Sunday, 2 February 2014

2013: Moments that Matter

Well friends, it has been awhile, I suppose that is an understatement. For the last 6 months I have struggled with what to say, how to articulate all that has transpired. Ideas for how to say what is on my heart have circled around the cloud of my mind but lacked any clarity. That is until last night I stumbled on a "Moments that Matter" Competition sponsored by Loyd's Bank and a few really great bloggers mentioned at the bottom of the post. To be honest, I was initially drawn in by the prize, but as the hours ticked on and I couldnt sleep... I realized, it was the motivation, the challenge that was driving me. The inspiration was always there, I just needed a push so thank you bloggers.

I am of the mindset that every moment is transformative... at least in its potential. Most moments come and go from our lives like the waves ebbing and flowing, we dont even take particular notice at the time. It is simply in our minds the passage of time, the way things are. It is often only on reflection that we see that in THAT moment, everything changed, or WE changed. Often as things are unfolding we can not see who we are becoming, only that who we were is no longer there for us... and so it was for me in 2013.

I could pick from a number of moments that mattered, and transformed me and must mention a few. This little blog, my little footprint in the annals of internet "time" fell softly on this page... a friend had pushed me to put myself out there, and I did, never thinking that it would draw any interest and in terms of great followings... there are not that many, but those that do follow matter to me.

I started doing past life readings, it was my way of coping with the daily demands I had on me, the readings were therapeutic as they took me away from my reality into one where there was healing and connection and love that knows no limit of time or space. I never expected the demand. I thought "ha if one person is interested that would be fun"... I still have a waiting list... more about that later.

I became the mommy of 2 guinea pigs. I never had any experience with guinea pigs, and if I had seen them in a pet store would have walked right by them. But when my sister in law asked if we would be interested as her two girls had out grown them, who would have imagined they would come to be such a dynamic and integral part of our lives. A week after having them, I took them to be groomed and one died of shock. I was absolutely devastated. How could I love a little fella so much that I had only known a week. But "Dude" represented something so much more. He wasnt just a guinea pig, but dependent on me. His little friend was so depressed that we had to get him a little friend, so Buddy entered our lives... he is a little mess... but we love him to bits.  We cant imagine life without them... they are free range piggies now.. in our lounge... far more entertaining than telly!!

Dude and Charlie... dear sweet dude is the one with the black face... xx

Charlie and his mini-me Buddy... he still eats his dinner IN the plate!

I joined a Gospel Choir and sung for the first time in public in over 7 years... what a feeling!! Amazing. I still had that passion, that joy, that movement in me... and because of that moment of singing, I was able to see my mom for the first time in 3 years as she flew from the US to see me! WOW! What a moment....

My Mom and I

And all of those moments were defining and life shaping, but they were not THE moment that changed everything.

As some of you reading this may know, in June of 2011 we moved in with my husband's parents to care for his mother full time. She had been diagnosed several years earlier with PSP (Progressive Supraneural Palsy)- imagine Parkinson's but instead of shaking she froze. The life expectancy for the illness is 5-7 years post diagnosis, but when we got there she had had it for 12 years!! My mother in law was a woman of "that" generation. Strong ideas about what it meant to be a mother, a wife, British. Me being a divorced American mother of 2 challenged those ideas after having married her son whom I met on the internet.

I did NOT consider myself the type of person that could handle day to day caring and nursing of anyone, but I found myself gradually stepping into that position. I am the mom that gags at "offensive" smells, squirms at the sight of blood... you get the picture. At least that is who I used to be. As things progressed, *I* was the one who did the tube feeds, toilet time, clothes changes. I resuscitated her twice. Sat in the hospital with her after one of her more gory falls. Who was this "me"?

Throughout all of this time my husband had really been focusing on the psychological nature of this illness and we had made so much progress. Physically she had stabilized. As a matter of fact, it left the doctors scratching their head. How could a woman that was supposed to be dead 7 years ago, be doing ok? Sure she wasnt talking, but she could when she had motivation to.

There comes, however, a point. I was worn down after 2 and a half years of every day being the same stress and demand, the constant vigilance. Any moment she could stop breathing, I didnt even feel I could go to the store, let alone for coffee with my friend.  My husband was struggling as well to face each day. And our kids are home educated so they too, just needed some space from it all. We hadnt had a break in well over a year so in August 2013... we made what we felt (and later proved to be true) was a radical decision. We went away for 5 days.

I set everything up, everything was arranged. My father in law assured us he could handle it. And we had no doubts about that really... he handles everything.. just in his own very unique way. But we felt we had no choice.

So we packed up the piggies and the bird and the kids and away we went. While we were away, we realized we could no longer do things the same way we had been doing them, it was killing us. So we called and everything seemed fine, so we decided to just breathe and allow ourselves to be guided. A better option would present itself, or a different way, or something...

