Sunday, October 09, 2005

Ubuntu


Ubuntu is a deep African custom. It means "I am because you are, you are because I am."

All day yesterday in training, I kept hearing that word over and over in my mind. In between the waves rolling and crashing. In between the stories shared. All the while during the meditation.

Right from the beginning of the day, my emotions were leaking out of me. I thought I was prepared but how do you prepare for your own death? That was what was being asked of me at 10 am on a beautiful Saturday morning. Not, here- eat this blueberry muffin or here- have this cup of tea and let's sit and watch the ocean. No. It was, here- sit in a comfortable position and slowly visualize you have been given one year to live. You have cancer and the treatments are not working. Here- think about what you would do with that time. Visualize yourself getting more and more frail. Visualize the time ticking away like a bomb you can't disarm. And the ticking, it grows louder and louder as your time draws closer.

Here- breathe deeply and picture each one of your loved ones. Bring them close to you and say good-bye. Say good-bye for the last time. For. The. Last. Time. Tears streamed down my face as I tried not to sniffle too loudly. I wanted to reach for a tissue but didn't want to break the picture my mind held.

I saw each one of the people I love and I spoke to them. Some could not bring themselves to be in the room and watch my demise. They floated, busy as bees, on the periphery. They were always there though they couldn't face my eyes. I knew and felt their love. Jenny Two Times, my friend since high school, came and sang to me. We have always shared a love of music and over the years our voices have blended as we belted out Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, the Indigo Girls. Hillz was there, day after day, holding me up, making me laugh my ass off like no one else can. My mother. My sister. I couldn't even get to them for to look in their eyes, I might have wailed inconsolably. Everyone was there and I realized there are so many people I love. There wasn't enough time. There never is, is there?

All day my heart felt heavy. I spent my lunch break at the oceanside just taking in the vastness of it. I liked to picture myself floating to calm myself when the emotions swelled up. I breathed deeply the fresh air. I said silent prayers of thanks for the love I have. It is rich and textured. It surrounds me all the time.

Ubuntu. "I am because you are, you are because I am."

We are each other. And I am so very grateful.

14 comments:

Lushy said...

Sizzle, I'm so glad to have "met" you! You inspire me and my life is richer for having read your words. Thank you so much!

gorillabuns said...

what an experience... i think you are in a special growing phase both emotially and spiritually....

not trying to sound corny.

Cole Forester said...

Beautiful picture. Thanks for the calming view.

Jenster said...

I lost my mother very suddenly; without having a chance to say goodbye. I still think of how she must have felt not having anyone there with her. I know that there are many people in hospice care that have nobody to say goodbye to. They are completely alone in the world. If you can give the last days of just one person's life meaning, then all of this emotional trauma will have been well worth it. Hang in there and keep up the great work you are doing! You are making a difference with your life, and that's what counts!

Bill said...

The mention of oceans ... well, I had to share this. I love this place. Lake Huron. (Not an ocean, but pretty darned large.)

A place I like.

I could sit here for hours. In fact, I've walked these shores for hours.

Her Daddy's Eyes said...

I have goosebumps. That was so touching, so real. You're a great writer, Siz.

~Eyes

Aimee said...

Walking through these thoughts and experiences with you is an honor. I hope you'll continue to share your hospice training with us. It's such wonderful food for thought, and while I'm here reading them alone, it's comforting to be part of a warm compassionate little group that's reading and growing right along with you.

Bob Merrick said...

Was I already dead?

goldmoon said...

Just wanted to let you know I've really been enjoying your blog. You have such a way with words! I'll keep checking in with you!

Jenny said...

sizzle...you continue to amaze me...your insights are beautiful, poignant and sweet. i'm so grateful you are in my life. and yes, you know i would sing to you for hours...

ok, done, i'm getting weepy...

sue said...

They are really putting you through it, aren't they? I can tell just from your reactions that you are just the kind of person who will help many people through that transition when their time comes. You are so loving, giving, and generous. I can tell all this about you and I've never even met you! You're a beautiful soul and will bless many people whose lives you touch. Just remember to take care of yourself along the way and not get lost in their journey...

Tam said...

That was beautifully written. Everyone should really just slow down...shut off the television, the radio, the damn cell phone and really listen to whats inside your heart. Thats what your last moments should be made of.

Mo-Pie said...

Very touching Siz, you are an excellent writer and a very good person for these things that you do.

...all I'm saying is that somewhere out there is the man you are supposed to marry. And if you don't get him first, somebody else will, and you'll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that somebody else is married to your husband.

Sorry, I just thought this would, if anything, put a smile on your face. Cheers Sizzle.

Penny said...

Wow that was beautiful thank you for sharing such a private moment. You made us all feel like apart of your meditation.