Archive for tears

VIDEO: President Obama Speaks on the Death of Nelson Mandela

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President Obama eloquently delivered remarks on the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Here are a few excerpts, transcript courtesy of WaPo:

He achieved more than could be expected of any man.

Today he's gone home and we've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth...

His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better...

As he once said, "I'm not a saint unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying."

I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. My very first political action -- the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics was a protest against apartheid. I would study his words and his writings. The day he was released from prison it gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided by their hopes and not by their fears.

And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set...

I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.

To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal and reconciliation and resilience that you made real: a free South Africa at peace with itself. That's an example to the world, and that's Madiba's legacy to the nation that he loved.

We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again, so it falls to us as best we can to (forward ?) the example that he set -- to make decisions guided not by hate but by love, never discount the difference that one person can make, to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.

For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived, a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice.

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LIVE VIDEO FEED- Pres. Obama's statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela 5:20pm ET

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over

Paddy posted the sad news here: R.I.P. Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

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Blogger interrupted: Apparently I'm suffering from "complicated grief"

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writer interrupted
doctor's orders

So as some of you recall, this happened last May: Final Dad Report: To the so, so many of you kind enough to ask and care.

Since my dad passed away, I haven't been doing all that well, and as it turns out, worse than I thought. Now before all my well-meaning pals tell me that I should have been taking care of myself, I promise you, I have been. Having been brought up by a truly superb doctor, I'm hyper-aware of how to stay in the best possible health. But despite being good to myself, resting, taking breaks when I can, and cutting back, my blood pressure's up and I'm not myself, as I told you here: Note to Readers.

In the past two days I've been to two doctors. Both were concerned about my stress level, both ordered me to stop doing what I do, at least for awhile, and to take a very mild, children's dose of anti-depressant until I get past this.

Did I mention I hate meds? But in this case I didn't argue. Well, maybe a little.

I have what they call "complicated grief depression" which is when grief symptoms persist for longer than six months. I had pretty much self-diagnosed, but didn't realize that what I was going through was a real "thing" with an actual name. Via the Harvard Medical School website:

[I]f the symptoms linger and become increasingly debilitating, the condition turns into what is now being called unresolved, protracted, traumatic, or complicated grief. It has features of both depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). ...

The most characteristic symptoms are intrusive thoughts and images of the deceased person...

Bingo. Thankfully, most of the symptoms described in the article didn't apply to me.

Yes, this is really personal stuff, but I'm sharing it with you in case anyone else out there who is dealing with the death of someone close to them feels as confused as I've been feeling lately. It's a relief of sorts to get a handle on what the hell is going on in my tiny, rattled little noggin.

So, until I'm given different marching orders, I won't be posting much, if at all. Mandatory down time.

However, I will be paying close attention to politics, and will likely keep up with my Tuesday radio spot with Nicole Sandler. I will also still be on the Twitter Machine (albeit not as much), mostly commenting, snarking, and tweeting Paddy and David's always excellent posts. Actually, my "Miss This?" automated tweets will take care of most of that, but I'll make every effort to bring attention to the most newsworthy TPC items when I can.

I admit, I don't quite know how to do this, and I'm sort of floundering. For the first time in my life, I have no real direction, at least for the moment, having been forced to ease up on the pace and intensity I've become accustomed to over the past seven years covering politics... and before that, decades passionately immersed in show biz.

But health comes first. Period.

Thank you for all the support you've given me since May, and for always understanding and caring. You guys rock.

And please be good to Paddy and David!

drunk wine doctor

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VIDEO-- GOP lawmaker, in tears: "I cast a politically expedient vote in favor of DOMA & I have regretted that ever since.”

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gay rights Lynne Osterman Minnesota

Via Americans Against the Tea Party:

Back in March, Lynne Osterman, who was elected as a Republican to the Minnesota legislature offered this tearful apology for casting a “politically expedient” vote for Minnesota’s “Defense of Marriage” law that outlawed same-sex marriage.

Her tears brought me to tears:

I served as a Republican because of my interest in smaller government. And it was incredibly counter-intuitive to me to then upon my arrival, tell citizens how the government wanted them to live their lives. I didn’t’ come to St. Paul to single out same-sex couples and their families. But in my only term as a member…..[long pause, tearing up] I cast a politically expedient vote in favor of DOMA and I have regretted that ever since...

Nothing in my life says it's OK to treat people differently than how I would want to be treated— fairly, respectfully, equally. And that's really what this conversation is about. Whether you believe in big government or small, do you believe in fair, respectful, equal? Is it ever OK to say "well, except for those people"? ...

I blew my vote. And I'm imploring you, please get this right. Minnesota citizens just want you to lead.

