(I just wanted to write this this morning so I could read it later when time had passed and I might need reminding again of just how blessed I really am no matter what. Sometimes the silly importance I place on myself and my day cloud the humble place of humanity that I am a part of that deserves more mindfulness like a forgotten breathing that keeps any human alive.)
Yesterday I took my 87 year old Mother out of the nursing home for a drive and an ice cream cone. I had picked up my 97 year old Uncle and took him along. What a great time the 3 of us had as we licked the cold ice cream and drove around remembering times gone by in the places we saw now. Things change and so do we but our hearts just keep growing. Our hearts have more room than a 12 bedroom mansion and land enoug to expand on and on.
It was convenient for me. I had the time. I did not have to work (summer break) and the weather was perfect temperature wise as well as with sunshine. I had all my stuff done up at home. I had finished my last painting. The book I had been reading needed a break from my strained eyes. So yup ~ convenient for me. Nothing on my list of 'to dos' needed to be done right then and there and could wait. It is afterall a matter of choices.
( Of course I have to ask myself now ~ is it not all a matter of what I CHOOSE priority wise? Convenience is not always going to come together and yet the lives I spend time with are not infinite and will end. IF I truly believe what I say ~ that life is about connecting, communicating and caring then convenience be dayumed ~ choices made must include connecting and caring and communicating in spite of any personal convenience. I am NOT that separately important that others come last rather than even second. )
My Mother, although by her own choices, has not driven in years and for that matter has not cooked in years. She depends upon others to do those things for her and basically has since at least 2008. Now that does not negate the fact that she has dementia which has progressed rapidly since her two broken hips and made it impossible for her to live alone and drive herself around. It does not mean that she does not enjoy getting out either. It simply means it takes a little more effort to get her out and about from time to time.
In fact when I put myself in her shoes I am sad for how reduced her living is for her. Imagine not having more than a 300 sq foot space at most to live. Imagine having people always looking in on you with no concern for you having any real privacy or solitude. That is not to say they do not care because indeed they do and she does get wonderful care from all the staff there. Imagine not being able to go outside the building unless someone takes you out. I think of all the things that would be taken away from me to no longer be able to do and it leaves me wishing I could do more for and with my Mother. I am truly grateful for the Nursing Home Caregivers for without their genuine care and love my Mother would surely be much worse off. I know I am not able to care for my Mother 24 hours per day, seven days a week, 365 days per year ~ year after year after year. So I am grateful that my Mother gets such loving care from so many Caregivers.
When I do do things for and with my Mother she is tremendously appreciative which is amazing to me in this day and age when I look around and see so much lack of appreciation let alone so much lack of care and compassion and empathy for one another even in the small little gestures within everyday life. I forget far too often to be grateful and to simply reach out in kindnes to others if only with a smile or a few kind words. sighs
In my current circumstances I could focus on all the hard, painful things or I can focus on just how blessed I am to be able to learn more compassion and empathy from what is happening around me and to others. Life is about learning to love even in the hardships and in fact even more so during any perceived hardships. I am still learning. Thank Gawd.
In my family I have always been considered the black sheep. I did not fall into lock step of all that was expected of me doing everything someone else's way. When I made poor choices those were thrown back in my face not once but over and over like an accumulation of old crayons kept and counted for all these years. Broken and worn and worthless yet pulled out and counted to remind the craayons how useless they were along side of all the pretty, perfect crayons.
The good things I had done got lost and were not acknowledged nor are any of those acknowledged today. Instead today there is all kinds of suspect and betrayals and negative things said about me much of which is not even true or is twisted to fit other's agendas of hate and anger minus love. BUT I will be dayumed if that all paralyzes me and stops me from being who I know I am and that is a loving person who cares and empathizes and wants to do what I can for others albeit those things may not be much at all. I will be dayumed if I am left believing that somehow I can not do anything right no matter how hard I try. I am capable of leaarning and trying even harder and I do. I know how to reinvent myself and I have many times successfully in the past so I know I can yet again. I am a good person. I am a loving person. I can go on.
My Mother has done what she could in her own way for many others ....... she needs to be heard now and things done with and for her in these last years of her life. The 'bad' things are unimportant in the grand scheme of human life and all the good that she did and does do even now. She still caares about others and I see it when I walk with her from her room to the dining area and she stops to hold a perso's hand who is nonverbal but still needs human touch. I love my Mother for who she is. I am blessed to still be learning lessons from her about kindness and love. She is a human being having a human experience and we call that Life and living Life. We all get to do that and so does she.
Now my thoughts turn to my Uncle. He still lives in his own house. He has had two good women in his adult life to love and they both are now gone. He has lost many friends to death and yet has made many more friends. He is a store of memories and when the conversation flows he draws on memories and shares. Interesting and for me educational. I am blessed to be able to hear whatever he is willing to share.
He walks very gingerly now and most often needs a walker or at the least a cane. BUT he walks several blocks every morning which brings him right past my house. He walks with his walker and although quite slowly he does walk. He has health issues of course but he does not dwell on those. He has cancer that he has lived with for over 15 years. When I think about him and put myself in his shoes I realize he is a very strong yet very kind man who complains little. I think to myself IF he can walk each day ~ so can I. If he can be cheerful and caring of others in spite of many of his own hardships so can I. He inspires me to get the hell up in the morning and keep going ~ not grudgingly and with drudge but cheerfully and with a lightness in my crippled steps.
I actually have very little material things. When my Mother dies I will be homeless again and my few belongings will be on the street. BUT I will be rich in lessons learned and love in my heart. I truly do believe LOVE Always Wins! With Love forever in my heart and as my guide I know I can pick myself up yet again, reinvent myself yet again and go on to the next chapter of this human life. For now ~ I will be grateful for the time and energy I do have to learn from my Uncle and my Mother. I am grateful for this Life right now.
(I note a couple of weeks ago I was kind of wallowing in feeling sorry for myself and wishing my Grandpa were here to give me sound strong advice. He heard me and he gave it through my Mother and my Uncle and I only had to open my ears and eyes to my heart to hear and learn. I miss my Grandpa but I know in those still alive he lives and so do they. )