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one simple shift (causes another)

I have been resisting a visit to hospice, the place where for 18 months I learned so much about living and dying. Losing that job caused me grief which is slowly turning into gratitude. Gratitude for having had the opportunity to expand my heart’s compassion and to discover, equally slowly, that all that goodness continues to reside in me. Against this background a little instance stirs my awareness. Yesterday afternoon, someone who’s asked me to be her spiritual companion through terminal illness, phoned me. She was going back to hospice for a week’s respite–a time-out for herself and her caregivers. She asked me to come to her friends’ house and take her to the hospital from there. Will you be all right going there? she asked, knowing my story; how thoughtful amidst her own illness. The instant she asked, my preferences fell away: Of course, I’ll come! Putting someone else’s well-being ahead of my own once more opened my heart. Amazing how that works!

p.s. In the evening, seemingly out of nowhere, an attack of heartache over a long-gone relationship. Felt as if a chunk had come off the armour, revealing a scabbed wound of grief. Wept and howled for half an hour, then did the dishes: all cleansed again for another day.

image: Jacobo Tintoretto (1518-1594). “Man in armour,” Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 


5 responses »

  1. peter…glad to hear that you’re finding your way back to the Hospice, in whatever capacity…a place where you gave and received much love and support.

  2. i’m also realizing that “hospice” is just a place and that the work i miss so much continues to live and work inside of me. thank you, dawne, for keeping track.

    • how true…the locale’s can change but the work never stops…we take what we learn and experience in one location and apply it to many other parts of our lives.

  3. Your honesty never ceases to amaze me. There is an implied thread between your two experiences. I understand that just observing is all that needs to be done, however hard it is. “Just cleaning the dishes” seems the obvious next thing to do…

    • It amazes me as well, Josette. That’s the thing with this “path”, once you’re on it wholeheartedly, there’s no hiding. why else do it …


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