She got her wish. In May, Minnesota voted for marriage equality.

Let's hope this is another sign of things to come.

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I don't know how to thank you

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i love you so much

For two full days my Twitter stream and TPC Comments under Final Dad Report: To the so, so many of you kind enough to ask and care have been been filled with your compassion and kindness, your often intimate stories, and your wishes, love, and tear-inducing words of comfort.

I am overwhelmed. I cannot thank all of you enough for caring and sharing your own personal experiences, sorrow, wisdom, optimism, advice, and empathy. I've read every single message, and even though there is simply no way I can respond individually to all of you, I can offer you this, a heartfelt post brimming over with profound gratitude.

Consider this a huge hug for every single one of you who took the time and emotional energy to send condolences and soothing notes, emails, tweets, IMs, and phone calls.

It feels like I have hundreds of close friends and family right here with me at all hours of the day and night, whenever I need you... whenever we need each other. I don't know how to express my appreciation strongly enough, but just know you, every one of you, has made a difference.

I'm truly humbled and honored to be surrounded by such kindhearted friends, even though most of us have never met face to face. Please know it's mutual, that you can count on me the way you've let me lean on you.

I wish I could do a better job of communicating how much you've helped. All I can do is repeat the same two words:

Thank you.

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Final Dad Report: To the so, so many of you kind enough to ask and care

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dad 2

 R.I.P.

I hope it's okay with you, the so many who have followed and cared so much about my Dad Reports, that I write the final chapter here on TPC rather than try to respond to more tweets than I can possibly answer.

I hope it's okay with you that I share only what I can share and leave it at that, because this is so difficult to write about.

I hope it's okay with you if I do it this way, and I hope very much that you understand that if I fail to reply to you personally, it's only because your responses have been overwhelming every time I've tweeted about him over the past 2+ years, and that I get so many kind, sensitive, sweet replies, that I just can't handle all of them the way I'd like. I wish I could, but I can't.

Just please know that I read and appreciate every one of them, I love every one of you, and you have provided support the likes of which I've never experienced before in my life, and never imagined existed.

Over the past couple of years, I've been asked so many questions that I will try to fill in the details that a lot of you have been asking about.

Tuesday, May 14, was my dad's 94th birthday, as some of my Twitter followers may recall.

Background: He was an internist, and he anticipated much of what has happened, so we were prepared and surrounded by the best doctors (his friends and colleagues), and got excellent advice and care.

On Thursday May 16, I brought my dad dinner, as my brother and I have done every night since my dad's first stroke over 2 years ago (he's suffered from a series of small strokes over time). Despite the strokes, he remained amazingly quick and witty, even when he could no longer speak in intelligible sentences, or barely form words; communicating verbally deteriorated into mumbles with occasional recognizable sounds and words. He never forgot who my brother and I were, and even remembered his grandsons with prompting, even if it took an entire day to recall them.

We have been there without fail every single day and/or night to make sure he's had everything he needs. Roger, his 24-hour aide, has been there for the past 20 months, and he was letter perfect, caring, anticipating every move, every need of my dad's, as if he were family.

Months ago, @AliKat747, who has become a friend not only on Twitter, but in "real life," urged me to start hospice care. I always thought that was only something to request at the very end, but she informed me otherwise.

This is something everyone should know. Hospice is not reserved for deathbed care. For months now, my dad got weekly checkups from hospice nurses, follow-ups, medical equipment, a hospital bed, oxygen tanks (for when he might need them), medication... all covered by Medicare. This couldn't have been more comforting, and as time went on, as they developed a history with him, as he got increasingly dependent and in need of more care, they were there to provide everything we needed... with comforting words, smiles, hugs, you name it. Again, please understand, hospice care is not something you should put off until the last minute.

So to @AliKat747, you have my undying gratitude and love. You were the angel who dropped in at just the right moment. You were the person who was astute enough to see what we couldn't, and pushed us in the right direction. You are the definition of "friend."

I also must thank, again, Keith Olbermann for so strongly urging us to get end-of-life papers and affairs in order well ahead of time. He did that on his "Countdown" show when he was going through a similar ordeal with his own father, and was compassionate enough to fill us in on how to cope with what he was experiencing, even through his own pain. Thank you endlessly, Keith. Your advice was invaluable.

On May 17, Mr. Laffy and I went to Boston for one of our twin's graduation from Tufts. He got his Master's in nutritional science and we were so happy and proud. We arrived at our hotel, and literally, not a minute after we stepped into our room, the phone rang. My brother called to tell me my dad had suffered another stroke. He could no longer move his mouth, he couldn't speak, he could barely nod, and was coughing 24/7. Roger the aide was there for him, sleep deprived, worried sick about my dad, and hospice came to the rescue as best they could.

