Month: February 2008

Grandma Diamond

Grandma Diamond

My Grandma, Helen Diamond, has passed away. It happened on February 12, 2008 at around 7:30pm. My Mom was there and she called me about two hours after it happened.

It was a very sad day. This is the closest person I have lost ever. I am still having a hard time believing that she is gone.

Last year it was found that she had cancer. They performed an operation later last year and removed a large mass. Things were looking better until the news came after Christmas that the cancer had returned and that it was too spread out through the organs to defeat with any treatment. Grandma accepted this and decided not to perform any more tests or treatments. Instead, she would stay at home for as long as she could with the help of family.

Surprisingly, things progressed very quickly and by this last Tuesday she could not hold on any more. Over the last few weeks things were obviously getting worse and it is fortunate that she got her wish to stay home till the very end.

The hardest things to accept is that someone that was always there is not there anymore. She meant so much to all the grandkids. She spoiled us rotten and always had the time to talk. Grandma could often be spotted at the dining room table with a cup of coffee either chatting with visitors or listening to the radio. I remember that Grandma and Grandpa used to listen to Paul Harvey around lunch time. The dining room table was covered in a thin sheet of plastic so that any spills could be stopped. A pot of coffee was always nearby.

Grandma would cook so much food for the family. My weakness was cookies and Grandma would always be sure to cook lots before I showed up. She would fill the glass canisters and then proceed to fill containers in the freezer. I would eat them as fast as I could and this was pretty fast as a teenager. One time I must have eaten around 50 cookies in the period of an hour or two. She would always just wander off and bring back some more from the freezer. Or, she would start a new batch. She was famous for many different types of cookies but one of my favourites was the thin oatmeal cookies. Oh, they were so good. She must have appreciated having a grandchild that loved her cooking so much.

Grandma was very active in the community. She was always doing things related to church. I remember being in women’s groups like Topps and others as well. She loved talking on the phone and knew much of what was going on in Kittson county. A local newspaper would call to see what the Humboldt news was. One time she told them about Debra and I were coming to visit for the summer and the paper actually printed this. I was surprised but apparently having visitors was fairly big news at the time.

There are so many memories of Grandma based on us spending so much time in Minnesota when we were growing up. We used to spend heaps of time camping at Lake Bronson. If I remember correctly, we started with a tent and then later graduated to a caravan(camper). Grandma loved taking trips out to the lake. Sometimes Grandpa would have time to join her.

Grandma and Grandpa used to love the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The would watch it until they fell asleep. I always didn’t know whether to wake them up or just let them sleep there. Even when they went to bed they would watch TV until they fell asleep.

They had a sunroom built as an extension to the house. The room had a clear ceiling so that it would let in the sunlight. This is perfect for a winter’s day when you want the sun but not the cold. In the later years, Grandma would spend time here.

Grandma was 85 when she passed away. She has many family and friends that are going to miss her. She lived long enough to see many grandchildren get married and have children of their own. The oldest great-grandchild is now a teenager.

There are so many things I’m going to miss about Grandma. I just remembered how she used to insist on giving great big grandma hugs. As a kid I would sometimes find this unusual. Now, I just wish she wasn’t gone and could give another hug.

The hardest thing is that our relationship is over. Its an ending I never wanted.

However, being over for her means that she does not have cancer any more. It also means that she does not have to suffer any longer. She has moved on. She now has peace. I can respect that.


Follow The Leader

Until recently, I never realized the full power of any communications medium. Usually, I take things like TV for granted. In my life, it has always been there. Except for a brief period of about a year in 1990, I have always watched it.

TV would have been first popular in the early 1950’s so it would not be until about then that the first pure TV consumers would have been born.

Before that, it was radio. Before that, it was newspapers. Before that, books? And before that, word of mouth?

The latest form is the Internet. Even though the Internet has existed since the late 60s, it was not until around 1993 that it met widespread adoption with the introduction of the first web browsers. The true Internet generation (born in the early 90’s) has not fully matured yet. This unique group of people are going to use the Internet in ways that cannot be easily imagined now.

The power of information is also the power of who controls it. Thoughts are formed centrally and dispersed for consumption by the masses. It is all so easy. All you need to do is watch.

It hit me recently that even the most casual TV watching can be damaging to independent thought. I experienced this in full during 1990 and the initial Gulf war. People at work would tell me about the video game like nature of bombs being dropped. Some people would feed off this stuff until late at night. It was new to reveal so much about the videos of the fighter/bombers. Somehow it became okay to show destruction through the cameras from afar.

Anyways, at the time, it seemed fairly obvious that the media was selling a military story. The price of admission was following the story.

Being isolated from TV at the time, I started to think differently. I wasn’t exposed to the thoughts directly and it made a big difference to how I looked at the situation. I would never have expected that this would make such a change.

The drive to sell a story for the sake of revenue creates a need for “thought leadership”. What this really means is that someone wants to do the thinking for you. The power comes from lack of resistance and the willingness to spend time and money on continuing the story forward.

It comes out that most people are happy to be sheep as long as everyone else is sheep as well. Leaders, who sometimes act as wolves, hide in the flock and consume what they want.

Flock mindset

Secrets are largely the weapon of choice for information segregation. These secrets are seen as the defense against independent thinking. Secrets are really invested in for the sake of intelligence. Follow any agency around in earnest and find yourself the target of an agency that will do anything to protect its secrets.

This makes it sound like some kind of conspiracy theory. So untrue. It is just the realization that independent people are just independent thinkers. Either they are leaders themselves (with potentially no audience) or they have just disconnected from the world at large.

Everyone likes someone else to take the first step. Taking the risk of taking the first step wrong can often stop most people. What is little known is that these steps into the unknown are often taken with the same trepidation as the other people that don’t take any steps first. The only people that can take steps on their path without fear are the ones that don’t need leaders and don’t even care if anyone follows.

Personally, it all kind of makes me feel sick. It’s like the whole human earth is contaminated by the mirror neuron thinking which gives but also takes. Sickness runs deep within humanity and the pursuit to purify the soul only leads to more sickness. It gives cause to understanding that all desire only leads to more desire.

The hardest thing to do is to stop following.

The leader in front of you is not you.

The leader in you is the one you need to pay attention to.

Follow your own leader.