According to the dictionary, magical is defined as: beautiful or delightful in such a way as to seem removed from everyday life.
Also Known As (according to me): Montana in June (and the Rocky Mountains in general).
The brilliant shades of green, vibrant wildflowers, abundant water flowing, the chorus of song birds, snow capped peaks…the mind cannot comprehend the totality of the achingly sweet beauty.
I hope your enjoying nature’s magic wherever life finds you today.
(If you missed the last post Part Seven: A Week of Silence click here before reading on).
I left off with the completion of a week long silent retreat in my home at the end of August 2021, where I’d come to know that it wasn’t time yet to re-enter the working/doing world.
It was a time to continue more deeply, more devoted to the path, with all of my heart.
I also mentioned that mom was having the opposite experience taking care of her sister.
Side Note: Mom said to me last week after reading my newsletter: “I don’t want you to write about my time with her.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yes. I don’t want to re-live that time,” she stated as she walked into the living room.
I followed her and said, “I understand. I’m glad you told me. And I also think your story can help people – maybe others are going through, or have gone through, something similar and it will give them a little comfort, hope, or inspiration?”
She considered what I said.
I continued, asking gently, “Would it be okay to write about it, only you don’t read it?”
She nodded and said, “Yes.”
So with her permission and willingness, I share with you her journey…thank you mom…
End side note
When I called mom the day I finished the retreat at the end of August, she did not sound herself.
She’d been in Rhode Island, taking care of her sister with advanced kidney cancer for a month now, and the stress was coming through her voice.
Mom’s oldest sister, my Aunt Clo (and my godmother) had been doing chemo for almost four months and her body was a wreck from the side affects.
To make matters more challenging, Aunt Clo was not necessarily an easy person before the chemo started either.
Let me give you a little background.
Aunt Clo dropped out of high school, worked part time jobs, married, had two kiddos and divorced, eventually becoming a telephone operator, which she did until retirement.
It was the perfect job for her as she loved to talk!
My mom was/is the opposite – an introvert, preferring the quiet to the loud.
From the moment mom arrived in Rhode Island, her senses were on overload: the only time Aunt Clo wasn’t talking was when she was sleeping, and the TV was on almost 24/7, while she scrolled Facebook and talked, all at the same time.
Aunt Clo insisted that the world was flat, and there was no telling her otherwise.
Her favorite food groups were swiss cocoa, donuts, and diet coke.
My mom’s were salads, whole foods, and tea.
It didn’t matter how much mom talked about sugar contributing to cancer, Aunt Clo remained steadfast in her food choices and deeply rooted in her “don’t tell me what to do,” mindset.
While Aunt Clo had a big heart, and loved to have fun with friends and her great grandkids, she could also be mean and demanding to my mom and others.
To say mom was having one of the greatest challenges of her life was an understatement.
Mom was now either really angry or wanted to cry. That is not my mom on an average day or on most days.
I’d never seen her like this.
Here she came from the quiet, more gentle atmosphere of my home (with no TV), to an onslaught of everything in an even smaller space, with her sister suffering from cancer and chemo, demanding, not grateful, for the help.
We were on the phone and all this was coming through her voice and words, my heart aching for her struggle.
When she was done getting it all off her chest, she said, “How’d the retreat go?” I knew she wanted to know if I’d had the clarity of what I’m doing with my life (ie: how I’m going to start supporting myself).
I paused, wondering what I was going to say.
I told her the truth – that it wasn’t time yet to work.
She became understandably angry, at her wits end with everything.
I paused again. I took in her concerns, her stress, her situation, and said, “Let’s talk about it more later Mom.” She agreed.
I went out for a walk that day and considered working. I wanted to work. I wanted to give to the world…and I wanted to be in alignment with mom’s wishes too.
But God was clearly pulling me in the opposite direction.
The intuitive No signs were there – increased heart rate, a racing mind, and tightness in my chest.
I felt completely discombobulated.
A friend recently sent along this picture that I needed in that moment:
It came in the form of a perfect log in a forest of trees. I closed my eyes and took several deep breaths.
I listened, to the birds singing, the wind in the trees, the flow of the water.
I remembered the instructions from God I’d received during the week of silence: “Keep doing what your doing.”
I felt the calm return, acknowledging the commitment I’d made when I married God six months before – “Take me as you need.”
I also felt a deep acceptance that if mom didn’t agree, it would be okay too.
I called her a few days later, after she had gotten some exercise and was alone in a quiet place outside.
I shared from my heart all that was unfolding regarding it not being the right time for me to work and why.
She listened, patiently, and with it making no rational sense (yet again), said yes, agreeing to continue to support me.
Relieved from her answer, I went to the garden in my yard to harvest the treasures for that’s night dinner:
I said a prayer of thanks before eating, in reverence for the abundance of what I’d been given.
My teacher Matthew often said, “Isn’t it a miracle that there’s anything at all?”
As I bit into the freshly picked cucumber, juicy and sweet, I replied, “Yes indeed!” with a smile.
Mom would continue with her struggles, calling me often to say she was ready to come back.
My intuition said a clear No each time.
It was important that she stay until it was the right time to leave, not because she was at the end of her rope.
I tried to be gentle, encouraging, and compassionate to the challenges as they came up.
Aunt Clo continued to decline, the chemo taking away what quality of life she had left.
A couple more weeks went by, when mom called and said, “I’ve had it! Make a reservation for me. I can’t take it anymore!”
I could hear it in her voice. No amount of encouragement would change it.
Intuition said, “Just go with it.”
I began looking at flight’s for her as we were on the phone.
Aunt Clo was in the background screaming and crying, “Don’t leave me!” over and over.
I took a needed deep breath as it was intensifying, staying quiet, tears welling up in my eyes for the pain between them.
They started to talk, mom said she’d call me later.
That was the turning point. Aunt Clo began to be a little more appreciative and kind with my mom, enough so that mom agreed to stay.
Often times things need to come to a head for them to change for the better. This was one of those times.
The residents of my Aunt’s apartment building officially elevated my mom to sainthood, as they new what Aunt Clo could be like, many of them helping out as they were able – bringing them dinner on many nights.
Another couple of weeks later it was clear that Aunt Clo could no longer stay in her apartment – when she wasn’t able to move herself from the wheelchair to the toilet, they both agreed it was time.
On the way to the nursing home my Aunt Clo said to mom, “Thank you for coming here and helping me. I’m really glad you came.”
Mom said, “You’re welcome. I’m glad I came too.”
A Course in Miracles says that ‘A miracle happens with a change in perspective.’
That was a miraculous moment, between two sisters – in their 80’s, who had their differences and their problems with each other, but in the end, the love that was always there came pouring out.
With a heavy, yet bitterly sweet joyful heart, mom took her to the nursing home where Aunt Clo would spend the remaining months of her life (while also stopping the chemo treatments – thank goodness).
Mom then, pretty much single handedly, cleaned out her sisters apartment over the next three weeks – donating, discarding, selling everything – doing this all at four months shy of 82 years old.
When I picked her up at the airport in Montana at the end of October, almost three months to the day from when she left, it would be a few weeks for her nervous system to calm down and her energy to be restored.
It was wonderful to see her again, wrapping my arms around her for a much anticipated hug from the one I held dearest to my heart.
More to come dear friend, from my heart to yours.
To read Part Nine: The Golf Cart, click here.
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Categories: Conflict & Forgiveness, Gratitude, Inner Wisdom & Intuition, Relationships, Stress & Anxiety