Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Do the Dead Hope?

This last week we lost a valuable and optimistic member of our blogging community, Tina Downey. It left me thinking about death. (Imagine that.)

Have you lost someone dear to you? I've lost several. The first one was my great grandmother when I was 16. She encouraged my budding music talents and losing her was like losing my muse. Several years later I lost my father, and hero, to cancer. The next year I lost a brother--the happiest person I've ever known.


Death to me is very personal, and it's also a symbol of hope.

Hope you ask?

Yes, hope. I believe in an afterlife. I believe I will be reunited with my loved ones, and although I miss them frequently, the pain is bearable because I trust in that distant sunrise when I'll see their faces again and hug the stuffing out of them.

Some people might call that hope crazy. How can I believe what I can't see? Well, because I trust what I feel. I believe those we love who've moved on to the other side are watching over us. I've felt them, encouraging me along during the dark corridors of my life, and how can I mistake the love and steady assurances of my father? We are far less alone than we believe.

Death is sad. It's hard to be parted physically, but it is an opportunity to embrace the life-sustaining power of hope.



Enough of deep thoughts, eh? Ready to guess the lie and win a book? 

Last week, Mary Pax shared her RIFTERS series with us, along with two truths and one lie. Those who guessed the lie correctly were entered into a random drawing for the chance to win her ebooks 

Mary's game: 

1. Mary stood behind Kurt Vonnegut once in line at a newstand. They spoke for hours in the gardens of Dag Hammerskjold smoking Shermans. 
2. She went on a ghost hunt in the Caribbean. On Nevis there’s a tale about a woeful bride who had a fateful wedding day.
3. On the first date with her husband unit, she hit his car. She was pretty sure there’d be no second date. Fooled her! 
And the lie is:

#1. It's true, Mary stood behind Kurt Vonnegut once and she did smoke once upon a time and started smoking the same cigarettes he did, but she was too chicken to talk to him

Way to guess those of you who got it right! And the winner is:

...DRUM ROLL...


Congrats Lynda! 

And now to today's feature:

Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his fairy tale about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.


Get your copy HERE.
Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn't until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known.

You might stumble across Laura eating gooey cream cheese on an onion bagel in her dining room, although she likes just about any cheese. 

Laura gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. Those who figure out the lie will go into my magic hat for the chance to win her eBook. How awesome is that?

You have until Tuesday, September 2, at 1 p.m. EDT to guess--and be sure to come back for the answer on September 3rd.

TRUTH OR LIE

1. Laura's favorite number is 9. 
2. She's the mother of two sets of twins.
3. All four of her kids names end with the letter "n."
Which is the lie? What do you believe about death? Have you lost a close loved one? Do you love fairy stories? 

118 comments:

  1. That was a beautiful tribute to Tina, your great-grandmother, your father, and your brother.

    I'm not sure of how it'll all work out, but I hope to see my grandparents again after this life is over. And hopefully not as a zombie.

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  2. Hi Crystal - yes I can empathise with loss ... and Tina's sudden departures is a huge shock - she really was a stalwart of the blogging community.

    Congratulations to Lynda on her win and then good luck to Laura and I'd say #2 ... double x twins ...

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Double twins would definitely be insane, right?

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  3. What a great tribute, Crystal. I've lost many, many friends and family, over the years.
    Although we grow older and stronger, the passing of a loved one doesn't get any easier...
    Tina's passing has rocked our blogging community... what a great loss...
    The lie is no.#3... just a guess...

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    1. It's true, it doesn't get easier, we just learn better how to face it, eh? Here's to making the best of sad circumstances.

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  4. Beautiful tribute. I miss Tina, too. Like you, I have lost loved ones, too. I lost both grandmothers and my mother all within a six-month period.

    I'm guessing Laura's lie is #1

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    1. My heart goes out to you. I can't imagine being without my mother. She's a life saver.

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  5. What a lovely tribute!

    I'm going to guess #2 as the lie.

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  6. Faith is an incredible thing to possess! Wonderful words, Crystal, and wonderful outlook.

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    1. Thanks, Kristine. Without it, how would we keep going, right?

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  7. Nice tribute. I've lost people too and I keep comfort know they are watching over me.

    --

    I guess #1.

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    1. Agreed. It is definitely a point of comfort. =)

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  8. Crystal, I'm so sorry. I read about Tina's death and I feel so much for those of you who knew and loved her.

