Obituaries

I hope that after I shuffle off this mortal coil, someone writes an obituary about me as elegant as this one.

Yvonne Bleiman transitioned from her mortal body on August 20, 2013, after suffering from severe injuries after being struck by car as she was crossing the street with a friend. She left us while experiencing unconditional love from those closest to her and while embracing all those forms of religion, spiritualism, and mysticism that will support her on her journey and assist her continued watchfulness over her family and friends.  Yvonne arrived in Princeton with her husband, Junius “Jay” Bleiman and her daughter, Rebecca Anne, in 1966 after living in Athens, Greece.  The most important part of her will always be here with us, while the molecules and atoms of her existence will be buried alongside her adoring husband, Jay, at West Point where they had met in 1959 one fateful night at the officer’s club where she was serving as a military nurse/officer.   Like the bird, the heron, which she admired and was  inspired by her through her interest in Native American mythology, she too was the essence of a free spirit.  A true artist, she had the ability to accomplish things in ways that others may not, and possessed a  confidence in her uniqueness. She was gifted with the physical, mental, and emotional powers of balance and adaptability, self-reliance and determination, and was not easily swayed by the opinions of others.  She trusted her own instincts and, in the end and forever, symbolized transformation and a peace within the changing.   We will miss the grace and beauty that only she could have brought to the world and taken with her to the hereafter.  Her daughter, Rebecca, her grandchildren, Olivia and Jay, and her brothers, “Skip” and Bob Nelson of Seattle and her partner Greg Moore will continue to celebrate her life and greet her in all they see – trees, flowers, birds, butterflies clouds, animals – and in everything else that is beautiful, special, and vulnerable.   Yvonne was not one to believe in obituary’s and when reflecting on how she wanted when her final journey arrived, she shared with her daughter to let all of you to know that “it was fun!”. 
A small memorial tribute will be held on September 15th.  Donations can be made to the Rock Brook School 109 Orchard St. Skillman, NY 08558 where Yvonne had been a teacher for many years.
I find odd the line that says she “was not one to believe in obituary’s (sic)”. If she didn’t care for obituaries, why write one, even one as beautiful as this?
When Emma died, I wrote her obituary from my heart within hours. She had not wanted a ceremony or memorial so I did not hold one. She initially only wanted me to keep her ashes in a box, I published the obituary in her blog, you can see the entire month’s activity here, this is what I wrote the day she died:
My friend, confidant, lover, cooking teacher, music student and wife died this morning at 6 AM.  She was sleeping peacefully and holding my hand when she stopped breathing. She had a very rough night, I was glad that we were in the hospital rather than at home. Her pain medications were being updated on an hourly basis. Her kidneys had failed along with her liver, the pressure from the swelling made her feel the need to urinate but her bladder was empty. At about five she looked at me and said “I can’t fight anymore” and she closed her eyes. I held her hand as she lay sleeping, telling her that the time apart would seem to her like an instant from the perspective of eternity. I quoted Bible verses and reminded her of God’s promise. At about six she stopped breathing. I kissed her and called the nurses, there was no pulse. I was able to stay with her as I tried to call friends and family, due to the hour and the holiday weekend I mostly spoke to answering machines. I held her hand the entire time, when it came time to wash her rigor mortis had set in, her hand stiff and curled around mine. I washed her, gently caressing the body that had once been so full of life, now just an empty container. I stroked her hair and kissed her face and neck, then helped place her body into the bag and onto the gurney. I watched as she was rolled away and packed her things, including the plant she had received just two days earlier.  This afternoon I stopped at the funeral home and realized how little I know about her family, I had no idea of everyone’s name that would go in the obituary, and decided that a generic “well loved by her many friends and family” would be the best route. I picked out an urn, actually only narrowed it down to three, I’ll have to go back with her cousin to make the final choice.  I grabbed a sandwich and now realize that I haven’t slept  in a while. I have a lot to do this evening, but I know it will all be there tomorrow. She is still alive in all of our memories. She is still alive in God’s loving arms. She made me a better person,  and I must honor her by being the best person I can be until we are reunited.
I would be happy if someone could convince me they feel strongly about me now. I lived with a woman once who was fairly abrasive, but whenever she spoke to her father she made sure she told him that she loved him. She never told me she loved me because she didn’t, but it was important to her that everyone knew where they stood with her. For that reason, I did love her.I really don’t need those kind words when I’m no longer around to hear them, to appreciate them, to reciprocate them. It’s a nice thought that people will say nice things once I’m gone, but part of my saying nice (and not so nice) things now is that I would like them to be reciprocated. I feel the same way about tears. If you have shared your emotions with me in life, there is nothing to cry about. If you haven’t, there is no point in crying when I’m gone.Please do not keep my body alive so long that my organs would be useless to others. I would like whatever organs I have that may be useful to others to be donated, and what is no longer needed to be cremated. The cremains I would like scattered, as far and wide as possible. Anyone is welcome to take a portion and spread them someplace you feel is meaningful, and perhaps my cousin will take anything that is left and release it into the gulf stream at about thirty thousand feet.

If there is to be a ceremony, I would like it to open with a traditional version of the hymn Jerusalem, and close with the cover by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Any other music should be inspired by that range. Any and all religious expressions are appropriate, my friends follow God in a wide spectrum of manifestations. And I quite seriously request NO CHEAP BOOZE! Remember me with the beverages we have shared, great wines and beers, and properly made martinis.

I would like to be remembered as one who fixed things. I have dedicated my being to making things work, whether they be mechanical or organic. Faced with the frustration of some things just not being repairable, I have tried to be stoic and graceful. I have asked little more from life than a faithful companion.

I’m not suggesting that my last day here is imminent, but it is certainly unavoidable and unpredictable. I am increasingly aware of the limited nature of my future, and felt the need to share my wishes.
Peace
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4 comments on “Obituaries

  1. Betsy Carbone ~ Hunt says:

    XO

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  2. Cindy Mullins says:

    Do what I have done. Write your own obit. After I read my sister’s obit (lovingly written by her daughter and ex-husband) which gave the wrong city of birth, I decided the safest thing to do is write your own. At least some of the facts will be straight. And if you embellish your already sterling character a bit, those who care will absolutely agree because we do, after all, acquire a pedestal after death.

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    • kblakecash says:

      Oddly, after I finished writing this yesterday, I received a tweet from WordPress suggesting I write my own eulogy, and I thought “Are they reading my drafts?”

      I’ve been rolling around the idea of how I wish to be remembered, and have come to the conclusion I don’t truly care. It would be nice if people gathered and had a nice time because of me, which might cause them to remember the nice times they had because of me when I was alive. I really don’t need to have my name remembered, my life will be remembered in the impact it had on other lives, with or without my name attached.

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  3. […] planning. In fact, by the time you have grandchildren you have probably made your desires known, I have. Younger people should be the ones talking about their end of life […]

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