives who love them.

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The Value of Personal Rituals in Grieving

July 2nd, 2015

Often when we talk about grief we do so in personal stories—and with good reason. Stories are nothing if not little murmurs that let us know we’re not alone.  But stories do have their limitations, and if you’re looking for good, concrete advice you can’t do much better than science. Emily Esfahani Smith’s piece aptly titled “In Grief, Try Personal Rituals” (published by The Atlantic in March, 2014), is a well-considered argument for, well, exactly what it sounds like: using personal rituals.

“Why do some mourners recover from grief quickly—much more quickly—than others? …Many variables, from your personality to your social world to your levels of stress before the loss, play distinct roles.

In the study, published in [February 2014] in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, [researchers] found that some mourners are more emotionally resilient than others, and those who overcome their grief more quickly… …performed what the researchers refer to as ‘rituals’…”

A ritual is a physical act combined with the sincere belief that it means something. A personal ritual is distinct from a public one (wearing black, being the recipient of casseroles, sitting shiva, etc). They may serve similar purposes, but a personal ritual is a more intimate expression, often done alone and typically invented by the individual.

“One woman whose husband died still washes his car each week, as he had done when he was alive… … One woman who lost her mother would ‘play the song by Natalie Cole ‘I miss you like crazy’ and cry every time I heard it and thought of my mom…’ …A man whose wife passed away wrote: ‘In these fifteen years I have been going to hairdressers to cut my hair every first Saturday of the month as we used to do together.’”

But instead of these rituals making their enactors sad, the rituals actually demonstrably lessen their grief. In one study, psychologists asked the 247 participants to write in detail about a loss they had experienced. Then, they were divided into two groups, one of which was asked to write about a personal ritual they had invented to help them through that loss.

“Those in the ritual group… …were less inclined to endorse statements (from a standard scale used to measure grief) such as ‘I feel that life is empty without this person,’ ‘Memories of this person upset me,’ and ‘I feel stunned or dazed over what happened.’”

The complete article at theatlantic.com is full of other studies, each in support of the personal ritual to help with loss, and is a highly recommended read (as is The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion—a mediation on Didion’s relationship with her husband and the time following his death, and heavily referenced throughout the article).

To some it might seem cold or artificial to look to science to govern our behaviors, especially in terms of how we grieve. But these are things that have been helping people for decades—even centuries. Now we can prove that they work and that they can help.

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Life Lessons in Dying

April 30th, 2015
Julie and Rick Becker, 1986

Julie and Rick Becker, 1986

It will be 15 years ago this August 12th that Julie Novak Becker died from breast cancer, two months short of her 41st birthday.

When we were first married, I remember Jules saying that she had a hair appointment.  When she came home that night, her hair was the same as when she left.  I said “You didn’t go to your appointment?” and she said “Oh, this was just an hour consultation visit to see if I’d even let him cut and style my hair.”  I had never heard of such a thing and laughed.

Julie detected what she assumed was a lump in her breast, so she went in for an exam.  A lump was found but the biopsy came back benign, which was a great relief.  It was especially a relief since her grandmother, Dorothy Zedick had died of ovarian cancer at 62 and Julie’s mother, Trudi Novak had died of breast cancer at 47. (Julie’s only sibling, a younger sister, Kathleen in the early 2000’s had a double mastectomy as preventative medicine. As of today, she is cancer free.)  Julie was advised to have another check up in 6 months as a precaution.

About 3 months went by and Julie was on her way to a hair appointment, when she was impelled to turn around and go immediately to the doctor’s office, though she did not have an appointment. Another biopsy was taken and when she was asked to have a seat she knew the news could not be good.  It turned out the lump was not benign and had in fact grown from the size of a golf ball to that of a lemon. When the original biopsy was taken, the sample they took was benign but they had missed the part that was cancerous.