    I loved what you wrote about an after-life. I don't have exactly the same vision, but I've learned over the years to listen to what people believe, and translate the words they chose into words I can identify with. When I do that, I stop arguing semantics and start valuing and respecting how many beliefs we all have in common. It's lovely and warming and very comforting. I do believe we'll be reunited with those we love, somehow.

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    1. LOL. Liz, I'm not surprised. That's what makes you awesome though, that we can have completely different beliefs and still find common ground.

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  9. That was a wonderful tribute. Yes, we will meet Tina again in Heaven!
    I'm guessing the third one is the lie.

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    1. And we'll all the better for the lessons we learned from her. =)

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  10. A lovely tribute. Tina was a bright light in the community. As for the lie, #1.

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    1. She definitely was. It's going to be strange without her.

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  11. I certainly believe that there is some sort of awareness/existence after this life. And I truly believe that loved ones watch over us and help guide us on our journey here.

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    Replies
    1. And thank goodness! Their calming influence is certainly a boon, eh?

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  12. That book sounds interesting. I like anything mental health, since that's my background. I'll guess #1.

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    1. Such a fascinating field! I love it when a story messes with the psyche too.

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  13. I believe in an afterlife, too.

    The covers for Mary Pax' books are amazing! I love everything that is going on.

    And the cover for Laura's "The Forgotten Ones" is gorgeous.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say #1 is the lie.

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    1. Chrys, isn't it wonderful to be part of such a happening community?

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  14. Okay, I'm on a roll here... I've guessed the right answer one time in a row now! (I think... if I remember correctly, anyhow...) I'm gonna pick number one as the fib this time around.

    Yes, I've lost many many family members and friends over the years, and it never gets any easier. But like you, I'm confident I'll see them all again some day. (Not in any rush, though...)

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    1. LOL! Guess away. The only way you can ALWAYS be wrong is by not guessing, right?

      I totally agree with you about not being in a rush. There's so much to do...

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  15. Oh my gosh, that's really sad about Tina. I'm sure her family appreciates all the beautiful comments people are leaving on her blog. :(

    I honestly don't know what I believe. Maybe it all just freaks me out a little.

    Going with #3 today. :)

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    1. I can understand that. Still, you have to believe something, even if it's just a shaky belief.

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  16. I've lost quite a few people. I think of them often, and I like to think they're checking in on me when I do.

    I will email Lynda. Wrote it on my calender to send the books when I finish Initiate... should be next week.

    I will guess # 3

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    1. Wahoo! So excited, Mary.

      I know what you mean about checking in. I feel the same way.

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  17. I was so sad to hear about Tina's passing, although I didn't know her. Glad her blog got so many comments. Hopefully it will give her family comfort.

    Like you, I've had a lot of losses--my dad, sister, and recently my husband. I haven't been able to embrace such a positive attitude like you. My husband's death seems to have increased my sense of loss. I do try to focus on everything I still have to be grateful though. And it does help.

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    1. Natalie, I can't imagine that depth of loss, but I admire your effort to remain grateful. I'm sure it will get easier with time. Love to you!

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  18. I lost my father 19 years ago and still find myself talking to him every so often.

    RIP, Tina.

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  19. My heart goes out to Tina's family. And go Laura! Guessing #2 :)

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  20. I feel the same as you do. I miss my people (the older I get, the more there are to list, so I won't), but I do feel like they are watching over me and I am certain I will see them again. Jesus said there was a Heaven, and as my grandma used to say, Jesus said it, I believe it!

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    1. Way to go! Stick with grandma, she knew her stuff. =)

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  21. Sadly I have lost quite a few people close to me over the years. My dear father died 33 years ago today in fact. My Mum 18 months ago. I miss them everyday but do feel they are still watching over me and hope to be reunited one day. We shall certainly miss Tina and her positive attitude around the blogging community.

    I will guess the lie is #2.

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    1. Suzanne, much love over your losses, but I love your perspective on it.

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  22. Hearing of deaths is always sad. It's also a time to contemplate who we've lost.

    Lie...I'm going with #1 this week.

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    1. It's a good time to reflect, right? And we need that every so often.

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  23. Yay, I got it right. My guess for the next one: #1.

