Crossing the Threshold

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I attended my dear mother Betty’s early-90th birthday gathering along with 17 family, caregivers and friends this past Saturday. Mom has been enduring the ravages of late stage Parkinsons for several years in an excllent nursing home facility in Western New York. Those of you following theis blog can appreciate how wonderful it was that I could be there with Mom and family at this amazing event that my sisters planned and orchestrated beautifully with great love. After a month’s road trip during which I encountered all manner of what I’ve been calling here “creepy crawly threshold guardians” I actually fled for home with my car and dog in 3 days to deliver my dog Sophie safely (and to separate us from affecting one another plus to deal again with the car)to Colorado. Then my sister graced me from her frequent flying miles to bring me by air right back to Western New York!

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Long story short, I can happily report that this after-the-trip trip has resulted in much better health, happiness and encouragement. My family is tremendous. The birthday gathering was all and much more than planned! My sister set Mom’s wheelchair in the center of a worship area room at her nursing home. We formed a semi-circle around her (and the strawberry cheesecake and cards and decorations). My other of 3 sisters had created/ published a beautiful book and slideshow from over 350 photos of Mom and our family from her birth to now. The slideshow ran continuously on a laptop accompanied by a soundtrack of Mom and our favorite songs.

“You are my Sunshine” is a favorite of favorites that we sing to Mom, and she sings along as best she is able! “My Bonnie lies over the Ocean” and Elvis tunes were also in the mix. For a couple of hours we celebrated Betty, our mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and great-grandmother, and Friend. She was fully with us the entire time and even came to full waking clarity for another hour or so afterwards in her room with my sisters and brother-in-law and me for a short while.(Usually she can stay alert and awake for only minutes at a time or through a fed mealtime encounter with her nurses.) When I had a few minutes of alone time with her before I needed to leave, she stared open eyed and we exchanged a loving moment.

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“You survived!” she uttered clearly.
“I survived,” I answered gratefully. I told her how much I and all of us love her. I said, “After all of this trip I realize that Family is more important than anything!” (I will be retiring to be closer to my family in a bit over a year now. The trip has only reinforced this resolve.)

So, this entire trip which has also included some amazingly positive experiences including a final format editing of my book manuscript which I will send to the publisher today or tomorrow and meeting/sharing with some wonderful new friends including a B&B owner/ EMT and two new wonderful friends who are publicists forming a team with me and my agent around this project, has finally resolved to the rim of a Threshold Crossing. I have met daunting challenges impeding my progress but I have survived and continue to advance. I arrived at the destination of my mother’s pre-90th birthday. We all laughed and sang, hugged and updated. We shall progress only forward from Here!

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pictures are from pixabay.com

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To Nurture Your Dreams, Be a Nourisher

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Sometimes we might not trust our inner vision to steer us in the right direction. We may feel afraid to Dream, wary of being disillusioned “yet again.” This cautious perspective might seem ‘practical,’ “realistic” or even wise.

But when we squelch our Visions, often another part of our Self grieves.

 

What happens to a Dream deferred? 

Does it dry up, like a raisin in the Sun?

Does it fester like a sore, and then run?

Perhaps it stinks, like rotten meat,

or crusts and sugars over, like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags, like a heavy load… 

Or does it explode?

–Langston Hughes

 

Our archetypal Ally for this month is the NOURISHER. I invite you to get in touch with your own nurturing, nourishing part of Self. When do you feel most nourishing and with whom? When do you feel best nourished and how or by whom?

Joyful time

I experienced a lot of Nourishing–from both sides of giving and receiving–during my road trip and visit Home  from June through July. Being with family and with my dog Sophie (my travelling companion and BFF) is a great gift of love for I have lived thousands of miles from my parents and sisters and brother for over 30 years.  We came together—all of us plus several cousins and nephews/nieces—around my elderly mother, Elizabeth—over the 4th of July holiday weekend. Mom was in the crux of a hospital emergency—not what we had hoped or planned for!—and we all came together to help her survive that visit and return to her familiar nursing home with its loving and competent, caring staff.

Mom is experiencing late stage Parkinson’s. At 88, for her this means she has very little independent mobility. She cannot walk on her own nor can she use her own hands to eat. She must consume pudding quality water and only pureed food which others must feed to her in such manner as not to cause her to aspirate or swallow food into her lungs.

While at the hospital, because staff there were inexperienced at preparing the pureed and pudding quality food and water and because most did not have experience (or time for the patience it takes) feeding in this way, it depended on us, her daughters mainly, to feed her morning, noon, and evening, as much and as best as we could.

And we did!  We bought Gerber’s pureed food to supplement or replace the hospital’s too thick or heavy portions. We developed a formula, with help from a speech therapist, to produce her pudding water, and we added fresh lemon juice and used ice cubes to give her more satisfaction.  She was depending on us for her very survival. Each of us stepped up as best we could. We shared our observations and listened to one anothers’ suggestions. We expressed our concerns with the nurses and aides until finally one doctor in particular became focal in helping Mom recover enough to be able to return to her nursing home.

Family of six

I know my Mom would do the same for any of us and often she did, whenever we were sick or ailing.  While at first honestly I was afraid of feeding Mom, afraid I might cause her to aspirate, over time I did the best I could along with my other sisters. And she improved! I believe the nurturing care we all gave helped her more than any medications. The love we all shared was a healing force in itself.  It is a healing energy that will never diminish, no matter what the future may hold.

So, I learn from my Nourisher that LOVE is the heart of it all and all that really matters. To NOURISH is to give and to reciprocally receive divine, unconditional Love.

I invite you to journal and/or to talk with a loved one (or send your insights, comments and stories to us, here!) about one or more of your own Nourisher moments.