Thursday, December 27, 2012
Speaker Lujan Laid in Rest at the Rotunda for the Day
Speaker Lujan was a leader. A leader for people and for the earth. The rotunda was full of people this afternoon. The lines were very long to pass by the Speakers dressed casket and to share respect to the Lujan family. My heart ached.
Carmen Lujan looked strong and beautiful, but you could see the past year of taking care of her best friend husband lover soul mate has taken it's toll. We hugged, and I for one did not want to let go. We are still here on the side of the living. I can feel the pain that Carmen is feeling and will feel. Loss is so hard. Even when you know the end is coming the living partner gives their all to comfort the sick and give them the up most dignity for every hour they are here.
Congressman Lujan was steadfastly standing next to his mom, and his other brother on the other side and sisters on the other. All beautiful children, brought into the world and protected and cared for by their Dad. Just a Dad to them. Further down the family line was the grandchildren. Picture boards were in different locations in the rotunda showing Mr. and Mrs. Lujan smiling very proudly in practically every shot.
Gov. Richardson spoke, Representative Ken Martinez spoke, other democratic leaders were in attendance. Missing was Gov. Martinez and other republican leaders. More sad evidence of the lack of cooperation this 60 day session will be mired in. If one of your colleagues dying does not unite us for even one day, we are living in a very sad time.
When Barb was sick and when she passed Congressman Ben Ray Lujan reached out to us many times. I asked him to speak at Barb's celebration of her life ceremony, he of course said yes. Congressman delivered a heart felt remembrance speech. The whole time not mentioning one word of what his family was going through with their own loved one, their Dad.
I remember hearing the news of the Speakers battle with lung cancer in the roundhouse the first day of the session in January. My heart ached. I watched the speaker in the session and was blown away with his stamina. Wow. The word ego was not a word used to describe the Speaker. Humble, humility, strong willed, principled, these are the words that describe this Dad. EGO to me means "Edging God Out" we have too many in our society with huge ego right now.
May the strength of the universe and the God of their understanding be with the Lujan family as they travel this wonderful gorgeous planet. The Speaker did a great job while here on this planet, worked for the greater good til his end. We must too.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Speaker Lujan Passes Away
It is with a very heavy heart that we write a blog post regarding the passing of our New Mexico Speaker for the House of Representatives Ben Lujan. Speaker Lujan passed away last night at around 10:45 from lung cancer.
A tireless man working for the good of the people, and the earth.
The following press release was issued from his wonderful son, our Congressman, Ben Ray Lujan:
Speaker Ben Lujan succumbs to lung cancer. He died at approximately 10:45 Tuesday evening after a short stay at CHRISTIS St. Vincent’s hospital. His wife Carmen, children including Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and their grandchildren were all at his bedside. He died peacefully without complications. Funeral arrangements are pending. He was a member of the House since 1975 and served as Majority Whip, Majority Floor Leader and House Speaker. On opening day of the 2012 legislative session, he announced that he was not going to seek re-election and disclosed that he had stage 4 lung cancer.
The Sierra Club released the following statement:
New Mexico loses an environmental champion. When New Mexico Speaker of the House Ben Luján passed this morning, the world lost an environmental hero.
Over and over through the years, Luján protected the people of New Mexico from destructive legislation that would have put our children and grandchildren in jeopardy. He initiated and advocated for many successful laws that preserve our unique quality of life in the Southwest.
The Speaker's continued work for the state during his illness was a sign of his steadfast dedication to the greater good, and in that time he made important progress in protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink.
New Mexico and the world are truly better places because Ben Luján served our state. The Rio Grande Chapter will miss him, and we send our condolences to Lujan's wife, Carmen, his son, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, and his entire family.
What a gift to New Mexico to have Speaker Lujan in our presence. To watch his wife Carmen and the Speaker together you could see true companionship, true love and commitment. To watch how proud they were and humble is a lesson to us all.
My heart goes out to Carmen and their family and to Congressman Lujan you are gifted as well. Take good care in these days ahead.
My Favorite poem regarding the passing of our loved ones:
The Ship by Bishop Brent
A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says She is gone.
Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large now as when I last saw her. Her diminished size and total loss from my sight is in me, not in her.
And just at that moment, when someone at my side says she is gone, there are others who are watching her coming over their horizon and other voices take up a glad shout - There she comes!
That is what dying is. An horizon and just the limit of our sight.
Lift us up O Lord, that we may see further.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
NM Speaker of the House Ben Lujan: We should Never Give Up
One of those powerful touching human moments happened at the start of this NM Legislative session. When the collective body of leaders gathered and the gavel banged, the state stopped to listen to the life struggle of the New Mexico Speaker of the House Ben Lujan with stage 4 lung cancer. There was that short window of time when humans stop and consider our own mortality and the mortality of others. What are we here for, how can we be of service. This is infact the challenge the Speaker laid out for this 2012 session. Help others, the weak, the young the old.
Barb and I used to drive around and wander the back roads of Nambe. Just to get off of 285 usually, and wonder which dirt road led to the speakers house? Such humble roots and simplicity of life in Northern NM is awe inspiring to people like Barb from urban Chicago and myself from urban Boston. Yet here is the place where the Speaker of the Peoples House in New Mexico lives, plays, works, loves.
Carmen and Ben Lujan are the blue sky of NM, the light brown dirt, the shimmering gold cottonwoods, and the star filled night sky of New Mexico. I like the saying "God broke the mold after making that person." In this case it is not true God made a second person Ben Ray Lujan the son of Carmen and Ben in a similar mold of Ben Lujan, only maybe even better!
The Speaker says in his gentle voice, "Let us make our time on Earth, especially during this session worthwhile, and do what's right, and make a difference for the children, our working families, and our elderly."
The video above is via courtesy of NM infocus.
The text of Speaker Lujan's speech can be found here LujanSpeech.
In the Speakers closing remarks he states, " I wish each one of you my best wishes fora successful session and i look forward to working with all of you on behalf of people of our great state. Let's make this session a work of art, working in spirit of cooperation as we take the first step toward the next one hundred years. We should never give up, we must preserver in our pursuit to do good, male a difference and treat every man, woman, and child with respect and dignity."
Above is a picture of Speaker Ben Lujan at the 2008 DNC Convention. Every day, every week, every month, every year matters.
There were a number of heart felt press releases regarding Speaker Ben Lujan's announcement at the start of the 2012 session, they are included below.
The statement from DPNM Chairman Javier Gonzales on Speaker Lujan not seeking re-election:
"Battling cancer is never easy. But the Speaker has been a fighter all of his life and I expect we'll see nothing less now. Ben Lujan has long been a light of leadership in the New Mexico Legislature, and we are here to support him during this trying time in whatever way we can. Our thoughts and prayers go to the Speaker and all the Lujan family"
US Senator Tom Udall
"Like so many northern New Mexicans, I have been lucky to call Speaker Luján my friend for many years. One can't help but learn an immense amount about the art of legislating by simply watching him go about his business in the Roundhouse or at home in Nambé Valley. Ben has the most distinct style and unrelenting commitment to the people of New Mexico — fighting especially to help those who are less fortunate. Above all, he is a family man of enduring faith. Jill and I will keep Carmen, Ben Ray and their entire family in our thoughts as they confront this difficult challenge. New Mexico is pulling for you, Ben. We thank you for your extraordinary service to our state."
New Mexico State Auditor Hector Balderas released the following statement after hearing House Speaker Ben Luján’s announcement that he has cancer:
“I was gravely saddened to hear that Ben Luján, a true New Mexican hero, has been battling cancer for almost three years. Serving under Speaker Luján in the State Legislature was one of the great honors I’ve had as a public servant. He exemplifies a true leader. I’m proud to call Ben a friend and a mentor. His tireless advocacy on behalf of our state is truly inspiring. If you know Ben, you know he’s a fighter. He fights for progressive values, he fights for hard working families and he fights to ensure the next generation of New Mexicans has the chance to succeed. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ben will continue to fight his cancer with the same courage and passion he exudes when fighting for the people of New Mexico. As Ben said, ‘Although my health is weakened my spirit is not.’ My thoughts and prayers are with the Luján family during this difficult time.”