What happens when you visit with your parents? You talk, right? You talk about what you’re doing, what they’re doing, what others are doing. If you’re lucky enough to still have your parents, well, you have conversations.
That’s what we do. With everyone, right?
When was the last time you just sat with someone? No conversation.
No attempt to make something better.
Just your presence and your love.
My mother spent the last year of her life mostly on a ventilator. Not the whole time, but a lot of it. Which meant that she, a great talker, couldn’t talk. Oh, I could talk. And she could understand, at least when she was conscious. Which wasn’t all the time.
But “conversation” implies dialogue.
And there was little of that during 1999.
The curse of dementia was laid on my father in his last decade. Alzheimer’s Disease? Who knows; we didn’t request an autopsy. At first, visiting him in his lock-down facility was like living in the movie, Groundhog Day. He’d repeat the same questions over and over. We’d have the same conversations continuously.
If I left the room and return, he’d greet me with surprise and delight, as if I’d just arrived.
And then, he didn’t know who I was.
After a time, Dad, who was always outspoken, opinionated and vociferous couldn’t express himself at all. At first, all I saw was the cruelty of this turn of events.
But over time, I came to see his situation
and my mother’s as a gift.
Not to them, but to me.
The gift was that it put me in touch with love and only love.
My dialogue with my parents was no longer about things we did.
Our interactions weren’t about discussions we had, about the minutae of the day, the gossip of the moment.
It was about being there at a heart level, the core level.
Just being there in love.
The purity of that love was staggering.
We don’t often get to do that, just “be there” with someone.
Not trying to make it better or to fix it.
Not judging. Not crying.
Just being there in a cloud of love.
Emanating it without words.
Oh, yes, I’m a big fixer.
I’ve lived as if I have total control over outcome.
When my mother died, I felt backed in a corner.
For the first time, I had no options.
She was dead.
I couldn’t make it better.
I couldn’t bring her back.
And I was grateful that I’d had those weeks to be there with her.
To let her feel the love I had for her.
Do I have regrets?
I do. I wasn’t always sure what exactly to do with that “being there” stuff.
I remember my father, mute, looking at me with pleading eyes in that last week
and I remember feeling so panicked and uncomfortable.
I wish now I had sat with him longer.
Held his land.
Made very sure he was sent off with love.
I would want someone to do that for me.
I hope I would do better next time.
Because love is the most awesome thing in the world.
Being with someone in their time of need,
warming them with the light of our love
is an opportunity and a gift
more precious than diamonds.
Love is the only thing that matters.
Especially in a week like this one.
Love, light & blessings to those little ones who have left this world
so very young
and to the courageous adults who tried to protect them.
Warm, healing thoughts and love to the families and loved ones affected
by this horrible, awful tragedy.