    I really appreciate your sentiment about life and death and that place somewhere, somehow in between. I'm also very sorry that you've lost a brother and a parent. I have too. It's painful beyond words, but hope does sustain. While I don't believe in the afterlife in a conventional sense, I do believe that spirits live on - and I've had moments of comfort that cannot be explained scientifically.

    Hugs to you, Crystal.

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    1. I know what you mean. There are definitely those unexplained moments that deepen our beliefs, eh?

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  24. I still feel my dad's and my great aunt's spirits around me at times.
    Yes, Mary would have stood behind Vonnegut! Totally.
    Um, I'm guessing that Laura's fave # is not 9.

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    1. I love that, Catherine. We may not see them, but that doesn't mean they're gone, eh?

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  25. I read a lot of touching tributes to Tina this week. Really makes me wish I had known her! Seems like she was a truly amazing woman.

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  26. "There's hope in front of me.
    There's a light; I still see it."

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  27. Lovely tribute to Tina.

    Congrats to Lynda.

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  28. What a lovely tribute to the family members you've lost. I'm glad you feel hopeful even after saying goodbye to your loved ones.

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  29. I was saddened to hear about Tina, even though I didn't really know her.

    Mary Pax has some wicked cool covers here!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. She was definitely an optimist, even in rough circumstances.

      (I totally agree.)

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  30. Always sad to hear when folks pass. I can only gather from reading about him, but your brother was awesome!

    My guess for the lie is #1. Why? Because, if she has 4 kids then her favorite number should be 4. :)

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    1. He totally was. =)

      LOL! I love your logic, Diane.

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  31. I have lost people close to me, friends and family including three of my grandparents. Even when it's expected, it's never easy. I'm sorry for your loss.

    As for beliefs about death, I think the best things I've read about it come from Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" books. Death is a character, and when she comes for various people, lots of them ask her what happens next, or if what they believe is true. She says to one of them, "Now's when you find out." I don't think it's possible to know what happens after you die, but I think there's something comforting in the idea that, once you die, you do get to find out.

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    1. Great perspective. I think you can know--at least some of it, but you have to believe a great deal until that moment comes. =)

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  32. I love your deep thoughts Crystal... I too am grateful for my belief system.. ;-)

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  33. I'm guessing the lie is number 2.
    I'm really sorry to hear about the loss of your loved ones, Crystal. To lose a father is tragic enough.. but to then lose your brother as well is just heartbreaking.
    I'm happy to see you have a beautiful outlook on death and hope. I lost my father when I was 17 years old. He was murdered by a drug addict. I still see and smell him sometimes, especially when I'm going through really rough patches. I've blogged about him before and I'm sure I will have more stories to tell. I loved him very much and his loss is one I still can't get over sometimes.
    I also lost my first love to a brain aneurism five years ago. We were high school sweethearts and on and off again in college. But we remained close buds throughout the years.
    My friend's death enabled me to not fear dying and taking chances in life. I was young when my dad died so I was still scared of it and everything else. But after my friend died, my mentality changed and I started to not be afraid of what people thought or trying new things.

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    1. I completely understand, and I love that attitude--the truly living aspect. Here's to the ones who watch over us, and to the ones who teach us the most important life lessons, eh?

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  34. I came across a letter to me from my parents today, written over 30 years ago whilst I was studying at Montpellier University in France. When I received it, I didn't realise I would only have my dad for 3 years. Mum is gone now too. After dad died, I remember thinking that, despite the almost unbearable pain of separation,that death didn't need to be frightening, as It has already been conquered by the resurrection of Jesus. My dad had marked Paul's words in his bible: 'For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.' What an inheritance!

    I think the lie is #3

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    1. What a sweet legacy. I adore parents who have the foresight and faith to instill such beliefs in their children. My dad was like that too. He gave each of us a ring before he passed away, one that talks about family being forever.

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  35. number 1 is the lie!

    I do believe in the afterlife. I believe our loved ones are waiting for us. It's hard to lose them, to have to live without them, but we'll see them again.

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  36. Wooo!! I won! I Won! Thanks so much Crystal and Mary!!

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    1. Yay! You won, you won! You totally deserved to win. =)

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  37. I did not know Tina, but I am simultaneously saddened by her loss and uplifted by the community of bloggers who were touched by her -- even though they never met in person -- sharing such a glowing tribute to her life!

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  38. Lynda won! Great for her. On this one #1 is the lie. For sur.

    We all lose people, unfortunately. The good thing is they live with us as long as we remember them and pass them along to our children.

