The matter of clarity

I often find myself wondering about clarity. I feel really good when I have clarity. Clarity of mind, in my heart, in general. It just feels really good when I am clear about how I feel and what I want. Decisions seem easy to make and I just feel confident in general, even a sense of security, or faith, or even knowing. But I do not always feel clear. It is something I am working on.

I would like to say my resolution for this year is to gain clarity, but I decided not to resolve to do anything in 2017. I decided to be happy. I decided to make that my priority and then do whatever I can after that.

How to be happy? Well that is what having clarity might help with. Suffice to say, it is not always easy for me to feel happy. This past year was slightly difficult, in part because a couple of family members are not as healthy as I would like them to be. The fact that I even focus on this is not the best but it is true nonetheless. However, that is not all I focus on. And here is the golden nugget. How I feel when I am with them is the key. I never thought I would ever feel this way but this actually happened.

Background – My mother beat cancer not once, but twice and three years ago was diagnosed with bone cancer. She refused any chemotherapy because she wanted quality of life and had seen her mother pass of the same cancer. It was not good. When we learned this three years ago, we had one heck of a Christmas celebration. My mother was so happy and smiles were all around. We appreciated that Christmas so much.

Back to the story

It is not the cancer taking my mother away……… – it is Alzheimer’s. Now here is the irony, she does not appear to be suffering at all. As a matter of fact, while it is very difficult to see someone you love in this state, they appear to be oblivious to it. I heard it said that a person with this condition is no longer really focused here and they are in between the physical and non-physical. On their way to the transition phase (commonly referred to as death), but they are still here physically. Some even say that the conditions humans have are an unconscious choice – but that is one subject I will not be addressing in this post.

This was not easy for me to accept. It was not easy for me to see my mother in 2016. I had a hard time and selfishly stayed away. Not for too long, but instead of going weekly, I would go monthly. My dad was a sounding board for me at that time. (He still is) He never judged me and always listened, gave me sound advice, which I would later take. I am stubborn. But his understanding and time he took to listen to me was so appreciated.

Then in December, I took her great grandson, Aidan, to go see her and her eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. My brother was there and he was thrilled by her reaction. Aidan was all smiles and he played at the table where we sat, for hours. No words were exchanged really, but a lot of happy smiles and the light in her eyes as she gazed at him was priceless. I was changed by that experience. I looked forward to seeing her again.

On Christmas Day I went to see her. My brother was there – He had breakfast with her and told me she had eaten chocolate. She was apparently in a very good mood and had eaten well. The look of recognition slowly appeared in her eyes and as I was excited about the prospect of her eating cherry blossoms, she started to laugh. Laughter, the sound of her laughter is music to my ears now. I have not had a conversation with her since Labour Day 2016 but on Christmas, she laughed. We all did and I had no clue why. For a few moments, that is all we did. Laugh. I still do not know why. I do not need clarity for that one. I do not need to know. All I know is that laugh was wonderful.

Today I went to see my mom. I really wanted to see her and my step father (how I dislike that word “step” but that is for another random musing). I wanted to see them before I left for my week. When I arrived, my mom was awake and Claude was happy to see us. I instantly felt relieved.

I thought to myself “Clarity” and then I knew. I have it when I see my mother. When I can be with her and no words need to be spoken. We communicate with our eyes. There is something in her eyes and when she smiles, the world lights up. If she happens to laugh, well angels sing you see. Today was another good day because I saw her husband of 30 plus years lovingly sit next to her and give her something to drink and eat. He talks to her and she looks at him with those eyes and you forget for a moment that this is supposed to be torture and sad. Her husband made her laugh today as he was talking to her. I did too, but again I have no clue why – I just said I was happy to have time off because I felt I needed it and as I looked at the sky she started laughing, while looking straight at me.

There is the nugget. In the midst of losing her slowly, I am seeing and feeling love like I have never seen nor felt before. I am feeling moments of happiness when I once thought it was not possible. I am able to sit in silence with my mom and feel her presence. I have the privilege of watching a real life version of the Notebook and know it is not only in the movies. I have never seen such dedication from a man towards a woman. But I know it exists. I may have been cynical in the past but not anymore. I have not lost anything, apparently, I have gained something…………perhaps clarity? A bit of faith, and maybe, just maybe even a sense of knowing?

Unconditional love was a gift my mother gave me and Claude too. They are still giving. I see it between them, even in this condition. My parents are selfless. As I sat there today, I knew it is possible to feel happy in the midst of any condition, all you need is some willingness, clarity and love. I adore my parents and seeing them always helps me feel better.  Even now.

Alzheimer’s………….yes, the long goodbye. But until then, I will take the smiles, the laughter and the meals that we have, even in this condition. That is the nugget and clarity was, for the moment, a reality for me. I then went to see my daughter and my two grandsons. I know I am blessed. Clarity and knowing and unconditional love.

Well that is about all there is to say about that (to quote a phrase, perhaps not in its exact form, from Forrest Gump – but it fits)

I am off for a week in Cuba, where I will be with the ocean, walk in the sand and look at seashells and rocks. I will think of my family while I am away.

Thank you for your visit. Have a great week. Be as happy as you can possibly be.


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