25 Life Lessons We All Can Use, From A Very Wise 99-Year-Old Great-Grandpa

 

GRANDPA CHEESE

 When you need advice, you ask someone who knows best. When you need life advice, you go to someone who’s seen it all. And who could be better than a great-grandfather with 99 years of life experience under his belt?

Recently, PopSugar’s Macy Williams, wrote about her nonagenarian great-grandfather, known in the family as “Grandpa Cheese,” and his life lessons we can all apply. Williams calls him an “inspirational man.” “He has experienced so much in life — love, loss, triumph, and failure. And through all of that he has continued to remain himself and keep people laughing while he’s at it,” Williams told Huff/Post50 in an email.

Grandpa, whose real name is Andy Anderson, is chock full of advice. After all, he’s had quite the incredible life. He never went to college, but ended up being the national dairy manager for grocery store chain Safeway. He also was married for nearly 70 years — until his wife passed away. He said it was love at first sight.

He’s looking forward to his 100th birthday next May, which he hopes to spend with his family (while enjoying some hot buttered rum and brie cheese, he tells us). “I feel pretty good about getting older. I may be 99, but I am still learning and experiencing new things everyday. You never stop learning. Age is not just a number, it’s a badge of all my life experiences,” he told Huff/Post50 in an email.

The most important thing he’s learned? “Family is precious. Family is the most influential element of your life from the moment you’re born until the moment you die. Your family shapes who you are as a person.” Beautiful.

Here’s Grandpa Cheese’s full list of 25 life lessons, as told to PopSugar:

  1. Always maintain a good sense of humor.
  2. Never be too good to start at the bottom.
  3. Exercise every single day, even when you don’t feel like it.
  4. Don’t spend more money than you make.
  5. Drink orange juice every day.
  6. Love at first sight is not a fable.
  7. Having a bad job is better than having no job at all.
  8. Eat around the mold; don’t go wasting food.
  9. Your family is the most precious thing you will ever have in life.
  10. Eat sausage every day — it worked for me.
  11. Your life is delicate, and if you neglect yourself, you’ll spoil. That’s what cheese taught me.
  12. Don’t ever be afraid to be your true self.
  13. Everyone has too many clothes. Wear what you have and quit buying more.
  14. You must be able to forgive, even if it’s difficult to do.
  15. Save your money now and spend it later.
  16. Love is not always easy; sometimes you have to work at it.
  17. Find something comical in every single situation.
  18. If you’re faced with a problem, don’t delay trying to figure it out. But if there’s no way to figure it out, you have to forget about it.
  19. Make sure you’re doing what you love; don’t be afraid to follow those dreams you have for yourself.
  20. Education is important, but not necessary. Life can be an education in itself.
  21. Explore your world and stay curious.
  22. Try not to take yourself so seriously.
  23. My full name is William Bradford James Anderson, and my initials always remind me to ask myself, “Why be just anybody?”
  24. Have common sense. Think about the most reasonable answer to every situation. If you don’t have common sense, you’re a bust.
  25. Life is a gift that you must unwrap. It’s up to you to determine if what’s inside will lead you to happiness or dismay. You have the power to make that decision for yourself.
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Special Delivery: Rare Set Of Elephant Twins Born In South Africa by Stephen Messenger

December 08, 2014

Every new elephant birth is a cause for celebration given the state of the species — elephants are killed in record numbers due to rampant ivory poaching. But one pachyderm parent on the Pongola Game Reserve in South Africa is doing more than her part to help replenish the species’ numbers by giving birth to a rare set of twins.

Reserve spokesman Donoven Gloy told The Dodo by phone that the two new arrivals, first reported last week, appear to be healthy in the company of their mother, a 33-year-old named Curve.

“The reaction here has been great,” says Gloy. “Everyone is feeling very positive and they’re receiving quite a bit of attention here in South Africa.”

 

(Facebook/Pongola Game Reserve) The prevalence of twins among elephants is said to be exceedingly rare, with studies suggesting it occurs 0.5 percent of the time. Dr. Ian Whyte, an elephant specialist who worked in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, said in a press release, “Though a few cases of twinning have been reported in the Kruger National Park, an examination of the reproductive tracts of over 1200 adult cows culled in the Kruger National Park during population control operations did not yield a single case of twins.”

(Facebook/Pongola Game Reserve)Morbidity for elephant twins is thought to be high, says Whyte, as the calves often must compete for their mother’s milk. Gloy, however, says that the newborns both seem to be well-nourished and have not been observed squabbling with one another.

As Kruger National Park’s website notes, when twins are born, other female relatives in the herd have been known to take on nursing duties to relieve pressure on their parent.

