Rhiannon’s Vigil and Funeral

Partners in Crime

On Thursday, September 11, a vigil for Rhiannon Gladelle Wilburn took place at Wages and Sons Funeral Home in Stone Mountain, GA. The family received guests from 7 to 8 PM and at 8 PM a brief prayer vigil was presided over by Father John Molyneaux, CMF. People told stories — mostly humorous — and Rhiannon's dear friend Cindy Lou Harrington sang two of Rhiannon's favorite songs: her own "Let Me Win" and Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" (with lyrics specially rewritten for "our" Rhiannon).Here's a vi … [Read more...]

Completing the Hospice Journey

Mid 1990s. Rhiannon asks her dad to be her escort at homecoming. He has no idea how this picture will make him sob 20 years later.

Back in May, I wrote a post about my daughter's decision to enter in-home hospice care. Rhiannon struggled with health issues, related to polycistic kidney disease, her entire life, and spent 26 of her 29 years in a wheelchair. I first blogged about her challenges back in 2010. Today's post is the inevitable conclusion to her story. Rhiannon passed away on August 30. Here's a link to her obituary. Maybe the easiest way to write this post is to begin with the message we sent out to the 175 fa … [Read more...]

Living with Hospice

"The Grace in Dying" — a book which explores the contemplative dimension of death and dying

Today is my stepdaughter Rhiannon's 29th birthday. It's always a sweet day, but today is a bit sweeter than most, because just a few months ago we thought she wouldn't live to see it.As I've explained in a previous post, Rhiannon lives with kidney and liver disease. Born with polycystic kidney disease that was so serious she almost didn't make it out of neonatal intensive care, she developed problems with her liver as a result of her kidney problems. To top it all off, she is also … [Read more...]

A Gift for Lorraine

Okay, my friends, get your kleenex ready. This video tells the story of a 96-year-old man who wrote a song for his recently deceased wife (of over 70 years), and how a local recording studio helped to bring the song to life. Part of what's so cool for me personally is that we share the same anniversary (June 26), although of course they celebrated their golden anniversary three years before Fran and I got married.And be sure to download the song from iTunes (I have). … [Read more...]

Impermanence

Early yesterday morning, about 5 AM or so, Fran and I were both awakened by what sounded like a small explosion in our neighborhood. It seemed close enough that Fran got up and peered outside the window. She thought a car hit something. I said it sounded more like an explosion than an accident. We speculated that maybe a transformer blew somewhere in the neighborhood. Then we went back to sleep.Three hours later, when she was leaving for work, we finally realized what it was. Someone had … [Read more...]

John D McColman: Obituary and Reminiscence

First, the obituary...Retired Major John D McColman, USAF, 89, passed from this life in High Shoals, Georgia, on January 15, 2013. A lifelong sportsman and devoted family man, John touched many lives through his quiet but warm personality, dry sense of humor, and compassionate character.John D McColman (his birth certificate simply reads the initial “D” for his middle name, which was intended to be the name of his uncle, Dee) was born on June 15, 1923 in Avoca, Michigan. He entered pilot … [Read more...]

A Few Pictures of Dad: John McColman (1923-2013)

My father passed away yesterday. He was 89 years old.This was the end of a long journey of illness which began with a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease almost 20 years ago; congestive heart failure and finally dementia also took their toll. Of course, these are all diseases of attrition, so it truly was a long, slow goodbye. But he maintained a positive, optimistic spirit pretty much through it all, and was truly loved by the nurses and CNAs who cared for "Mr. John" at the nursing home where … [Read more...]


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