After 5 days we returned to find her sitting alone in the lounge... the tv was on, but never had she seemed so alone. There was a peace that permeated the house, that had been lacking for so long. I felt differently. We spoke and I thought I saw her wiping tears from her eyes when I left the room, but I could have been mistaken. My husband took her to the computer room which over the years had become a therapy room. I went to my beloved sanctuary... the garden shed ( I sigh in relief at the mere thought of it.. I loved that space). From where I was sat, I could hear bits and pieces of his conversation with her, and see him pointing out to the garden, her beloved garden. She had watched the seasons change, framed by the huge window in the computer room. Often she would seem distracted watching the kids or the neighbors cats.

This day there was no EFT or meditations... just a son being with and reflecting with and encouraging his mum.

My father in law went out.

I prepared her for bed and there was silence, and a gentleness. She was a woman of great pride, bordering often on vanity, and the bedtime routine was often one fraught with moments of indignity no matter how much one tries to protect against that, there are things that can not be avoided, but that night, there was only peace. I thought later, that our decision to approach things differently really had made a significant difference!

As sometimes was the case, I couldnt sleep. So I got up and went out to my shed with its lovely carpeted floor and cushions and the neighbor's cat sleeping in the chair... and fell asleep. I was awakened sometime in the darkest part of the night to the sound of someone running through the garden. I sat bolt up. I looked around and thought I saw a flash of someone running in racing gear through the back garden into the neighbors garden which had a fence separating it. I said out loud to myself, "I need to speak to Andrew about running through the garden in the middle of the night... it is not appropriate."

 I went back to sleep and woke up a few hours later, wide awake and full of energy. NOT NORMAL!!!! I am the kind of girl that needs a cup of tea and a shower and nudge to get me going. That morning I had decided I was going to go to the store and get something as soon as it opened (I dont remember what) and I would be back in time to put my mother in law on her feed. Today was going to be the start of a new way of doing things... I was determined. My husband got up went downstairs and checked on his mother and saw she was sleeping peacefully so decided not to wake her, he felt she deserved a lie in.

About 30 minutes later we heard my father in law speaking to her, telling her it was time to get up, and then he called to us and we knew. Everything that followed was a blur.

It goes without saying, that THAT moment changed everything. So often we dont realize we were holding on until we let go. I felt like she had let us go. She had let go of everything she had been holding onto, and in so doing, forced us to let go as well. Everyone commented on how it was a surprise because she had seemed so well, just the day before when her friends had been around. And maybe she was well... but just couldnt BE well here.

We are conditioned to believe certain things about death, and in my opinion those conditionings really reflect our fears of our own mortality and our questions about what exists after "this". I believe my mother in law had made peace with those fears. I would like to believe that our beliefs helped her with that. I mean as a past life reader... my beliefs are a wee bit obvious. In my opinion life for her was really just beginning. It is like they say, for me at least, another door opening. How can there be an end? For if we know in our hearts that we will love someone forever, isnt that a clue that there is such thing as a "forever"... but each person can only know what is true for themselves. And make peace with that truth.

So... in that moment everything stopped. That moment mattered IN that moment. Though the moment seemed to last days, weeks.... there was an emptiness. But it was one as much of potential as it was of loss. The loss wasnt of a person, for we felt her around us, but of purpose. What existed before us was pure potential and possibility. And what exactly does one do with that? Our lives had become defined by feedings and schedules, supervising and delegating the details of keeping another human alive. And now that was gone.

It was clear that my father in law wanted and needed his space so we gave it to him, we started looking for somewhere to move to because we needed our own space to heal. We were guided... to a little town on the coast called so very appropriately Peacehaven. And it has served us well. These last 6 months have been entirely about healing and making peace with what is... we knew when we came here that it was temporary... and so it is... but isnt all of life temporary...

Isnt it so that in its temporary nature... it all matters... every moment matters.

Who knows what the next moment will offer, but I know that it will matter.

I leave with you this... I dont know if I will start back on my readings, I will do if I am guided, but make this moment matter, this connection, this life... celebrate what you are given because it will never pass this way again...

And for Sue... and anyone else that feels the space created when someone transitions through that door... to the other side... I would only say in reference to the song... all good things seem so much sweeter with the thought of how much you would have appreciated it...

I am often reminded of that memory of sitting up in the middle of the night hearing someone running through the garden, I have come to feel that it was Sue... breaking free, running for her life, the athlete that she always imagined herself to be, and now is free to be... GO Sue... a new life where everything you have dreamed of awaits you, because you are free. And so are we...  May the blessings be... always in all ways....

~ Jenn

Thanks to all the bloggers involved in this competition, you each inspire so much... Emma, JacquiAway with the FariesShe Might be LovedMiss Lucy LovesOh So Amelia