Although it helped to remind myself that she didn’t choose to be in this condition, compassion generated from pity doesn’t last long. On days when I needed to be alone, didn’t feel well or just needed some TLC myself, my patience and temper weren’t worth a penny. Sanchez and Vieira provided this insight for perspective, “When we take offense it is usually because we are personally identified with something such as an idea, belief, or opinion that is not consistent with who we are.” (page 48). Certainly my mother and I are, moment by moment, not in agreement with who I am and who she is and thus; what is “real” in time, place and space. She believes she’s in Valdosta, Georgia, or that she cooked her meal, or her car should be in the garage or a mired of other unrealities in our “Now Moments”. I try to get her on to the same page of orientation with me and she resists, strongly, passionately. I now realize that her resistance is due to her fear that her reality isn’t real. She is afraid to accept mine because her past experiences of trust tells her that trusting others is dangerous. “The truth, of course, is that nothing real can be threatened.” Only I can use this “Truth” that the authors provided. Only I can look again and realize that my reality is not threatened by her beliefs, ideas or opinions. I fully understand what is meant in the authors’ conclusion on this topic, “…what is it that the ego is defending against? Whatever it may be, it must not be real because Truth never needs defending.” With that Truth in my consciousness, I can always compassionately speak kindly to where she is and invite her to join me where I am. I say, “The battles between us are over.”
Mom can’t remember what day it is, but she remembers to leave the porch light on for me if I’m not home before dark. She tells me when I step in the door how relieved she is that I returned safely. Her truth is that I’m not safe until I’m home with her. That’s motherly love. She gets angry when I pack my bags to go spend a few days with my fiancé. For her, my leaving the house is reminiscent of when her parents sent her, as a three year old, to live with grandparents in Georgia, during the Great Depression. She remembers the internalized “little girl pain” of separation, fear of relocation, the sense of rejection and abandonment, and the resentment of being sent away as though she were not wanted. Today, I meet that little girl daily. Since opening my heart to the reality that her Truth has a time and space that is usually out of synch with mine, I’ve found a “Self-renewing Compassion” that invites her little girl to join me in my now moments. Moments I am learning to make safe for her because I can hear her pain like never before. I can be approachable for this wounded soul, like never before and it has altered how we interact.
Usually getting her to take a shower, or allow me to check her feet, as diabetics need to do daily, has been a big battle. However, I approached her yesterday, about the need to examine her feet because I’d noticed how swollen her feet and ankles were last week. I explained that I was concerned that her dry skin may be cracking and going unnoticed. She at first just looked sternly at me and told me that she was just fine. When I asked her did she realize that she had not had a shower in several days and that this was causing her skin to be very dry and putting her at risk of infections, she didn’t respond. This was a good sign that she wasn’t going to battle with me. So I asked could we check her feet to see how they were doing, and she agreed. Once we had dealt with the problems detected which included soaking, bathing and applying medication and lotion to her feet, we hugged and she thanked me for being concerned. Talk about a 360˚ turn around in behavior… that was it!
No matter the situation, the complaint or the opinion of the ego, Sanchez and Vieira assures the reader that “FEAR” not “LOVE” is the motivating factor that causes disruptions in the affairs of humans all over the planet (pg. 39). Who could argue with that? I owe it to my mother and my brother to be the best care giver I can (that’s my fearless opinion). He has not neglected his duties to Mom, nor has he been unmindful of his sister’s need for “me time”. We have a good partnership in caring for our mother.
I believe love makes this world a better place to live in. My fiancé and I are opening our hearts to each other so that the vibrations of love emanate from us into the hearts of those close to us to enrich their experiences with us. We are convinced this type of giving, living and loving has infinite capacity for healing and is unstoppable. Being a loving care giver to my mother is within my capacity as long as I stay aware of my ego and present to her need to be invited back into the Now Moments with me. Hugs and words of reassurance have increased the softness in both of us toward each other. I now feel confident that I can be the kind and compassionate care giver my mother deserves in her golden years. I’m learning to shut my ego out and keep my heart open to the love in the present moment.
March 23, 2014