The Convalescent Home: Grandmother
Grandmother is ninety years old, and has dementia. A survivor of abuse as a child, she recently suffered at the hands of a loved one and their partner, who had considered her an 'investment'. The details are not important, except for the purposes of a back story for this 'talk story', ya?
She is in her new home, one that is closer to the family. It is my first visit. She is lying in her bed, low to the floor, little cap on her head and two crocheted blankets on her. One was the expensive pink one I had bought. She smiled and kissed me, and I greeted her with delight.
She wanted to know if I had brought her anything. I pulled out a bag of M&M's and fed them to her one at a time. She smiled with pleasure at the chocolate. I had to make a big show out of eating them with her, as she will not eat if you do not eat a little too.
In her broken English, she said, 'what do you-a know about-a this life? It can-a be short, long-a, you-a never know--who would have-a thought that I would be here-a like-a this?' She points up to the ceiling and says, 'Only God can decide when we live or we die'.
I saw her kiss the hand of the nurse that gave her medicine and a supplement shake to drink. (she had been badly malnourished and thin).
She looked and me and said, 'We should be happy all the time!'
She also thought today was two miracles, one because I came to see her (she had been thinking about me) and the other because her table was so pretty with a table cloth at dinner.
'I am-a so blessed! she said, as I said I had to go.
'Mangia!' I told her, as clearly I was distracting her from her supper.
Telemetry, Big Box Hospital: my parent
There is drama. All three children are at the bedside. We watch the T.V. together. The i.v. had caused the hand to swell. Although the metabolic problems were corrected, a new problem has cropped up.
The sister who spent last night and is going to spend this night 'looks like she is in jail', my other sibling said.
It is true. In the hospital, with a loved one who is fearful of every little thing, even the way the tubing to the leg squeezers (to prevent blood clots) is arranged, it puts a person on edge. The hypervigilance of the parent, the constant need to reassure, to explain the same thing over and over again is emotionally draining.
'Hey doctor, I have a question for you?' my parent said. They wanted to know about the condition requiring a long-term drain. I explained it my best, in my most gentle and optomistic terms.
The parent grunts and says, 'That's what the specialist said.' All day long, there has been obsessing about the drain. How to manage it. Hoping against all hope for a way perhaps one person would say it was not needed after all.
There is a total disconnect between the ego and the clinical situation in this patient, who happens to be my parent. Three kids, all taking turns to keep our parent from being alone, for one week, making huge sacrifices of our time and energy all to keep our parent's fear in check.
I have seen this kind of mindset clinically. There is no way to calm fear in someone like this. Not without chemicals like Versed. It just doesn't work.
My doctor, whom I saw recently because of a cough that keeps getting worse, issued me a one-hour each day limit. My doctor is from the same Mediterranean background as me. His parents are even more like this than mine!
The moral of the story is: there is no 'I' in Love. Grandmother is all heart. Parent is love taking third place after Fear and Ego. Parent is innocent, except for permitting this pattern in the first place; it has taken root and is lowering the quality of their life experience.
'There are two ways to look at life. The first is as if nothing is a miracle. The second is as if everything is a miracle.' - Albert Einstein
What habits would you like to cultivate in you? The first step is to be aware of them. In the dining room, there was a woman with echolalia. She would say the same thing over and over. 'I don't want any! I don't want any! I don't want any! I don't want any! and 'Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me!'
Sometimes we get echolalia in our head. They can be good thoughts. And they can be fearful thoughts. The examples are in the talk-stories shared above. We do not have to permit echolalia of the fearful thoughts. We have the strength to acknowledge them, and nip them in the bud, plucking them out like weeds, and concentrating on the beautiful loving thoughts we would like to have. This IS a miracle! That we have the power to select and 'edit' what is on our mind. That is the definition of Free Will and the ticket to Freedom for the Higher Dimensions.