October 18, 2009:
So much is moving forward in this time: my apartment is poised to be completely emptied and the keys handed over; my tumor grows every day; I am changing in my daily patterns. In the past week, I've been staying in my room for breakfast; it's too painful to sit at the dining room table in the morning. By noon, I'm much more comfortable getting around so I have lunch in the dining room and also dinner. With the easing off of the apartment as my primary task, a new regimen has formed: I have visitors. Lots of visitors.
Staying alert and in the flow of my friends' lives has been one of my favorite ways to spend my time for several decades. This has only increased since I've moved into Maitri. Since there's a lot of shift in my health, it's good to talk about that with people who care. Also, it opens my life and my heart to know what's going on with people I care for. As you can imagine, I don't want to talk about my cancer and my declining mobility all the time. Hardly! Giving my health report catches me up to the immediate "now," and listening to the concerns, hopes, visions, etc. of people I love lifts me out of the possible loneliness of just recycling my own stuff.
New people have come into my life with my open house availability. Each person is stimulating and different. There's Richard Hardy, one of the most enduring volunteers at Maitri, and a man deeply interested in bridging the religious and secular worlds. Even though I've been aware of Richard's presence at Maitri for over a decade, I have never had the opportunity to sit and visit with him. Now, the floodgates are open. He brings up St. Theresa of Avila. I start talking about scholar rocks. So much to share! Tova Green from Hospice by the Bay has also been a rich source of help with organizing my support community as well as teaching me how to use the financial coverage system that's available here.
Steven Grafenstein from Hospice by the Bay brings me a focus on my spiritual self. Who is my spiritual self? What are my fears about dying? Are the people with whom I still harbor resentment? Anger? Sadness? How can I clean up those relationships before I die? All of these questions have answers that lead me forward. At this point, I can happily say that I plan to die with a cleanliness of feeling that feels very light, very clear. Imagine having no lingering "stuff?" Yet, that is my goal, and it feels entirely attainable.
As my body changes daily and my work to finalize my life's relationships comes into final focus, I feel an ease and relief that I never imagined possible. The support to accomplish my final tasks is all around me and within me. What blessings!