For the last few weeks I have been blogging about my spring of sickness. While it was happening I was dumbfounded that I could reach that level of sickness. Now I see that the weakness I was assuming, may actually have been strength. I now believe that my body needed a pause. It wasn’t until this weekend that I understood the extent of the pause necessary.
This weekend my husband and I drove to his childhood town and visited his dying grandfather. It was a visit that we didn’t see coming as we were told not to come visit because he was on morphine and unconscious and wouldn’t make it. However circumstances changed and he came off morphine, started eating again and somehow regained the ability to sit up and chat. Seeing an available opportunity, we rushed home. There wasn’t a lot of thinking about the journey, just the certainty that we needed to do it as soon as possible. We would spend as much time as we could with him before he died. It wasn’t until we were a couple miles from his house that we both became aware of what we were walking into during this visit.
He may not recognize us, he may not be peaceful or loving, and he may be volatile or thrashing. All these characteristics were plausible. What we didn’t anticipate was the level of pause in the room of the dying.
Even though he may live weeks or months now, there is still an air around him that this is the final stage. Time itself seems to be slowing down. He talks for a moment at a time, breaking into his famous, beaming grin and then his head goes slack and he falls asleep in mid-sentence. He just melts into sleep. Visiting him requires allowing for him to roll in and out of sleep many times. It was like existing in a moving, eyes-open meditation.
As I write this post he is still alive and Wednesday was his 94th birthday. The most amazing thing about his dying process is that he doesn’t want to die. He isn’t in pain, loves his wife and family and continues to love living. It is an inspiration. Seeing him in this very prolonged and uncertain position of pause made me realize that I am in the pause before transition.
This spring I have hurled myself into my business with all my sick time at home and have been busily strategizing my business offerings and services. For the last five months I’ve been slowly figuring out my own self-designed website that should launch in the next few weeks. This pause has been for asking questions, seeking the best answers and allowing my body to rest up before the full flurry of summer.
It took the stillness of a sunny bedroom and the slow, rhythmic breathing of a 94 year-old man to show me that not all pauses are useless. The power of pausing long enough to connect with him, make him laugh, see his smile and feel his contentedness at seeing his family is worth a lifetime of memories. Years from now we will tell our children about the last few days or weeks or months of their great grandfather’s life. We will describe the sunny bedroom, the sound of his breathing and what it was like to be in the room without books, magazines or phones and just watch him and feel the sensuality and tangibility of life.
Today as you go about your busy life look back on the moments in your life that spread out like decades and re-experience them. Seek out the moments, events or even short spells of time that are precise and drawn out. Notice what you were doing that allowed life to move in slow-motion or come to a complete stop all together. What were you on the verge of in that moment? What was just around the corner? Hold that sensation and remind the body how productive, educational and fulfilling those moments are. The power of pause. The power of stillness. The power of sitting back and trusting the universe to rush by or to slow way down and allow you to look at each minute detail up close.
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