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