December 12 , 2007
Volume 3 - Number 63

candle flame

sam's shiva light

candlelight - shiva lamp

sam's light smiles

IMPORTANT: If these photos inspire writing or anything else that has you share it and the photo, please be certain to credit the source, including the URL of this issue,

Today's Picture to Ponder Photos
Shivah [Jewish Mourning] Candle Light at the end of the 10th day of burning of a candle that was meant to last for seven days

In the period shortly after Sam's death, I had sporadic thoughts as to what photo(s) I might use in the issue of Picture to Ponder that I would finally be able to bring myself to put together, sharing his passing with all of you.

Then the light of the candle, still burning in his memory, three days after it was meant to be finished, flashed the thought into my brain, "Sam's light will never go out!" So, of course, I went for my camera and took photos from many angles. There was still some wax remaining, coating one side of the glass.

Aside from commenting on the bottom of the four photos, which brings a grin to my face, I will leave the space open for you to freely and fully experience the photos in your own way. Suffice it to say that in the last photo above, I get the feeling that Sam is smiling and waving to us.

To learn more about the Shivah candle and actually see what it looks like, in a photo taken with flash, see CANDLE. You'll also clearly see the setting in which I had it, thus clarifying some of the textures for those who are technically curious.

Self-Reflecting Queries
When someone who is close to us dies, we are confronted with the various ways with which we deal with issues, people, and situations. Sometimes we have time to prepare, if there ever is such a thing, and other times not.

For today, I am simply inviting you to check into your own life and see if there are any unspoken expressions of love for individuals, including yourself, which you might care to make. If so, please take those actions in person, by phone, and/or in writing.

Our two sons and I were fortunate that we were able to be with Sam as he passed, giving him the needed permission to go, as we spoke, held and loved him.

If you wish to experience more of Sam and some of what has been shared about him, please visit REMEMBERING SAM.

The Medical Story

The following is for those of you who are wondering what happened, for those who know how important Sam was to me, our family, and the work that comes through here in Picture to Ponder.

Bottom line, somewhere, somehow, Sam contracted a bacterial infection in the blood, totally unrelated to the Parkinson's Disease with which he was afflicted. The antibiotics needed to cure the infection did play havoc, I'm sure, with his condition. He was in the hospital for two weeks. Ultimately the infections were cleared, I think, and the other issues stabilized AND due to weakness in his swallowing muscles, in the end, he died of "respiratory failure."

PLEASE, if you know anyone who has Parkinson's Disease, let them know the importance of consistently and ongoingly working on swallowing exercises given to them by their speech therapists. Make sure that their care partners also are aware of the importance of these exercises. Although Sam had been working with a speech therapist until about a month before he went into the hospital, and she saw no swallowing problems, in retrospect I can recall signs of weakness that I ignored.

I am not going to do an "if only..." on myself and I will now use every opportunity to educate people where and when I can on how critical exercising these muscles is. I will put together a resource page for those interested. If you do want more information, please e-mail me and put "Swallowing" in the Subject section. [back to top]

I do appreciate all of you being in my life.

With love, Sheila

Reader's Comments
are welcome on our BLOG. When you go there, you'll see the current issue and photo and a link at the end for Posting Comments. To see the photo ENLARGED, at the same size you see it here, simply click on it.

If posting on a blog is not your style, please continue to send your comments directly to me. Learning what you are experiencing means a lot. It is part of the reward, for me, of publishing Picture to Ponder.

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Updated 12/12/07