Some days the best I can do is sit in our lovely little English garden and, among other things, enjoy the wonderful skies here in Canterbury. The first time I remember noticing and loving the sky was on my first visit to Montana back in the late 90s. They were, and are, spectacular. AND then even when my body can’t wander, my mind does.
Last week, my dear friend Jim Gebhardt’s wonderful father passed. Wes was 96 and had lived quite the life. Jim truly won the father lottery. Jim and his Mom, Pat were by Wes’ side as he passed peacefully, one of life’s greatest blessings. I got to know Wes and Pat a bit later in their lives. My many blessing include getting to know them.
I have been making some progress with capabilities, so Joyce and I trained up to London yesterday. And, putting it simply, it didn’t go well. I won’t bore you with too many details. I’ll just say my sleep the night before was horrid and it went downhill from there. I ended up sitting in Regents Park for a few hours while Joyce did her best to go it alone. Mind you, those that know Joyce, know her as an independent strong person. And appropriately so. And, Joyce loves to be with others. And, love isn’t somehow enough. Joyce needs others to fill her sense of community, of being.
Our day was ending as we were training back to Canterbury. And it devolved to the point of me going to another car. We barely spoke as we walked back to 13A Ivy Lane. This remained the way until after another challenging night of sleep.
Then we talked.
On those all too infrequent visits during the last two-ish years of Mom’s life she’d find ways to share with me that she was ready for “the end”. I initially was taken aback, but I learned to listen. I began to see it from her perspective. I began to understand.
During our talk this morning, it became clear the real challenge each of us communicated was being understood. And once we opened up, became vulnerable and expressed in those terms all the other stuff seemed to float away. Yes, it really sucks for Joyce to not have a partner that fulfills his commitments. As she said to me during one of my numerous health challenges, I did not sign up for this (Joyce still disputes saying those words). And she does admit the add-on, I took a vow.
I now better understand the simultaneous existence of deep sadness along with pride and joy. I think I’m now beginning to understand those that choose to “go out on their terms”. None of us can truly understand anyone else’s situation. Heck, it is hard enough to fully understand our own.
Thanks Mom for continuing to teach me!