I love music, it is a part of my being, both my parents were musically talented, and it was expected of all four children to play an instrument. I have fond memories of playing Christmas carols on the piano while family and friends sang along. My Dad and I often played together, he on trumpet or flute and me on piano. We played songs from Jesus Christ Superstar and our favorite song, Bridge Over Troubled Water. I still cannot play those songs without his love in my heart bubbling over.
This morning I heard a song called Biko written about a man who changed the world for the better before he died. This song a tribute to his legacy. The world struggles with those that bring LIGHT to the darkness, “you can blow out a candle, but you cannot blow out a fire,” bring the LIGHT anyway.
Music to me is the language of the SOUL. It says what words alone cannot. Music is beyond human communication; it is the vibration of LOVE reconstructed into sound. Music will save us if we will only let it.
I invite you to open your SOUL and your mouth and sing today, in the shower, in the car, or anywhere that inspires you. Sing with JOY like the birds who everyday sing their praises to the morning light just because they can.
Remember your VOICE, your SOUL, and the LOVE you carry inside of you and share it with the world. The world will be a better place for your song.
This week was beyond difficult. My son developed pneumonia from aspiration due to his seizures. This is a reoccurring side effect of his epilepsy, two years ago he had double pneumonia. Taking anyone to the hospital right now is incredibly stressful due to covid, but when you go due to respiratory issues it is insane. They automatically label you as covid. Despite two negative tests the ER doctor sent my son to the covid unit without discussion with either him or me. Imagine waking up on the covid unit knowing you are negative-knowing you are already medically compromised, knowing the outcomes many have had. It took 12 hours to get him to a regular floor…. he is safe now and slated to come home today as his pneumonia responded to the antibiotic therapy. It was indeed just pneumonia.
So that was where we were- and where we are now, waiting for the phone call to come pick him up- I can reflect on all the kindness that was shown to us during this scary ordeal.
First his primary doctor responded immediately when I alerted him to the mix up. He put the order in for transfer at 9:30am- an hour after I discovered the issue. Bless him.
A friend works in the hospital, since we were not allowed to visit, she went downstairs and saw him and spoke with his nurse and called me back, this eased some of my angst. She also met me outside so I could send supplies to Sean, when you go to the ER the last thing you are thinking about is that. Bless her.
My bosses and coworkers picked up the slack for me at work without question. Bless them.
My friends and family listened and comforted me. They prayed and sent Light and Love to my son. They checked in, asked what they could do. One sent me dinner to my door. Bless them.
My middle son who lives with us became my rock, an advocate for his brother, asking questions that my poor frazzled mind missed. Bless him.
My Spirit Guides sent me numerous, I mean numerous signs they were around, bombarding me with evidence of their presence and comfort. Bless them.
Life is incredibly messy; it always has been and will continue to be. I spend my professional life as a hospice nurse being the supporter of people going through tremendous times of change, it is just my nature. To be on the receiving end of kindnesses, to be supported during a crisis and being able to recognize the good in the world, in the people surrounding me and my son is a gift in dark times.
Kindness lurks everywhere, available to everyone, wanting to be a presence in our lives.
The eyes are the windows of the SOUL. This pandemic has forced all of us to look deeply into each other eyes when communicating, facial expressions are hidden behind our masks, lip reading is not an option and so our eyes and our ears have become keener in discerning communication.
I often think of this when speaking to people because depending on how open they are is reflected in their eyes. You can detect a smile and a sparkle in the eyes, a sadness or anger as well. The eyes reflect emotion and we have been forced into focusing our understanding here.
The eyes are the windows of the SOUL. But often I cannot see beyond the human expression, occasionally there is a brief glimmer of the eternal being standing in front of me. Once in a blue moon someone lets me venture into their spiritual world through their eyes. Beyond the human emotion is a sea as vast as the night sky, the soul swims effortlessly through this sea of LOVE surfacing as compassion.
There are gifts in darkness, often they are hidden and hard to open when we are so consumed with the immediate pain of our humanness, but here, in this time, a time that will be written about and not forgotten by historians, we have gifts to open, the chance to connect with each other through the windows of our SOULS.
Last night I called a friend who lives 350 miles away, although we text daily, I haven’t seen him in years. We were talking about the need to give during the holiday season, he mentioned his favorite charities- I mentioned mine, and how a little bit of our money could bring hope to someone else. He then told me on his daily walk he saw a lone man which is unusual as he walks the shores of the Cape in all weather. He offered the salutation of “How are you?” the lone man stopped and replied, “I am struggling, I am depressed. I gave up drinking 20 years ago and the isolation of our times is killing me.”
Certainly not the response my friend had imagined. So, he stopped, staying 6 feet away, and spoke with this lonely soul. He provided what we call in nursing- “active listening”. He listened so the other man felt he was heard and had made a human connection, a dent in his feelings of isolation. The man spoke of his fishing boat and his catches and other seemingly trivial things, most important to him.
