January 1, 2010. The beginning of a new year. Fresh start. New beginnings. New challenges. The beginning of the end of my work life career. It’s official. I have given my notice to leave my job. Officially it was given on December 21, 2009. Officially my last day is Friday March 12, 2010. I will become a free agent. Yep, free. Free of the restraints of a clock, both in my bedroom, in my head and at the office. Free of the commute, free of the tasks that have come to represent “chains”. I am sleeping better than ever…must be a right decision.
Yesterday I had my first Compassionate Companion Vigil with NODA. I actually was nervous about the process, more hesitant than nervous. I was scheduled on Tuesday Dec 29 and was told Mrs. B had been given ‘final rites’…good Catholics tend to follow ritual and form. So I was reasonably sure that she would transition before my shift at 4pm on New Year’s eve, afterall she’s 94…and in fact was waiting for the phone to ring to ‘let me off the hook’…I’m selfish, self-involved and what seemed like a good idea on Tuesday – well, by Thursday it was beginning to feel confined, committed and as something I definitely would have to complete. Gads, did I not think about having these feelings on Tuesday? Was she waiting for me to be there? What exactly had I gotten myself into? You know, the orientation and subsequent follow up meetings didn’t really provide a good description of what the process was really about. So, I read through my literature again about what to expect, what I should do and left the house hoping for the best possible outcome. Mrs. B was in the last stages of the death process, and I felt totally present – it wasn’t about me any longer, or what I was or wasn’t able to do at that moment, but sitting with her and holding her hand not only provided her with comfort…it gave me a measure of comfort that I am unable to truly describe. It was so serene, in those moments when I wasn’t aware of the congested breathing or the soft vocal moans that escaped. I knew that she knew she wasn’t alone, that someone cared about her journey and was there for her. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be ‘present’. Mrs B made her transition in the early morning hours of New Years day. I continue to breathe and walk my journey – reminding myself to be ‘present’.
I think about that now. About the times I wasn’t able to able to be present in my life, my parents/siblings lives – the process for me is slow, painful and unending. I am on the path of forgiveness, attempting to live an authentic life and acquire the necessary tools to accomplish both forgiveness and authenticity.
I am sitting here, looking out the window at a hummingbird feeding, a blue jay and a robin sitting on a branch – sharing the same tree and know that I too can share the branches of my life with those I believe to be foreign to me…Spring is coming. New beginnings are too!