letting go

her body stiff and oh so thin.

i can feel her bones with only her skin covering them.

her eyes are closed,

why make the effort she asks herself,

when all i see is a blur.

when she started to lose her voice,

she used to speak with her eyes,

but now her eyes can only say, ‘why?”

when i pry them open with my fingers.

perhaps its not the end, but the beginning.

lost on the path to a new beginning.

perhaps if we let go, and say good-bye,

she’ll find some peace, and a happier place.

pushing the pause button and listening

my mom is spending more and more time in bed.  she rarely opens her eyes, even while she’s eating.  i can talk to her, and she’ll respond, with a tiny movement of her lips. i can tell her stories and read to her, and when i think she’s fallen asleep and i ask her if she wants to hear more, she’ll give the tiniest nod that she’d like me to continue.  days have passed without her painting.  it takes a ton of effort to sit up, and when she does, she leans to the right, with her neck barely able to hold the weight of her head.

the worst of my father comes in the form of yelling and criticism, and an overall negative perspective.  in other words, nothing is right in the his world.  so if you happen to be around him, there’s a very good chance he’s not going to like anything about you, or anything you’re doing to try and help my mom.

“you shouldn’t wear short dresses, manette.  you’re too old”

“mommy doesn’t like her hair pulled back. why does everyone do it wrong?”

“nobody feeds her right…she needs to eat more!”

“she needs your help! why can’t you help her!?”

i so want to spend more time with my mom who i love and care deeply about, but i sometimes i can’t because of my father and the fear that pervades every space.  my reaction is to cry, to be the victim.  but then i remember i have choices.  my action can be to pause.  i can push the pause button and choose a different way of responding to the situation.

so imagine being my father. and seeing the world through his eyes.  i imagine his yelling as his way of yelling at himself, and not at me.

i imagine being alone, without the love of his life, after 63 years of holding her hand, and falling asleep with her by his side, after 67 years of her in his dreams, of 60 years of her delicious cooking, of 20 years of watching her carry and nurture their babies, of 5 years of pushing her in her wheelchair.

and when i can hear all his fears, i suddenly feel the love that whispers beneath, and then his yelling turns to cries, and i understand.

juggling reality

finally got things on my site up and running.  i’ve been missing you!

life has been so busy  – purging all my extras and keeping only the things that bring me joy, commuting in the car to care for my mom who’s health continues to deteriorate to the point of me and my siblings wondering if it’s time, trying to spend quality time with my aging parents when i know each moment is so precious, trying to handle my angry dad in a loving and compassionate way, while at the same time trying to find a place to live that is somewhere in between my daughter and my parents.

i find myself thinking about my mom’s situation a lot these days.  she’s not going to be better, this i know for sure.  so i practice acceptance.  i know there’s nothing i can do to change the situation.  as much as i would love to see her improve, this is not going to happen.  she’ll never be able to walk again, nor talk. her bedsores will continue to appear. i accept what is. and focus on keeping her comfortable, with as little pain as possible.

practicing acceptance keeps me in a place of peace.  i don’t have to worry about her, i don’t have to think about how things could be different, i don’t even have to wish or pray that she will improve, i can love and embrace her just the way she is, and know that eventual death is where we all are heading.  what is the point of fearing the truth.  i choose to practice acceptance instead, and live life to its fullest, being there as best i can and know that i would want my children to have a life, if i were ever in this position.

 

finding peace as i listen

“nothing’s done right around here!” my father complained.

“i can’t eat this liver! it’s not cooked all the way!”

“mommy and i are not going back to that dentist!  he doesn’t know anything about old people.  he’s too young!”

“why should i have him clean my teeth, when i can clean them myself?”

“all he wants is our money.  he doesn’t even clean them, he has some young girl clean them.”

“we need an old dentist who knows old people.”

i’ve learned over the years not to engage in an argument with my dad.  he and i see things differently.  i don’t have to try and convince him to see it my way, and experience yelling, disrespect and disdain.  instead i choose to listen with my heart, and hear his fear.  i can let him vent, and allow the peace within me be my friend.

 

amidst all the drama, there’s peace

I’ve missed you! It’s been a combination of trouble with the site and me in the middle of moving! I can only post from my phone… yikes… for some reason it won’t let me post from my computer 😦

This past week has been filled with purging, packing, trying to squeeze in time with my parents and then collapsing in complete exhaustion.

My father is not easy to be around when my mom’s health is at risk. He can yell at you and treat you with great impatience. Another one of our dear caregivers wants to quit as she shared in tears that she’s never been treated with such disrespect and disdain. Oh dear. Our team of workers are such beautiful loving souls.  Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with this father of mine.

my mom’s eyes spoke to me. She was once the one who had to bear his temper. I held her hand and kissed her.  I could feel her calm as she closed her eyes.

the hum of nature’s wings

oh hi!

may i hug you and hold you?
take your hand and touch your sweet tears?
wipe them and kiss them away?

may i walk with you to the edge?
and sit for a bit.

look into my eyes.
do you see me?
i see you.
i’ve been there too.

a long, cold winter,
the air so thin
it burns your lungs
and freezes your tears.

let your tears mingle with the morning dew,
the sweetness of your soul,
lost in the thick smoke of the fire below.

melt into the harsh flames,
sink into the ash,
rise and fall with the earth’s deep breath,
open to the naked truth.

see the pieces of your heart,
strewn and scattered,
still warm and soft.

pick them up,
and kiss them.
hold them like you’ve missed them all your life,
like you’re meeting them for the first time.

kiss your scars.
no more hiding,
no more pretending.

listen to the truth.

listen to the broken heart.

she whispers
so quiet and pure in her beauty.

the hummingbird flits before you,
so rapid in the rhythm of her wings.
perfect in her lightness,
calling you.

here and now,
and then disappears.
she’ll return.

know she’s there.
like the sliver of the moon,
peeking from a blanket of night.

be the light.
at first,
ever so slight,
deep inside.

let her grow
like the pink of the early rising sun,
as she touches the mountain tops,
strong
brave
peaceful, abundant hope.

feel the sun touch your lips,
no longer charred.
alive,
like a suckling newborn
lost and freshly found.

there you are.
i’ve missed you so.

shall i nudge you over the edge?
or are you already there?

forgiveness begins with the possibility of change

my mom and her only sister had a huge argument a decade ago, over the sale price of a used car.  and they haven’t talked since then.  i try and ask about my aunt just to keep her alive.  and every time i’ve mentioned her, my mom shakes her hand, and refuses to acknowledge her.

something took a turn this afternoon.  as i was sitting with them in the village garden, my mom actually listened as i talked about her sister.  and when i suggested that we try and find her sister, she looked at me with eyes that said, ‘ok’.

we smiled. hugged and took a tiny step towards healing.