During our conversation it occurred to me that my friend was at the right place at the right time to provide a gift of compassion and human interaction, a gift well above and beyond anything money could have done. A moment of recognition, acceptance and common bond was all this lonely soul needed.
Who knows if he prayed for help prior to his walk, but someone somewhere made sure out in the sands of the Cape two men would meet. This moment was spiritually orchestrated no doubt in my mind.
It becomes more and more evident to me how much we need each other, life is messy and unpredictable, and to have someone else hear us, acknowledge our struggles, share a moment is something money doesn’t offer. The gifts of the heart are priceless.
Yesterday a friend called, she was going through a frustrating time and needed someone to vent to, someone she could unravel her feelings with, someone safe who would support her and not judge. She needed a friend. She apologized for bothering me at the end of the call, but honestly, I was happy she had called, and we could share time because she has been there for me. Because of her presence I have a lovely memory of us sitting outside on my front steps this past summer with my dog Abby the night before she took the rainbow bridge. There was an otherworldly feel to that moment, there was peace. My friend and I had stopped chatting and I looked at Abby, she was so content, so absorbed in the moment, just being was enough. This memory has brought me comfort beyond any words could. A moment in time just sharing being here on this earth together, just being.
In our world we are expected to do, to produce, to become, to grow. To have a moment just to be -surrounded by those we love is such a gift. To have relationships whether it is family, friend, or pet where we can express love and appreciation for each other even in silence is priceless.
The holidays pressure us to buy and give gifts as the only token of our love for each other. Gifts of the soul- giving space, silence, nonjudgement, being are just as sacred if not more. Giving someone a memory, a laugh, a hug they can hold onto when they move through life is a gift worth giving.
I am so grateful for all of my friends, each providing me with an opportunity to receive love and give love. Friendship is indeed the best gift of all.
The day before I was slated for a healing session with my favorite healer Anysia Kiel (check her out at Anysiakiel.com) I was walking by the inlet at Island Heights with my boys. It was a blustery warm day perfect for an after-work stroll. My phone rung, it was not a number I recognized so I ignored it and we made our way around and back the water offering white caps as some small sailboats took in the wind. My phone rang again, this number I recognized. It was a patient who had passed in March from ALS, she had been on service a long time, 18 months, that is long in the hospice world. We had many nice visits as my heart slowly broke watching her disease consume her. I had stopped by to see her husband once after her death and had been meaning to stop by in recent months, but life demands kept each day full no matter the longing of my heart. So, I answered the phone- “Hello?”
The voice on the other end was a little annoyed, “You just called this number? Your phone number just came up! Who is this?” Her husbands voice demanding my answer.
“John, it’s me Phyllis-but I didn’t call you- “
“Who?” the wind was causing turbulence in the background.
“It’s me-Chicago!” His nickname he gave me for our mutual love of the band. He rarely called me by my given name.
“Chicago? Oh my?! Did you call me?”
“No, but you have been on my mind, and I honestly have wanted to stop by…” truly this was the case.
“Hmmm, well your number came up on my phone!”
“It must be Marilyn,” I offered
“Yes, it must have been her! Well you know you can come by anytime….”
We spoke for a few more minutes and then with promises to visit I hung up.
The next night I went to my healing session, the energy was crowded with spirit so much so even I could feel it. After the usual spirit appearance of my favorites, Anysia stopped and listened, “You had a woman, a patient that recently passed?”
Now this was a surprise to me, because believe it or not no patient in spirit has ever crashed a healing session. Which always surprised me, I have been doing hospice for 17 years and helped hundreds of people pass and yet she was the first to visit. Anysia described her as being light and airy- which was wonderful after years of being prisoner in her body on the earth plane. She said, thru Anysia’s translation, that I had no idea how I effected people, and how grateful she was that I shared her journey home. She said that I was truly an Angel. It was extremely sweet, and her words made me cry. Her disease is my least favorite, if there can be one, and it took a lot of internal courage to walk her home, it broke my heart often, but I showed up because that was what was asked of me.
I read recently two things about butterflies, one is they don’t see the beauty of their own wings, but they still fly and the other is we often forget the process the butterfly goes through to become one. Metamorphosis is often messy, caterpillar, cocoon, gooey mixture that rebirths into a beautiful being.
So I do not see myself as an Angel, I am too human at this point, but I do see myself as a butterfly having been through some daunting and messy moments that brought me where I am now. I am learning to see my worth, to see myself as others see me, to respect myself as others respect me.
The thing is this, my patients feed my soul, they help me grow and become a better person, they develop my spirit and allow me to share the Light of God that is in all of us. Whatever I have done for them in sharing their journey the return has been tenfold. I am truly blessed and grateful for a visit from the Otherside.
Before you were born, before you were even a twinkle in you Mama’s eye -God dreamt of you. God’s nature is to create, His love of variation on themes is evident -all aspects of nature, flowers, insects, animals, and the heavenly bodies echo this.
