Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Clouds of Truth

The clouds have been amazingly beautiful the past few evenings. The temperature has been right. The air has smelled sweet, like Tennessee in the fall. It’s been nice. Peaceful.

I’ve stared at those clouds and the shapes they form and the ease they move with the wind and time. They are stark white against the evening blue sky.

I’ve recently been engaged in a conversation with a friend. A while back we’d had a falling out. Funny though, I didn’t know.

Our perspectives are usually about our self. We read and understand life based on the paradigms we subscribe to or ascribe to. We receive information and then compute it based on our own paradigms. We interpret information based on the world views we have adopted.

Sometimes people share an argument and unknowingly adopt the same side. They present their sides so differently though that you believe you are in opposition to one another when in truth you are the same or similar.

Hard heated talks that become easy and simple and light are a true gift. Friends are a true gift. Reconciliation and communion is a true gift.

Truth is a funny thing. It remains constant like that beautiful sky. But life comes in and people and confusion and personalities and misunderstanding and culture and time and what you have are clouds. Somewhere between the mix of clouds and the beautiful blue sky lies the truth.
I suppose if you stay with it and watch and wait you may find life in time to be nice. Peaceful. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Death and Dying

She smiled, that sad knowing smile, then she hugged me.

"Get some rest." I told her.

And then the newly widowed woman rejoined her family and walked away.

Since February of this year I have had 10 friends lose a parent. I've often wondered how that is. How does one lose a parent? How does one keep living? How does one continue to experience life without them?

I do not know the answer to these questions.

In college I once dreamed that my mother died. I remember waking in my dorm room. I was scared and confused. My chest was heavy and tight. I found it hard to breathe. It was a dream. I quietly began to cry. It was a terrifying nightmarish dream. It wasn't true. But for 10 of my friends it now is. I don't understand how they feel. I cannot relate.

Sometimes, I help people die. I help provide a quality death. I walk the family through what will happen, then it does, then they go home. Death really is that simple. It is the effect of death that is not simple.

"Get some rest." I told her.

And the newly widowed woman rejoined her family and walked away. It was 02:00 in the morning. She was going home. She was going to bed. And for the first night of the rest of her life she would get in that bed alone.

How can you "get some rest" when the place you rest is the quiet place that so profoundly tells you he is gone.

I often wonder if anyone will sleep with her. Working nights, those families leave to go home, to go to bed. I wonder if any of them think about the sleeping. I wonder what happens when they leave my unit. I wonder if they wake in the night to find their chest heavy and tight and unable to breathe, only to realize it is a truth and not a dream.

She smiled, that sad knowing smile, then she hugged me.

They always hug me. Why? I do not know them. I will never see them again. I try to say the right things. I stood with them through one of the most terrifying, horrific nights of their life. Over time I will not remember them. I will not remember the families or the patients or even why they died. I often wonder if they remember me, if they see me in their memories; that girl in the room.

But I suppose I hug them too. I suppose we receive each other.  

I think I will stop counting at 10.