Gloy says he is optimistic about the future of the twins, seen here interacting with their herd near a watering hole on the 18,000-acre reserve.

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11 Reasons Why I Read & Why Books Should Not Disappear by Tammy T. Stone

Tammy T. Stone

Via on Dec 6, 2014 – from THE ELEPHANT JOURNAL

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~ C. S. Lewis

Lately, my newsfeed has been brimming with articles about how scientific research has proven that reading is good for you, how readers are smarter/better/sexier, on why readers of fiction are more empathetic people—things like this.

My first reaction was, um, isn’t this all stating the obvious?

But I keep forgetting that while I grew up without computers (or even video games, despite an attempt at interest in Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros.), let alone the Internet, younger generations are quite literally inhabiting a different world.

I wasn’t huddled under the covers texting after bedtime. I was whipping out my flashlight to read the Choose Your Own Adventure books, Flowers in the Attic and Emily of New Moon under the covers (depending on the week, the year).

I feel fortunate to have been weaned on books and to have fallen in love with them as I have. I am also a huge fan of the possibilities afforded by the digital age, in all its non-linear complexity and expansiveness.

I would love to believe that a perfect human is in some ways a hybrid one, able to have moments of pleasure reading a story on actual paper, from start to finish, while lying on the grass, leaning against a tree, or on a hammock in some far-flung place; and have other moments delving into the universe of meta-literature, where stories, voices, and identities can shapeshift and become anything we’d like them to be.

I would love to see a human with a calm, clear, focused mind able to form and maintain a beautiful, long flow of thoughts and arguments, and have a gorgeous imaginative mind able to process more information than ever before, and generate ever new ideas and worlds.

For me, reading is as organic to my lifestyle as breathing. I read because I write, I write because I read, and a life with books, words, pens, journals and word-images is natural and fundamental to me.

But it’s fun to break it down more, so, in the name of holding onto the old so that the new can be that much stronger, here are my reasons for absolutely loving reading actual books:

They feel good.

It never gets old, the feel of a velvety new book cover, and then the frayed edges of a well-worn favorite. It’s like a baby’s security blanket: the more you use it, and the more tattered it gets, the more it takes on pieces of you (or the love of previous owners), so that it’s very physicality roots you to your own special world.

They look and smell good.

A great album or book cover has multi-generational appeal. We are very visual people, us humans—scientists agree that it is our dominant sense—and a great book cover and book design has the ability to transport, and lets us carry around what amounts to a work of art. And ah, that strange, intoxicating, gluey-inky smell of a new book, and that stunning mustiness of books going way back into dim yellow depths—magic.

They are so much more than the sum of their parts.

They are words on a page. That’s all. How insanely amazing that they can make you laugh, cry, wish, yearn, yell and everything in between.

They are a vehicle for self-expression.

As humans, we are naturally inclined (thank goodness!) to creating, and expressing ourselves, to leaving a stamp or mark on things. Writing your name inside a new book as a student, writing notes in the margins (I have been known to write-shout expletives at authors I disagree with), highlighting portions of a text you love, or just doodling your daydreams on paper—this is the stuff of heaven, a true blending of minds near and far.

They allow you to fall.

If you give yourself the luxury of time to read a book through to the end, you will be rewarded with the feeling of having been swept right into a vortex where strangers dwell, who become so familiar that you never want to leave them behind. That feeling of horrible shock that comes when a great story ends—when it seems like your very own world by now—is worth the price of setting aside time to read.

They expand mindfulness and connectivity.

When you do fall into a great story, especially fiction, what you’re also doing is increasing the number of beings/people/characters you can relate to, and increasing your ability to feel connected to human feelings and situations outside your ordinary sphere. You might just find this affecting your ability to relate to others in the “real” world. Plus, reading = patience = concentration = focus = attention = mindfulness, to be brief.

They are good road companions.

This one is simple. Books don’t require Wifi, which you may well not have when you’re somewhere like a near-deserted island in Laos, or an awesome shack in the mountains or a remote airport with hours to wile away.  As long as they don’t accidentally drown or catch fire, books are strong, enduring pieces of magic, information and storytelling, and they’ll always be there for you.

They help me see myself better.

Because books can increase the scope of what we can know, understand and imagine, they let me position and then re-position myself in the world. They help clarify ideas, issues of identity and emotions by opening up worlds and then by being there, stable and sure, any time I want to revisit.

They make me want to live my life more fully.

Every time I “meet” a new character, country, adventure, it inspires me to do more, feel more, live more. This might be the greatest gift a good book brings.

There are so many things you can do with them.

