Love You Forever, Bye for now
All Souls Night - Loreena McKennitt – Listen with lyrics
Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.
~ Octavia Butler
Physically I'm still alive, though much diminished.
Practically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually I have died though.
I’ve let go of most of my end-of-life practical preparations, dropping the obituary project like a hot potato. “Hot” was my first recorded word from when I touched the heater. Here I am letting go of something too hot for me to handle.
Mentally, I can’t even balance my checkbook with a calculator. It took me an hour to do what I used to do in my head in 10 minutes. My mental processes are diminishing as brain function diminishes because my body is economizing and reducing blood flow to frontal lobes. I find this incredibly ironic because my brilliant mother lost her mind, sense of self and others, eventually her life from Frontal-temporal dementia (FTD). For a while I thought she just wouldn’t try to keep it together. Now I realize from experience that this isn’t a personal fault or failing, but brain failure. The good news is what took her five years won’t take me even five weeks.
It’s also amusing to discover that I and my mind are not my brain and that those frontal lobes aren’t the seat of myself, just affect my mental, executive functioning. But, whew! I used to say “I’m going to die young of cancer, but I’ll be spared dementia." The joke is on me!
Language seems to take different forms and I love alliteration and rhymes to help me through those moments when the right words just aren’t there. How about peeping and poo-ing? Its onomatopoeia is so much better than peeing and pooping!
Emotionally, my filters are down. Way down. I walked out of my bedroom today and told my friend who’d come to help me, “Don’t even think of talking.” She stood up and said, “Okay then, I’m leaving.” I realized this is possibly our last time together, so I best lie down and figure out how to listen and talk, though distress of pain and exhaustion remain overwhelming. We got a good laugh out of our dramatics and then accomplished a lot.
Socially, I’ve grown even more sensitive to who I want to be with as I move toward dying. Some old friends who I felt certain I’d want to include in my very end, I have gut intuition telling me, “hot”. So I’ve pulled back and let my other, stronger, caregivers know who’s who and to maintain my safe space.
Spiritually, I’m famished and parched…a few weeks of pulling together practicalities and I’m responding to the urgent spiritual call for nourishment and refreshment on that level. For sheer beauty, I’m enjoying Mary Oliver’s new book of essays, Upstream. They arrive like beautiful prose poem meditations on mortality and observations of the natural world. Perfect!
Another book that’s informed my transition from the physical to the spiritual is Conscious Caregiving: Plant Medicine, Nutrition, Mindful Practices to Give Ease. (see below). If you are dealing with serious illness that might lead to death, I hope you’ll buy it and consult it for your practical and spiritual process. Author, Carol Trasatto, is truly a wise elder you’d do well to consult.
My current good-bye is, love you forever, bye for now.
Love You Forever is a wonderful children’s book that is directed to adult/parent caregivers. If you don’t remember it, please listen and look at it by clicking on link below.
Bye for now is something my friend Eve H. ended conversations with before she died of breast cancer. We grew so close by phone. And her intonation and inflections still live in me now.
Friends, I bid you…love you forever, bye for now.
Btw, If I can’t get along from this body today, it’s still a turn-around day in my life. I celebrate moving on to the next stage, however long or short this takes.
Exceeding all expectations is my daily miracle, my norm, for decades. It won’t continue forever. I shall be released.
so much light wrapping itself around us, Stephanie
Mary Oliver, “White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field”
Coming down out of the freezing sky
with its depths of light,
like an angel, or a Buddha with wings,
it was beautiful, and accurate,
striking the snow and whatever was there
with a force that left the imprint
of the tips of its wings — five feet apart —
and the grabbing thrust of its feet,
and the indentation of what had been running
through the white valleys of the snow —
and then it rose, gracefully,
and flew back to the frozen marshes
to lurk there, like a little lighthouse,
in the blue shadows —
so I thought:
maybe death isn’t darkness, after all,
but so much light wrapping itself around us —
as soft as feathers —
that we are instantly weary of looking, and looking,
and shut our eyes, not without amazement,
and let ourselves be carried,
as through the translucence of mica,
to the river that is without the least dapple or shadow,
that is nothing but light — scalding, aortal light —
in which we are washed and washed
out of our bones.
Learn more here:
FTD Support Forum
Conscious Caregiving: Plant Medicine, Nutrition, Mindful Practices to Give Ease
By Carol Trasatto
Love You Forever
By Robert Munsch
A beautiful tribute to me
Light from around the world for LongTermSurvivor/Stephanie