On My Husband’s Passing

Matthew Perry’s new sitcom, Go On, centers on a recently widowed man trying to get on with his life after the death of his wife. He joins a quirky support group and they become a soul-family struggling together through life’s challenges. Over the course of the last two months, my life has taken on a Go On theme, with my own little cast of quirky characters nudging me along life’s twisted path.

003On February 11, 2013 I received a phone call informing me that, my husband, David Taylor, had died in a car accident at 12:36 pm on I-35 in Oklahoma City. Shocking.  And yet, not really a surprise. You see, I’d sensed his days were short, I just hadn’t known how or when his passing would occur.

Leading a supernal life sometimes opens awareness to information of unfolding events. By last fall, David had a strong sense of his imminent departure. Life circumstances and choices had resulted in the two of us living in separate states during the past couple of years. We saw each other as often as possible, usually converging in yet another state to see our daughters also. We talked often and had conquered skype. Our family gathered together last Thanksgiving and I thought that would be it for our holiday visit. But one day after going to separate gates at the airport, he booked a flight to see me for two weeks at Christmas.

He seemed to be tying up loose ends. He personally purchased toys and books for grand kids and his grand nephews and mailed them off—himself. He arrived in LA with all his tax information ready to assemble and worked on it between Christmas and New Years to leave with me. We drove an hour and half to see his sister who’d moved back to California, something we’d only done once before.

We talked, really talked. Those last two weeks were probably the most compatible, no axes-to-grind, easy-going days of our 36 year marriage. I sensed it was our last Christmas together. We never came right out and said it, but I think we both felt it.

We took day trips—to a classic Craftsman home in Pasadena (for him), a show at the Los Angeles Music Center (for me), lunch at Seal Beach (for us). We rented movies and ate. Oh yes, we enjoyed his favorite, not-good-for-you foods. He bought a ham– a big, juicy one. Christmas goodies and candies? Sure, why not? I let all my healthy living rules slide and I’m so glad I did. We made love, and I’m glad we did that, too.

I’m grateful I didn’t realize dropping him off at the LAX airport would be the last time I would see him. I’ve been through wrenching goodbyes and I prefer, “See you soon,” even if you won’t.

During the first week of February our daughter, Cary, had a dream about her Dad, that she couldn’t quite recall, but left her with the impression she needed to call him. The urge hung over her like a cloud for three days before she finally talked to him.  On Sat. February 9, she told David how glad she was that he had been her Dad and how much she loved him. He reflected on the blessings of his life, counting me as one of them, and the many years we’d shared together. How wonderful that our daughter could have such a significant final conversation with her father.

The morning of February 11 was busy for David. He had a court hearing; he did some work for a client; he went to the bank. He needed to be in Norman, OK at 1 pm for his mother’s surgery at the hospital. He spoke briefly to me and to our other daughter, Sara. The last thing he did before getting on the freeway was drop a Valentine in the mail to me.

Poorly marked road construction would lead to his accident. The off ramp he needed to take to the hospital was closed and he was trapped. When he tried to get back into busy traffic, he veered into a large cone, over-corrected, hit the guard wall and was then hit by a SUV. He perished immediately. Eight hours later, his best friend found my cell phone number and called me.

The people we love, never really leave us. They stay tied to our hearts, live in our memories, and continue in another dimension on their soul journey.

As for me, I am like Matt Perry’s character. It’s time to Go On.–Dana Taylor

Remembering a Prayer Warrior

My good friend, mentor, and kindred-spirit, Jeanie Davis, went to heaven early Christmas morning. She’d asked me several years ago to offer a eulogy for her memorial service and life celebration. Jeanie understood faith and the power of prayer better than anyone I’ve ever known. Here is the message I offered for her family and friends–Dana Taylor

Jeanie David with daughter, Shelley, Christmas Eeve 2012
Jeanie Davis with daughter, Shelley, Christmas Eve 2012

Jeanie Lavelle Emberton came into the world at the family home in Drumright, Oklahoma on October 30, 1932. She was one of five children born to Clifford Crilly Emberton and Verna Willie Young Emberton. During the Depression years, her dad, Clifford, worked for Phillips Petroleum, moving the family through several small Oklahoma towns.

Her Grandma Emberton sewed the seeds of faith early in Jeanie.  A stroke at the age of 32 marked Grandma Emberton with a limp and residual paralysis. Yet she regularly spent morning time kneeling beside Jeanie’s bed to begin their day in prayer. She answered Jeanie’s questions about Jesus. Those morning talks laid a foundation for the Christian life that would influence so many people in the years to come.

During Jeanie’s high school years, the family lived in Shidler, Oklahoma. Her vivacious personality made her a class favorite and she often sang comedy solos. She stayed in touch with several of her classmates and continued to attend reunions throughout her life.

After graduation she moved to the big city—Tulsa—and became a working girl. She met Bill Davis and they married on April 9, 1953. From that union came the treasures of Jeanie’s heart-her four children Shelley, Cindy, Chris and Holly.

