One of the main ingredients of this blog is honesty. I become aware of this every time something important happens in my life that I don’t want to write about at first. Then I often sit at the computer for hours and can’t think of anything to write. After running into the kitchen five times to get another tea, glass of water or a biscuit, I finally give myself a jerk and write about what is really moving me at the moment. Like now …
At the moment I’m at home with my mother. My mother, who ran her physiotherapy practice until last summer and did gymnastics on the floor with small children. With whom I was still making plans in late summer that she would move to Palma de Mallorca for a few months this year, when she is retired, to experience new adventures together.
Last autumn my mother received an incurable cancer diagnosis. Completely unexpected and without any major previous complaints. A world collapsed for all of us. After all, my mother was always extremely health-conscious and always took care of us all with her homeopathy, acupuncture or nutritional supplements – and suddenly she was so seriously ill herself. Actually unimaginable.
Since then I stayed with her for many weeks to support her. And now I am here because the end is near and I am taking care of her. A friend who used to have cancer himself said to me: “What a privilege to be able to accompany her.” And that’s how I feel too.
My mother and I have always been close. But in the last few months we have become even closer. When everything that is unimportant is gone, only the important remains. And that’s bittersweet. When an illness progresses so quickly and relentlessly, you run through all emotional states in a fast run: shock, despair, sadness, fear, acceptance, humility and everything all over again. But above all you can feel the love for one another, because when we become aware of the finiteness of earthly life, all the small, unimportant things fall away.
There are different ways to deal with such a diagnosis. In the face of death, one can either close one’s eyes or open them wider. My mother and I chose the latter. We talk a lot about life and death and what may come afterwards. Sometimes I think an outsider would think we’re crazy if he overheard us. But it’s a good kind of crazy because it touches the heart.
My mother and I have found a sense of calm in giving up the fight. A meditative state arises. Because in such a situation you can only survive if you become meditative. Thinking in the past and future no longer works because it hurts. Only being in the moment works. And taking one step at a time. One day at a time. Without expectations.
There is a quote from Osho that expresses this state very well: “If you feel helpless, just bow in your profound helplessness. (…) In this humility you disappear. Something else arises: a prayer. “
I thought for a long time, whether I should formulate these very personal and intimate feelings and experiences here. And I chose to do so, because what I’m experiencing right now is deeply personal on one hand but universal on the other. Each of us will be confronted with illness or death sooner or later. And I think that we have to learn to look death in the face in order to be able to live even better and more intensely and to appreciate life and the people around us even more. So life and death sit with us at the kitchen table, at night, with a glass of wine, a flickering candle, a sleeping dog on the carpet and a feeling of home that only comes with really good friends.
And now my question to you: have you ever experienced a similar situation? What did you learn and how has it changed you? I look forward to your comment under this post!