As long as the earth exists there will be rain followed by sun. It is required so that life can sustain itself. Some life is more tolerant of drought and thrives in the desert but planted in the wrong climate, shrivels and dies. When tended to by the gardener, any plant can be sustained and even thrive where planted. Such is love...
Two months ago my partner, Bonnie's mother died. After 7 years of lock-down in an Alzheimer's facility she never wished to go to, she was ultimately moved to a home in a neighborhood to a room with a view of Lake Washington. At that point she didn't have the energy to escape the building so her care was somewhat easier, but lack of mobility and enthusiasm for life made care giving difficult at the same time.
For the 7 years and a few preceding the move I witnessed the unconditional love that Bonnie had for her mother even though she denied such love could exist. I would go with Bonnie to visit her mother, Patricia, on occasion and watch as they greeted each other. Pat was angry at being there and seemed to need a scapegoat. Bonnie received hurtful and angry comments, when I could draw out conversations of traveling days and fun adventures in snippets of seemingly unrelated conversations, yet Bonnie continued to visit and love her mother as she remembered the fun person her mother had been, with the slow realization that we are a part of that person-that has gifted us life.
One Seattle morning the sun broke out of the clouds. Bonnie called me and said Pat was "going" and she didn't know what to do. The urge to call for help was strong but we knew it was time to let nature take it's course, and that that was exactly what Pat had wished for. Nonetheless at the final hour it is hard for those left to say goodbye regardless of how much time we have to prepare for that earthly departure. I raced up to her with Bonnie. The hospital nurse was trying to get pain killer medicine but there was too much paperwork left undone so we sat at Pat's bedside and talked as bubbles seeped from the oxygen hose attached to Pat's nose. Pat's brow was tense and furrowed, her eyes had a worried expression. "Call your sister, Bonnie" - "She needs to be here", "Your children are all here-they are coming to see you", I said to Pat. "No, Laurie can't get here, she is in Louisiana", Bonnie retorted. I waived my hand to shush her. "You are going on a trip, a journey, are you ready?" Her brow softened, "Bonnie, do you have any music your mom likes we could get" I was thinking about things that would help me relax and melt away to a different place...No, we couldn't think about those details now. "Where would you like to go now?" "It's ok to go." I said. The pain and tenseness left and we watched an incredible peace come over Pat's body as her spirit departed that sunny day. The transformation was freeing and beautiful as we realized the body is just a vehicle for the living spirit that left on that journey she had been longing to take.