You can balance your tea on it while riding squished on a train—coaster! You can stuff postcards, business cards, great ideas scribbled on napkins and love letters inside them, you can write phone numbers on them in a moment of desperation. You can craft, and make your own cloth or paper covers for them. And best of all, you can share them—giving away your favorite book might be the most rewarding feeling in the world.

They remind me that life is more than a quote.

Life sometimes takes on the air of one giant stream of memes these days. Quotes can be very inspiring, but imagine how much more one can learn by discovering the greater context for these small slices of wisdom. The possibilities are large as the number of minds in the world—and then some.

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7 THINGS HAPPY PEOPLE DO DIFFERENTLY BY TAMARA STAR

What I know about happiness is this: happy people do things differently.

There are billions of people on our planet and clearly, some are truly happy. The rest of us bounce back and forth between happiness and well, unhappiness depending on the day.

According to Psychology Today, University of California researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky states: “40% of our of our capacity for happiness is within our power to change.

Throughout the years I’ve learned there are certain traits and habits happy people seem to have mastered. But before diving in with you, let me preface this and say:

We all have bad days, even weeks—myself included—when we fall down in all seven areas. None of us are perfect and messing up once in a while doesn’t mean we’re destined for a gloomy life.  

The difference between a happy and unhappy life is how often and how long we stay there.

Here are the seven qualities of happy people.

1. Their default belief is that if their life isn’t good, they can change it.

Happy people know life can be hard and tend to bounce through hard times with an attitude of curiosity versus victimhood. They take responsibility for how they got themselves into a mess, and focus on getting themselves out of it as soon as possible.

Perseverance towards problems versus complaining over circumstances is a symptom of a happy person. Unhappy people see themselves as victims of life and stay stuck in the “look what happened to me” attitude versus finding a way through and out the other side.

2. They believe most people can be trusted.

I won’t argue that healthy discernment is important, but most happy people are trusting of their fellow man. They believe in the good in people, versus assuming everyone is out to get them. Generally open and friendly towards people they meet, happy people foster a sense of community around themselves and meet new people with an open heart.

Unhappy people are distrustful of most people they meet and assume that strangers can’t be trusted. Unfortunately this behavior slowly starts to close the door on any connection outside of an inner-circle and thwarts all chances of meeting new friends.

3. They concentrate on what’s right in this world versus what’s wrong.

There’s plenty wrong with this world, no arguments here, yet unhappy people turn a blind eye to what’s actually right in this world and instead focus on what’s wrong. You can spot them a mile away, they’ll be the ones complaining and responding to any positive attributes of our world with, “Yeah, but…”

Happy people are aware of global issues, but balance their concern with also seeing what’s right. I like to call this keeping both eyes open. Unhappy people tend to close one eye towards anything good in this world in fear they might be distracted from what’s wrong. Happy people keep it in perspective. They know our world has problems and they also keep an eye on what’s right.

4. They don’t compare themselves to others or harbor jealousy.

Unhappy people believe someone else’s good fortune steals from their own. They believe there’s not enough goodness to go around and constantly compare yours against theirs. This leads to jealousy and resentment.

Happy people know that your good luck and circumstance are merely signs of what they too can aspire to achieve. Happy people believe they carry a unique blueprint that can’t be duplicated or stolen from—by anyone on the planet. They believe in unlimited possibilities and don’t get bogged down by thinking one person’s good fortune limits their possible outcome in life.

5. They stop striving to control their life.

There’s a difference between control and striving to achieve our goals. Happy people take steps daily to achieve their goals, but realize in the end, there’s very little control over what life throws their way.

Unhappy people tend to micromanage in effort to control all outcomes and fall apart in dramatic display when life throws a wrench in their plan. Happy people can be just as focused, yet still have the ability to go with the flow and not melt down when life delivers a curve-ball.

The key here is to be goal-oriented and focused, but allow room for letting sh*t happen without falling apart when the best laid plans go awry—because they will. Going with the flow is what happy people have as Plan B.

6 They refuse to consider their future with worry and fear.

There’s only so much rent space between your ears. Unhappy people fill their thoughts with what could go wrong versus what might go right.

Happy people take on a healthy dose of delusion and allow themselves to daydream about what they’d like to have life unfold for them. Unhappy people fill that head space with constant worry and fear.

Happy people experience fear and worry, but make an important distinction between feeling it and living it. When fear or worry crosses a happy person’s mind, they’ll ask themselves if there’s an action they can be taken to prevent their fear or worry from happening (there’s responsibility again) and they take it. If not, they realize they’re spinning in fear and they lay it down.

