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a virtuous cycle

A virtuos cycle

by Judy
December 22, 2014

How can I be happy...but I am. Yes, I am deeply happy and how can that be? Living with my fading 98 year old mom in her home in Florida for the past 2 1/2 years - not being with any of my friends - away from my home up north and not part of a lot that is happening up there and yet I feel no lack, no sense that I am missing out on anything. This hit me strongly when recently there was a twinge of, “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to be there” and then I realized I fundamentally don’t feel that way most of the time - it’s so not the underlying ground of my being.

I know I am in the right place for the right reasons and there is something so beautiful in being with my mom that goes beyond understanding. What is it about? Why does it feel so grounding and satisfying even though it certainly isn’t always easy?

Some friends came to visit me a little while ago and they said they felt like they were in an ashram. Maybe because life is slowed down here…not a lot of activity or stimuli, but there is a lot of love and lightness. There is also something radiating from my mom. She doesn’t recognize it herself, but she has in many ways surrendered. I mean she can hardly see anymore and keeps her eyes closed; she doesn’t feel comfortable in a wheelchair or any kind of chair and so lies in bed all the time except on occasions and yet, she fundamentally does not complain about her plight. I can’t say she is very happy either and definitely has her moments of distress and discomfort – sometimes even more than moments - but at the same time I do feel she is surrendered and this gives off a particular scent that is soft and receptive.

She is not afraid of dying and often will refer to the fact she isn’t going to be around long.

There is more in the picture. My mother is surrounded by goodness, good-will and care. Including myself, there is a whole community here of caregivers – during the day and night – who care for and love my mom. It’s like goodness attracts goodness; care attracts care. Even though my mother is not always a “delight” to be around, still what comes through her is this fundamental goodness. And even though my mom doesn’t talk a lot or interact a lot, it’s enough. She is still the focal point of the life here. In a mysterious way her presence is felt.

I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful group of caregivers who I trust and who are light-hearted which includes Pat, her primary professional caregiver, Pat’s children and her children’s children, the women who come at night and the Mexican woman who has known my mom for years and cleans her house once a week. It includes her neighbors who still know her – not many left – and even the woman who comes to massage my mom and says my mother is special. You can tell she loves to come here. And it includes her extended family of nieces and nephews.

There is a whole field of positivity that helps enormously to bring an ease of being and doing to this environment. In some ways I take it for granted but then I am stopped in my tracks at times like when I realized that I was deeply happy through all the ups and downs or when someone comes from “outside’ like the massage therapist and comments on what it is like here. It takes me by surprise.

Recently my cousin Barbara came to visit as she genuinely loves to be here and be with my mom who she has always admired and loved. She wrote to me after the visit, saying what a wonderful support group of ladies were here. I wrote back and said “Yes, I am very lucky.” She responded: “No luck involved, I think. All the consequence of who mama is and who you are. Reaping what you sow and sewed.” Well, I don’t know if it always works that way, but it does feel true in this case. Instead of a vicious cycle, there is an ongoing virtuous cycle – a cycle of care, good will, good deeds, good intentions that give birth to a healthy and vibrant field. It’s light, airy, porous and full of song!

And still I feel very lucky. I realize as everything has a beginning and end so does this period of time with my mom and with this whole vibrant community of caregivers. This also has a beginning and end. It means more than ever I treasure what is here and will forever more.


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