Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Waiting Rooms

Things have changed. My brother has had a devastating stroke, and has been lying in the Tucson Medical Center on life support for the past week. He is paralyzed - it seems that he can hear…….that he can respond by blinking his eyes, and possibly he has some control over his feet. It is terrible to imagine what he is experiencing, if he is fully conscious. I think of a book called The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. A week or so ago I was finishing off my studio and ordering paint. Now my day begins with going to the Intensive Care Unit to visit Glenn, dealing with insurance, then driving around Tucson unsure of where to go or what to do next. It’s strange. Yesterday I found myself at the Friends Meeting House downtown, talking to the woman there, but mostly just wanting to hang in the peaceful white room with the good energy, where they all meet to be silent together.

Here’s the deal. If grief teaches anything, and it is a GREAT TEACHER if you can stick around long enough to do some listening instead of running off in constant search of relief of the pain……(which is ok also)…….if grief teaches anything, it is that it levels away all the crap, and shows, unequivocally, that we really are one. One. One being, one world, one family, one humanity, one sorrow and story and beginning and ending. Energy that is consciousness moving in and out of form. Which is no consolation at all, when one is dealing with our individual lives, and all of the pain associated with simply being another finite animal on the breast of Mother Earth.

Glenn and I have been at conflict since we were very young, sibling rivalry that never resolved, just hardened and became more and more habitual. The truth is, he was the sensitive middle child, and became the family scapegoat, sustaining the brunt of my father’s abuse, and later, my mother’s dependency. As time went by, perhaps the only way he could survive at all was to wrap a thick, hostile wall around his psyche, with a huge “keep out” sign on the door. Every so often, he peeked out, but as the years went by, less so, and I never knew how to reach him. His anger and cynicism and the deeper depression was something I fled from, and in the past few years, absorbed and reflected in myself as well. Grief has a way of cracking the shell. All these years, trying to run away from my family, trying to sever the “ties”, and here I am. I don’t know how to help him. I sense that he’s getting ready to leave, and why should he want to stay in the body, with such a life?

Yesterday I sat by his bed and had a picture come into my mind – he was standing before me in his ridiculous hospital gown, waving at all the plastic tubes and bottles that are attached to his body, jumping up and down, as if to gesture “no more, no more, stop it”. But that could be my imagination as much as an actual psychic event………..I have, to be honest, no confidence anymore in my psychic abilities, especially where the concerns are personal. What is so terrible about this is of course the feeling of helplessness, that there is nothing I can do to make Glenn better, or to free him from his pain. I cannot speak for the desires of another, but I know that if this happened to me, I would want the plugs pulled, and release from a life that is no longer worth living.

Is this appropriate for me to put this entry into this Blog? I don't know. But it's the truth of my life at this moment. May the light of Grace come to Glenn.

I remember the good times, brother, we've travelled together in this family, seen some things together. I love you. I don't know what to do.


Anonymous said...

It´s appropriate! It´s life. I' m so sorry for you and your brother. All my best!

my croft said...

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is the best and only -- and most loving -- thing that can be done.

Your brother has earned peace. If you can step out of how you wished it could have been between you, and open yourself to how it is and must be now, you will know if and when it is time to grant it to him -- and what form it must take.

I had a similarly strained relationship with my father and when he went in hospital in June of 2007 with late stage pancreatic cancer, I had to do a similar thing. Step away from what I wished our past might have been, and do only what he most needed to have done -- day by day, moment by moment, in the 15 days that elapsed between entering the hospital and completing his life.

My heart is with you, strangers though we are.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through a search of Spider Woman who has recently come into my life.

I don't usually comment on blogs, but when I read this post, it resonated. Two years ago, my mother had a severe stroke and was in the same condition as your brother. Today, she is walking with a cane, laughing, enjoying life, though she still has no use of her right arm and has difficulty talking.

That said, it's also important to know that my mother is a hopeful, faithful, person. Her progress is as much due to her approach and beliefs and persistence as it is to the practical applications of therapies and medications.

My thoughts are with you. I hope there are friends and family close by to share with, to help you with the tough decisions and the emotional struggles. Peace to you and your brother.

Anonymous said...

I have become friendly, via blogging, with the author of "my croft" and came here from seeing your comment there.
No, I cannot give any answer, though I suspect your thinking is along the correct path.
All I can say is that I hope the energies of those of us who have endured similar trials will be of help.
And I thank you for putting this so eloquently, where others may take comfort from it.