Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hospice visions, the way our house smells, an extraordinary woman

In the early days of hospice we knew we were in uncharted waters.

We were doing something new, something beautiful.

It was visionary.

We were in the valley of the shadow of death.

Every day, all day.

It was all a vision - something like hospice as we did it doesn't emerge from ordinary consciousness.

One of our patients. Photo by Debora Hunter (featured at the Smithsonian
Museum of Fine Arts, Hirschorn Museum). Spend some time with this
photo. Make it big. You'll be glad you did 
There are songs and there are songs and this song (below) is deep in the foundation and structure of my life and love. First, it is a tribute to Leslie and how she was with me in the darkest hours. It also tells exactly why we were there in hospice, choosing to go into the valley.

In the attics of my life, full of cloudy dreams unreal.
Full of tastes no tongue can know, and lights no eyes can see.
When there was no ear to hear, you sang to me.

I have spent my life seeking all that’s still unsung.
Bent my ear to hear the tune, and closed my eyes to see.
When there was no strings to play, you played to me.

In the book of loves own dream, where all the print is blood.
Where all the pages are my days, and all the lights grow old.
When I had no wings to fly, you flew to me, you flew to me.

In the secret space of dreams, where I dreaming lay amazed.
When the secrets all are told, and the petals all unfold.
When there was no dream of mine, you dreamed of me.
(Attics of My Life, Grateful Dead)

We set out consciously to be and sometimes we were the singer, the player, the flier, the dreamer… healing.

We believed, we were committed to the idea that people should not be alone in their time of dying. We always started with the pain, dyspnea, nausea, etc. Then the psychological-emotional-social-spiritual work and the unfolding could begin. Sometimes the purpose of life realized in those last days: Reconciliation with self, with others, with God.

A dream manifested in hard, hard work in the face of suffering and death in the deep heart of the night.

http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/passing Dick Reavis captured the spirit of hospice in this article (though he misrepresented me). 

Country sourdough cheese bread. Whoa!

Today the front rooms of our home smell of the lavender from the big plant that hangs into the street in front of our home. Yesterday I accidently broke a 2 foot branch of rosemary from one the plants by our sidewalk, so that branch is perfuming the back of the house.

This home often smells of bread baking (even the rising of the sourdough has a wonderful fragrance). It smells of pies or cookies in the oven, of coffee being ground, of pecans or walnuts roasting, of almonds being ground. The kitchen smells of chillis, onion, garlic, cilantro, citrus, basil, lemon grass, mint, curries.

The prayer wheel in the front room turns with the breeze from the fan…


Leslie (see my Facebook homepage for more recent photo)
I was lying beside Leslie, thinking that I know many nice people, many good people, many competent people, many beautiful people, but I know very few people who have been as merciful with so many people for as long a time with as much competence and complete selflessness as Leslie. She gave it away like it was water.

All that and our life together, making love with Leslie!!!

My soul.

These are the days.

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