Monday, September 20, 2010

Oh, The Ignominy of It All

This is a phrase Dad said a lot toward the end of his life, and now Mom says it. She also says, "Old age isn't for sissies." Her moments of clarity about her situation are surprising to me because they are in such drastic contrast to how she is during and after her little strokes (T.I.A.s). We say the aliens have visited her because it feels so other-worldly to both of us. She says it is like dreaming with her eyes wide open and when she tries to express what is going on, it is a word salad of utter nonsense.

I watch the tiny rise and fall of life as she sleeps.
I think the end will come like the boyfriend I'm told will appear when I'm not looking for him.  I know this is a spurious comparison and probably in bad taste, but Mom's departure is on her mind and everybody who attends to her. I'm glad severe is part of persevere because no one is going gently into this good night. Even though she says she is ready to go, I see her raging against the dying of the light.

I see her perk up when visited and fed by my angel friend, Cathy.
I think I look alarmingly like my mother in features and age.
I delight in the animated expressions between brother and sister (Uncle Dave is 95).
I muse constantly about the meaning and grace of all this. I have felt unable to look at or write on blogs for over a month and then several blogging friends inquire about my well-being and I feel propelled toward expression again.

I have an encounter with a friend who is unable to accept my affection and gratitude and I struggle to not blame, grasp and justify either of our behaviors. What I make of the people who appear in my life, as well as the circumstances, thoughts, emotions and contradictions is up to me. I realize the sweet kiss of freedom is a concept in my mind and I can surrender to not knowing how my life will be used. I realize that trusting thoughts, events and people has been disillusioning and part of my story (always the Drama Queen). Most of my story has been a lie of protection and safety. I remind myself of favorite lines from books that encourage me to not identify with whatever is bothering me, but to engage in what is effortlessly present. "Freedom is the essential nature of consciousness, and consciousness is the source of individual awareness." from The Diamond in Your Pocket by Gangaji

No condition can be labled ignominious when looked at with the natural curiosity that develops when old concepts are released. It is just a thought. I can change my thoughts (but probably not Mom's). I can stop searching for something to rescue me from myself. I am free.

(Top picture taken by Dad while serving on his mission in Germany. All other photos, taken by me)