The Slow Sacred Texts of the Dying

photo credti: Macia Pevey

My sister sits daily at the bedsides of the dying.

She is a hospice chaplain. This is her job.

On a recent visit to a private residence, my sister was greeted by the 80-year-old daughter of a 104-year-old dying woman. The daughter, white-haired and stooped, opened the door and in a sing-song drawl called over her shoulder, “Mama, the preacher’s here,” a pronouncement that had my sister rubber-necking over her own shoulder looking for “the preacher” who had snuck in behind her.This geriatric announcement, “Mama, the preacher’s here,” while so funny on so many levels, is also so true. My sister is a preacher. She preaches from the slow, sacred texts of the dying’s last days.

This is what she preaches:

We need to fearlessly affirm. The dying shed all inhibitions. My sister, middle-aged and of normal attractiveness, has been told she’s beautiful by more patients than she can count. The approach of death has not affected these people’s eyesight; it’s affected their inhibition, shattering the veneer of decorum that has kept them from voicing their true feelings and thoughts. The words come forth in childlike innocence and honesty and are therefore the furthest thing from flattery because they are offered by those with nothing to lose or gain. My sister receives these words like the benedictions they are.

We need to connect at all costs. On one particular visit, my sister entered a hospital room to find the patient’s children hunched, each in his or her own chair, paralyzed in isolation and anxiety at the decline of their mother. My sister sat with them, holding their mother’s hand. Gently, she suggested that the patient’s 60-year-old daughter place her hand on her mother’s leg.It was a simple act, but in touching her mother, this grieving woman broke the spell that held her apart from the one she wanted to love. Soon she was massaging her mother’s feet as her siblings swapped stories from their childhood. One truly hilarious story involved a rabid squirrel, a garbage can, and a baseball bat. Soon they were weeping with laughter, the beauty of their connectedness restored by physical contact and their shared stories............

But wait, there's more! To read the rest of this post take a little jaunt over to Shelovesmagazine. The ending is just a click away.


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Getting Grounded

photo credit: Brooke McAllister
Happy Friday, Blog Chums!  I'm writing over at Sheloves.com again today. Click on the link at the end of this post to read the whole story...
A new friend walked with me through our garden. She pointed at the white cloth draped over a row of growing carrots. “What’s that white cloth for?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

She looked at the garlic bed and remarked on how many green shoots there seemed to be. “How many varieties are you growing?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

She pointed at a moth fluttering over the cauliflower. “Is that a good moth or a bad moth?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

And then I crumpled to the ground.

“I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know,” I wailed, clutching my head with both hands and swaying dramatically on my knees. There might have been screechy violin music in the background. The sky might have turned black and the clouds rained blood.

And then I woke up...

Read the rest of this post at Sheloves


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Learning to Ripstick

photo credit: Steven Depolo
Hey ho, Blog Chums!

I'm pleased to announce that I've started blogging over at Sheloves.com as a regular monthly contributor. If you don't know about Sheloves, please check it out. This global community of women are writing wonderful things as they work to empower women and girls all over the world. Here's my post, Learning to Ripstick, from about a month ago:

It looks like a cross between a skateboard and a medieval instrument of torture. As a child I never went for skateboarding (nor medieval forms of torture, for that matter), so why at the ripe middle-age of 46 did I decide that Ripstiking would be my sport du jour?
The simple answer: because the kids on our community farm are mad for it. For the past three months our big circular driveway has been chalked with a complicated obstacle course, which the eight or so kids who’ve mastered the device weave through like Olympic slalom skiers...Read more at Sheloves.com

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