Thursday, January 04, 2018

Awaken! Take heed. Do not...

Let me respectfully remind you,
Life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by
and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken. 
Awaken! Take heed. 
Do not squander your life.
~ Evening Gatha ~ 

January 3rd has slipped away to be replaced by the 4th. What a month the days between the early hours of December 3rd 2017 to January 3rd 2018 turned out to be for us. A far cry from any Christmas season we’ve ever experienced before, frightening, dangerous, painful and exhausting but in the end also filled with the blessings of family and love. 

As described in my last post on the 10th of December, Tony had surgery on the 4th. He recovered quite slowly to begin with and wasn’t able to come home until the 22nd. He now has a walking frame and some other medical equipment and is progressing well, though he’s still in quite a bit of pain. 

I spent at least a couple of hours with him most days, often going by taxi, because the driving quickly got to be too much for me. Ian was my hero during this time. Though it meant he had to work 14 hours a day, he made time to drive 45 minutes across the city, pick me up and drive me 20-25 minutes to the hospital, then sit and work in the hospital cafeteria while I visited with his dad, then drive home again and work until the wee hours. 

We’d barely gotten Tony settled when our younger son Zak and his wife Nicole arrived from Switzerland. We were *so* delighted to see them. We hadn’t seen Zak since the summer of 2014 and though we talk every week via FaceTime, we’d never met Nicole face-to-face before. We certainly weren’t disappointed. She is as beautiful inside as she is outside and we love her even more for having met her in person. Smokey the cat went particularly ga-ga over her. You’d think he *never* got any petting in this household, and the wretch let her comb out matts he wouldn’t let me touch, *and* he let her trim his nails. If it hadn’t been such a triumph I’d be jealous. HA! 

There had been no time for decorating the tree, buying presents other than some I’d bought during the summer - pickings were thin. Thankfully I had at least one small gift for everyone, and we’d gone grocery shopping so there was enough food to keep an elephant happy. 

It was all good, we talked and laughed and enjoyed each others’ company, despite the -35 temperature outside. 

Zak got busy and did a dozen or so small repairs to the place, fixed a leaky faucet, replaced a doorknob, fixed a closet door handle, installed a shelf to keep Hobbes from jumping behind the washing machine, painted the dresser in our bedroom, cutting an access hole in the back of the new sideboard so I can plug in the LED light strips, etc etc etc. So many excellent improvements! 

And Nicole, bless her heart. The Swiss are OCD about clean-clean-overdrive. Though my house was cleaned the day before by our housekeeper, Nicole tut-tutted over the amount of great-unwashed left behind, and dove in. When I expressed concern she grinned and said, “I *love* cleaning, I find it so relaxing!” Yeah, I sit zazen for that. Maybe I should try scrubbing baseboards. 

We had other guests as well, of a more temporary nature, people we love and don’t see enough. Then on Saturday evening, after a week, our little birds flew the nest. We FaceTimed today and they are slowly returning to a Swiss schedule. 

January 3rd marked my 72nd birthday. Ian did some grocery shopping for me and brought dinner. We had a lovely visit afterwards. I’m so proud of my sons and their integrity and their compassion for others. 

Last night was interesting. I often have complex dreams, always in colour, but my dreams rarely include people I know. But last night I dreamed of all three of my siblings, all of whom have passed away. My brother Harrel was the 1st we lost, 20 years ago. My sister Ruby passed away in 2005 and my brother Hall in 2010. Last night all three came to me, at different times. I do hope it was just to say hello and not to tell me my time is up. My bottom didn’t hit the chair long enough to sort out and take my meds until 3:30 in the afternoon today. If I head off to parts unknown any time soon you’re going to have to find someone else to go without sleep, empty Tony’s commode, fix his favourite oatmeal in the morning, make his pills, yada yada. 

And try the Zen. It’ll help you cope. Just look for the books that are dog-eared or with pages falling out.  Awaken! Take heed. Do not squander your life.