Thich Nhat Hanh describes enjoying a good cup of tea. You must be in the present moment, mindful and aware, to enjoy the tea, to savour the sweet aroma, to taste the flavour, to feel the warmth of the cup. If you are ruminating about past events or worrying about future ones, you will look down at your cup and the tea will be gone. You drank it, but you do not remember, because you were not aware. Life is like that cup of tea ...
Monday, 16 June 2014
One More Hug
A friend of mine sent me this last night in lieu of Father's Day yesterday. So true ...
I really like this 'Dharma Comic" and loved Elizabeth Lesser's book, "Broken Open" so I thought it would be lovely to share for the weekend. I have seen it over and over again in my women's circles; just the sheer bravery and honesty of where you are at today is profound and shifts you, whether minutely or gigantically, but there is something to be said for being real with where you are at in your life!
We've got no electricity at the moment and it reminds me of how I've been off the grid of my blog for a while!! I've really missed it.
My mom's been very unwell ; in and out of hospital and the circumstances leading up to it very scary and heartbreaking. So I have been very involved in helping her this last month. It almost feels like a small bomb has gone off in my life, changing its landscape completely, and I am in survival mode doing bits here and there, dealing with the most urgent things as they crop up. It's quite a radical comparison, but my life as I knew it before my dad died a year ago, has changed irrevocably, especially being the only child. I've been dealing with my mom's incredible heartsore, loss, the sale of her flat, her admin, her idiosyncrasies and now also her ill health. Not only that, but also the loss for me of my very special dad, the sad circumstances leading up to his death, and all that that brings with it. Then there is also the sense of a loss of the carefree child. Now the responsibility lies on me with regard to my mom. Things like banking, investments, healthcare, legal documents, housing, travel, insurance, etc have all fallen into my lap. Things that are not really my strength or my joy but that take up huge time. I know it's the norm in many places and cultures to take in a parent and care for them, but it definitely requires an adjustment to your life, mindset and time. It's the shift from being 'the child' to now being the adult child.
I guess beforehand I was really fortunate as my folks were phenomenal with our kids; when we were still in Johannesburg they often had the kids over, or helped with lifts to school or extra murals while we worked and then when the kids were a bit older, they took them for the odd few days while my hubby and I traveled. But that resource has now gone and it too is a huge loss, for both the kids and us.
Then there is also my mother's deep, deep grief . That has been very painful to taste and see, especially not being able to help. It feels like I am standing on a boat in this rocky stage of her life, throwing a lifeline out to her, and she reaches out and grabs it, but then a wave of deep grief knocks it right out of her hands again and she starts sinking. So I throw it out to her again and she weakly reaches out to grab it and the whole process starts all over again. And all I can keep doing, is to throw out that life line! Either she'll eventually manage to hang on to it or the relentless waves of her grief will take her down with them.
So in essence, I have also been off the grid of my own independent, though not totally carefree life, for a long while now and I really miss that too. I miss my dad; I miss the care freeness of just being the child with strong, healthy parents; I miss having my folks as I knew them and I miss doing the things that I really enjoy doing or rather, I miss doing them in a consistent flow rather than the stop-start stop-start of it all. At times it has also been very frustrating and taxing, especially the distance, as my parents have been in Johannesburg all this time, so my heart, time and energy have been split in two places and between two families; my own and my parents.
Being somewhat of a hermit in my being, all of this is deeply challenging for me as I could quite easily just disappear into my own space and be very content just doing my own thing all day long; an only child's indulgence! Yet, despite all that, and despite all her idiosyncrasies, I have also enjoyed caring for my mom and I discovered this week that the very act of just washing her hair for her and styling it for her has been immensely gratifying and nourishing.
And so, where to from here, I don't know? We've been taking it just one day at a time and that in itself is new to me. I guess it's time for a new kind of grid and a new kind of normal.