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What Matters?

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One of my favorite singers, Etta James, is terminally ill battling leukemia. She's a wonder! I've seen her perform several times, once when she sang her whole concert propped in a chair center stage. This was the concert I sat in the front row and her drummer flirted with me the whole set. But I'm not a groupie type.

Rather than a retrospective on her long career and moving vocals, I find more focus on the web about the dispute related to her estate.

Unlike the lyrics of her song "At Last" (... My love has come along / My lonely days are over / And life is like a song... ), her last days seem more about who gets what and how much, and when.

I know this one, the messy chatter among survivors after people die. I've been surrounded by death and dying this year. Several suicides in my circle, the death of an aunt I loved, then a long-time close friend lost her mother a few days before Christmas. Most recently, a friend from high school, an avid rider, paralyzed some years ago when a horse tossed her, died in her sleep this Christmas week.

I know this one, the story of loss and and what happens to us left as survivors.

Some people go away, some shut down, some harbor resentments, I've seen it all in the circles of death and dying I've witnessed so much over the year. My way is to seek simplicity, and mourn, talk, reflect and bear myself open. Maybe this is one advantage of Shiva, the tradition in Judaism for survivors to gather for seven nights after burial to reflect, eat, celebrate and mourn. It's harder to run away from grief when part of the mourning is to gather and face the process of loss.

So much loss these days calls me to look at what and who matters in life. For sure, what does not matter is resentment or wishing about "what if..." and battling over money or property or who said what and who's right and who's wrong.

How can any of this matter when life itself is so precious?

Rather than resolutions for the new year right now, I'm looking at a year-end tribute to life, not the sideline distractions. How about you? What's in store for the closing of 2011, and ahead for 2012?

Wishing you a joyous, thoughtful, kind and prancy year-end as the door opens to new beginnings.

What do you think? I'd love to hear. Please post your comment below, or email me.

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This is another post for Mutts Like Me.

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