Riding the tide

I am trying just to ride the tide today.  The tide of grief which swells sometimes.  Today at 10 am we met to assemble old photos with my brother, sister and her son.   We selected some beautiful music to play at the funeral on Tuesday – How Deep Is Your Love by the Bee Gees, Unforgettable by Nat King Cole and The Blue Danube which was one of my father’s favourite waltzs – oh and Elton John’s Your Song which just made me cry.  Mum loved Elton’s music.  My brother and sister actually reached out and held my hand as I cried so we could share the grief (while kind of telling me to get over it but it was something!).  My nephew was silent but he understood.  I valued his calm quiet presence that seemed to take a lot in.

I then went to meet one of the funeral directors as I missed him yesterday.  He actually started to cry when we were sharing about death.  I was worried that after the funeral we are not accompanying Mum’s body to the crematorium which is some distance from the church.  I know Mum is no longer in her body but I feel somewhere I may be abandoning her and the deeper grief process.   The best funeral I went to in later years took place in the cemetry garden and everyone was able to follow the coffin along on foot and have a ritual at the grave side throwing in rose petals.  I wish Mum could have that but that cemetery is not where the rest of our family are buried or have memorials.   I am not sure if its holding on to do this all on my own, no one else will be going.

Anyway I left there only to find when I got home I had lost my mobile phone.  That distressed me but a neighbour helped me by allowing me to use her phone, I put a message up on Facebook  and just thought there is not a thing I can do about losing the phone right now.  Soon we are to meet with the priest.   So much or organise hot on the heels of a death which we are still coming out of shock about.   Everyone is grieving in their own way.   A storm is starting to blow up here.  I wish I could just stay still and quiet at home.   I feel my Mum best in the silence that feels full of peace at times.  The world out there is so topsy turvy and while grieving its easier to lose things, in my experience as we are tired and not fully present.  Yesterday it was great just to be at home all day doing as much as I could to relax.   Jasper and I went for a lovely walk at sunset and met several other dog owners.  I slept through the night after getting to sleep at 12. 30 or so.

Anyway who knows what tomorrow holds.   Will my phone turn up?  Who knows.  I am just letting go as much as I can.   I am not going to worry.   I want to live in peace while processing this loss and huge change of losing my Mum.   I want to ride the tide with as much grace as I can.

Breaking the Illusion

A very deep and beautiful reflection on love.

Reflections on Existence

An Explanation of the Poem: Meeting in the Noosphere

Teilhard de Chardin believed that the most powerful energy in our universe is love (King, 1999). He did not see the cosmos as something that was lifeless and purposeless. Teilhard and others of his generation witnessed the terrible and awesome power of two World Wars, the destruction of cities with nuclear energy, and the lack of intimacy produced by our mechanized depersonalized industry. Teilhard was not a naive optimist. He was hopeful and refused to see life as meaningless. He believed that love was visible throughout the universe in forms of attraction. From the forces that held quarks together to form protons to the ionic and covalent bonds forming compounds and molecules, to the gravity that holds planets in orbit, cells forming tissues and organisms, colonial life, parental care, altruistic behavior, and selfless care in human relationships, he saw love everywhere.

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No easy way

I wrote this on the night before Mum passed.  Last night I could not help but remember to see how much she suffered and struggled.  In AA they had a saying, so often quoted “this too shall pass.”  I am so glad my Mum is no longer suffering as she was, I hate to see what drugs do to the system but its where most medical practice is.  As my cousin said to me this afternoon a nurse who works with the dying told her today that dying is not as it  is so often portrayed on television.  Its often painful, harsh and brutal.  :

