This strange time of self imposed exile has given me much time to ponder. I have never given myself time to sit still and although I don’t find it easy, I feel it is the best thing for me to do as an antidote for the racing around I tend to do. I feel myself healing but am surprised that this whole process of healing is just going to take the time it needs to take.
I am grateful for the work I am doing that is at times mundane but keeps me disciplined and I have felt my creative juices a little more forthcoming. I am enjoying reading “What We Ache For” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Her thought provoking exercises have encouraged me to persevere with some work I am doing for Oxford.
Who could fail to be touched by these opening words? ” We ache to touch intimately what is real, to find the marriage of meaning and matter in our lives and in the world.”
I have been allowing myself to think back on the ‘marriage of meaning and matter’ in my final days with Mick. It was at times frustrating as he could appear so completely ‘normal’ with some people, particularly those he had known for a long time. So there were those who would tell me I was wrong in my concern about the seriousness of his illness. I lived with him for 24 hours a day yet in some eyes I was deemed unworthy to make judgements about my husband’s health.
Recently I had my suspicions confirmed that his brain tumour had been developing much longer than first thought, maybe even years, so it made it much clearer to me that his great enjoyment became what he termed as “shared memories”.
It was so much easier for him to talk about distant memories than current events. It also accounts for some of the bizarre decisions he made which have had some challenging repercussions but which must be swept aside as I acknowledge what he brought to my life.
Another memory I have allowed myself is the day he told me he wanted to “go”. It was during his second week of palliative care and I was curled up in bed beside him causing the staff to label his room “the love nest” . When he said to me that he wanted to go, I told him that he must go when he felt it was the right time for him to do so. He was very grateful and thanked me. We talked about the closeness of his mother and his lovely wife who had died so young. His face looked beautiful as he slipped peacefully into a deep sleep.
The next morning a dear friend visited him and as he was leaving, lovingly patted Mick on the arm and said, “Hang in there mate!” I watched Mick’s face as his friend left and asked him what was wrong. He seemed very confused and asked if it meant that he couldn’t leave and that he would have to go and see his relations? It suddenly dawned on me that he felt torn. I had told him that it was his choice when he wanted to ” go” but there were others urging him to “hang in there”! So we went over our discussion of the day before and I reminded him that I loved him more than anyone else in the world and whilst I would miss him so very much, he had always said he didn’t want to be here if he couldn’t do things for himself. So once more his face relaxed and I believe he did choose the moment of his death. I am sure that it is appropriate to give our loved ones permission to leave.
So yes, I do ache to touch intimately what is real. I do ache to regain that feeling of ‘being fully alive’. I have found the past year the most challenging year of my life yet also a time of deep learning and I look forward to fully engaging in my life very soon.