Sunday, July 06, 2008

Ponder this Sunday Ephemera

Early morning fairy mist.


Precious papers and books.


On July 4th, my sister-in-law experienced some distressing symptoms and her anxiety kicked in big time. The hospice nurse came out for awhile. As my brother says, it is his wife's reaction to her dying, to her symptoms, that causes the difficult to deal with symptom of her nearly out of control anxiety. She has always been anxiety ridden. And this habit seems to have expanded now with her imminent death. My brother thinks it won't be long now.

John O'Donohue, in Anam Cara, writes that we face little deaths every day, but we overlook them. Negativity is one. "This negativity holds you outside in exile from your own love and warmth. You can transfigure negativity by turning it towards the light of your soul." pg 200.

Another face of death, he says, is fear. "It is a courageous person who is able to identify his fears and work with them as forces for creativity and growth." And "All fear is rooted in the fear of death." pg 204

Fear and anxiety blur our vision. We are not seeing what is. When we have the courage to face and work with these and other "little deaths" we can see more clearly. We might find out the snake in the corner of the room is a rope.

I have no idea what I will feel or how I might react when faced with my own death. But I hope I have the courage, as I go along the path, to transform my negativity, to face my fears and see them for what they are. Meanwhile, how sad it is to watch my sister-in-law, not only consumed by cancer that is taking away her flesh and weakening her spirit, but consumed by anxiety that pills can barely alleviate. She never learned to breathe, to sit in quietude, to be grateful to everyone.

"BE GRATEFUL TO EVERYONE" is a Lojong saying. You mean even to death? You mean even to Joe who I hate. You mean even to my enemy? Yes.

Do you have any thoughts or fears or ponderings about death, either the small deaths we experience every day, or the larger death of ourselves as we know ourself. Rather, a transformation that occurs from the me I am now, to the me of ashes and minerals cast in the wind.

Last photo is of my son and my mom.


Forever Young said...

your son is a handsome man and mom ;ooks so frail.
go to to see 'if' posts. hugs xx

sukipoet said...

Yes, I agree w/your assesments. You know my son's dad was super handsome once too, though my son looks more like my side of the family I think. Mom is frail. Sometimes I overlook her and then suddenly I really look at her and see how hunched over and on the edge she is. Still, she managed to read 7 books a week, do an occasional load of laundry, do her bill paying, put away dishes and so forth. Kinda amazing. I did follow the link on yr blog to ilustration friday but still couldnt figure out how to access others drawings. I'll try again. Thanks Forever Young.


Your son is indeed very handsome. Does he live near-by?
I'm so very sorry for your SIL's pain and agitation. We never know, as you said, how we will react to our own approaching death.Personally, I have no fear of death,,,,but a fear of the possible pain of the process. I was so grateful to be able to see my Mom at peace during the process. She embraced death,,,was eager to go 'home', which made it so much easier for all of us. My prayers are with all of you.

You can tell your Mom enjoyed your efforts with the charcoaling.
(eating it all)
Just doing something a bit different sometimes is all it takes to improve everyone's attitude and appetite. Good for you, making the effort Suki!

sukipoet said...

Babs as it turns out, by coming up north to help out with mom, I placed myself across the dirt road from my brother and SIL, and half an hour from my son and his dad who live together. Guess the universe felt I needed some family time.

thanks for sharing about your mom. I do think it is easier on everyone including the dying person when they have such a viewpoint.

Its true it is good to do things differently now and again. I tried to bbq chicken the next day but couldnt get the brickets lit. Oh well. Thanks for stopping by and hope you had a super time with your grandson.

Annie said...

Suki, your son is a good looking man :-). Bless your mom's heart, she sounds amazing. I am sorry for your sister in law, it sounds like she did not live her life very happily either. I am not at all afraid of death, but I do hope it is as painless as possible because
I do not like pain(who does?).I do think the best thing is to live your life as fully as you can and to stay in the moment, make a choice to be happy and go for your dreams. Appreciate your loves ones and don't take anything for granted. That is a receipe for a wonderful life.

sukipoet said...

Annie, i like your recipe for living. I agree that it is important to live a life that is fulfilling and joyful. To create that for oneself. I think SIL moved up here to the boonies 25 years ago and although she worked cleaning houses for a long time, mostly she stayed at home watching soap operas. She's quite intelligent but her mom was a soap opera star so the kids got hooked on watching. She loves dogs, birds all animals and has lots of opinions and likes and dislikes. She smokes a lot too. I think she never challenged herself to change, to try to overcome childhood hardships, being raised just about by nuns in a very strict environment. So that is sad but it is her path. Awakening could still come even now. All I can do is send prayers and angels to surround her.

Mim said...

Yes, your son is a looker and your mom is so beautiful. One day I "saw" my mom and she was an old lady, and it broke my heart but it was a tremendous turning point in our relationship. Death...scary in a way, but to me scary cause I can't take care of those I would be leaving behind. And oh, how I'd miss life (or so I think).
I try so hard to NOT take for granted my family, my blessings, and everyone I love...and it is SO hard. But I keep trying! I guess that's all we can do.

sukipoet said...

Mim thanks. I do think Mom and I have a totally different relationship now she is her age and I am my age. It is lovely really.

Most days I think I'd miss life too. There is so much about life and people and learning new things that I hate to let go of, at least right now. I think you are right, we just keep trying to respect life and people and the things around us. one reason I always loved Albert Schweitzer (who you don't hear much about anymore) is his phrase "Reverence for Life." I read a lot about him and by him at one time when i was in high school. If I can just remember that....reverence for life...I'll be doing okay. Namaste, Suki

Patti said...