The marriage proved to be difficult and turbulent. By 1968 her life was falling apart—her health was poor and she knew her dependence on alcohol had gotten out of control. She was wandering in a personal spiritual desert. Her one glimmer of hope came from dreams of encouragement with Grandma Emberton. She remembered the prayers of her grandmother. On one fateful night, Jeanie fell to her knees in her bedroom. A vision of Jesus appeared. He showed an honest life review. She saw all the ways she was falling short. In those minutes, she experienced true repentance and she received supernatural forgiveness from the Lord. She heard the phrases, “Peace I leave you. Peace I give you. Let your heart not be afraid.” Warmth and the peace of God poured through her. She was given the joy and strength she needed to divorce and move on.

From that point, walking a spiritual path became the highest focus of Jeanie’s life. We all knew her in different roles—friend, mother, or grandmother. But we all sensed her authentic faith. She generously took people into her home. She prayed from the heart and developed her spiritual gifts through study and practice.

Her life had many challenges—physically and financially. But she knew God would always come through.

We all have our favorite Jeanie moments. I met Jeanie in the Servants in Prayer group at Our Lords Community Church. We were truly kindred spirits and became life long prayer partners. She became a mother figure to me after she helped me get through the difficult days of my own mother’s passing.

We were both cat lovers and gave each other feline friends that would be perfect companions. Jeanie adopted a friendly stray that showed up at my house and named her “Sadie.” “She” turned out to be a “he.”  After that discovery, he became “Sadie-Boy.” A couple of years later she returned the favor. I was between pets. Kind-hearted Holly left food out for the local feral cats at the home she shared with Jeanie.  One black-and-white kept running into their house. One day Jeanie called me, “Come over here and pick up this dang cat. He is driving us crazy.” She knew he was meant for me. He’s still my best pal, Buddy.

The last time I saw Jeanie, she was at the assisted living center, looking like a million bucks. Her hair was done; her make-up perfect. When we went downstairs, the workers and residents all knew her and shared a joke or two. In recent months, despite trips to the hospital, Jeanie was a leader in a Bible study and was always ready with a prayer.

The last evening of Jeanie’s life was about as perfect as one could hope. She was surrounded by her family on Christmas Eve. She looked and felt good. She basked in the joy and warmth of her loved ones. Then, as they were celebrating the birth of the Savior at a candlelight service, Jeanie was at home surrounded by angels. She joined Jesus on Christmas morning. Now, she is in her heavenly home.

She will be missed by many, but, Jeanie lives on in the memories and spiritual lessons she taught us. Someone as special as Jeanie may move from one plane of existence to another, but, like Jesus, she is with us… always.

With Love–

Dana

By Dana Taylor Posted in Musings

That 70’s Woman

I watched Kirstie Alley with awe and admiration as she cart wheeled and leaped onto Mak’s shoulders during the “Dancing With the Stars” finale. To see a sixty-year-old woman of solid heft able to pull off gymnastics and dance with such grace and power was inspiring.  Upon reflection, I realize that Kirstie represents many of us who came into womanhood in the 70’s.

 We embraced the society-changing clarion calls of Gloria Steinem, Betty Freidan, and Erica Jong. Helen Reddy sang our  anthem—“I am woman, hear me roar.” We honestly thought we could do it all—find an equal partner, get the great job, raise happy children, stay thin. Participate in the sexual revolution without taking any bullets. So, okay, it didn’t work out quite as well as we’d idealistically hoped.

 Kirstie turns out to be a pretty good poster-child for the 70’s woman. She found commercial success, but personal happiness has been elusive. She fought her way through a maze of bad relationships, see-sawing weight issues, public humiliation. And yet, at the end of the day, she is standing strong, heading into old age with a youthful spirit, showing the world she won’t be anybody’s grey-haired old grandma.

 I doubt Kirstie takes home the sparkling ballroom trophy tonight, but she’s walking off that dance floor a total winner. She represents  the 70’s woman.  Our waists are a little broader, our outlooks a little jaded, but we are strong and taking on whatever comes next with courage and optimism. Hear us roar.

By Dana Taylor Posted in Musings

Debut

Writing the first post of a blog site feels like an auspicious occasion, like the christening of ship. Quick, get out the champagne. On the other hand, there is the question of whether the world needs another blog site.  What’s worse, I’ve heard “a blog shows the world your first draft.” Pure anathema for a writer.

Nevertheless, I plunge ahead. “Definitely Dana” is a phrase that came to me a few years back when I was naming a radio show. Those who knew me deemed it just right. I am a mixed bag of spirituality, comedy, wisdom and cynicism. I am a Christian who reads The Tao Te Ching, accepts reincarnation as fact, and loves singing praise songs to Jesus. I spend an hour in the morning sending healing energy as the Spirit leads. I wasn’t surprised by the monkey business of Tiger or the Governator, but don’t pass judgment on them.

I think I’m on the planet to fulfill some sort of mission. Writing appears to be part of it. As part of the Supernal Friends, I am intensely interested in matters of healing, whether it be of the body, the spirit, or the planet.

I realize we are living in historic times, call it The Shift, The New Age, The End Times, whatever.  Things are a’changing at breakneck speed–politics, religion, publishing, technology, weather, even geography. People are changing also.  Some are becoming “multi-dimensional,”–able to tap into various levels of information swirling about the universe.

It’s an amazing, frightening, wonderful time to be alive. I’ll be writing about the things I see, the insights I receive and the hope I feel for a better world.

Dana Taylor

By Dana Taylor Posted in Musings