“It’s a new dawn… It’s a new day…” It’s Nirvana Day

“It’s a new dawn… It’s a new day… It’s a new life for me… And I’m feeling good.”
from “Feeling Good,” Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricuse

Did you know that February 15th is noted as the day Buddha achieved Nirvana by separating from his mortal body (usually called ‘death’)? According to Wikipedia, this is a day for readings and meditation on one’s own death and the death of loved ones.

This is especially timely for me personally as my good friend and boss has been gently easing the passing of his dear mother. He talks of her transitioning between the physical and spiritual spheres and the enlightenment that she is sharing with family around her. This is a beautiful, enriching and comforting experience for them.

In addition, my own eighty-three year old mother lapsed into a near-coma state Sunday, no food or water intake, fever, unable to stand, largely incoherent — a frightening experience. We nursed her throughout the day but by evening we called 911 to send an ambulance. She was given IV fluids and antibiotic and almost immediately became more alert. The test-based diagnosis of kidney infection was later confirmed and, three days later, she is home again.

Lesson learned from this experience:

  1. Prepare now; you never know (sounds trite and clicheish but it’s true).
  2. Know all medications and have documentation of the schedule and history.
  3. Realize that unless your loved one is a small child you will not be able to lift, carry, maneuver them.  They will have bathroom and clothing needs in addition to simply shifting them in bed for comfort and one average person alone cannot do this.  My stepfather and I together could not lift or transport my mother and she weighs 160 lb., certainly not obese.
  4. Don’t be afraid to call the doctor or 911 for an ambulance.

My mother purchased a long-term care plan that includes assisted living.  I have resisted this move for several months even though she (they) have brought it up occasionally, but I think it is time to seriously consider the move.  I cannot take care of my mother the way she needs.   That may sound cold and heartless for many, but it’s the truth.  I am not strong enough physically, am still low on energy from my own bout with breast cancer and treatments.  My stepfather is eighty-five and has plenty of his own physical (heart) problems.  If either of them falls, that’s it, they’re down.

We have the comfort of knowing that she has this plan available, many do not.  Unfortunately, one of the first things dropped from Obama’s Health Care Plan under extreme pressure from congressional Republicans was the long-term care provision.  This puts many, many people in the position of not being able to care for their aging parents in need without either giving up a needed job or spending their own retirement savings in the process.  Either way, society in general loses.

Death comes to us all, it’s part of life itself.  One step, then another….


Gifts

Simplicity.
Three leaves, three petals.
“See me, I live!”

Father, son;
walking, learning, loving;
Life.

Brothers — Twins.
So close.
See us, We live!

Sea and setting sun.
Beauty in and all around;
Living.

Peace?

moon-on-the-beach.jpgI’m seeking peace tonight, inner peace, the peace of the mind and soul. The kind of peace where you can sort yourself, all the pieces of self that get scattered by daily responsibilities of job, family, church and just functioning as a human being. Just to gather the little bits and chunks that one divides off willingly or simply because it is necessary to help others, or because it is part of your work responsibility to help, teach and support others and “the team,” whoever that might include. The sorting process is different for each one of us, we are unique, and we each deal with the clutter of life in our own way.

My way of sorting myself out is to go away — go away from home with all the distractions (most of which are good things, just things that pull me this way and that), from work, from that which I see every day. Unfortunately, I may need to find a different way right now because I can’t leave immediately– too much responsibility, too little flexibility. My family is going many directions this summer, I’m going with them part of the time. My daughter Jen and I are driving to La Push where we will meet the rest of the family, except for one son (Jonathan) who will be in Berlin, the end of May. I will find time on that trip for some solitude and restoration. June is full of birthday celebrations, a son turns 32 (Michael), a mother turns 80, and then we’re off to the U.K. and Germany for a whirlwind two weeks — not much peace in that! My daughter and traveling companion Tiffany will then stay in Wales until December and that is going to be difficult for me but wonderful for her.

I will be alone for the entire month of July but being alone means only that it is quiet; it doesn’t mean that it is peaceful! Maybe I can force myself to write– music and words– during that time — if I can stay cool enough to think straight. It will after all be July, in Utah….

Love and Family

The birth of the twins to Michael and Heidi is the most beautiful thing to happen in our family in a mike in the hospital.jpglong time. Coming home 2.JPGAlthough they were born December 29th I have had an extremely difficult time putting anything here about it because I can’t describe in words the beauty and wonder of it all. This is indeed what life and love is all about.Now two months old, Marcus and Ian are sleeping much longer at night, are active and interactive, and are the joys of our lives! It is wonderful to me to have them living with us right now. Yes, the time will come when they move out, but for now they are here and I am thrilled.DSCN9495.JPG