Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Today, if you were able to look back at all your most brilliant successes, stunning comebacks, amazing catches and smokin' ideas, you be able to see that virtually all of them seemed to materialized out of thin air, when you least expected them. And that they exceeded your greatest expectations at the time.

Now, how excited are you about the New Year and all that it has in store for you?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Reason for the Season

It's Christmas Eve in Southeastern Michigan and the snow is gently falling outside, bringing excitement and joy to children all over the Detroit Metropolitan area. The hopes for a white Christmas will be granted this year. Morning will bring smiles to faces young and old as they peer out the window to see such a beautiful sight. A white Christmas is actually a rare thing around here so it is truly something to celebrate.

If you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, or the Start of a New Year, there is something magical about snow drifting slowly to the ground, collecting on the lawn.

But this causes me to think of what we are really celebrating. The real reason for the season. The reason that we gather with friends and family at this time each year. No matter if you are celebrating the birth of the Christ child, the rededication of the Holy Temple, the seven core principles, the start of longer days in the Northern Hemisphere, the Beginning of a New Age, or the start of a New Year, in my opinion, we are really celebrating ourselves. We have been a long time in the making and no other has ever been quite like ourselves. We gather with our loved ones to celebrate us. We gather with our loved ones to celebrate them. As we venture into the unknown, we are pioneers into illusions. We are heroic and courageous. We give beyond reason and care beyond hope. We love without limits and reach, stretch and dream in spite of our fears.

Without knowing, your light has illuminated paths, your gaze has lifted broken spirits, and already your life has changed the course of history.

This is the time of year to celebrate YOU.

This is the start of something bigger than anything the past has ever seen. Welcome to the Brighter Side, my friends. It is you, that lights the way.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Day After

It was sketchy there for a while, but it looks like we all made it.
We survived the end of the Maya calendar.
Had it been the end, what is the one thing you would have regretted not doing?
If you're not doing that right now, Stop. Go do it!
If there's one thing I've encouraged the most here on the brighter side,
 it is to live life with no regrets.
I am constantly looking for opportunities to fill my life with wonderful moments and always encourage my readers to do the same. I hope that you've been able to look at your life with no regrets. But if you haven't, you've been given a second chance with this whole Maya calendar thing. You see the date has been pushed back. As I checked my classic car calendar on the wall, I noticed something.
The calendar ends on December 31st! not the 21st. Silly Mayans.
This is your opportunity to set things right this holiday season.
Happy Holidays to you all.
And thanks for another great year. I've really enjoyed sharing my life with you and interacting through your comments and emails. The next year we have planned many new and exciting things here and I look forward to sharing it all with you. So come along and bring a friend if you like, to enjoy the Brighter Side of the Grave.

Merry Christmas and Happy Yule!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


A few weeks ago, a photo blog that I follow had a theme for the week of windows. As people submitted their entries of different windows in their life, I thought of the windows in my life and the views that I have out those windows.

I'll start here with a view out the van window as I traveled up the state to pick up a body a few weeks ago.
 Then there is the windows that we just had replaced in the house we just sold. (There was a headache and a half)
 At least once a week, I get to enjoy some sort of stained glass windows in various churches that I visit.
 Most will have depictions of Jesus or some other saint. I just can't bring myself to photograph them for some reason.
I like these better.
 I always like this one. It is cut out of a door that leads to the sanctuary of a local church that is about 120 years old.
 A close up of the leading of that cross window (during a funeral service, of coarse)

Then there's one of my favorites. During a procession to the cemetery, as we pass beneath the Blue Water Bridges that cross the St.Clair River at the foot of Lake Huron from the United States to Canada.
Another of my favorites. This is taken from inside the cemetery chapel, looking out over the grave yard.

I know the quality of these photos is not the best. They were each taken with my phone upon a moments notice when I felt inspired. Usually trying to hide that I was taking pictures or even while driving.

I hope you've enjoyed the view from my windows.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012


Is the Brighter Side of the Grave an addiction?
I hope so.
And I'm not just talking about this blog.

