Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ebb and flow

Watching someone you love as they prepare to give up life as they know is poignant. I have heard it said that we are all dying from the day we are born. We don't think of it that way, but it is true. We talk about living in the present and some of us manage it.  Most of us rush around busily doing all the things that we are meant to do that qualify as living a good life.  We forget sometimes to take the time to breathe and listen to others. I am seeing more and more the import of these two processes in my life. Breathing and listening. My aunt is actually living more and more in the minute without even trying. She forgets so much these days. She is so happy to see me each time I walk in to her apartment. She will tell me all the things that she thinks are appropriate responses to her existence and then if given a bit of time she will explain just how hard it is to be her in this moment. It is so sad. But in minutes she will feel what I can only term as guilt and she says that she is so grateful for all the help, love and care that is shown to her. She says over and over how wonderful it is to live in Cairnwood Village with such nice friends around.
A while ago she could remember stories and such from her childhood but even that is fading. We can talk a bit but often it is going over things again and again. It is cute and sweet.  It is so painful to watch her give up one independence after another and her determined fight to hold on to each is monumental. The giving in, the letting go is hard for her. In the end really? it is all about love. She is frail. She is pale. She is resigned to live out her life here in her chair. This is not the independent, hearty business woman I have known my entire life as my aunt. This is a little old woman who is done. She feels she has outlived her usefulness. She says she is bored.  She is tired of this phase of life. Her hearing is going. Her memory is weak. She says she wants to go to sleep one night and not wake up. Unfortunately her spirit is not cooperating with her on this project.