it’s the child in each of us that we often forget to hear

our youngest child, chih, is visiting for the week! oh what joy! there’s something very special about having your grown child in town. i sat there listening to him talk to me about my next move and his next move, and i was simply in awe of his ability to see so clearly my options and what he values in life. his words were so kind and thoughtful, filled with hope, optimism and love.

he and i can be so comfortable with each other. it’s true for all our children. i just can’t get enough of them. there’s no tension, no conflict, just pure love and acceptance, joy and laughter, tears and sorrow, i think it’s called harmony.

i suppose it’s the truth that i experience with them.

we’re not afraid of sharing from the heart and hearing the truth.

we can joke around, and we understand the other’s sense of humor. we can be open and cry our hearts out. when we see in each other those attributes that attract me to be a better, honest person, that inspire me to listen from my heart, that somehow remind me of the many qualities i wanted to nurture in him and are now so prevalent, i experience the gift, such a beautiful gift.

it’s never too late to fall in love

my poor mom had another seizure – took her directly to the doctor’s office instead of the hospital.  she wanted nothing to do with the hospital after her last experience with tubes, wires and monitors.

while she rested, my dad and i had dinner together and we happened to sit next to lyn and her boyfriend, joe.  she was telling me about how she went to temple over the weekend and the rabbi asked that they shake hands with someone they didn’t know and tell them one good thing that happened in the past year.

lyn shared that the stranger next to her said to her,

“nothing, absolutely nothing good has happened to me over this past year.”

to which lyn responded, “i turned 90 and i fell in love.”

and then she and joe looked into each other’s eyes and smiled.

i asked how they met, and they both perked up.

“joe saw me at dinner and heard me talk.  after dinner he came over and asked if he could walk me back to my apartment, and on the way, he gave me the softest kiss on the cheek. and that was it!”

oh how i love these folks!

fear of the truth

one of my dad’s favorite things to brag about is how he and my mom have been married for 64 years and that he has four children and they’re all married and no one is divorced! oh boy, he’s going to kill me when he finds out i left my marriage of 34 years!

i left my marriage in january, and three months later i finally found the nerve to tell them. of course i had lots of excuses – my dad’s cancer, my mom’s seizure, me not having a place to live, me leaving to help with the care of my grandchild – there just never seemed to be a good time to tell them. underlying all these obstacles was the truth – i was afraid of their reaction, especially my dad’s. i was afraid of the disappointment, i was afraid of the feeling of being a failure.

i was sitting next to my mom who was trying to paint. she was just so happy to be out of the hospital sitting with the freedom of being able to pick out what color she would like to paint the flower, happy to be sitting there with no pain, no tubes, no monitors. my dad was sitting nearby playing his harmonica. there was the sound of peace in the room.

it’s not like i decided to tell them and planned it. it just happened. the words started flowing from my mouth… and believe or not, my parents didn’t yell, they just listened.  in fact they didn’t get mad at all. they understood and had compassion. i felt total acceptance, no judgement whatsoever, just simple, pure love.

locked in, nowhere to go

when her neurologist gave her the green light to go home, my mom was out the door…mentally.  she just couldn’t wait to get out of that hospital and to be rid of all her tubes and wires. unfortunately we had to wait for the discharge from the cardiologist since she was being monitored for her heart which was demonstrating arrhythmia.  he was nowhere to be found.

she went ballistic.  pulling at all her wires and tubes and doing her silent scream.  she became a mad woman.  she wanted to go home and be free of all the hospital beeps and restrictions.  in the end the nurses had to give her a sedative to calm her.  poor baby.  and when she finally went to sleep she slept like a baby, only through the night.

we finally heard from the cardiologist and she was cleared to go home.

today she’s just so happy not having to be in bed tied to all those tubes.  the first thing she wanted to do was to paint.  the freedom from having to be tied down, and hooked up to machines, combined with the freedom to pick whatever color she wanted, the freedom to choose.  it’s a tiny thing, but it’s the one thing she gets to choose.

midway through the day, she looked at me and tried to tell me something.  and then motioned for me to get her a pen.

she tried and tried to write what she wanted to say, but no words would come out, just lines of scribble.  i sat and listened and then tried guessing.  after hours of her scribbling, and my guessing, i asked, “i am shaking a lot.”  ?  she put down her pen, and smiled.

“i am shaking a lot.”

bless her heart….i just wanted to cry.

and i bet she did too.

oh the blessings and the laughter!

our sweet caregiver, xio, stayed overnight with my mom so that my dad and i could get some sleep. my mom doesn’t like all the tubes and monitors, and has been trying to pull them off in desperation.

when we arrived in the morning there were tears of joy in xio’s eyes.

“mommy and i were having conversations last night!  she was talking!”

oh what a good night’s sleep can do for you! and i thought for a second maybe the seizure triggered something in her brain that was now going to allow her voice to be heard.

i facetimed my little sister right away, while we could still hear her voice.  she had tried to call the night before just as mommy was dozing off for the night.

“hi mimi.  how are you?” my mom said with precision and a look of shock in her own face.

“wow!  i can hear you so well mommy!”  mimi exclaimed with great excitement.

“what does remy want for graduation?” my mom continued with a big smile.

“a brand new car!” mimi’s husband ric, said jokingly.

“i’ll have to steal one.” my mom joked.

we were all giggling.  this side of mommy we rarely see because she hasn’t been able for speak for years.

“and the cool thing is that only you could get away with it mommy, because no one would suspect you!”  i threw out.

“and you’d become a felon!”  mimi added.

“and i could steal a lot,”  mommy giggled.

oh the joy of having a voice!  it wasn’t a voice others could understand, but it was intelligible to the family and her kind caregiver, xio, and that’s all we needed to break out in sheer bliss.

kindness can change the world

“i live by the kindness of strangers” – blanche in streetcar named desire

the nurses at northridge hospital are incredibly nice and genuinely care about their patients. every single nurse we’ve encountered has been so attentive and loving.

meet maria. she wasn’t even assigned to my mom. she stopped by and brought my dad a hot cup of coffee and then asked how old my mom was and how she was doing.

if you are nice to my dad, he’ll be your best friend.

after telling maria that my mom was 86 years old, he smiled and asked,

“guess how old i am?”

she studied him, and then said, “72?”

my dad just laughed and laughed, “i’m going to be 90 in october!  how could i be 72 if my wife is 86?”

it happens, anything is possible.  and now maria and my dad are best friends.

love is contagious

got the call from my dad at 4 this morning.  they were heading to the emergency room.  mommy was having a seizure or a stroke.

my dad sounded amazingly calm. when i spoke to him the night before, he was a mess, screaming and shouting because my mom was having parkinson tremors. “breath dad, take a deep breath, mommy’s going to be fine,” i tried my best to calm him over the phone.

i jumped into the car, and headed to the hospital, praying for my mom, and wondering what had happened to my dad to put him in such a state of calm.

our caregiver, grover, was with them.  he is one of the most mellow, serene people i’ve ever known and he really cares about my parents.  as i listened to him explain exactly what had happened this morning, i understood right away how my dad could be so calm.

the day has been long, and most everyone has gone home, except the night nurse, and my mom is sound asleep. no stroke, but a seizure. I’m sitting here writing and my sweet dad is sitting next to me whistling.

“sometimes your joy is the source of your smile; sometimes your smile is the source of your joy.” – thich nhat han

just as your smile can be contagious, so too can your spirit.  thank you, grover, for your beautiful spirit and kind heart.