I not one to do much with the various blog awards. I don't really put much weight in most of them.
I do appreciate that someone thinks enough of my little blog to pass it on to others and especially that they follow, read and even comment back.
A while ago this one was passed along by a faithful follower, Anne from MorningAJ, and I thought it deserved some attention.

I am flattered that anyone would consider this blog addictive. But when I think of the blogs that I follow, I would have to consider them all addictive. Like everyone, my time is very valuable to me. But I always have to find the time to find out what's going on in blogland. Even if  it means that I don't have time to share myself.

I'm expected to share with you, Why I started blogging and how it has grown to be what it is today.
To do that, I must go way back in my past life, as I call it. Over the years, in my old career, I had moved many, many times. Along the way I had made many friends of co-workers and neighbors. We always say that we are going to keep in touch with people. But time and space have a way of pulling people apart. I originally started blogging on Myspace so that old friends could keep up with where I was or what I was doing in my active life.

As my career in the funeral business grew, more and more, I was asked about my experiences as a professional hearse driver. Commenters consistently inquired about crazy or interesting stories. I found that in social settings our business was often the topic of discussion. Frequently, my husband and I were told that we should write a book.

I have a fascination with life. I may work in the death business. But I help people to get back to living their own life after the loss of someone that they loved. There are so many wonderful stories out there of a life well lived. There are so many humorous things that happen in the course of life and those are the stories that are shared on a daily basis in my business. It's not about death at all. It's about life; wonderful life. It pains me to watch someone wasting their life not feeling fulfilled. My goal in life is to help the people that I meet along the way to find their purpose. To live and love while they are still on the brighter side of the grave. And so, The Brighter Side of the Grave was born.

Here, I like to tell some of the stories that I hear. To pass along what I observe others remembering about their loved ones; the things they thought were important enough to mention at their funeral. I'm learning to live a full and happy life by listening to those memorable moments in other peoples lives. And I blog to pass those wonderful things along to you. Of course I include the crazy stories of my own life as I go. I love to share with you my adventures. Be them at home in the yard or traveling the globe. I hope in some small way that I inspire others to live life without fear or regrets. To keep in mind as you go through your days, that these are the things people will say about you when you are gone. Only you can write the script for your funeral. Only you can decide what people will remember about you. Through our daily lives, we each have a chance to live on forever in the memories of those that knew us.

That is what the Brighter Side is all about. That is why I blog.

So very much can happen in a lifetime, or even in a single day. Yet, I can assure you that whatever has or will happen in yours, no matter what chasms you cross, heights you scale, or how many people you love or are loved by, when all is said and done and you take that final look over your shoulder, what will humble you the most, is that you got to be you. That's pretty incredible!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Another Bullying Casualty

It pains me to see stories like this in the headlines. This story is taken from the website MLIVE which is based right here in Michigan, reporting local news that effects us all. I know it's made national headlines too.
Perhaps with more coverage, people will be more aware of how cruel they can be perceived as. I believe in many cases, people don't even realize how hurtful they are.
I hope that more schools can see the importance of help lines like are mentioned in the article. It's sad that it takes something like this to make it happen. But I am glad to see that they are doing something to help prevent any further trouble.

