That’s what my mother said to me this morning. “You face these challenges, and then you reach down deep to an inner strength and you just keep going.”
We had been talking about a situation that happened with a client earlier this year that had been grueling. It had stretched me emotionally and mentally. It had been painful and caused me to question my work overall. It had been tough.
Then there was the end to our Xmas family party today. It had been wonderful and tiring hosting the family, many as overnight guests. But this morning Danny, my father, couldn’t stand up. Chances are his half-paralyzed body was exhausted from the bit of walking he had done over the past 48 hours. When he’s at the joint (the nursing home) they don’t let him out of his wheelchair, so when he’s at my house he tries to walk when and where he can. “Tries” being the fitting word.
By the time he attempted to get up from the daybed he’d slept in in the living room (because he can no longer go up and down the stairs), he couldn’t get up. He couldn’t get his balance and he seemed to be unable to move his left (paralyzed) leg. The more he tried, the more tired and frustrated and scared he became. And the worse things got.
Everything deteriorated from there.
When Danny had his stroke nearly ten years ago, I turned to everyone I loved and said, “may your parents live a really, really, really long time, and then may they die overnight.” It sucks to watch your parents suffer, no matter what your relationship with them. It sucks to watch Danny struggle and cry out in pain and frustration. It sucks to watch him feel so terrified and humiliated.
Someone else commented to me recently that it’s amazing that I take all of this with him in stride. Especially with our past. But it is what it is and it is what I do. I don’t see any other choice, even though I know it’s my choice to try and take care of him as I do. I am graced with compassion for Danny, and my heart breaks at the situation he has created for himself. I yearn to do whatever I can to ease his suffering, however I can.
And I just keep going. Perhaps that inner strength and ability to keep going is something else I’m graced with, and I take it so for granted that I don’t notice it. I breathe through Danny’s suffering, just like I breathed through the recent situation with my client, and I reach down deep for the peace and the ease and the joy and the love and the beauty that I have found and created in my life, and I just keep going.
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