Today's Beautiful Gem: "A Word From Frances"-- a passage from
"Death Be Not Proud" by John Gunther (especially selected by my son)

"Death always brings one suddenly face to face with life.
Nothing, not even the birth of one's child, brings one so close
to life as his death...

"Johnny lay dying of a brain tumor for fifteen months. He was in
his seventeenth year. I never kissed him good night without
wondering whether I should see him alive in the morning. I
greeted him each morning as though he were newly born to me, a
re-gift of God. Each day he lived was a blessed day of grace...

"All the things Johnny enjoyed at home and at school, with his
friends, with me. All the simple things, the eating, drinking,
sleeping, waking up. We cooked, we experimented with variations
on pancakes, stews, steaks. We gardened, we fished, we sailed.
We danced, sang, played. We repaired things, electric wires,
garden tools, chopped wood, made fires. We equipped the Chem Lab
Workshop, in the made-over boathouse, with wonderful gadgets, and
tried out our experiments, both simple and fantastic...

"We talked about everything, sense and nonsense. We talked about
the news and history, and its many varied strains; about the roots
of his own double heritage, German and Hebrew; about empires past
and present, India's nonviolent fight for freedom, about the
reconciliation between the Arabs and Jews in Palestine. We talked
about Freud and the Oedipus complex, and behavior patterns in
people and societies, getting down to local brass tacks. And we
also played nonsense games, stunts, and card tricks...

"How often I had wished I had not sent him away to school when he
was still so young that he wanted to remain at home in his own
room, with his own things and his own parents. How I wish we
had maintained the marriage that created the home he loved so
much. How I wish we had been able before he died to fulfill
his last heart desires: the talk with Professor Einstein, the
visit to Harvard Yard, the dance with his friend Mary...

"Parents all over the earth who lost sons in the war have felt
this kind of question, and sought an answer. To me, it means
loving life more, being more aware of life, of one's fellow human
beings, of the earth...

"It means caring more and more about other people, at home and
abroad,all over the earth. It means caring more about God...

"I hope we can love Johnny more and more till we too die, and
leave behind us, as he did, the love of love, the love of life."

Om Santih! Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao