Death has been at the forefront of my life since childhood. The first time I remember experiencing death was discovering our dog Rusty at the bottom of our backyard stairwell. He dug a hole under the fence, crawled through it, slipped and fell into the stairwell with his leash and chain still around his neck. A few years later it was my brother, then my dad, then several friends, then my grandmother, then my sister.
Finally, in 2007 I had had enough. I decided to study and research death. I figured one day it would be me so why not get a headstart understanding the ultimate life experience. I began reading everything I could about dying, death, the process and more. It sounds morbid, but I really wanted to understand it, being everybody's doing it!
In all of my research. My final conclusion was, "there's no such thing as death." There's only life. Death has never existed! Only life. It was hard wrapping this new knowledge around my head, especially since so many people had died around me. It has been even more difficult living in a world where most people still believe in death and how horrible it must be. I still struggle with how I would feel if one of my children died before I. How would I handle that with all of my new knowledge? I don't want to lose any of my children, even knowing what I know. How would I deal with it?
I found the answer in my grandfather "Big Daddy." Using what I studied and practicing what I observed in my grandfather. I pray I never have to put it into use, but if that day should ever come. I believe I can weather the storm of death. Not only the passing of family and friends but planning my transition as well. Big Dad taught me a lot on how to embrace the death of others and how to gracefully transition my own life!
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Sadhguru-Approaching Death Gracefully
I really like the way he explains a way to look at death, embracing it rather than fighting it.
Ramsey Lewis- Sun Goddess
I first heard the Sun Goddess album in 1974 when Big Daddy would blast it in the house on weekends! It was the first and last Jazz album I would purchase.
Since the 1950's Ramsey Lewis has been one of the leading pianists in the jazz world! The album is a collaboration between Lewis and his former drummer Maurice White. In the preceding years, White had left the Ramsey Lewis trio to form Earth Wind & Fire.
I love damn near every song on this album. The cover of Stevie Wonders Living for The City is masterfully done as well as a funky jazz song called Hot Dawgit! The instrumental ballad, Love Song continues to be one of my favorite songs to this very day. It's funky bassline and in your face strings set the stage for Lewis to play beautiful melodies on the piano! Musicianship, arrangements, recording, and production are all on a mastery level.
Sun Goddes was such a major influence in my music. I sometimes laugh at myself when I hear something in one of my songs that points to this album.
Memphis Soul Stew, what a classic energetic song. Recorded by King Curtis and The Kingpins in 1967. This song played on the cars 8-track all the way down south during family road trips.
What makes this song so special is it's truly a musical stew. It mixes, soul, blues, jazz and funk in a single song. Keep in mind this is 1967, pre-funk days!
Listen to how Curtis just blows his sax! The song is raw, gritty, rough yet smooth. If you love jazz, soul, blues, and funk. Memphis Soul Stew gives you a perfect blend of all four.
I have to note. The song is done like a recipe. Curtis adds just a little pinch of organ, a half teacup of bass and more. Very clever lyrics.
The Thrill is Gone is BB King's signature song. I have memories of this song playing during family parties that Nana and Big Daddy hosted for friends and family. They had a wooden gate that they'd put in the doorway at the end of the hallway entering the playroom. Us kids could not cross that gate!
I remember standing at the gate watching the ole folks jump to their feet when The Thrill is Gone would play. It was a smoke-filled room, very much reminiscent of how the old juke joints must have been back in the south during their youth.
This song is also close to me because the string arranger was a friend of mine. His name was Bert DeCoteaux. It was so cool of him to share with me the story's on string arrangement and record production.
B.B. King and Lucille will live on forever! Classic music, classic blues
Classic Television- Bonanza
What's there to say about this classic show. Big Daddy watched Bonanza religiously. Set in the 1860s, Bonanza tells the story of the Cartwright family, played by Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts, and Michael Landon and how they built and protected their Ponderosa wealth.
I remember sitting on the floor next to Big Daddy's reclining chair watching countless episodes with him. The show had unique characters. I believe many of the actor's real-life personalities favored their on-screen characters. The show ran for 14-15 years.
The main cast members of the show went on to other award-winning television shows. Lorne Greene in "Roots," Michael Landon created and starred in "Little House on The Prairie" and Pernell Roberts in "Trapper John MD." Sadly, Dan Blocker died in the early '70s.