So you are a variation of a theme, God dreamt of you before you knew your name, the sound of your mother’s heartbeat, the warmth of her arms, the love emanating from your father’s eyes. God LOVED you first because you are His child.
God has dreamt a Dream for all of us and often our egos ignore His call. We move ahead with our own agendas and desires until we cannot move any further because we are going against the flow of His dream for us. Each day becomes a battle as we struggle against the current of His desires for us. It is His Divine Plan that we accepted long before we came here, our Divine Assignment we joyously signed up for.
Nursing for me was my back-up plan if the Rockstar thing didn’t work out. Music to me is the soul’s language, it takes me places I cannot go with words. In any case, I am a nurse. One who has songs spinning endlessly in my head, one who sings silly songs to my cats, and sometimes much to the distress of my youngest son I also dance! But I digress…
God’s Dream for me has called me once again to make major changes in my life, it is time and with trepidation and nervous excitement I move into the next phase of my career. I will leave behind coworkers I love dearly; I admire and wish I could take with me, but the Dream demands I go alone.
God knows my heart, better than I do, he rejoices in my soul, his creation- when I more often berate myself for my human perceived failings. God loves me unconditionally and dreams for me a life of service and great soul growth so when I return to the Afterlife I can see myself as He sees me, a child returning home with a wealth of experience and LOVE that his Dream dreamt for me.
I wake in darkness; it is morning before the sun. The cats are sure of it, they encourage my rising if only to use my magical opposable thumbs to relieve their hunger. The sky is thunder black and blue, outlines of clouds ease by. The moon peeks through and whispers, “The day will be upon you before you realize. I have been dancing all night for you and you have barely noticed. The Sun is right behind me, ever chasing me, ever true to her purpose. You will miss the entrance if you are not there sitting on the beach facing the eastern sky, but no matter because the Sun does not long for an audience, she will come. No matter.”
And so, it is, the Earth, the Moon, the Stars, and the Sun all continue in their heavenly patterns despite my human heart. Despite my longings, my brokenness. They know I will heal and grow, they have seen it before, eons of human pain transformed into something more, healed hearts, newly shaped from life. Our hearts need to break open, to shatter, to grieve, to release, to heal. Our hearts become something more every time this happens. We become more compassionate, more loving, until the next time we endure the coming of change and loss.
The mind can process much faster than the heart, the heart needs time, needs nurturing, needs understanding that this is the nature of Love. Big Love breaks you open, and you become more, as painful as it appears, it is a gift to feel so deeply, to long, to wish, to hope again.
The neighborhood dogs are barking this morning, but the choir has changed, a missing voice, silence comes from my house. My house is no longer the world of Abby, she took the Rainbow Bridge this week, reuniting with her beloved Ruby, happily romping in the world of eternal bliss as I imagine. She never got over the loss of her beloved Ruby, every Golden she saw she would run up to whimpering in hopes…Now she would see her again.
I knew she was failing, I watched the signs, but her puppy spirit was ever present and her determination to make it up the stairs each day never failed, even if she had to rest a while on the landing. But then she stopped eating, and more unpleasantness followed, the details I will spare you. By Wednesday afternoon my head was telling me it was time, but my heart wanted to linger.
The boys and I placed her in the back of my CRV, I sat with her, she was as anxious as I was. But I knew she was suffering, and I did not want that, she had been a faithful and goofy companion for over 13 years, her time here was done, my head knew, my heart ached.
I cradled her head in my arms and told her all the things she already knew, I thanked her for loving me when I could not love myself. I thought in that moment perhaps God was a Dog, and He sent her to care for me and my family knowing how hard it is to be human, how tender, and fragile our hearts are. How much we need to remember to bark without biting, to romp and play and enjoy every nibble of our food and when things get rough a nap is the best medicine.
Some people do not understand crying and grieving over a pet, but I can say this- the heart knows no difference when it loves, Love is Love is Love, and the loss is just as great. I am broken open, my heart is raw, it is the price we pay for loving so deeply. Thank you, Abby for choosing us, for being ever present and always loving. Until we meet again.
A few days ago, I saw one of my favorite coworkers, everyone loves him, he is kind and has a sweet smile. Despite the ongoing restrictions I gave him a hug (we were both wearing masks) and my condolences. I had heard his mother had passed away, she lived in another country, so he was not able to travel to her funeral. She died two weeks before she was to move into the home he was building for her. It was sudden. I had heard the story from someone else.
He began, and told me the exact same story, I listened knowing all the words. He was grateful he had returned to his country last year and had been able to spend time with her then as this year’s circumstances made it impossible. He had watched her funeral by phone…. he ended with her age lamenting she was too young to leave this world.
Often people say, “I don’t know what to say!” when faced with another’s loss. I have learnt that silence has a deep beauty, that holding space with someone while they process their pain is truly what they need. Telling our stories to each other is part of making the unbearable real, part of the healing process. Being heard, having the pain recognized is a gift we can give each other. Hugs are really nice too.