Life and Death

My uncle has spent much of the last few years battling with various ailments, but the bottom line is his lungs just don’t work anymore. He’s spent the last week in the hospital on a respirator, and the doctors have said there’s nothing they can do anymore. He’s still alert and can communicate, and after consulting with his immediate family, decided he’d had a good life, and it was time to move on. This afternoon, they removed him from the respirator. The doctors say that without it, he has between 1 and 3 days to live. I travelled to visit him this afternoon. He was sleeping when I got there, but he did wake up after a while, and I got to talk to him for a bit. His throat was too sore from being hooked up to the respirator to talk more than a mumble, but his eyes were alert, and he could nod and shake his head.

This is one of those situations that just makes you think. He’s been on life-support, but he’s still conscious. Here he is completely alert and knowing he’s going to die in the next couple days. I just can’t imagine having to deal with that. In a way, I suppose it’s good, because he gets to say goodbye to everyone. All 5 of his grandchildren made it today to visit (even the ones that flew in from Colorado). It was quite touching.

I pray that he has a comfortable passing.

UPDATE: He did pass on at 9:20am on Sunday. His wife, children, and his brothers were at his side. I’m told that the family had decided to recite the Lord’s Prayer on Sunday morning, and as they said “Amen” he took his last breath.

To blink or not to blink

That is the question my 2003 Saturn Ion was asking the last few days. The passenger-side front turn signal stopped working last Wednesday. I spent half the day Thursday unsuccessfully shopping for a replacement lightbulb. Then on Friday, it suddenly decides to start working again. On Sunday, it stopped again, and as of this morning, it hadn’t worked since. So I took it into the dealer this morning, and discovered it was an overloaded wire harness on the headlight assembly, and not the lightbulb. Good thing I couldn’t find one. 🙂 The headlight assembly wire harness was on recall anyway, I hadn’t made the connection that the headlight was related to the blinker signal. I had been mailed a month or two ago about it, but told that there weren’t parts available, so they were staging the recall, and would mail me again when it was my turn, but if we were affected earlier, bring it in anyway. So we got to cut in line on the recall. The cool part is my Saturn dealer is across the street from an Internet cafe, and they’re close enough that the wireless signal is in range from the waiting area at the dealership, so I could do a little work from there while I waited.

Snow Day

We got 6" of snow overnight last night, and it was windy so we had a few 2 and 3 foot drifts here and there. Schools were all closed today, so Brendan got to stay home. We were shocked, Holland Public Schools even closed, and it usually takes an Act of God to get them to close 🙂 Unfortunately, the snow was dry and loose, no good for building snowmen or anything cool like that 🙁

Please help prevent a big mistake in Michigan

I don’t usually blog about political stuff, but the State of Michigan is quickly heading down a path that I believe is immoral and will only lead to trouble. As a Christian, I can’t sit back and just let this happen. Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors and Proposal 2 currently on the Michigan ballot for next week is one of the most unloving pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen. And the polls are currently showing it slated to pass with 60% of the voters in favor of it. I can’t believe there are so many selfish, arrogant people in the state of Michigan, or that the Catholic Church in Michigan is spending so much money to try and get it passed.

For those who are unfamiliar, Michigan’s 2004 Proposal 2 is an ammendment to the Michigan state constitution which creates a legal definition of marriage as being between only one man and one woman, and allows only that definition to be used for ANY PURPOSE within the state. You can read the exact ballot language on Michigan’s voter information site.

The “for any purpose” at the end of the ballot language is the part that worries me. There are already several laws on the books in Michigan that make same sex marriages illegal. This ammendment won’t change that. What it does change is to make it illegal for anyone to consider a same-sex union as a “family unit” for purposes of health insurance, property ownership, etc. This means a lot of kids will wind up losing their health insurance because they currently have insurance provided by a non-parent partner’s employer, among other things.

The biggest thing that smacks you in the face with this ammendment is that it’s a clear violation of the separation of church and state to even think about putting this in the constitution. Marriage is a religious issue. The state has no business trying to legislate religion. That’s up to the churches. Whether you think a same-sex marriage is ethical and moral or not, it doesn’t belong in the constitution.

My ideal way to handle this? I think the entire concept of marriage should be abolished as a state-sponsored institution. The state should only issue civil union licenses, not marriage licenses, and should be available to anyone regardless of the genders of the partners. If they wish to get that union consecrated as a marriage before God, then find a church willing to provide that blessing. Marriage is an institution granted by God, and as such, it’s the churches’ business to grant it, and not the state’s.

If you live in Michigan, I actively encourage you to VOTE NO ON PROPOSAL 2.

I’ll get down off my soapbox now.

Brendan is on the defensive

My son Brendan started his first self-defense class tonight, where he’ll be learning both Karate and Tae Kwon Do (both are part of the program). Given his very enthusiastic passion for Power Rangers, we figured he would probably enjoy it, and he indeed has. Hopefully it’ll also teach him that there’s more to being a "Power Ranger" than what he sees on TV. 🙂