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What are odds that my 86 year-old Florida-based mother would fall while visiting her baby sister? What are odds that there would be room down hill in St. Anne’s Home for Aged where mother could recover from a multi-fractured hip? What are odds that each one of her children could arrange schedules to fly across country and take turns caring for her and that convent would find room for us? Mystery beyond mystery.
Psychologist Carl Jung would have called my mystery, “synchronicity”. This fortuitous set of circumstances- “synchronicity”-- is fraught with meaning and it is my task to figure lessons.
Spending days between a health care setting where many will never leave due to infirmity and another home where women stay because of faith, I find these initial lessons most universal:
Lesson One: From breakdown comes build up. Mom is getting stronger in weaker places of her body. She still has more life to live. We all have broken places to rebuild.
Lesson Two: Caring for ending of life is as precious as caring for beginning. May we learn to see its beauty.
Lesson Three: Respectful listening is greatest gift we give each other. No other species can verbalize its experience and feelings and have it held in sacred trust.
Lesson Four: Shared memories create a bond as potent as fire. A memory can either burnish or destroy. It’s our choice.
I’ve retraced my route and crossed Susquehanna River. I am flying home to California from Baltimore with these lessons packed in my heart. Perhaps you might find them in a corner of yours.
© 2002 by Eileen McDargh. All rights reserved. Reprints must include byline, contact information and copyright.
Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE, is an international speaker, author and seminar leader. Her book ‘Work for A Living and Still Be Free to Live’ is also the title of one of her most popular and upbeat programs on Work/Life Balance. For more information on Eileen and her presentations, please call 949-496-8640 or visit her web site at http://www.eileenmcdargh.com.