Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Basic Truths

After hours of power outages yesterday afternoon and evening, my mother was returned to the hospital by ambulance.

I had tried to leave Qualicum Beach earlier in the day, but Wind held me back. A drive through the Grove and along Cameron Lake was not something I wanted to face in the driving Rain and howling Wind.

But when I spoke to my mother early in the day, she confessed to falling again, the night before. She had called her neighbours to request assistance, not allowing them to call anyone, let alone an ambulance. They banded together, these seniors. But Mom bruises easily now; she had to fess up to her caregivers. She had to admit, to them and to herself, that she could no longer walk, even the smallest bit.

Many, many long distance calls ensued between my sisters and I. Not much got done this day; but we managed to work together on finding a way out of the maze of information that was thrown at us, by caregivers and doctors and oxygen people. And then Wind threw a huge salvo; transformers blew everywhere and electrical power was no more. Telephones were down, too. Plans drew to a grinding halt.

The highway that might have taken me to my mother was closed.

It was not until later in the evening that telephones were working again. This is when I discovered my mother had been taken back to hospital by ambulance. She is on oxygen; electrical power is essential. By returning to hospital, Mom could no longer hide her desperate straits. Her doctor, having been apprised of her situation by two of my sisters, was now convinced of a different reality than the one promised him by my mother, and has indicated that he will keep her safely in the hospital Care Ward.

I would, under no circumstances, count my mother out.

Throughout all this, I felt as if a huge wall had been erected in front of me. It seemed everywhere I turned for help, I was blocked. It became very obvious...Graham noticed it first. I felt as if I was living in one of those dreams, where everything happens in slow motion or not at all.

When Wind once more blew with such force, crippling the Island, even cutting off telephones and electricity, blowing Trees across highways...I thought I'd better listen. I thought I'd better relax a little, go with the Powers That Be...and learn a little about myself.

Shaman Maggie, in her infinite gentle wisdom, had sent the four Basic Truths of Shamanism to me, indirectly. She had sent them to a student; and copied me. These Truths are always with me...I have them taped to my computer...the list is the first thing I see when I turn on my computer. For whatever reason, the instant I opened the email, I suddenly knew that I had not been using them as much as I could have been.

But it was the fourth Truth...effectiveness is the yardstick of ability...that stopped me in my tracks.

I was so intent on working hard, using authority and clear intent, to help my mother. I was beginning to wonder why I was not being heard; why was the whole scenario so very difficult? Why was I feeling blocked, even when I followed the rules? And why was nothing going the way I had intended it to?

There are outside influences here with my Mom; there were things that were totally out of any control I might have tried to exert. My mother has never listened to advice...why would she suddenly start now? My sisters and I have rarely agreed on anything longer than 5 minutes before becoming exasperated...it would take time to learn to work together.

The only thing, this lesson told me, I could do is keep my balance, and let the forces at work do their work. And watch.

All the world's a stage...

My Mom uses a different persona with each one of us... showing each of us a face that is unrecog- nizable to the other. And I see what my mother is doing...the age old use of manipulation by pushing the aged buttons between that particular child and mother.

We did not have a relationship as I grew up, my mother and I. Neither good nor bad. It just was. To me, at any rate, in the blindness of the youth. During this last year, Mom and I, on our own, grew closer...she was gentle and loving with me, she projected back to me, eventually, what I was giving to her.

But she was not this way with my sisters...she presented a different face to each of us. A different way to place us exactly where she wanted each of us on this stage of life...

And now, the Powers That Be have placed us exactly where we haven't been, my sisters and I, during our lives, on a stage where it is crucial that we work together.

It will present revelations, this sudden upheaval in all our lives...and it is out of my control. Effectiveness is the yardstick of ability...and I was blocked at every turn.

Another lesson taken in.

Still, it leaves a question...who is my Mother?


  1. There's a burden to being an only child, as I am, but it also simplifies things. I pray that this whole frightening situation soon resolves itself with good results.

  2. Who is my mother?

    I am faced with the same question as well....who was the woman who brought me to this world...I never knew her..and who is the woman I call my mother..but feel so so so so much detached from...

  3. The way people perceive us and the way we see them is an illogical effect of being human. Especially when the people involved are parent and child. We are always a child to the parent and the parent is always the authority figure. If we happen to find love in there then we have made a grand discovery. Or, perhaps this is what we are suppose to do with these individuals. We may have to learn or teach how to love. The situtations that evolve sometimes are uncomfortable and even painful and other times it is bliss. Peace comes from love and it is up to all of us to share it, show it, be it. If we can learn then the others have done what they could do being in our lives. And if they learn then we have helped in the growth of another individual. Look at the whole situation and know that you are doing what is intended of you. Get in front of a mirroir and wink at your self smile at yourself and know you are doing just fine even if you don't feel it.
    Okay I get off my soapbox now

  4. Marion,
    You can only do the best you can. I hope you can find the care your mom needs now that she is too frail to stay alone.

  5. You're such an informative an emotional writer, I am amazed that you have time, with all thats going on around you. I always like the illustrations you put in Marion. Do you take those pictures too.

    I do hope things get sorted out with your Mom.

  6. I found your comment on my blog (thank you) and followed you back here. What a lot to be going through! You have piqued my interest - what are the four basic truths of Shamanism?

  7. well written post. From the varied comments you got here you clearly touched on a nerve that hits each of us.

    I spent 6 months with my Mother living with me on hospice. It was interesting to see my Mother go through her various changes. In life she was a bitter and sharp tongued woman much of the time. In her final months, she was gentle and kind and even sweet. I like to think that THAT was who she was really... but that she had masked it all of those years due to a hard life and many curve balls. Who knows really... but I am glad I had the chance to experience that side of her for sure.

    One thing that I hear in your post that is so important is that you are really taking time to think of what all this means to you and your family... you are 'feeling' and questioning as you go on. I pushed away all of my feelings so I could just make it through the days. It was a disaster when my Mom did finally die. Remember to be good to yourself through this time. It is really important... for now and for later.

    Thanks for stopping by today! It is always nice to get a comment from a new reader!

  8. Praying today brings positive results for you all.


  9. DB, the care of an elderly parent was so much easier with my FIL, because my ex was an only child. Decisions were made far more quickly.

    LL,for many years I felt the same as you; during the last year, I have attempted to step past that detachment. I really felt the need to do that.

    Thank you, Dave, you can get on that soapbox anytime. You have validated my thoughts.

  10. Sheila, thanks for your support, and for stopping by. I know how busy you must be, starting your new blog.

    Davem, thank you. The reason I have the time right now is that the weather, with power outages and road closures, has kept me from travelling to see Mom. Writing helps me process the inner journey, without the outside to distract...forced on me by huge winter storms.

    Some of the photos on my blog are mine; some are from ClipArt. My camera doesn't like inclement, cold weather, for some reason.

  11. Pauline, the basic truths are 1. All power comes from within. 2. Everything is relative and connected.(Cause and effect) 3.The world is what you make it. 4. Effectiveness is the yardstick of ability.

    I could go on, but generally I use authority, impeccability, clear intent and no fear when I approach a problem or challenge.

  12. Kate, thank you for sharing your story. There are so many emotions to be dealt with...I am trying to approach each one, one step at a time.

    As much as it is in my power to do.

    Thank you, DB, I felt that hug!