I WANTED TO ESCAPE the echo chamber of social media so I started reading more away from the computer. I also needed to plan better slide decks for new academic modules so that motivation pushed me towards printed texts too.
I WAS SADDENED to hear of the sudden death of Pat O'Connor, father of Evelyn O'Connor who has helped our Youth Media Team in many creative ways. May Pat rest in peace.
An online death notice cites the deep regret of "his loving wife Patricia, sons David and Cormac, daughters Deirdre, Evelyn and Sarah, grandchildren, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, sisters Anne, Bridie and Mary, brother John and extended family, neighbours and friends". Pat O'Connor died on Monday, February 16, 2015.
The funeral Mass was at 11am Thursday, 19 February in St Patrick's Church, Ballyhaunis, County Mayo (in the photo by Gabrielle Lyons).
I buried my mother a month ago in a funeral attended by several Irish-Americans. Two close family friends are O'Connors but not directly related to Pat O'Connor's family. Death is affecting people I know every week of 2015. I believe that a person who departs from this earth never truly leaves. I certainly feel that way about my mother because she is still alive in the hearts and minds of her five sons. And I'm certain that the memory of Pat O'Connor will not be forgotten as well.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire O'Connor family at this sad time.
I BECAME the senior pilot creative multimedia lecturer in the Limerick School of art & Design during the 28 Days of Writing because I needed a clear and distinct job title. Many of my colleagues append their names with initials but I believe I can lead with a distinct title instead.
The title is a call to action. It's something I've been considering while reading educators who are using February for 28 days of writing simultaneously as I was engrossed in the annual #FeBOOary audio challenge. My call to action concerns flying back into the cockpit by generating revenue that will help offset the cost of flying a small aircraft around Ireland.
This short video clip uses Mantovani's instrumental version of "Charmaine" as a backing track. The Mantovani orchestra enjoyed its first hit in the US charts in 1951. It peaked at #10 in 1952, the same time my mom and dad met each other the first time. They enjoyed hearing the song and sometimes began dancing spontaneously when they heard it on the radio. I have purchased five different versions of the song and am storing two of them on my blog as the backing track of the short slide show honouring my mother.
MY MOM PASSED away at 0630 today and we are following her instructions for her funeral arrangements and burial next week. Along with my four brothers, we also plan to celebrate a few moments of joy when visiting mom's favorite haunts (like Eden Resort shown in the image).
[Movie Clip] Accessible through http://bit.ly/rickiemovie
On a formal note, the obituary  specifies we will hold an open casket viewing in Andrew T. Scheid's funeral home  from 1900 to 2030 on Monday, January 12, 2014. Mom wrote down and prepaid all these arrangements more than a decade ago with Andy Scheid. Mom's funeral Mass is at 10AM on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, in St Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Lancaster, PA.  It's minus five cold outside in Lancaster at the moment but people can park their cars in Andy Scheid's quiet place and stroll the 300 yards up the hidden alleyway to the church. Her burial is in the family plot of the St. Joseph New Cemetery , a place some readers might remember from other family events.  You cannot walk from the church to the cemetery but if you're on Route 999 at noon on Tuesday, the 1971 black Mercedes hearse is taking my mother on a victory lap.
MY MOM IS actively dying. I'm part of a vigil at her bedside.
Hospice professionals have politely told me and my brothers that we need to take care of ourselves just as we continue to offer the best care for mom in her final days. So as part of that personal healing process, I need to vent a few thoughts on my blog, reflecting some of the cryptic log entries we've recorded in the final weeks of 2014.
It sounds oxymoronic to write about "active death" and yet that is a term used by some hospice nurses when a patient enters the final 12 hours of life. To her sons, "active dying" means mom will continue to beat the odds and will extend her time by a factor of three, perhaps dying sometime very early in 2015.
I AM PART of a vigil with brothers now watching my 88 year old mother (in photo snapped 70 years ago) slowly wind down life through rationing of fluids and medication. In some ways, what's happening now to my mom is part of her cycle of life. That's because she grew up in an era where rationing happened during the Great Depression and she knew rationing as a high school student during WII.
While living on an Iowa farm, mom's family received their first "Sugar Book" (War Ration Book Number One) as mom was finishing her sophomore year in high school. The books were distributed in May 1942 through networks of schoolteachers, PTA groups, and other volunteers.