7. They walk away from gossip and complaining.

Unhappy people like to live in the past. What’s happened to them and life’s hardships are their conversation of choice. When they run out of things to say, they’ll turn to other people’s lives and gossip.

Happy people live in the now and dream about the future. You can feel their positive vibe from across the room. They’re excited about something they’re working on, grateful for what they have and dreaming about the possibilities of life.

~

Obviously none of us are perfect. We’re all going to swim in negative waters once in a while, but what matters is how long we stay there and how quickly we work to get ourselves out. Practicing positive habits daily is what sets happy people apart from unhappy people, not doing everything perfectly.

Walk, fall down, get back up again, repeat. It’s in the getting back up again that all the difference resides.

Adapted with permission from original post Daily Transformations

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7 ANIMALS WHO ARE NOT WELL-KNOWN BUT THEY'RE REAL....AND THEY'RE FABULOUS

STRAIGHT FROM THE DODO: By Aaron Rodriques

 

1. Desert rain frog

 

(calphotos.berkley.edu/Arie van der Meijden)

This adorable species of frog is native to South Africa and Namibia. As a mating call, the frog can emit a very high-pitched whistle, making it look and sound like some kind of squeak toy. They are currently considered vulnerable, with their population experiencing a decline due to extensive mining.

2. Prehensile-tailed porcupine

 

(Flickr/Eric Kilby)

Like the desert rain frog, the prehensile-tailed porcupine has a uniquely adorable squeak (this guy sounds like a bicycle horn). Found throughout South America, these amazing critters have muscular, prehensile tails that allow them to move through trees.

3. Solenodon

 

(Mongabay.com/Jeremy Hance)

Contrary to his appearance, the solenodon is not a rat or a shrew who’s had his nose pinched too hard; they belong to their own genus, and were discovered way back in 1833. The solenodon can survive on a number of different foods including worms, reptiles and insects.

4. Beelzebub’s tube-nosed bat

 

(Wikimedia/PumpkinSky)

Looking more like a fuzzy refrigerator magnet than an agent of Satan, the Beelzebub’s tube-nosed bat is a relatively new discovery who was found in Vietnam in 2011. Although the bat usually shies away from humans, he can get pretty feisty when confronted with a predator!

5. Peyrieras’s pygmy chameleon

 

(Wikimedia/Magnus Manske)

This tiny lizard  could easily fit in the palm of your hand! Native to the moist forests of Madagascar, the Peyrieras’s pygmy chameleon is endangered due to logging for rosewood and mining.

6. Olinguito

 

(Wikimedia/Viniciusmc)

The olinguito looks like a stuffed teddy bear brought to life. Found in both Columbia and Ecuador, this close relative of the raccoon has only recently been discovered after a ten-year expedition!

7. Poodle Moth

 

(Flickr/Arthur Anker)

The Venezuelan poodle moth is a fuzzy little insect who was discovered in 2009 and still has yet to receive a scientific name. In fact, the critter was originally believed to be an Internet hoax. Very little is known about this moth, except his obvious desire to dress up like cotton ball.

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10 Hours Walking in NYC As A Man

I JUST HAD TO FOLLOW UP WITH THIS ONE, STRAIGHT FROM THE ELEPHANT JOURNAL TODAY, OCTOBER 30, 2014.

Just click the link below:

10 Hours of Walking
in NYC as a Man

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What It's Like To Walk Through New York City As A Woman

FROM THE ELEPHANT JOURNAL
OCTOBER 29, 2014
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Wish Granted

Napa woman, 90, gets wish granted, rides horse for the first time

By Carolyn Jones
Updated 8:35 am, Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ninety-year-old Thea Murphy is escorted on a ride aboard Katydid at the Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Petaluma. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle / ONLINE_YES

  • Ninety-year-old Thea Murphy is escorted on a ride aboard Katydid at the Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Petaluma. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle.

It took 90 years for Thea Murphy to get on a horse, but about 30 seconds to fall in love.

“I’ll be sore tomorrow, but it doesn’t matter. It’ll make me remember Katy,” a beaming Murphy said Friday afternoon at a Petaluma horse arena as she gazed upon the palomino mare that provided Murphy’s first horseback ride. “Look at her. She’s so beautiful. And she listens to me!”

Murphy’s maiden horseback ride was courtesy of a Napa nonprofit called Celebrating Seniors, which granted wishes for half a dozen elders in the North Bay. Murphy’s wish was to ride a horse — something the 50-year Napa resident had never done.

Other seniors wanted to go on San Francisco Bay cruises, or visit a great-grandchild on the East Coast. But for Murphy, who’s partially paralyzed from a stroke and blind in one eye, it was all about horses.

