Bella

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Bella a golden retriever who was neglected in her earlier life was adopted and restored to her natural beauty by one of my hospice patients.  The bond between dog and human is palpable when you walk in the room.  I have a particular love for Goldens as I was fortunate enough to share 14 years of my life with my Ruby and now again 12 years with my doodle dog, Abby.  Dogs are amazing creatures, loving us when we cannot love ourselves, ever faithful in their love.  In fact, this morning I started my day with a wet kiss to my nose, is there any other way to greet the dawn?

Bella is sad sometimes, she knows the situation, the decline of her beloved Human, the suffering, the pain and emotional struggles, she bears witness to all.  Last week when I saw her, she raised her head in anticipation of my visit with her Human, our visits are more like old friends rediscovering each other. There is a soul recognition, we have done this before, in other forms, in other lifetimes, the three of us. Once again, we are in a place of great learning and love, trying to tease out the lessons of life before life itself ebbs away and whisks us all back to the world of spirit.  Bella knows this, her deep dark eyes shine with kindness.  I sit on the floor with her, I stroke her golden fur, her back legs ache with age, I offer her reiki, silently.  I speak to her in my mind, I know she is waiting, waiting for her Human to pass, wanting to walk that path with her so they can both exit this world together, their hearts are intertwined, their lesson is unconditional love, Bella exudes it, she is present, ever able and ready whenever her Human needs her, she is the guardian of her Human’s heart.

In rescuing Bella her Human rescued herself.

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Divine Kindness

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Imagine if an unwanted guest showed up on your front door step and refused to leave, changing the very fabric of your life and your loved ones.  Imagine this guest could not be controlled despite your best efforts and this guest could be silent for periods of time and then crash into your day demanding your attention immediately, unexpectedly, threatening your safety and well-being and leaving in its wake confusion, exhaustion, possibly injury or death.  This is life with uncontrolled epilepsy.   1 in 26 people suffer from this illness, and it can manifest in many forms.

10 years ago, this guest arrived in my youngest sons’ life a byproduct of viral meningitis and encephalitis.  Standing outside his pediatric intensive care room I asked God if he was going to take my son, the doctors seemed to think so.  I heard a deep and clear voice that spoke “No, this is just something he has to go through.”  I was relieved and grateful and hopeful and very, very naïve.

Recently we applied for SSD for him, because at some point in time I will no longer be able to be his primary caregiver.  There needs to be a backup plan for him. In doing so we collected some of the medical records from the past 10 years, it was heart breaking to review them, to relive somethings that were best left in the past as we move forward each day in hope and optimism that his life is better, he heals and finds peace in a body he cannot control.

I know in so many ways we are lucky, I know people whose loved ones have died, or they are 100% dependent, so I am grateful that we are where we are.  Epilepsy changed my son’s life, my life, my family’s life.

So ultimately the reason I share this is not to garner pity, no.  I am a hospice nurse by trade and a mother of a disabled child by karma.  I share this because it is good to remember that everyone has challenges, visible and invisible that colors their world. Everyone has an unwanted guest in their life that challenges the fabric of their character, forcing them to grow and make choices, often hard ones. When I look at other people’s lives, I try to remember this and open my heart through kindness because I only know my own story, I cannot not know theirs.  But I can offer love, and non-judgement and a hug, because no matter the challenges we are here together now and it is a Divine thing to care for each other with kindness, always.

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Losing Mary

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Before I start my work day, I ask for Divine help, especially when I am walking into a situation that is unfamiliar to me. I often call on the Archangels and the Blessed Mother for protection and guidance. Last weekend I lost my Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Mother.  As I walked from my car my lariat got caught on my jacket and as I tugged it free, the little silver medal fell onto the sidewalk into the mud.  As I scooped it up, I got the sense I was supposed to leave it there for someone else, Mary with arms stretched out looking loving up at me, but I just couldn’t leave her there. She has come to symbolize many aspects in my life, she in my mind is the ultimate mother having raised a true child of God and watched as he fulfilled his promise back to God.  The mother’s heart is one that feels joy beyond measure and suffers as deeply when her child suffers.  I turn to her for guidance as I continue to be a part of my adult sons lives.  Being a mother never ends…. So, I picked her up and put her hurriedly into my pocket and went on with my hospice day.

At my visit the friend of the patient called me “Mary”, and then apologized when I corrected him.  His name is Michael- as in the Archangel I pray to daily for protection and guidance. I registered in my mind something was happening here, I’ve been called many variations of my given name but never- “Mary”.

Later I had to order some equipment for my patient, usually I email the company but today I felt compelled to call and speak with someone.  “Hello, this is Mary- may I help you?” I laughed to myself…the spirits were up to something.  “Hi, this is Phyllis….” The voice on the other end then says, “Oh that’s my mom’s name!”.  More connections, more confirmation that our prayers are heard.

 

Along with my professional experience, I rely on my intuition to solve hospice challenges. It is through my intuition that Spirit speaks. I resolved as many of the challenges I could making sure the patient was safe and comfortable and then I left. When I got back into my car, I could not find my medal, she simply was not where I had put her.  I finally understood that she was need somewhere else in this form, someone else would find her and this would bring them comfort and confirmation that their prayers were heard. I probably will never know that story, but that’s okay.  I carry Mary and the Archangels in my heart, I don’t need tangibles anymore.  But Mary knew someone else did and I became her Divine messenger.

In this season of Love and Peace, the challenges of life still exist.  I think we shift our focus onto the miracle of birth and how one person can change the world. We are that person, we are all children of God.  We are all sparks of stardust.  By just being the miracle God has made us we change our world.

I wish you all Peace, and Love and Miracles.