There is no easy way to watch someone you love suffering deeply and be able to do nothing.  I won’t go into a long description of what I had to watch Mum go through at the hospital tonight but it was not easy.   I am grateful for the very kind and caring staff who are looking after my Mum.  At one point she was so restless and overcome due to adrenal overload she was crying to be lifted out of bed and to see the swelling in her legs and her arms covered with bruises where they have tried to insert canulas and other needles well it was just horrible.  Like something out of a nightmare.  I made the decicison to leave at 9.30 pm there was nothing more I could do than be with her and I was starting to feel a bit sick.   Her body has endured so much its as though she cannot bear to be in her skin any more.   I know my Mum’s pain is not my pain but to see her suffering in this way and be able to do nothing is so hard.   All I can do is pray for her and after leaving do the best I can to let go for a while and hope she is held in loving care.  Aging can be full of such suffering, we can take our health so much for granted.  The pressure left me as soon as I got home and relaxed what Mum is going through now no one can take away.     I just hope I sleep tonight.

The first day after.

Spending more time with a brother I realise I barely know has been both interesting and fraught around the dying of my mother.  When he appeared no one was more shocked than me, when he stayed I was more surprised and I realised that I do not really know my brother.  Some followers may know I had a major clash with him a few weeks ago.  It was concerning feelings and family issues and from this I had to learn that naturally my brother’s and my perspective vary and we have very different values.  He is supremely practical and this wounds me in all kinds of ways.  As the older sibling he is taking charge which is fair enough, I don’t want to be battling following the death of my mother as there are so many emotions running around.

Today I said I would sit out the meeting with the funeral directors as he had hurt me a lot by certain comments and just not validating where I was coming from in needing to spend loving time with family at this difficult time. We shared some phone time as he answered questions from the funeral director or details of Mum’s father (whose name he did not know.)  He has rarely shown any interest in family history and though he travels overseas he has never once visited the country of my father’s birth, nor made any connection whatsoever with Dad’s relatives. That has fallen to me as the youngest.

We clashed a bit over the past few days as he was dissuading certain relatives from coming down to see Mum before she died.  I arked up at that, as I do and yesterday he accused me of being ‘a loose cannon”.  This was less than an hour after my mother died.  Luckily I got a reality check from someone who knows us both and they feel that he is just not able to handle any form of assertion or confrontation and he buries his emotions, but I have to be sensitive and mindful enough to know that does not mean that he does not have them.

I want to love my brother where he is at.  Its hard enough at present as my sister is not returning any of my calls.   I have learned not to expect that my sister would want to reach out to me in my grief today.  It hurts but I am going to let it go, she does what is capable of and is struggling herself.  Luckily both sons have flown down to be with her.  It may be she is setting a healthy boundary, I dont know but a heart friend of mine was shocked today to learn that my sister was not reaching out to me in grief.  I know we all handle grief differently but is still a loss for me.   Only a few members of my family have contacted me after my mother’s death so I am learning who I matter to and who I don’t. (But when I read that back… and ill let it stand who knows, they may care and just not think to want to show it or know how?  I dont know).

Death may be the great separator.  It seems to cast things into clear relief. It dispels some of our illusions, such as the belief we can put acts of love off to another day or time.  It reminds us of the limits of things and the best we can do is accept these with good grace.  It reminds us how important connection is.  I am grateful most of all to my cousin who offered to be with me last night for a few hours, she let me cry and then sent me a message at 4 am when I too was awake, after I read it I fell back to sleep.   She lost her own Mum just over 5 years ago and so many other friends of mine have also lost their mothers so at such a time its good to reach out to them as they understand.

When grieving I have learned we need to draw close to those who understand and can offer real comfort not defences and platitudes, grief is a measure of our love and joy comes when we find the freedom to release our true self to feel it for the more we do this the more of the lighter emotions we can feel.  We wont cry all the time and we will smile, knowing how lucky we were and what work it took to keep love alive even amidst such grief and pain.

Ocean carry me

Breathing 2

Ocean carry me

Onwards to the next destination

I am here breathing

As the ocean is breathing

Watching the swell

Riding the tide

Sensing where it wants to go

I am aware that I am a part of something so much larger

But also of how I sometimes only find peace

In the quiet still moment

Of ocean heart breathing

Often the world outide me is too much

A vast restless ocean

Impossible to navigate

I would rather rest here

In the wholeness of a present moment

In which I am fully known

Now that you have gone

Passing from the finite into infinitude

I am aware as I never was

Of how vast and mysterious life can be

We try to carve it up into pieces

To make it more digestable

Taking our fill of what we need

We cannot always understand how life appears

From another point of view

Living within a different heart and mind

It is only from our own centre

That we can navigate a certain space

When we surrender to the ocean and allow it to carry us

Are we lost or are we found?