    I think the tribute to Tina has been remarkable and I'm glad to participate in it.

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    1. Definitely true. It's important to share their legacy with our little ones.

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  39. It's been a very sad week for the blogging community, but I sincerely hope that the outpouring of love and respect for Tina helps bolster her family and friends' spirits. It's never, ever easy to lose people, and never, ever gets easier.

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  40. Sad to hear about Tina. Some of the posts in light of her loss have been very moving. I really really love that you are brave enough to talk about the hope side of death. I'm there with you Crystal.

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  41. It's very sad about Tina. All of her tributes have been very touching. I'm sorry that you lost your dad and brother so young. I also believe that you'll be reunited with them in heaven in many, many years to come.

    Julie

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  42. I always consider myself lucky that I have yet to experience the passing of someone extremely close to me, and fear the eventual day that it will happen, but it's good you have such a positive outlook on it :)

    I wanna guess #2 just because!

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    1. It's inevitable, but while sad, it can also be a good experience.

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  43. I think we all ponder death more than we care to admit-I too feel loved ones that have passed/ presence and comfort <3

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  44. If seeing was the only way to prove something exists what would happen to blind people first of all?Something to ponder. Sorry about your loss Crystal and Tina will be missed as well. I lost three of my grandparents in my teens (only knew my maternal grandmother ans she died first) and later a cousin. Life does go on though and seeing them again in paradise is something to look forward to.

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    1. Too true. I love that! Both about seeing, and about the after life. Here's to the future!

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  45. Last year, I lost several lost ones in two months time: my grandfather, my cat, and my mom's partner. This year, I almost lost my boyfriend to a brain haemorrhage, but thankfully he's fine now. In my case, it didn't give me hope. Just the contrary. Whenever I visited a family member or a friend, I'm afraid I'll never seen them again.

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    1. You know, when it rains... It really does seem to comes in seasons. Thank goodness for the little mercies. I'm so glad your boyfriend is still with us.

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  46. Oh, Crystal, as one other commenter said, what a wonderful tribute to your great-aunt, father, and brother. I too believe in the after-life and know that I will get to see my loved ones again. Death is definitely not goodbye. :)

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  47. HI, Crystal...

    I'm with you! I truly believe in the afterlife. I feel the presence of my deceased family as well at times. I lost my grandfather when I was six (father's side) then my mom's mom and dad when I was ten and eleven. So death surfaced in my life at a very young age....

    It saddens me to see Tina move on because she was so caring and giving to our community, but I do believe she is in a much better place....

    Have a great weekend!

    I am cohosting a blog hop/anthology with Melissa Bradley who has cancer. I hope you can hop along with us! Drop by my blog when you get a chance if you could.... Thanks.

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    1. Oh boy! A hop...

      I know what you mean, Michael. My early years were riddled with loss too. I think it makes for a healthy perspective on life not to be sheltered from those losses early on. =)

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  48. Sweet, beautiful Tina. This was lovely. I believe in hope too. And that we will see our loved ones again. What an amazing post, Crystal. And Laura's work looks wonderful. I've seen her around, I'm sure she's fabulous. :)

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    1. I know! I've got her book loaded and can't wait to read it...as soon as I get through the twenty books in front of it. *sigh*

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  49. Aw, sorry about all the loved ones you've already lost... :(

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  50. I do believe there's something after this. If not, what's the point? I think there have been too many stories from people who died and came back to believe otherwise...and many of those stories do confirm we're reunited with our loved ones. Even though The Lovely Bones was a bit morbid, the movie adaptation had a great depiction of heaven. So did What Dreams Will Come.

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    1. I hear you about the people who have experiences and come back. People who don't know what to believe just haven't done their research, eh? =)

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  51. I think #3 is a lie. I believe I got Mary's lie correct.

    I think there's more to life than this physical plane.

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    1. I believe you did too. Way to go!

      Seconded.

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  52. Deep thoughts and hope are always good things in my book. I often think on that Peter Pan line "Death would be a great adventure." And I'm sure it someday will be so for all of us:)

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    1. It probably will. I'm imagining it will be a huge relief too--no more bills or deadlines... ;)

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  53. That's so sad.

    I remember my Dad whenever someone talks about dying.

    I understand that sometimes the pain of losing a loved one comes back. Sending you virtual *HUGS*, Crystal.

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Hit me with your cheese!