When she returned home that night I had no knowledge of any of this. To my knowledge, Julie had gone to her hair appointment– so when she gave me this news I was stunned. At first I became extremely angry at the situation; then I broke down and cried.  Julie actually handled this news much better than I did. She asked me why I was so angry and I couldn’t answer, all I knew was that I was angry.  I remember my father was in the rehab section of the hospital recovering from hip replacement surgery. I went into his room to tell him. All I could do was hug him. I wept on his shoulder like a small child, as if he could fix this.

Julie was always a stalwart woman, facing situations head on, never one to back down. In one act of defiance against the cancer, she got two tattoos, something she could control.   Through her, I learned many lessons in the face of dying.  Most of us have heard the expression “Until you’ve walked a mile in another’s shoes, don’t judge them.”  I remember Julie telling me that when her grandmother was ill she went through every possible treatment and Julie’s mother, Trudi said, “If I ever got cancer, I would not put myself through everything mother has endured.”  When Trudi got diagnosed, what did she do? She went through every possible treatment there was. Seeing this, Julie told me that if she ever got cancer, she would not put herself through all the treatments her grandmother and mother had gone through. However, when the diagnosis came down, Julie subscribed to all the treatments that were offered, a double mastectomy,  all of which she faced with dignity and forthrightness. Within a short time, she went into remission and all looked well for about 2 years, then a spot was found on her lung (though she had never smoked) it quickly spread to her brain and she was given 1 year to live. None of us know what decision we will make until faced with a similar situation.  Often we will think someone has made a decision we wouldn’t, but making the same decision they did when facing a situation, can be braver using the courage to change our mind.

For the first few chemotherapy treatments, she was tired, but that was all.  Then the sickness started and the loss of her hair that was so important to her. Finally, tired of finding clumps of hair on her pillow each morning, she climbed into the shower and watched what was left of her precious hair go down the drain. One day, Jules said “To think I put so much importance on my hair, when now it seems so trivial when I’m fighting for my life.” It made me think how many things we put importance on, when in the grand scope of things, health and life are everything. Julie took it all in stride. She tried to wear a wig, but soon gave that up for a scarf and hat. As Jules had always done she fought on, a lesson she had learned and taken to heart from her mother.  When the company she worked for denied her insurance coverage, she moved on undaunted fighting not only her sickness, but for the insurance coverage that was rightfully hers.

Where Julie was a fighter, she was also one of the most selfless people I have ever known. Even in this battle against cancer, when anyone visited, she would be the one trying to cheer them up. As weak as she was, Jules fought to the very end.  It wasn’t until all of us who loved her expressed to her as lovingly as we could that it was ok to let go, that she finally did.

One of the biggest lessons I learned was really after Julie died.  At her memorial service, the lady that had headed her support group stood up and shared private information that Julie had said in the sanctity of a meeting, expressing feelings that should have stayed in the support group, period. I was incensed and I brooded over this for probably close to two months. On several occasions I went to phone her and ask her “What was she thinking to say those things?”– but something stopped me.  I called a friend of mine and told her what I was thinking and she advised I write this lady a letter, get it all out, everything I was thinking, read it aloud and then throw it away, don’t send it. So I began writing out all my feelings at the moment.

When things would go kind of topsy-turvy, Julie would make what I called her “funny face” and one time I took a picture of her making that face.  Her birthday was Halloween and it was around that time I wrote that letter. I was not in the mood to go to a Halloween party, but one was being held at work and so I relented to go.  Well, I opened the closet where we had kept different costumes, as Jules’ birthday was always a costume affair. I opened the closet door and there looking at me was this photo of Jules making that face.  It was in that instantaneous moment that all the anger, resentment, etc that I had been harboring was totally gone. It was as if Julie was saying to me, “Let it go, it doesn’t mean anything.”  How and why that picture was there, looking at me, is still to this day a mystery. I have strived since then (not always successfully) to take that final lesson from Jules and try to let go of all feelings of resentment and anger when they come along and realize we are all human, we err, we make bad judgments and try to put ourselves in another’s shoes before reacting.

