When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic, Time takes on the strain until it breaks; Then all the unattended stress falls in On the mind like an endless, increasing weight. The light in the mind becomes dim. Things you could take in your stride before Now become laborsome events of will. Weariness invades your spirit. Gravity begins falling inside you, Dragging down every bone. The tide you never valued has gone out. And you are marooned on unsure ground. Something within you has closed down; And you cannot push yourself back to life. You have been forced to enter empty time. The desire that drove you has relinquished. There is nothing else to do now but rest And patiently learn to receive the self You have forsaken in the race of days. At first your thinking will darken And sadness take over like listless weather. The flow of unwept tears will frighten you. You have traveled too fast over false ground; Now your soul has come to take you back. Take refuge in your senses, open up To all the small miracles you rushed through. Become inclined to watch the way of rain When it falls slow and free. Imitate the habit of twilight, Taking time to open the well of color That fostered the brightness of day. Draw alongside the silence of stone Until its calmness can claim you. Be excessively gentle with yourself. Stay clear of those vexed in spirit. Learn to linger around someone of ease Who feels they have all the time in the world. Gradually, you will return to yourself, Having learned a new respect for your heart And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
Things are finally calming down around here. Mom is happy in her new place, where they are taking such good care of her. I can pop in every day since it’s so close. She doesn’t remember much beyond the present, but isn’t that something all of us could do? Wow, living in the moment. What a concept.
I am printing again, which is so gratifying.
I’ve learned that simply recognizing a feeling, acknowledging it, and moving on is the key to staying relaxed and out of the anxiety zone. I listen to Untangle every morning, where I find ways to stay on the right track (and other good people to follow and learn from).
Snow has arrived. The cold will keep me inside, but that’s not a bad thing.
My mom knows this– petting any animal brings her joy. I’m a big believer in the serenity animals can bring. They lower stress by releasing the hormone oxytocin.
I wonder if printing does this for me, too. I know. It sounds silly, but there is a calm that takes over. Perhaps it is the focus or maybe it simply takes my mind away from stress to something pleasurable.
These days we need to work hard not to let our emotions be hijacked. Nourish yourself with whatever takes you back to you.
I printed this card recently. In trying not to be so hard on myself (listening to the voice that says, “you’re not doing enough), I attempted to block the emotion.
The truth is that sometimes we need to listen to the voice, even if only for a minute or two. Nancy Jane Smith writes about this here, saying “what if there is no happy ending?” And, of course, for me with mom, there isn’t. Her dementia will worsen. One day, she won’t know who I am. Even if she does, she won’t for long as her memory seems to last about an hour these days.
What if that thought is actually freeing? What if that means you can stop hustling, reframing, pretending, changing your thoughts and changing your vibrations all the time? What if you could just be whatever you are without always trying to find the happy ending?”
I have struggled the last ten years to unlock a lifetime of emotions. Yes, I wish I had started earlier. Don’t we all? But dealing with these feelings now is freeing, as Smith says. I hope printing and sharing my cards helps others deal with theirs, too.
Dementia has taught me much about the brain, memory, thinking, and feeling. Grief has its own gifts.
As I headed into an appointment today, I glanced over my shoulder.
I was hoping this was not a metaphor for my life, or a sign of what was coming. My Mom has Alzheimer’s, or at least dementia that gives her very little memory. I never know from day to day if she will need me, or if I will have to make some life changing decision about her care. Yesterday, I did.
We are moving her again to a different facility. These changes are hard on people with memory issues, but as her caregiver, I often need to make these difficult decisions. So, storms are on the horizon. But, perhaps we will get a reprieve. Perhaps the clouds will pass, and she will settle in. That’s really all I want for her. A way for the end of her life to be calm. For her to know I love her.
I printed this yesterday, and the work gave me a chance to pause.