Ernie and I have been seeing Lisa weekly on Fridays since August. When we first went, she was very frail, in a hospital bed, and had been unable to even sit up for five weeks. We didn't know if we'd be seeing her the next week or hearing of her passing. Two weeks later, she was sitting and had more energy. Each week, there were more improvements - miraculous and exciting. Most of the summer, she was getting physical therapy to walk again, and the hospital bed disappeared into the attic. She was dressing herself, could stand, and was getting around in a wheel chair. We would talk about her feelings and her progress for about half an hour, and share energy healing the second half. We laughed and shared stories about parenting, healing, and all kinds of things. I attuned her and her husband to Reiki and she read my book. I also shared other books with her, and we gave her healing stones. I've never been part of such an incredible process.
They are a beautiful family. A couple weeks ago, I even brought my kids to play with theirs, and they had a blast, all getting along and really having fun together.
For the past month, though, she has started to have setbacks. She's been having trouble breathing, swelling in the feet and legs, less energy, and difficulty sleeping. They've tried adjusting things including diet, herbal supplements, aromatherapy, homeopathics, etc. Nothing seems to be making a difference.
I have to admit I am having a hard time.
Intellectually, and as a teacher and Reiki practitioner, I know my role. My role is to provide energy. I offer support. The rest is not up to me. It never was. The good, the bad, any results at all are not mine. My feelings are totally incidental to the process. I need to just be grateful for the opportunity to serve. And I am. So very much so that I can't describe the endless depth of it.
But today, she seemed barely there. She hardly spoke. She fell asleep a little. She held a couple ice chips in her mouth to counter the dryness of struggling to breathe despite the oxygen tube just inside her nose. She asked us to help her receive the energy, because she couldn't feel it today.
Her husband is the sweetest, most attentive, positive person I've ever met. Their family has lots of support - meals brought in, people helping with the daily necessity of living, parenting, chores and bills. He has not left her side in weeks.
I am having a hard time.
"I have no right to have a hard time," my snarky voice says. "I'm coming home to a healthy family. I'm healthy. I leave after the hour or two I'm there and go back to my life."
But this experience brings up memories of sitting with my mother-in-law during her final three days as she floated in and out and struggled to breathe. I felt helpless then. I feel helpless now. I know, yes, that the energy I'm providing and my presence is helping. But she is so young. She's my age. Her kids are my kids' ages. This seems so wrong. "Not that I have the right to judge what's wrong or right for another," my snarky voice chimes in. "Yeah, I know," I answer. But it sucks. It's too familiar and I don't want it to be.
I'm also acutely aware that if the healing team hadn't been there, she very likely wouldn't have shared the Fall, much less Christmas or New Year's with her family. And I am grateful for that time. But couldn't all of our combined effort have done MORE? Did I miss something? Was there ANYTHING else we could have done to help? I just don't know.
I don't even know if I'll be able to see her again next week. The thought is like a punch in the gut, as aware as I've been this whole time that it's always been a possibility. Is it even possible that she could have a second turnaround? I just don't know. And, I remind myself, it isn't up to me.
Part of this role is being able to let go of expectations and just be present. That is healing and that is helping. Any agenda, expectations, hopes, celebrations or disappointments just don't belong in the equation. THIS IS HARD!! It's hard because I love them. It's hard because I care and I DO want her to recover; how can I not want this? What kind of person would I be if I was totally detached?
I went back and read my posts I had written (linked above) when we were with my mother-in-law during her final days. It helps to read the comments and also revisit my thoughts and feelings about life, dying, and coping.
I guess that part of life is being aware of the wholeness of it all-- The whole process: beginning and end, living, learning, and also moving on. When it comes to passing, first we do this as a witness, and eventually it's our turn. The best we can do is to just be present in every moment, for every moment we're given, and experience it. That's what life is - the experience.
Thank you for allowing me to share. All of you who read this blog are part of this shared experience.
If you would, please send a thought, prayer, or a stream of healing energy to Lisa's family and all who care for her.