Belief in life everlasting makes it easier to let go

In Dr. Craig Bowron's Viewpoints article explaining the factors that make it "so hard to let go" of loved ones at the end of their lives, he lists our "overestimation of modern medicine's power," mass urbanization's estrangement from the land and its life cycle, and our affluence allowing for the sequestering of our elderly anywhere but in our own home.

He writes an excellent article that really throws light on the mystification I felt as I watched my relatives deal with the medically lengthened death of my son (3), and my sister (47). But not so my mother (67). She refused treatment (the odds were poor) so she spent some time wasting away. None were elderly in the traditional sense.

His words were gripping and flowed musically from the force of his own observations and experiences in doctoring. But there is one factor he did not include, and I believe it makes a world of difference between my own reaction and my relatives' to anticipated deaths of loved ones.

An essential ingredient in making it hard to let go is the belief or non-belief in "life everlasting." Do the relatives of those dying feel that the spirit lives on? If they have spent no time thinking about what they believe, the imminent death of a loved one forces them to confront their beliefs and unbeliefs. But maybe not.

Everyone knows someone who "did not deal with" a parent's demise "very well." Try handling their potential deaths with the surety that Christianity teaches -- that there is life after death. The "circle of life" doesn't only mean in a material sense. I hope Bowron will consider this fourth reason.

Mary Eileen Gill



Candidates providing lots of fodder for jokes

A recent letter writer complained about liberal bias because Mitt Romney "wasn't faring well in the gagosphere." Well, it's apparent the writer doesn't understand how political comedy works.

One, it has to be current. People aren't telling Barry Goldwater jokes around the water cooler. The examples the writer gave of President Obama's gaffes were from one to three years ago, and they were covered at the time.

Two, there has to be truth in the joke. Before the John Edwards scandal broke, it came out that he regularly got a $400 haircut. Jokes about Edwards being a metrosexual "sissy" were all over. Then, when it was found out that he had cheated on his cancer-stricken wife, those jokes left in favor of Clintonesque "hound" jokes.

Romney's current gaffes make him appear like a Thurston Howell, with no clue how normal people live. He is trying desperately to look like a regular guy and failing miserably. As for the dog story, anyone who thinks animal abuse is no big deal shouldn't even be allowed near the White House.

Rick Santorum wants to take America back to the '50s -- the 1850s. If he wanted to defend a Catholic religious practice to the death, he should have picked one that Catholics actually follow.

Newt Gingrich was a "historian" for Fannie Mae before the real estate crash. Really, Newt? Fannie Mae paid you millions to get your insight on Abraham Lincoln?

And then we have Ron Paul, whose followers seem to care more about legal weed than anything else.

So if anyone is responsible for the jokes about Republicans, it is the candidates themselves, not liberal bias.

Larry Schultz



Bringing traffic back to Main is big mistake

It sounds like returning vehicular traffic to Main Street is a "done deal." I hope not, because it's a huge mistake. Instead of taking solace in securing its funding, as Denise Jewell Gee suggested, we should be looking for ways to redirect it.

By most everyone's admission, Main Street was hurting years before the Metro Rail in spite of four lanes of auto traffic and plenty of on-street parking. The huge expense now necessary to squeeze cars between trolleys, just to create traffic or so that people can reach an already accessible waterfront, makes no sense whatsoever.

Things are beginning to change downtown after a lifetime of neglect and City Hall's criminal indifference. Downtown is now ripe for residential development, and that should be encouraged. When living space is provided, small-scale retailing will follow. That's the key.

Less pavement and a more inviting, pedestrian-friendly green space would be an attraction, not only for residents, but theatergoers, tourists and restaurant patrons alike. Reintroducing the automobile into this setting is costly, dangerous, unnecessary and will ruin any opportunity for Buffalo to do something unique and really spectacular.

We are not Milwaukee or Vancouver. Our Main Street as a thoroughfare goes nowhere, but, as a park, it would serve notice to the nation, for the first time in more than a hundred years, that Buffalo is moving progressively into the future. Providing young urban professionals working in the medical corridor with downtown housing in such an environment would do just that.

After a solid residential community is established and foot travel becomes their norm, let those folks decide if they want their neighborhood solace disturbed by the noise and dirt of the automobile.

Michael J. Zobel Jr.



Lancaster website boosts transparency

The Town of Lancaster recently developed an administrative procedure to enlist technology in the service of the cause of transparency in government. As the retired town clerk (1964-2000), I applaud this giant step.

Thanks to the suggestion of town resident David G. Hangauer, chief scientific officer of Kinex Pharmaceuticals, and to the follow-up efforts of Town Supervisor Dino Fudoli and Town Clerk Johanna Coleman, the public can now become meaningfully informed about potential local legislation. Obtaining information that once demanded a visit to the clerk's office or the local library now requires only a trip to the town website, Select the Boards and Committees tab; then, Town Board Agendas and, below that, Prefiled Resolutions.

Until this latest improvement in the town website, members of the community could use the Internet to view the agenda for a board meeting, but not the critically important supporting docu-mentation: the communications, the resolutions, the depositions, the reports -- the very items that board members rely on to make their decisions.

In my 48 years of elective and appointed service to the citizenry of Lancaster, I consider this town website enhancement second only in significance to the adoption by the State Legislature of the Open Meeting Law and the Freedom of Information Law. This is a winner for all.

Robert P. Thill

Town of Lancaster