Ommigod. I’m released from parental duty! All of a sudden. Just like that!
It happened at dinner last night. Paula sat across from me, said she was ready to come back, that she was rested up now, and I could go. Well . . . okay! Just like that. Pivot in place.
Such a rush, to suddenly allow the old “temporary framework” (that I was full-time caregiver for the folks, for this whole week) to suddenly release, open space, and let me land — wherever!
I had already decided to see my dear friend Claudia today, as a break from the routine with the folks, with Paula covering for me that one day. But now I’ve got two more free days, Tuesday and Wednesday, before I go to sister Mary’s overnight, and then, with Mary, her husband John, and sister Kathy, fly to San Diego for first, sister Kristin’s only daughter Bridget’s wedding, and then, since I’m out there anyhow, I arranged to spend another two days with my dear old friends Dick and Judy. (Dick happens to have been my first boy friend in high school, and then second husband in our 30s. He and Judy have been together for 30 years. We’re all still tribal.)
So. Right then and there I decided to go see old friend Clarissa, if she is available. In Portland. YES! She is, and she’s good at pivoting in place, too, clearing her way for me to enter her world for less than 24 hours.
Meanwhile, back to the folks, catch up from yesterday.
I already said that Dad and I were fine in the morning, after the altercation of the evening before. Both the sudden extreme and yes, weirdly irrational polarization between us, and the way I worked with it remind me of the July 1st “planetary message” from the Tom Kenyon, and the Hathors. I just saw Tom’s message this morning — another synchronicity!
The day went smoothly and easily, the folks sleeping a lot as usual, interspersed with, yes, you guessed it, continuous coverage of the Colorado shooting aftermath. Which reminds me: here’s an interesting story about a woman who went to one of the hospitals in the area, and what transpired there: love, only love, increasingly, love.
I’d say that’s what’s transpiring here as well, in this beautiful Mount Saint Vincent between the beautiful dark-skinned nighttime caregivers, all immigrants from Africa, and us; between Paula and myself, and other sisters, and of course, the folks, the wonderful dear old folks who become more and more themselves as the hours and days wear on.
Yesterday, sometime during the afternoon, I walked in to the folks’ living room from a short walk-around-the-facility with my sister Mary and her husband John, to find them both sleeping in their cushy chairs. Just then Dad woke up, and, when I asked him how they were doing, he said: “One of us died. But I’m not sure who it was!”
When I mentioned that remark to him this morning at the breakfast table, he said, “Well, when I wake up I sometimes say nonsensical things.” Both Paula and I cracked up — again!
But then, a poignant note:
Last night, around 7:30 p.m., I was on the phone out in the hallway arranging for my Monday with Claudia, when Mom wandered out into the hallway after me. I got off the phone and walked up to her, thinking to give her a hug. She said, in a sort of halting voice, that she wanted to go to bed now . . . so that she could pray.
Suddenly, another pivot.
Time stood still. Mom moved in closer, clung to me, teary, almost sobbing, murmuring murmuring, thank you thank you you’ve been such a good daughter, you are so good to me, do so much for me. I held her close, while she continued to murmur and I murmured into her ear, and you’ve been such a good mother, and such a good person, such a good soul.
At lunch yesterday, Dad had stayed in the apartment while she and I went to the cafe. There, we talked about dying, and I told her how death is not real, that I found this out when my husband Jeff died, that he was more present after he had dropped his body than when he was in it!
We talked about what might happen if Dad died first and she was left alone, and didn’t die right away. She said she’d be lonely. She wondered if I was lonely. I told her no, that I feel connected to everything and everyone, and that I feel supported and guided and cared for by the universe.
As we left the cafe, she said she was lost, that she didn’t know which way to go. I pointed out the direction of her apartment, #218. And I told her that she didn’t have to worry, that in this place she could feel completely safe. That she was safe. That if at any point, she felt lost, all she had to do was stop and tell someone that she was lost. That the entire staff knew her and loved her and would take care of her.
I think of the difference between the kind of safety that I feel and the kind of safety that I am encouraging her to feel. One metaphysical, ominiversal, spiritual the other material, psychological, verging on the spiritual. And yet these two lie on a continuum of meaning. All creatures need to feel safe, and can feel safe, if we allow ourselves to relax into the living universe.
And I think of how Mom’s moment of vulnerability and surrender with me in the hallway was doubly blessed for me, because this is not characteristic of her. All her life she has been, despite her very social personality, a very private woman. Perhaps this is what she is learning from this seemingly protracted dying process — how to relax into the love of her children. How to feel utterly safe and protected in our presence.
Okay, enough of that. Now a few pics of my walks around West Seattle, where I have traveled up and down hills to California Street, which is filled with artsy second-hand shops, to the local Trader Joe’s (my favorite chain store), to two water towers — and, the real coup, I encountered Camp Long, which the Seattle Times calls “a forest in a city” —68 acres of wild wooden terrain with walking trails, a climbing wall, and cabins, hidden away — and only three blocks from Mount St. Vincent! Unfortunately, when I stumbled across this amazing little forest retreat I didn’t have my iPhone, so no pics.
But I do have pics of a great little example of an urban farm on the entire front and side (couldt see the back) lawn of a well-kept house only one block in the other direction from MSV.
First, from the street: methinks that they need to mulch those beds! And perhaps to run the rows horizontally rather than vertically (to take advantage of the slight slope).
That’s the permaculturist in me talking. Always fussin’ with details. But of course, mulching is not as important where there’s plenty of rain, like here in the northwest. In drought-stricken Indiana, just before I left I hauled in yet another bale of straw for mulching, and hope that the wonderful young people who are running the garden mulch it around the tomato, basil and pepper beds while I’m gone. . .
That part of me that “worries” about whether or not something gets done is not permacultural, but first-child imprint, the one who takes command, and makes sure all the little ones do my bidding . . . I try to “get over it,” but why? Better to learn how to refine this long-standing habit so that I let go of control while imagining all is well, in fact all is better off without me!
Okay, back to the photos.
Here’s one showing our little urban farm’s windmill and green house, and densely packed garden, which is how plants like to grow, close together and diversified, in a wild tangle of succulent beauty.
BTW: I noticed this morning, while lying in bed scrolling through the internet on the iPhone, this article, from Mother Jones:
Why? I have yet to read the article, but I do know that as life returns to the city, people go outside, to work, play, explore, and remember their interconnectedness with each other and the natural world. I mean duh! Much more fun to wander through wild tangles than to march or drive down empty or hurtling, echoing, soulless asphalt-and-concrete-covered, chain-linked demarcated straight lined — what? Streets? I’d hardly call them that. More like long, linear hells on earth.
Here’s a few pics from the north water tower. First, from a distance, near MSV. See it? White with blue, on the far horizon. Notice the horizontal cloud nearby: cover for UFO? (I always wonder), or chemtrail? (yuck):
Here’s the tower, close up. Notice the whimsical rain clouds painted on it!
Here I am coming back. Mount Saint Vincent shows up as that big block of buildings in the middle of the far distance; and look closely to see the south water tower that I walked to, last night, after that little moment of communion with Mom in the hallway which made me wonder if she was getting ready to retire, not just to bed, but from this life. Just the thought of her actually preparing to lift off, made me feel giddy with joy, for her, and powered that extra walk in the evening.
But no, there she was, bright and cheerful with her pearl necklace and earrings, this morning, at 8 A.M.
Many deaths and resurrections in this journey we are moving through, all of us, with as much grace and care as we can muster, and which, it turns out, feels like a continuous, miraculous opening, opening, into ever larger vistas of both compassion and truth.
This may well be the only post for the next few days, or even until I return to Indiana.