My brain is swirling on a number of blog entries that are knocking (aka. begging to be written)
This often happens when away from writing for a while.
Throw in a pre-holiday trip to visit family and friends, and the topics are a-flowing!
Alas, I'll begin with what felt like a bit of a theme over the past week.
In my encounters with friends and family, I found that three separate life-situations got me thinking back to the last months of my grandma's life ... and the lessons I took from her dying process. (lessons I'm still integrating, by the way)
All three situations were entirely unique/different (as you would expect being related to three unique individuals) ... but the theme that presented itself was that of our ability to ask for and accept help - in it's myriad forms.
I'll start by sharing what I wrote many years ago after my grandma's death (the last few months of her life spent in hospice care):
A Lesson From Gram (on the soap box once more)
I stand behind Grandma at the bathroom sink to ensure that should she loose her footing I'll be there to catch her. Watching her brush her teeth - a most mundane task for the majority of us - brings with it a barrage of thoughts and feelings.
I'm aware of the immense amount of energy she is expending. Aware of her frustration and determination as her hands shake severely. Aware of my discomfort watching her struggle.
At the same time, aware of the sacredness of this ... the dying process.
We are a strong people. Independent. Recluse, even. Who do we let in? To what level? Who knows our fears, faults and challenges? And, who knows what makes our hearts sing?
Never before now has it so struck me just how much surrender and beauty is involved in relying on each other. Just how much compassion comes with caring for each other. And, regardless of the sacred connection between ALL, how rare it is that we consciously practice this compassion with those whom we come into contact each day.
Allowing others to truly help - the surrender and vulnerability involved. There is great courage and grace in that. Most often we would choose to avoid this. It isn't until we are in a position where it is necessary that we come to a place of comfort with it (and maybe we don't come to a place of comfort). We have no other choice.
My Grandma - a gift to me for so much of my life - in her dying continues to give. She served as a beautiful mirror, if you will ... reflecting an irrational fear of mine. She helped me to see my tendencies to avoid relying on others, to perhaps shy from true closeness and connection. Most importantly, she taught me how sacred that really is.
A precious gift. Teaching acceptance, grace and compassion.
Thank You, Grandma
I'll close by adding the following:
* I would never give back the experience of being present to my grandma's dying process ... while difficult indeed ... I think there is more to learn than to fear!
* Asking for and accepting help not only seems to lift the one in need of help ... but perhaps even more the one(s) giving help.
* We are ALL on this human journey together. And yet, oh-so-unique (and seemingly separate) just the same. The later point is where compassion is key.
* Sometimes, help comes by honoring your own path, YOUR HIGHEST-SELF COUNCIL, if you will.
* I feel a sense of GRACE and heart-warming LOVE when contemplating (watching and experiencing) such universal human experiences from this 'all-encompassing' level. The "bird's-eye-view" / we-are-all-connected level, that is.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
- Mother Teresa