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My Turning Point

March 30th, 2015
By Brian Braathen

bbraathen and mom photo

It seems most people can look back at their life and identify certain moments that shaped them into who they have become.

I think those individuals who are lucky enough to have someone in their life who can help them navigate (in the right direction) when the times are tough are extremely fortunate. I believe there is more to life than simply living it.  I believe there is a plan and we each have a purpose.

When I turned 22, my mom died.  It wasn’t until a short time later I realized she had been my everything as I knew it.  Her death was not sudden, we had known it was coming… But it was so hard, impossible to prepare for.  It had been 15 years since she was diagnosed with Leukemia, and was really given five years to live.  On one hand we felt like we had ten years of borrowed time, and on the other we felt cheated… it hadn’t been long enough.  For the first time I really felt alone.  I grew up in a family of four… Dad, Mom, brother and me.  Even though I still had my Dad and Brother, I was lost.  I spent the next 6 months feeling like a cork in the middle of a stormy ocean following the currents of convenience, and simply waiting for the sea to calm and “get over” my mom’s death, and move on… as if time would heal and make the difference.

It wasn’t until someone told me, “Good luck with that.”  I asked, “What do you mean?”  They told me I would never get over losing my mom. “You will just learn to deal with it.”

I asked, “How would you know?”  They said, “Because my mom died two years ago.” For the first time since my mom had died, I felt like I was talking to a credible person– a tow rope was just tossed in my direction, something I could navigate from.  It was a short statement, and I’m sure she was unaware the impact it made.  It was exactly what I needed to hear, and when I needed to hear it.

A few days later I was out with a friend and he introduced me to a group of people he knew by saying, “Hey everyone… This is Brian, he is Mormon, but he’s pretty cool.”Everyone gave me the nod to say hi.

What an odd introduction… one that really bothered me. Why would he introduce me like that?  Why did it matter I was Mormon? So later that night when no one else was around, I asked him what he meant?  He said, “It isn’t your fault you’re Mormon… just like it’s not my fault I’m Catholic.  You’re Mormon because you grew up that way, and I’m Catholic because I grew up that way.”

I pondered on this a minute and understood the label, and wondered if he was right? Was I Mormon because my mom was Mormon?  I wasn’t sure. I had never been challenged to stand alone to back up my personal convictions. Who was I really? What did I stand for? This was the turning point in my life. I needed to find out for myself who I was and what I believed in, without my mom to guide me.  Was I a Mormon or simply raised that way?  I made a commitment to myself: I would do the things I was taught were right, pray each morning and each night, recount my day, and show gratitude for the things I had, rather than the things I didn’t have or had lost.  I would go to church each Sunday and respect the Sabbath day.  I would talk and treat people the way I wanted to be treated, I would read the scriptures, and after one month I would ask if what I was reading was true.

At the end of the month, I knelt down and prayed to God, and as I asked, I was flooded with feelings that communicated to my thoughts. It is very hard to describe…  impossible for me to put into words, but the answer was clear, “Why do you ask about things you already know the answers to? Brian, I love you and if you love me, keep my commandments.” There were no words, but I can’t deny what was communicated.

Since this experience, I have come to know that all of us will experience tribulation, trials, heartache… It is who we turn to in these times of trouble that make all the difference, by giving us strength and hope. I was fortunate enough to have the best mother ever, who taught me how to find the answers I need.

When we look in the mirror do we recognize the image looking back?

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Snapshots of Joy

March 30th, 2015

I remember the teacup ride. Just myself and Tom, the only adults in line not accompanying children, strategizing our hand movements to stay out of the other’s way. And when the ride started, whipping our little teacup around as fast as our full-grown, weight-lifting arms could take us, till laughter overcame our strength and centrifugal force shoved us back against the lip of the teacup. Then, stumbling through the park, dizzy and sore and giggling.

