when the boat floats…

today is a blur – a massive flurry of emotion, worry, frustration, tears. Dying is a messy business for everyone and especially so when cancer is involved. My mother is in the final stages of what has been a long three years. Today the palliative care nurse said something to my sister that struck a deep chord with me. I was going in and out of the room while she talked with her. Getting my mother in and out of the shower, helping her to dry and comb her hair, make sure she had what she needed to take with her to the hospital. I came back into the living room at the moment when the nurse said ‘ don’t be angry with your mother, be angry with cancer’. I echoed those words hours later when I broke the news to my oldest daughter, who in turn surprised me by saying those exact words to me as I said them to her. Yes. don’t be angry but if you have to be angry, be angry with the disease. That was all I heard, because I needed to help my mother get her shoes on and then helped her to come out to sit and talk with the nurse as well. 8 hours later, she has been admitted again to hospital.

I cannot help but think of the story of the boat that becomes unmoored and floats down the river. Do you get angry at the boat for floating? Why blame the boat for doing what it does? So the rope becomes untied, so the river’s current takes it away. Who is to blame for that? It is what a river does, it is what a boat does. I am still crying that the boat is floating away from me. I am filling the river with my tears. But a boat floats. That is the way of things.

I suppose all there is to do is recognize that the river is wide and long, with enough room for my tears and anyone else’s. I don’t know what tomorrow holds. I don’t know what the next moment holds. I do know that I am grateful for my family, more than I can put into words. I am grateful for friends. I am truly grateful for my daughters who are a surprising source of strength for me right now. They help me to be strong, strong when I feel like I am sinking.

Tomorrow is a new day. May it be filled with peace, love and healing for us all.

la

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