Fight for Life


There’s a grandma I’ve loved from day one at work. She gave me tons of poetry she’d written and I took the copied formats and made them digital; absorbing each tasty poem as I typed. Yesterday, I went to her room to see if she needed any housekeeping as the housekeeper had asked me to look in on this lady; she’d been unable to get to her room. This sweet lady was in high anxiety at my arrival. She was breathing uneasily, looking like she felt absolutely miserable, and shaky like she was experiencing trauma. I had to pause and just be there with her in that state for a moment before I could figure out what to do. Her room reeked of urine and it was so hot in there, I found it difficult to stay in the space. My uncertainty and own exhaustion in facing her condition were undeniably in my way of knowing what the right thing to do is. This grandma had been in hospice before and survived it long enough to get sent to our facility. She’s on oxygen, has failing kidneys, and I suspect a legion of other issues that are tampering with her enjoyment of life. She’s in her 90’s and from New England. I want to keep her alive and well. I want her to be healthy and happy. It broke my heart to see her suffering like she was. She told me she didn’t want to go to any more doctors because each time she seeks medical care she gets notification that the provider wasn’t in network and she’s owing more money. She recently lost her Medicare because she didn’t get some paperwork returned on time. She can’t even afford the expense of living at our facility now; it’s this stress that’s killing her. And it bugs the F out of me. The extent of my helping ability is limited. I vacuumed, sanitized her bathroom (to the best of my ability without using stinky sprays), took out her trash, picked up a bunch of papers on the floor that she wanted to throw away. I hugged her. Kissed her head and told her I loved her and left her alone wondering if I should stay with her all night and just keep her company while she struggles to survive. Her cough has gotten thick and heavy and it sounds like she’s pneumatic but I know she doesn’t want any treatment. She’s Jehovah Witness so she doesn’t want me talking about Tibetan Buddhist principles, either. However, my presence there calmed her quite a lot. She asked me again if I’d read the paperwork she’d given me on the burning flames of Hell. I honestly admitted that I hadn’t.  This fight to stay alive becomes truly burdensome for many, and I see that death can be a friend. I don’t ask for death. I’m enjoying my fight to survive, still. I’m enjoying the idea of being here mainly to serve others. When the fight becomes less about making myself happy and more about loving others; I find that the fight for life is truly worthwhile. I asked my co-worker and the resident across the hall to keep their eyes on my New England grandma who is struggling and left my work at work, mostly. I guess if I really left it at work, I’d not be writing about it now.

On a side note, I saw A Wrinkle In Time yesterday on the big screen. Oprah’s elaborate costumes and make up were really outrageous. The characters were stunningly silly. The premise: “we are all one with the universe” was awkwardly lost in the story line. The good vs. evil theme was over-exploited and over-simplified, again. The evil entity that the protagonists fought against was their own minds, but this concept was also strangled in story line and visually represented as something creepy and dark outside the mind.  I am going to have to do a little research on the story, the screen play, and the reason for the movie. The best part was when the main protagonist was under the persecution of the evil entity – she was getting beaten and attacked by her own brother whose mind had been taken over by the evil entity. He was ridiculing her for her flaws as she lay hurt on the ground – near giving up – and she suddenly remembered that one of the magical beings of light (Reese Witherspoon who morphs into a flying piece of cabbage on another planet – that part is rather spectacular, honestly) had given her the gift of her own flaws, and suddenly her weaknesses became her strength and through the opening of her heart (through the acceptance of her own flaws), she was able to melt the fear from her own mind and the evil out of her brother’s mind; right back  into a place of love and gratitude. She saves her brother, her father, and her adorable boyfriend. Yay, women!!

It cost $25 to see the movie and get a popcorn. I really can’t afford this type of distraction in my life any more, but it was fun to get out with the residents and do something different, also interesting to see how Oprah is effecting Hollywood. Glitzy glam light workers who can’t go near the darkness. Haha. The characters in this Disney flick all need to start teaching / practicing yin yoga.

One more thing: I went to the Buddhist Book Study Group last night. I was surrounded with brilliantly expressive, intelligent people. We all read to each other from Pema’s book, Start Where You Are. We had discussion on what it means to ‘start where you are’ and then it became centered more around ‘no escape’ – and when it was my turn to speak, I mentioned that I study the Enneagram. Was delighted when more than half the circle raised their hands to let me know that they too had studied the Enneagram. Even more delighted when I related the concept of “no escape” to my being a type 7 – how for me ‘no escape’ means slowing down and really learning to sit with my stuff – many of my circle totally related and holy smokes, what a great feeling that is to be surrounded by like-minded, understanding, compassionate practitioners of meditation. So blessed. I wish I could share that joy with the whole world and melt away all the evil.

Reviews of movie that I did not read prior to watching:

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