Those symptoms lasted and worsened the duration of our trip. The other night, some of you may remember that I tweeted about his having to go on Morphine and how I knew this was the end of a very long and painful road. When I called my brother from the car on the way home from the airport yesterday, I was told the meds (diuretics to alleviate the fluid accumulating in his body; his heart could no longer pump body fluids effectively), including the Morphine, were not working.

We went straight from the airport to my dad's house, fighting terrible gridlock on the freeway, so it took much longer to get there than it should have at 3 pm. Again, that was yesterday, Monday, May 20.

We got there at 4 pm PDT. I walked into his bedroom to see the hospice nurse, Arline, and Roger the aide, at his bedside. My brother was called and was on his way. My dad was gasping deep, long, scary gasps, and I held his hand, telling him I was there, back from the trip, I was there. I didn't know what else to say or do. "I'm here, I'm here."

Arline told me she was going to give him something to help lower a fever that had just developed. But that never happened. I watched as my dad drew his last breaths. Big, loud, deep, scary breaths that were spaced far, far apart. Arline gave me a "he's gone" look. I asked, "He's gone?" Seconds and seconds went by and suddenly he drew one huge breath. I thought that was it. Seconds again went by. One small breath. Then he was gone.

All that happened in the very few minutes since I arrived at his house.

It was my first time seeing anyone who wasn't alive. Ever. I didn't know what I was feeling. It scared me, it was horribly disturbing, and of course, very sad. Arline hugged me. She was a compassionate anchor who knew exactly what to do and say at each moment. I pointed at Roger and said, "He's the hero." Because he was. He spent countless sleepless nights with my dad when he would wake up at all hours to somehow get himself to the kitchen to eat bananas at 1 am, 3 am, 4 am. He couldn't walk (meaning, shuffle tiny, tiny steps as Roger held him up) alone during the day, but somehow in the wee hours of the morning, he got himself to the kitchen.

After he took his last breath, both Arline and Roger, independently, said, "He waited for you to come." I'm not sure I believe that, but it was a kind, lovely thing to say.

Mr. Laffy hugged me and we left the room.

My brother showed up a few minutes later.

I hope it was okay that I shared these details with you. I did that for two reasons. I haven't really shared them with anyone else except Paddy and my in-laws, and it helped. So thank you for indulging me.

I also know that I will get so many heartfelt tweets of condolences and so many questions that this was the most efficient way I could handle that. I don't feel like talking on the phone, I don't feel like doing much of anything.

I haven't told my twins yet; they stayed in New York for a day or two and are on their way home right now. I'll fill them in once they're here. I just couldn't bring them such sad news while they're celebrating and finally relaxing after a tough, tough school year.

Again, thank you for bearing with me. The next few weeks and months will be taken up with sorting through his belongings, selling his house, and the usual things people do that I've never had to do before. I will be here to post when I can, but today isn't one of those times.

And thank you ahead of time for all your kind words, your outpouring of love and shared stories of similar experiences, and for becoming my cyber family. I likely will not be able to respond to you individually, so please consider this my way of doing what I can to express my gratitude.

cry

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#Newtown family, massacre survivors lose everything when fire destroys their home, kills pets

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 (AP Photo/The News-Times, Tyler Sizemore)

(AP Photo/The News-Times, Tyler Sizemore)

Damn damn damn, how much more can these families take? The New York Post is reporting that one of the Newtown, Connecticut families whose two young children were lucky enough to survive the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has endured yet another devastating tragedy.

A fire destroyed their home:

Barth, his wife Audra and their three children lost everything in the Wednesday afternoon blaze, including their 5-year-old Chihuahua and several baby chickens.

The Barths’ children — including 7-year-old Peter, who survived the massacre with his classmates in a locked school bathroom — were “pretty shaken” by the blaze, Hans Barth said.

Thankfully, nobody was home when the fire broke out, but Hans Barth came home from running errands only to find his street closed off, his house on fire, and fire trucks at the scene. They wouldn't let him through.

Nothing in the house could be salvaged, and for now, the Barth family is living in a motel.

Whatever happens, the Barths plan to stay in the neighborhood.

“Our kids have been through a lot. To tear them out of their home now it would be the worst thing we could do,” Audra Barth said.

From what the Post article suggests, the family's attitude about this new heartbreaker is remarkably positive and forward-thinking. I'd be curled up in a ball under the motel bed uncontrollably sobbing, "Why US?" The Barths deserve a medal and nothing but good fortune and emotional security for the rest of their lives.

Per the News-Times of Danbury, people willing to donate clothing or toiletries can contact Wilford at thewilfordfamily@gmail.com, or donate to the Barth Family Fund at http://www.gofundme.com/2fns60.

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