Nov 8, 2020
Mom is increasingly uncomfortable. Hospice has provided the drugs that will help her.
The nurse said we need to take over her medications, that mom isn’t remembering to take them regularly. So while my brother and his wife are at work, I’m on call to decide when is the right time to give her the drugs that will provide the greatest relief. Friday morning, I decided it is was time for her first dose of Morphine.
It helped. It was the right decision.
Mom probably only has a few weeks left. My current visit is coming to an end and I’m planning to leave tomorrow, Saturday.
My husband leaves for London on Sunday, he’ll be gone for over a month. He will most likely miss her passing and her funeral.
My daughters have important school assignments and music performances next week: Practice with accompanist on Monday, Lesson on Tuesday, Recital on Thursday, Festival on Saturday.
Do I drive home (almost 300 miles) for a couple days and then come right back to be with mom?
She could definitely decline or even worse, pass away before I get back.
Do I arrange for someone to help my girls get where they need to go – or do I take them back with me to SLC and ask them to miss all of their events?
We make decisions everyday. Some are just harder than others. When we turn them over and over in our minds, they often become bigger and more confusing.
I was in that place many times last week.
What. Do. I. Do.
Well, I did several things. I cried. I didn’t sleep well. I sat in my grief and worked on processing it. I looked at my options. I prayed. I talked to my husband on the phone. AND I made hard decisions.
I would go home as planned. I would drive my husband to the airport on Sunday. I would make plans for the week, knowing that I may have to change or cancel them. I would talk honestly with my girls and let them decide what they wanted to do. AND I would pack an emergency bag AND make emergency back-up plans with friends.
I would not stay stuck in fear and indecision.
I use a meditation app called Ten Percent so I receive weekly emails from 10% Happier (I highly recommend the book by the same name). This weeks email was an article by Jay Michaelsen: One Word That Can Beat (post-election day) Stress:
I was not experiencing post-election day stress, but I figured this exercise would help me still the same.
I loved the authors’ acknowledgement that things may not get better or easier. That simply looking on the bright side has its benefits, but doesn’t always fit the situation.
He suggested a 10-second long meditation practice using AND.
Michaelson says it best, so I’ll insert a few paragraphs of the article:
“Yet if false optimism isn’t the answer, neither are despair or anxiety. So how do we, on the one hand, acknowledge the truth of things being difficult (internally and externally), but on the other hand, not sink into stress or despair or rage?
“You can try a ten-second ‘And’ meditation right now. You don’t need to sit comfortably, close your eyes, slow your thoughts, or any of that stuff. Just acknowledge that difficult things are happening, both in the world and in your own body-mind-heart system. They are true. Some of them may even be dire.
“And also, here is the present moment. What is your body feeling, right now? Can you feel the weight of your body, wherever you’re sitting? Can you wait for a moment for the next inhalation to arise on its own, feel it, and then let go with an exhale? (Breathing in through the nose calms the vagus nerve, so try to do that.)
“And what do you see around you, right now?
““And” practice…. is about what some Tibetan Buddhists call “small moments, many times.” Because you can do it as often as you like, and since it only lasts for a moment, it doesn’t take up a lot of time to do so. You can do it a hundred times a day. It doesn’t get old. And it doesn’t deny the reality that you and other people may be living in right now.
“It just adds something else that is also true, and that can provide you a moment of refuge.”
I have actually used this practice when coaching someone. A client may make a statement that they feel is absolutely true. I repeat the statement, adding AND at the end.
Suddenly their mind is opened up to more possibilities.
It did the same for me. I don’t exactly know what the next few weeks will look like, AND I don’t have to. I will prepare AND do the best I can.
AND so will you.
P.S. We never actually know for certain what the future holds. We make plans because our brains like predictability, But then our brains go crazy when something doesn’t go as we planned. This can cause all kinds of feelings of powerlessness. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make plans AND be Ok when they fall through. I’d like to show you how. Sign up for a FREE Discover call with me here: https://meredithgcoaching.as.me/