I have missed my Ahava family lately as I have had to attend to some family-of-origin matters that have kept me away from services for a few weeks. It has been an interesting and valuable experience for me that I would like to share parts of with you.
In the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, May 7th, my mother awoke and slipped from her bed and slid onto the carpeted floor of the bedroom she shares with my father. The fall was shallow but significant even though neither of my parents realized it at the time. She had no broken bones but she tore a muscle in her hip and was unable to move herself off of the floor and when my father was unable to lift her without assistance, he called a cousin of mine who lives nearby to help him.
When my cousin arrived, she determined that my mother needed to visit the emergency room and arranged for the ambulance to pick up my mother. Because there is no orthopedic doctor at the small, county hospital where my parents live, and because they were unsure if she had broken a bone, the EMTs brought my mother to the sprawling University of Kentucky Medical Center.
My mother, who has very pronounced dementia, my father, my younger sister, who is a nurse at another central Kentucky hospital, and I spent most of the next several days in much closer proximity to each other than we had in decades. First we were packed into the cramped quarters of the emergency room, then the emergency room observation area, then the emergency room again and finally a much more spacious room on one of the floors. Throughout the duration (a full week), my mother vacillated between sleeping and pleading for a cigarette and wanting to return home; my father paced the tiny spaces, worried, haggard, anxious; my sister and I tag-teamed transporting my dad and communicating with doctors and nurses and staff about conditions, treatments, orders, medications and nutrition among other things – and then translating all this to our father and other family members. And, very importantly, we supported each other in the unpleasant things we had to do and acknowledged our shared desire to simply run away.
It has been a stressful time, I admit. I have had the great fortune to plunge the depths of those places where I have buried resentment and bitterness and been unforgiving. It has not been an easy journey but it has been healing and renewing even in the discomfort. It has been a chance to consciously examine my resistance and intransigence and then intentionally choose kindness and compassion over righteous defiance. I bless my Higher Power for searching every nook and cranny of my consciousness and bringing these things into the light where all is revealed, providing me the opportunity to bump up against the hard things again – only now with the knowingness that I am not alone in the charge. There is a power and force much greater than I can even imagine, working in, through and as me to support me and expand and prosper me on this path.
My mother was accepted into a rehab center here in Lexington and they are working to strengthen her limbs and joints and muscles and tendons and she is doing well. She is eating well and has not mentioned a cigarette in days. My father has settled into a less anxious uneasiness and has accepted some help and assistance and is ever attentive to the love of his life – my mother. My sister and I have grown even closer and we have recognized the blessing we are to each other.
I have enjoyed the great support of my Ahava family throughout this period of change and transition and all prayers are welcome and appreciated. I not know all the details of my family’s future, but I know without doubt that in this very moment – which is the only one we have – we have everything we need. We are loved and supported and nurtured. There is nothing else needed or required but what is right now. And so it is.