I planned a two week family vacation, that turned into taking a month off from blogging. Where to start? Well, our family road trip took an unexpected turn, that lead to more lessons and growth then I could have imagined. My aging mother, who has been afflicted with alzhiemers for several years now, had a stroke on day one of our trip. Luckily we had not gotten far, and were able to change our plans quite easily. Then came stroke number 2, two weeks of home hospice care, intense, blessed family time with father, sister, brother, uncle and aunt, and saying final goodbyes to my mother on last day of our “road trip”.
I stayed at my childhood home, while my husband took the children back to Portland. While waiting patiently for her spirit to leave her body, I picked blackberries, quietly watched birds feeding on the porch through the window by her rented hospital bed, and sorted through boxes and boxes of old family photographs. I mediated the interpersonal dynamics and resulting intense feelings and opinions brought up at times such as this. Despite taking care of everyone, I was able to tune in to my own experience and needs. This two week period during which I spent the majority of my days and nights away from children, dog, husband and household, was precious. I have not had so much time to myself in 7 years. My focus and priorities were so very clear. No distracting thoughts, or chores, no internet, no work. I had cleared my schedule for vacation and there I was with my dying mother. My husband was able to spend quality time with the kids. He had opportunity to sooth them in the night when they cried for mommy, to step into the primary caregiver role. I took advantage of the time away and finally weaned my daughter.
So many lessons came out of this major life event. And not surprisingly as my mother was my first and best teacher ever. In childhood she surrounded my siblings and I with joy, wonder, and imagination. She trained us to observe, to be, to experience the moment fully. Even when she regressed into dementia, she provided us all with lessons on acceptance, patience and stillness. As she progressed through the dying process, we all received many lessons and gifts.
We held her memorial last weekend, at the family property, on the site of our long overgrown horse riding arena, the site of our wedding ceremony, and the burial site of many beloved pets. The community that came together that day was incredible and unbelieveably touching. It was such a testament to the life she led. We celebrated her presence, her generosity, her empathy, her unconditional love.
This is where my road trip took me. Never get to attached to your plans! More soon on letting go,