Ordeal

Those who follow my blog will know what an ordeal the past 8 days have been, commencing with my grand niece’s convulsions and visit to emergency and followed by my mother’s fall just under a week ago.  I feel as thought I am living in a nightmare reality, as my Mum is now laying dying in hospital (according to my brother and the doctor).  When I visited her last night she was conscious and in a lot of pain, I sat with her from 20 minutes then she told me to go (more out of concern for me).  I just could not leave her after so short a time and this is what Mum always did, never asking much.  I stayed and then she started getting agitated and fidgetty.  “I need to get moving,” she said to me.  I called the nurse and struggled with the side handrail on the bed that kept her prisoner.  We had her up and standing several times and then back she was on the bed doubled in pain and crying.  I was stroking her back near where her hospital nappy was on, trying not to take the pain on but to be with her in the pain.   Eventually they gave her a pill and she seemed to settle, I feel selfish but I was so tired I finally left at 9.30 pm.  At 2 pm I awoke to the sound of knocking, I was deep in dream scape and getting up was so hard, I literally felt like I was going to fall down.  It was my brother, they had tried to call me and then my sister and not raised me.   He told me he didnt think she had long, but I just could not go to the hospital, I was so exhausted so he promised to ring me.  I got back into the safety of bed and after 2 or so hours managed to fall asleep, when I awoke at 7 am my body was uncoiling and coiling (its hard to describe here)  I remembered that 12 of December is the date my ancestors set sail from Cornwall to New Zealand 145 years ago.  I thought of my Mum saying to me last night “I’ve got to get moving.”  It may be all active imagination on my part but after reading about core sentences and core trauma in Mark Wolynns book on inter-generational healing I could not help but feel something was going on.  By the time I got to the hospital Mum was labouring to breathe and was no longer conscious, the woman of last night who could say those words had just disappeared.  It took every ounce of my strength to stay in that room for one and a half hours.   Both my sister and brother were there but no one was saying much.  My brother looked kind of happy that it would all soon be over (did I imagine that?).  One of my nephews who is really fond of Mum had rung wanting to come down and my brother had told him “it wasnt a good idea”.  I felt my chest burning and wanted to scream.   I didnt but I did ask my brother who had the right to decide that?  Any way between deep tears at seeing the conditon my Mum was in and brief sojourns out of the room I finally left a few hours later crying all the way to the foyer.  I felt I was in outer space, no one seemed to see me until I nearly got to the front doors of the hospital then two women appeared out of left field and embraced me, they let me verbalise and cry, the affirmed me, they got the pastoral care person who through some form of grace turned out to be from my year at school.  She was amazing to me.  She spent about 20 minutes with me in the chapel and I was able to get my pain and grief out with her.  Thanks be to God or higher power or Goddess.  She offered when I go back to sit with my Mum with me, I dont feel comfortable sitting in the room with my brother and sister. I know its my issue.   I know they are grieving too and cant see me.  At one point my brother called me Debbie and I picked him up on it, I havent been called that since I was 12.   I realised I was getting punchy with it and realised that was probably my own grief talking and I needed to pull it back.

Death is hard.  I have been talking to a good friend who lost both parents in her 30s.  When my father died when I was 23 I didnt get to grieve at all.  I never saw his body.  He died under an emergency procedure alone.   Now I am not finding it easy to be there with my Mum in the state she is in, I have to be honest.  I know there is no wrong or right.  I will go back up later for an hour or so but its all I can manage.  I would rather be here in the peace and stillness of my little cottage drawing close to her and to nature.  I found I was getting triggere……. the call came my Mum passed away today at 4.06 pm.