Snapshots of Joy is a place to share a wonderful memory of your deceased loved one. Maybe it’s building a wonky looking snowman, or maybe it’s a miserable camping trip that time has ripened into a fond memory. Maybe it’s a big event like a wedding, or something small and pedestrian like cooking dinner on a Tuesday night.

What’s one happy memory with that person, in 75 words or less?

Leave a reply below and share your joy!

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Why God Gave Me You

March 2nd, 2015

Written by Erica Wilkinson

sam and mom

Sam and Erica

Did you know that there are Angels among us?  I know my son, Samuel, my firstborn, was one of them.  How lucky am I that God choose me to be his mommy?

Let me share with you why.

Samuel Austin came into this world June 12th, 1996.  I experienced a typical and healthy pregnancy, so I was completely unprepared for what this little boy had in store for me.

Sam was far from typical.  He was diagnosed with global developmental delays, seizure disorder, cerebral palsy and broad form autism.  He was non-ambulatory and non-verbal.  WHAT?  Our family didn’t plan for this! What do we do?  What, as his mom, do I do for him?  I needed help!  With outside resources and some support, we were able to get my Sam connected to therapies that included; occupational, physical, speech, and hippo therapy (specialized horseback riding).

During all of my caring, all of the times we spent at Children’s Hospital as Sam fought off another illness, all the times I nursed his weak and tired body back to health, I had no idea Sam was teaching me, training my heart to be more open towards others and their needs. He was training me to become an honorable servant in God’s eyes.

Although non-verbal, Sam had his own language and I learned it, quickly.  I became his voice and his advocate.  It was a few years after he died before I realized that I needed to use what he taught me to be of service to others who are vulnerable.  Clearly, in the few years that passed after Sam’s death, God knew I wasn’t properly prepared for the honor of caring for those in the special needs community.  I made some horrible choices and made some poor decisions.  The shame was still there, so I first had to forgive and be forgiven.  But, then the day came…

Walking in the hall of my children’s school, a former caregiver of Sam stopped me, and abruptly asked me, “Why are you not teaching as a paraeducator? We could use you, you have life experience.”  You’d better believe I did!  Twelve plus years of hands on experience and more medical knowledge than any mother should know about without a nursing degree.

Okay! There was my sign and my acceptance from Sam.  I could feel him say, “Mom, you are ready, do what it takes.”

I now work as a substitute paraeducator for the Edmonds School District (I actually have schools request me to help in their classrooms).  I am also an in home caregiver to a beautiful young woman with special needs.  Mom is doing my best to make you proud, my angel Sam.

It was also God’s incredible timing that I became pregnant with my youngest, Nathan, during Sam’s final months with us.  This was truly a miracle because my (now) husband Dave and I thought were unable to have children of our own.  Nathan may not have physically known his brother, but he knows Sam, and we speak of him often. Nathan’s middle name is Samuel.  The meaning of Nathan is:  Gift from God.  The meaning of Samuel is:  Asked of God; heard by God.  That is no happenstance, that is providence.

Out of such despair and deep sadness over the loss of Sam, I have witnessed goodness and light breathed into others souls.  Especially, in my middle son, Jackson.  Throughout Sam’s life, Jackson took a back seat.  Most of my energy was on Sam and stabilizing his health.  This did not make Jackson bitter nor did it deter him from assisting in Sam’s care whenever he could.  This brought about compassion and empathy in Jackson at a very early age.  Even though each grief experience is unique, I make sure to keep an open door of communication with Jackson about Sam.  We reminisce and remember Sam every day.  Jackson is even writing his own story of loss and healing about his brother.

Sam didn’t have a choice in his future and he fought his illness to the very end.  He is my true hero, therefore it is my mission to carry out his legacy to teach and care for others with special needs about God’s love.  By doing this, it is the continuation of my grieving and healing process.  My angel Sam may have had ‘no voice’ but, he impacted many hearts with his unconditional love.

