My paid job at hospice ended two weeks ago and for the weeks leading up to it, and the one after that, I was at a loss as to how I’d continue doing the work I’m called to do. Funny thing how what we look for is (often) right in front of us. As the man said, we don’t need new landscapes, merely new ways of seeing.
I’ve just now had another visit with a woman who’s got an aggressive cancer and still lives at at home. Today I drove her to get some tests done and we’re working on ways I can assist without “fussing.” Fussing to her, as we discovered afterwards, means being “helpless” and “dependent;” highly undesirable states for a woman who’s been independent and strong and care-giving all her adult life. “I was raised on a farm, remember!” she reminded me when I apologized for parking the car in such a way that she had to step into a deep puddle when getting out. We reached an agreement that allows me to fuss over her and her to ask to be fussed over — all within reason :-).
“I don’t like what’s happening to me,” she said while reaching for another shallow breath, “I’d hoped for better quality of life.” Pause. “What do you think I should do?” Pause. It’s all going too fast for you … and you don’t like having all these people coming in the house doing things for you. I replied. Pause. As to ‘what to do’ what do you think about ‘welcoming what’s happening’? “You mean not fighting it?” Yes, welcome everything. The cancer, the uncertainty, everything. “And the fear?” Yes, the fear also. Pause. “Rather than focus on what I don’t have or what’s not happening … make friends with it?” Yes, befriend it. Not every friend is welcome, and yet they keep coming and we let them in. “Could be that this friend has something to teach me, eh?” Pause. “I’m tired. Have to lie down. Let’s see if I can get out of this armchair by myself. …*&%# … “OK … give us a push!”