FENTON, MI – Linden High School junior Josh Pacheco had a heart for theater and an infectious smile, but above all else he cared for others, his family said.
“My son was very funny and exceptionally sensitive and loving to other people’s feelings,” said Pacheco’s mother, Lynnette Capehart.
Pacheco, 17, committed suicide Nov. 27. His parents believe bullying is to blame.
Pacheco was part of the Fenton-based Kidz Theatre Kompany, worked at Tim Hortons, loved his advanced placement politics class and called his four siblings his best friends, Capehart said.
Pacheco also was gay, which led to him being bullied both inside and outside of school, said his mother, Lynnette Capehart.
He told his mother he was gay just two months ago, but Capehart said she wasn't surprised and she said it made no difference to her. She loved her son just the same.
Pacheco was always smiling and entertaining friends and family -- and he loved a random mix of music from The Beatles to One Direction. 
"A young man with an old soul," even as a child he was always comfortable talking with adults, especially about plays, history and politics, Capehart said. 
Although he never got into sports -- "it just wasn't in him to be aggressive," said his mother -- he loved to go out on the boat, go tubing and swimming.
As the middle child, his siblings - Alicia, 20, Tiffani, 19, Grant, 14, and Haylee, 12 - were his best friends, Lynnette Capehart said.
Lynnette and stepfather Michael Capehart said they didn't know until recently that Pacheco was bullied. 
Capehart said her first indication that there was a problem came after the homecoming dance on Oct. 6. She was out of town, so she called to see how the dance was. It was the only one he attended this fall. 
Pacheco was upset and crying, but wouldn’t tell her why, Capehart said.
After his death, she found out from students that her son had been pushed into lockers and teased at school. It wasn’t surprising that he didn’t tell many people about it, Lynnette Capehart said, because Pacheco never wanted to make anyone else upset.
“He was having problems with bullying. He didn’t really want to tell us very much,” she said. “It was very disheartening to me.”
The weekend after Thanksgiving, Pacheco talked to his sisters, questioning life and his future -- comments that worried his parents. His mother talked to him that Sunday and on Monday, Nov. 26, set up an appointment for him to see a counselor on Wednesday -- even though he seemed back to his normal, "quirky" self.
Around lunch time on Nov. 27, Michael Capehart saw Josh's Facebook status, quoting a line from Bilbo Baggins, a character in the "Lord of the Rings" movies: "I regret to announce that this is the end. I'm going now, I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye."
It immediately worried Michael Capehart. Pacheco was home sick that day, so Capehart called his neighbor to check on Pacheco. He was found unresponsive in his truck, which had been running in the closed-up garage.
He left a note in the truck: "I'm sorry I wasn't able to be strong enough."
After news of Pacheco’s death had spread around the school, Lynnette and Michael Capehart said they received calls from friends and parents saying Pacheco had been bullied. 
“We had just lost one of the gentlest spirits God had ever created,” Lynnette Capehart said.
At the funeral, teachers had also mentioned that they believed he was having problems with bullying at school, they said. It upset Lynnette Capehart that she was never notified by the school of the problems Pacheco was facing.
Superintendent Ed Koledo said no bullying had ever been reported to school officials.
“We weren’t aware of any specifics. There’s been a lot of stories that have turned up over the weekend that we are looking into,” he said. “We are trying to put new programs into place, so (students) feel more comfortable (talking to administrators).”
Something that was already under discussion was a bullying hotline — which students can use to text bullying they witnessed or experienced. School officials accelerated plans for the Eagle Hotline, which can be reached at 810-373-2131 -- after Pacheco’s death
The district is also discussing bringing in speakers to talk about bullying and suicide. Administrators will also be talking with staff about what is considered bullying and what to do about it, Koledo said.
Just because there were not reports that Pacheco was being bullied doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, Koledo said. But sometimes it goes under the radar, and the district is working hard to address bullying and make students more comfortable, he said.
“That’s another thing we are looking into. What type of issues (teachers) are taking about and why they aren’t saying anything. That’s a concern,” he said.
Communication is key, Koledo said. A few students have come forward to speak with school officials -- but some students also posted accusations on Facebook, not all of which were true, he said.
“The more communication we have, the better. More lies getting figured out. Communication is the key to unraveling the issues,” Koledo said.
Michael Capehart said he will be in constant communication with the school until some action is taken with students who were involved in the bullying. He said he has contacted an attorney to possibly create a better state law to prevent bullying in the future.
“After years of bullying, look what it can do to a life,” Michael Capehart said.
Lynnette and Michael Capehart say more than anything, they simply want the bullying to stop -- and that includes any bullying of students who others may think were involved with bullying Pacheco.
At least 400 people attended Pacheco’s funeral Saturday. Students and teachers from every school he attended -- including Redford and Fenton, which he attended before transferring to Linden in seventh grade -- were there.
And at the funeral, person after person, family and friends, spoke about Pacheco and how he made a difference in their lives. About 30 people spoke -- and many more wanted to speak but there wasn't time.
Linden High School students also have planned a vigil for 6 p.m. Wednesday (today) at the Mill Pond gazebo to gather, talk about and remember Pacheco

Wisdom Wednesday

To perpetually receive, we must perpetually give.
And to perpetually give, we must perpetually receive.