My beautiful family…I am grateful…

(left to right) Nathan Koda and Jackson

(left to right) Nathan, Koda, and Jackson

(top to bottom) Dave and Nathan wilkinson

(top to bottom) Dave and Nathan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What follows is a letter Erica Wilkinson wrote on behalf of her late son Samuel. 

THIS I KNOW…

TO MY MOM:

THANK YOU FOR NURTURING ME. THANK YOU FOR ALL THOSE TIMES YOU STAYED BY MY SIDE, SINGING, TALKING TO AND COMFORTING ME.
I WAS LISTENING!

TO MY DADDY:

THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING MY MOMMY. THANK YOU FOR WRAPPING HER IN YOUR STRONG ARMS AS SHE WEPT FOR ME. THANK YOU FOR LOVING HER. ALWAYS LOVE AND CARE FOR OF EACH OTHER.
I’LL BE WATCHING!

TO MY BROTHER:

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING OUR MOM IN HELPING TAKE CARE OF ME. YOU SHOWED ME COMPASSION AND LOVE THAT ONLY A PRECIOUS BROTHER LIKE YOU COULD GIVE.
I NOTICED!

TO MY GRANDPARENTS:

THANK YOU FOR THE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE YOU GAVE ME. THANK YOU FOR TAKING ME ON WALKS, PLAYING GAMES WITH ME, AND FOR FEEDING ME COOKIES AND YOGURT.
I FELT LOVED!

TO MY AUNTIES, UNCLES, AND COUSINS:

THANK YOU FOR INCLUDING ME, EVEN WHEN IT SEEMED THAT I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND. THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR IDEAS AND ASKING ME HOW I FELT OR WHAT I THOUGHT.
I FELT ACCEPTED!

TO MY PATIENT AND UNDERSTANDING TEACHERS:

THANK YOU FOR SHOWING ME NEW EXPERIENCES AND TAKING ME ON FIELD TRIPS. THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME EAT CAKE WITH MY HANDS. THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME EXPERIENCE THE USE OF MY LEGS IN THE BOUNCY BUNGEE – THIS MADE ME GIGGLE AND VERY HAPPY!
I WAS LEARNING!

FOR ALL OF YOU WHO WONDERED WHAT I WAS THINKING, FEELING, AND SEEING:

NOW YOU KNOW…

WITH LOVE,

SAM

 

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89th Annual Memorial Day Service

February 27th, 2015
Memorial Day at Evergreen Washelli

On Monday May 25th, 2015, Evergreen Washelli will host our Annual Memorial Day Commemorative Service. Please join us as we honor America’s fallen and salute the flags on our “Avenue of Colors”.

In the morning, at 7:00 AM, there will be a Flag Placement at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Each of the 5000 white marble upright markers in the Veterans Section will receive a flag placed by hundreds of volunteers that will come out for this event. Veterans, scout groups, churches, local organizations and families will place the flags.

The 1:30 p.m. concert will feature marches, patriotic selections and other music provided by the Seattle Pacific University Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Drum Corps. The Service of Remembrance begins at 2:00 p.m.

Following the Memorial Day Commemorative Service, we invite you to attend a guided tour of the Veterans Memorial Cemetery and learn about the remarkable lives of the Medal of Honor recipients in our care.

Our guide this year will be David Bloch, son of the Medal of Honor recipient Orville Emil Bloch. We are extremely honored and excited to have him as our tour guide.

David will guide us through the history of the Veterans Memorial Cemetery, as well as teach us about the stories of Private William C. Horton, PFC Lewis Albanese, PFC William Kenzo Nakamura, 2nd LT Robert Ronald Leisy, Coxswain Harry Delmar Fadden, and of course Colonel Orville Emil Bloch.

Kindly meet us at the Doughboy Statue in the Veterans Memorial Cemetery at 3:15 pm. We ask for a $5.00 suggested donation for attendance, which will go to the purchase of flags for the Avenue of Flags. For more information, and to reserve a spot, please call us at (206)362-5200 or email tours@washelli.com.

Memorial Day Service

 

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