Great photo Suki. I agree with the rest of the crowds comments!

I visited my Mom today in the Nursing Home. (She is 80yrs old & has dementia) They rang me to say she was not responding to staff, was not eating and was in pain - her time must be close by now.

Thankfully they can dose with morphine to ease the pain, so at least she will have some peace. However, she recognised and responded to me today and I managed to feed her a little, told her I loved her and left her sleeping peacefully.

I think death will be easy for her, but it will be hard for me, since like you, I have been her sole carer for many years now.

As for my own death - I don't think about it too much. Is that denial or just a coping mechanism? I do know that I have a strong spiritual belief in the energy that exists all around us, whatever you might like to call it.

Peace to your SIL.

Cestandrea said...

Hi Suki, Just wanted to say that I love the expressions on your son's and your mom's faces. Your son looks very friendly, calm and welcoming, and your mom looks so aware of things, and also as if she was enlightened, I don't know how to say it better. She looks alife.
I'm so very sorry about your SIL who has these huge fears. I sent you an email with a poem from a newsletter of someone, I love this poems, about death, and life at the same time.
I have to go, but think of you and your family,

m. heart said...

hi suki, i am sorry about your sil's struggle with cancer, especially in the sense that she is not at peace in her heart.
like mim, i have found it startling to see my parents as the frail people they are becoming with age and sickness.
sickness seems to take our loved ones in many ways - i've noticed that even when my mom is having a good day physically it is difficult to move beyond conversations about her illness and talk about day-to-day things like we used to.
that's a loss.

Cris in Oregon said...

I thought I commented on this post yesterday. oh dear.. mind is going. lol

Yes your son is handsome and your mom looks sweet. I feel for all and of you, but especially your brother for his wifes failing health. Having gone thru that with my Mom I know how agonizing it can be but you have a need to be there with them to help them as much as you can even if they arent an easy patient.

sukipoet said...

Oh Patti. I'm sorry about your mom. How wonderful though that she knew you and could hear you and you had a chance to tell her you love her. I will be thinking of you and sending prayers of love and light.

Andrea, thanks for your thoughts. Mom is pretty life-filled. I havent checked my emails yet, but will do. Thank you, Suki

Hello M. Heart. yes, the illness seems to take over people really whether young or old but esp. old. certainly my sister=in-law talks of little else. It is a great loss though when it's your mom or dad. I mean they have know you since day one and when the relationship changes, shifts in that way it is hard. Thanks for your words and for stopping by.

sukipoet said...

thanks Cris. I know you went through similar things with your mom. thanks for your thoughts and empathy. Be well, Suki PS sometimes I read peoples posts and think I've commented only to later find I havent. Its an oddity. but one at least two of us have experienced.!

marianne said...

Oh Suki what a beautiful post. Thanks! Also for the link to beliefnet.
Your son looks great! Just like my son he has long hair, I like that.
In some way you have all your family around you there, that's special.
Your mom looks fragile but very beautiful!
So sorry about your sister in law and her anxiety . I guess when you haven't learned to be grateful death will be a struggle.
I have seen such struggles already.
I guess we all face little deaths each day. For me the loss of my youth, for my parents the llittle death are following in a more rapid tempo. My mother is afraid of dying and as I think about it, my mother has never learned to be grateful for anything. She only worked hard and didn't learn to forgive and let go...... Poor mom. Maybe that's why she is afraid.
My dad's condition is going backwards rapidly, he had give up a lot these last few years, his health his driver’s license, his independence. Now he has to look how everyone is doing things and taking decisions for him, no wonder he is obstinate and angry.
I have no idea if he fears death, but he must feel it close.....
As for myself, I know I still have to learn a lot. I hope by the time I have to face death I have learned enough not to fear it and that I can die in peace.
Right now I'm not ready for it.
I'm grateful for a lot of things. I think there is a truth in the irritations in other people that they say something about your own pitfalls.
Being around my mom is difficult, maybe I don't like the resemblances I see. I hope I can learn to come to peace with her before she dies. This I have to learn fast.
For the rest, I have to learn a lot but I hope I will get the time for that.

Love >M<

sukipoet said...

Marianne, you have a lot on your shoulders with both your parents in fragile states. I'm sorry your dad is going backwards. Giving up driving is very hard. Mom gave it up only about 2 years ago and she still says she wishes she could drive. Of course, we were glad she finally stopped without our having to say enough. I am learning a lot watching her make her way through the world so elderly. Other people do sort of take over. For mom, living here with me, she gets to do mostly what she wants to. The only thing I'm bossy about is not staying in bed as much as she was when I first came and she is pretty good about that now. Life is sure a puzzle with so many things to learn and work through. I'm thinking of you. Love, Suki

Peter J. Crowley said...

Pondering is one of my favorite things. Although in this iPodian world pondering may be considered a disease. Me I'll have some blackberries [the kind you eat] and shoot some B+W film and ponder thoughts with light. enjoy pjc

sukipoet said...

Hey Peter thanks for stopping by. I really love your blog. Well, the lawn chair shown in another post is a great device for pondering in. Whilst eating the blackberries. Take care, Suki

Anonymous said...

This post is so thoughtful and graceful and deep. I love the flowers that are past their prime. Your mother is like one of those flowers, still beautiful and still a heck of a lot of life in her. Reading, putting dishes away. Life crystallized.