One might say, but I have nothing to give. But we know that's not true.
We have ourselves. We have our smiles.
All it takes is one small smile. Give it to the next person you see. See what happens.

Something I started doing years ago was to smile first and speak second.
It's difficult to say something negative when you are smiling.
Oh, I'm sure it can be done. But why would you want to do that?

Go ahead. Try it. Do it all day if you like. Let me know how it works out for you.

You know, we don't attract what we want in life; we attract what we are.
The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi makes it clear that "it is in giving that we receive."
Giving aligns us with the way our Source of being acts; consequently, the universe offers us experiences that match our giving, supportive nature.

So get out there and give it away.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Life as we know it....

Is it the end of the world?
Or just the world as we know it?
The Maya left us a calendar that ends on December 21st of this year.
We are fast approaching this fateful day. This leaves us wondering. Are the planets going to align and cause the Earth's axis to shift and the polar ice caps to melt causing floods everywhere? Will there be earthquakes felt around the globe? Is there going to be the long awaited rapture foretold in the book of Revelations? How will the world change? What fate awaits us?

One thing I know for sure, is that life as I know it will surely end on the 21st of December of 2012.
Last year at this time, we were moving my father into my sister's new house. A rather large house with room for anything and everything that our family could throw at it. With ground floor rooms for both my sister and father and still more rooms upstairs for anyone else, it's been a good house to call home to our large family gatherings.

Followers that have been with me throughout the year will remember that my sister suffered a brain aneurysm  at the end of March. It was a tough couple of months in the hospital for her and the rest of us had to step up and take care of my 88 year old father a little more. When my sister came back home, the work multiplied to taking care of both of them. Some of the doctors claim that her brain damage is irreversible. Weather she recovers or not, one thing is clear, disability insurance doesn't pay the same as her full time job at the local theater where she booked the acts that perform there. So it's no wonder that money has been tight since that fateful day when she called me to take her to the doctor for a headache and I ended up in the Emergency Room making life and death decisions and ultimately placing her in a coma for transfer to another hospital where they could help her with her head trauma.

We love the large beautiful home, but it has proved to be too much for us to handle without her income. So on November 18th (exactly one year to the day after purchasing the home) we placed the house up for sale.
A half hour after the open house started, we accepted the an offer from the second couple that saw the house, for full asking price (including closing cost!).

For the open house, I had strung pine garland through the railing of the switch-back stairs and loft area as well as the bridge that leads to the upstairs bedrooms. I then wrapped all the paintings in the home with christmas paper in shades of red. I then baked some cinnamon  rolls and filled the home with the warm scent of the holidays. These buyers were putty in my hands. They didn't stand a chance against my theme of "Home for the Holidays".

It turns out, they want to be in the house for Christmas! We will be signing over the home and handing over the keys on the 21st of December 2012, essentially changing life as we know it for good. And changing the lives of this young couple as they start their new family in a new home.

We unfortunately had not secured a new home yet, as we were not expecting the house to sell in a half hour.
I like to always stay positive and try to always see something before it happens. I find this really works to visualize what you want and leave the details to God or the universe.

Staying positive and always expecting the best outcome worked for selling the house. And now we are doing the same for finding a new one. And after spending the day looking at new construction condos in the area, I think we may have found our new home for Dad and Sis. It has everything that we were looking for and more for a price that works great for the current budget. Going with a new condo will take a lot of pressure off of me when it comes to maintenance and even lawn care. And I will be able to concentrate on caring for the two of them better. Monday we will talk numbers with the finance people and hopefully start moving within the week.

So again I will apologize for not posting very much lately. As you can see, when combined with running the ever growing business and working part-time at a funeral home, sitting down at the computer just doesn't always happen. So I'm hoping that the 21st of December will be the start of something wonderful. So I can get back to telling you folks all about the goofy things that happen on the way to the cemetery.