I’ve had a difficult night. My beloved Nana is dying, and I’m struggling more than I thought I would with this news. Our birthdays are just around the corner, hers on September 2, mine on September 6. We have always been the September Girls. Now I wonder if she’ll make it to hers. I pray her funeral won’t be on mine.
I have never had issue with death – we will all have our time, and I trust in that. But all night I’ve wrestled with two things; the manner of her demise, and that I might not be able to be with her as she slips away.
Nana broke her hip a little while ago, but came through an operation to pin her femur with flying colours, and ended up in rehab, getting ready to come home. Then something unexpected happened. She ended up with a bedsore on her heel that became infected and got right into the bone. And that has essentially been the beginning of the end for her.
The other thing I’m struggling with is that I’ve been at home recovering for the past few weeks after a virus flared up my cardiomyopathy, and I went to hospital with arrythmia. My cardiologist insisted I stay away from cities, shopping centres and possible sources of further infection until I was back at full strength again.
My Dad rang last night to tell me Nana was going downhill very fast, and that now might be the time to take a trip up to visit her at the hospital, about an hour and a half from my farm, so I could say my goodbyes.
But first I need to find out from my own doctor if he thinks this is a good idea.
All I wanted to do last night when I got the news was get in the car and drive. It’s still all I want to do this morning. And I can’t. I have to be sensible. I have to manage my risk. I have to wait to get an answer, and I need to find a way to be okay with it if the answer is no.
That’s where my thoughts turned to Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. In the middle of the night their words sprang into my head, easing my worries, and helping me return from a place of anger and frustration to a place of love and acceptance.
At first I was angry because my Grandmother’s demise has been hastened by neglect in her nursing care. Just because she is elderly did not mean that she deserved lesser care. I thought of Mother Teresa’s words, and I felt even worse to start with, thinking of my Nana and her situation.
But that brought me back to thinking about the nurses and doctors at my grandmother’s hospital, and how overworked they are, how understaffed the wards are, and how little support and understanding these people get, when all they are doing is trying to serve us. They are just as unwanted, unloved and uncared for.
In thinking this I began to find compassion instead of outrage.
And then these words of Mother Teresa’s came to mind:
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
~ Mother Teresa
I realised that no matter what happened, I COULD still do something. I could pray for my Nana. I could talk with her in my mind, and I could meditate for her. I could also flow that energy of healing, love, gratitude and compassion to my Dad and family, and to my Nana’s care-givers at the hospital. I could talk to my Pa, Nana’s mum – Nana Heppell, and to my Nana’s favourite brother, Bill, who have already crossed over, asking them to look after her, and to help her at this time.
And then there was the help I felt from the teachings of the Dalai Lama…
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
~ Dalai Lama
Kindness. In thought and action. I can do that. And of course, that includes kindness to myself. No matter what my doctor tells me, I shall honour that and do my best to be at peace with the decision. I will respect my own physical needs.
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
~ Dalai Lama XIV
I will be gentle with myself today and in the days ahead. I will remind myself often that now, this part of 2012, is a great time for ancestral healing and clearing, and that it is to be expected that family relationships and dynamics will be a large part of my current attention.
No matter what happens, I know that I can meditate, pray and do energetic work for myself and my family. for you and your family, and for families everywhere.
In the end, love and kindness are all that matters, and my Nana has been a shining example of that teaching in my life. I am Blessed to have had her here for so long, and I know that love endures – we will always be the September Girls. ♥