Trigger Points


by Joseph Toone

No, not Roy Roger’s horse, but trigger points that can set someone off.  I recall Melissa Rivers joking about her mother, Joan Rivers, knew all her trigger points but, then, she was the one that installed them.

I learned early on in social media that among elderly ex-pats the word ‘confused’ is loaded with emotional dynamite.  If I wrote “Sorry the article confused you, but the point was blah, blah”.  I lost the reader at confused as I learned that to many seniors being labeled confused meant they had dementia.  Consequently, they would explode in vulgar verbal assaults that wouldn’t really disprove the theory that had, up until then, only been in their head.

This week I learned another trigger point – death and faith.

I had a woman on a tour last week that I’ve toured with several times before.  She works as a hospice nurse here in Mexico and told me once how she loved her work as it was like being a birthing nurse.  Every birth is different and so is every death.  I’ll always remember that (lest I get, um, confused one day).

On the most recent tour she mentioned how people of faith (any faith) tend to die tranquil while many atheists go out kicking and screaming. When I mentioned this to a pal she commented that’s why so many convert to a religion on their death beds, so their transition will go smoother. I assumed it was to please a loved one left behind.

Overall, an interesting observation based on the nurse’s experience.  Little did I know it would open a Pandora’s Box of fury on social media.

Many atheists exclaimed how they’ll go out in contentment knowing it was time to enter the great nothingness.  Personally, I think death, like any pain and suffering, is something you can’t really predict your behavior.  You may desire to act a certain way in a crisis, but until it happens to you, who is to say?

Others felt she was gallivanting around the hospice trying to get deathbed conversions.  Where this thought came from escapes me as nothing could be farther from the truth.  I worked as a volunteer with the dying for years and learned early on, if you weren’t a spiritual person going into the transition, dying itself wasn’t going make you one.

The old adage of you die as you lived got mentioned frequently.  That one worries me as that means I’ll die in my sleep as I really like to nap and, like my dog, can sleep on command most any time or place!  I’d much rather die dancing, so much more romantic!

Here are two interesting death tales involving faith…..

One is how St. Joseph couldn’t die since he was Jesus’ step-father.  When his time came Jesus had to touch his cheek to allow death to take him into Heaven.  You’ll find Death lurking in the shadows at Joseph’s deathbed in paintings in many local churches.

The other is Jesus himself.  I always found it fascinating that when he comes back from death, who is the person he appears to?  Not his apostles, or even his mother, but Mary Magdalene!  This, to me, is proof positive she was the love of his life.  If once dead, you could visit, if only for a moment, someone still alive, would it not be the person you loved most?

by Joseph Toone