“It’s because I love them,” Murphy said before getting on a horse. “I love animals, I love horses. I want to know what it feels like to ride one.”

Gentle horseback rides

The ride took place at Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Petaluma, a facility that provides gentle horseback rides for people who are physically, cognitively or emotionally disabled.

Murphy’s wish was chosen from about 45 entries, and she had been planning for the excursion for weeks. She bought denim skinny jeans and a bright red shirt for the occasion, with red lipstick to match and hair colored strawberry blonde.

She was accompanied by caregivers, friends and volunteers from Celebrating Seniors, who became a little weepy when Giant Steps staff lifted Murphy from her wheelchair onto the 1,000-pound beast.

“With her disabilities, at her age, to still have that same desire that she had since she was 6 … that’s what we found so heartwarming,” said Penelope Hyde, who led the senior wish committee for Celebrating Seniors.

Even the staff at Giant Steps was moved by Murphy’s story, and by Murphy herself. The slight, Dutch-born widow smiled almost incessantly as she petted the horse and chatted happily with spectators.

Riding horses can be great therapy for disabled people, said Giant Steps Therapeutic Center Director Mark Walden.

Balance, coordination and core strengthening are among the benefits, plus the emotional and social boost from interacting with the patient, placid animals.

Will Rogers’ wisdom

“It’s like what Will Rogers said: There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man,” Walden said.

Murphy has had her share of physical setbacks recently. In the past few years she’s had a leg amputated, undergone hip replacement surgery, lost vision in one eye following cataract surgery and became paralyzed on her left side after a stroke.

Giants Steps staff held her on both sides as the horse ambled around the arena and down a short trail, for a total of about 30 minutes. Murphy held the reins and directed Katy left, right and forward. Katy, for her part, followed along cheerfully.

Murphy may have physical limitations, but her spirit has never been brighter. Until very recently, she was reading a book a day, knitting, puttering in her vegetable garden and Skyping with her 91-year-old sister in Holland every morning.

“She’s a tough cookie, extremely strong-willed,” said neighbor Anne LeBlanc. “She gets something in her mind, and there’s no stopping her. She decided she wanted to ride a horse, and here we all are. Life is really quite amazing.”

Carolyn Jones is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:carolynjones@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @carolynajones

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DUGONGS

STRAIGHT FROM “THE DODO: For The Love Of Animals DATED 9/15/14  By Lindsey Robertson

Dugongs are very special creatures of the sea, and are often affectionately referred to as “sea cows.” Not only are they an unusual species, they are ridiculously cute. Here are a few facts on these nifty creatures:

1. Their mustaches are for function, not style.
The sensitive bristles on the dugong’s upper lip help the creature to root for underwater vegetation. This act of rooting kind of makes the dugong look like an adorable vacuum-cleaner:

(Giphy)

2. They aren’t manatees.
Though they look very similar, manatees and dugongs are not one in the same. Manatees generally live in freshwater, whereas dugongs can usually be found in marine environments. Dugongs also have fluked tails, which resemble those of whales, and manatees have rounded tails.

(Flickr: Andreas März)

3. They are cousins of the elephant.
Even though dugongs are grey and slow-moving, it’s still pretty surprising that these creatures are more closely related to elephants than they are whales or other marine life. Male dugongs actually grow tusks, which only become visible in maturity.

(Wildscreen Arkive)

4. They have nifty noses.
Dugong noses are specially designed for being submerged in water. The nostrils are actually valve-like openings on top of their heads which open when the sea cow breaches water for air, and then close again when submerged. It is also important to note how cute dugong noses are when they peek out of the water:

(Flickr: kaitimae777)

5. They really ARE big-boned!
Dugong bones are very dense, which help to keep them submerged. Conversely, their lungs run along their backs and act as floatation devices, keeping them horizontal in the water.

(Flickr: whl travel)

6. Their populations are in decline.
Dugongs are defined by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service as “Endangered,” and have been listed as such since 1970.

(National Geographic)

7. There’s still hope for them.
There are conservation efforts in place for the dugong, such as the 16 Dugong Protection Areas which were established in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. You can learn more about the projects being undertaken to help these amazing creatures and how you can help here.

(National Geographic)

 

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Why You Want A Physicist To Speak At Your Funeral

Planning Ahead Can Make a Difference in the End

by AARON FREEMAN

Commentator Aaron Freeman gives advice for planning your funeral.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Commentator Aaron Freeman isn’t a person who does much planning ahead. However, if you like to look ahead to the future, he has some advice for you, advice on planning your funeral.

AARON FREEMAN:

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.

Aaron Freeman is a writer and performer. He lives in Chicago.

From NPR News.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR’s prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information

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