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Sharing Clouds II

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Yesterday I sat by the bed of my dementia patient who was actively dying.  He was the one I shared a lucid moment of watching the clouds only a few short weeks ago.  His breathe was unnaturally even like a machine in a holding pattern.  I called his wife and told her I thought it was only a matter of hours.  She had had a bad night, cancer treatment left her sleeping on the bathroom floor and now the love of her life was flying off to the next world.  I put her on speaker phone and she talked to him, telling him she loved him.  She wasn’t sure if she could make it in, she would let me know.  I told her that I would sit with him until our Chaplin came and he would not be alone. In the bustle of a long-term care facility it is difficult for the staff to sit and hold hands, although his nurse was ever attentive with his comfort medications.

As I sat there, I played his favorite music, spoke to him with gentle encouraging words, sent him reiki energy, everything I could think of to make his passing a little easier.  It is harder for dementia patients to pass, there is a spiritual disconnect, their minds are confused, and so I prayed he would find a lucid moment in his passing.  When the Chaplin came to relieve me, I said my goodbye. I had to continue on with my day as my other patients also needed my care.

A few hours later I was driving down the main road and I saw a man on a bike, peddling against traffic.  He had shaggy hair and a moustache, resembling my dying patient.  I wasn’t quite sure it he was real or just a vision as my phone rang.  It was the Chaplin; my patient had just passed -five minutes after his wife got to his bedside.  He had waited for her, he had needed her and she him.

Love, between the hearts and the worlds, love is our final destination.

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P.S. I Love You

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“Sail on Silver Girl,

Sail on by.

Your time has come to Shine,

All your Dreams are on their way….”

Paul Simon is singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” on SNL, I am sobbing on the couch.

This was our song, my Dad and I often played it together, him with his silver trumpet and me on the family baby grand piano.  It was something we shared, music speaking our hearts when we couldn’t. Later in life my Dad became my biggest cheerleader. We shared books on spirituality, I still have the copy of “Autobiography of a Yogi” he sent me. You see, he believed in nothing, that when we died we went into a black void and knew nothing of it.  He said these words at a family meeting when we sat discussing his then recent diagnosis of lung cancer, years of smoking had claimed his body, his breath, his trumpet playing.  I thought those words were the saddest words I had ever heard, in my mind I thought how could there be nothing? So, I started reading and searching and sharing my thoughts with him, and to my delight he shared the adventure.  By the time he passed eight years later he had a different view on death, one of hope, certainly not all the answers because if there’s isn’t some surprise and mystery life and death would not be the amazing journey it is.

As I sat on the couch with tears rolling down my cheeks I felt a sweet soft energy on my head comforting me.  I knew in my heart my Dad was near letting me know how much our love continues to this day, how whenever our song plays the bittersweet memories are a celebration of our relationship as Father and Daughter.

“Oh, and if you ever need a friend,

Look around,

I’m sailing right behind…”

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Winks from Heaven

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This week I lost a patient I took care of briefly, she was well into her transitioning state when I met her, so I had little verbal interaction with her.  Her daughter and granddaughter were her primary care givers, ever attentive, wanting her to be comfortable, and eventually have a peaceful passing.

She was my first patient today, I knew the time was getting closer, but I never know for sure, as the body can prepare the way and the spirit can linger if one so desires. She was resting peacefully, her breathing very automatic, her face relaxed her eyes closed.  Her coloring had changed, for certain it was only a matter of hours, not days.

The visit prior to this one was filled with the exploration of afterlife possibilities.  I shared many of my stories, some I have shared on this blog, others are still close to my heart.  I share because experiences are a wonderful teacher, a kind way to explore what one may believe. I try not to preach, but to share, opening up someone else’s mind to infinite possibilities of what the Afterlife may be. I hope that it brings comfort to those I share with.  We talked about other experiences, books that we read, the concept of Near-Death Experiences, their beliefs.

After I left today I was headed to another patient and my phone buzzed, I had gotten a friend request from a person with the very same last name as the woman who had just passed. I thought it must be a relative but when I got home and looked her up it turned out to be someone who was involved in Near Death Experiences and I had recently commented on a site! Same last name, what are the chances? I felt it was a wink from heaven, a sign. And I know her granddaughter now reads my blog, so this is for you J- a wink from Grandma!

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Sharing Clouds

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I love the lucid moments dementia offers, a little gift in the midst of frustration and sadness.  Yesterday my patient was crying, he was watching another resident wheel down the hallway to an outside door that was locked. The resident banged on the locked door.  My patient looked up at me, “He can’t get out! I want out!” Tears of frustration for the loss of the simple freedom of going outdoors.

I asked the floor nurse if we could go outside, she led us to an enclosed courtyard.  A white fence surrounded the small compound, a few late blooming flowers lined the walkway but the sky above us was enormous. My patient smiled as we settled into a shaded area. He looked up, a bank of clouds, remnants of last night storms, danced across the sky high and billowing.

“I love clouds!” he said. A simple statement of contentment.

“Me too.”

In silence we watched absorbing the beauty of the sky. A dragonfly zipped by perhaps surveying the late summer blooms.

“Oh!” he said as he focused on its flight.

“Ah! A dragonfly!” I state.

A group of crows noisily arrive in the treetops, he startles.  I reassure him, “It’s okay, it’s only the crows.”  They are early, much to early in my estimation.

His wife arrives, his eyes brighten with recognition.  She has brought him root beer and life is good again.

Communication takes on a whole new level with dementia.  You must dig deep, look deeply into a person’s eyes, speak with your heart. There is a person inside their cacophony of thoughts, indeed a soul who is struggling to be understood.  I always speak with my dementia patients as if they can fully understand me and I listen as if I fully understand.

As I say my goodbyes he looks at me and says, “I care for you so much!” Words so sweet my heart melts.

“Thank you, I care for you too.”

One must listen with the heart.

 

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