1. I spent five days at a silent meditation retreat with rabbi’s , cantor’s, Jewish educators and peace activists. My life was simple. Wake up…sit…personal practice (for me this was a SoulCollage reading each morning)….eat breakfast…sit…walk…sit…walk (private meeting with a teacher)…sit…eat…sit…walk….pretty much the same with 90 minutes of yoga in the afternoon and a lesson from our teachers (Sylvia Boorstein and Rabbi Sheila Weinberg) until bedtime.
I say my life was simple. That’s on the outside. On the inside much was happening…uplifting thoughts….frustration…sadness…gratitude…physical pain…clarity…lonliness…confidence…and many other emotions, thoughts and sensations.
I left feeling ready to re-enter my life.
2. Saturday, we left for a weekend at hotel in Cambridge so our youngest child could begin her prep for a colonoscopy/endoscopy.
3. Monday after her test…the doctor gave us her diagnosis…Crohn’s Disease. I cried…it was not what we wanted to hear. I have Crohn’s…it runs in my family…It’s a rotten disease…but now we know what we are dealing with finally and she can begin to heal the current inflammation in her little body. Started her on some medication.
4. Tuesday…she stayed home from school and I told her the diagnosis. She was relieved and sad and all feelings in between. Mind you this is the child who created the beautiful poster about inner peace (this is an amazing kid!)
5. Wednesday, this same beautiful little girl officially turned twelve. No longer a little girl!
6. Thursday I did a prep for my scheduled colonoscopy/endoscopy (they were having two'fer special-just kidding) That evening we had a terrible ice storm in New England…we lost power. (bad time not to have a flushing toilet!)
7. Friday morning I had my test. The results were pretty much as expected...mild inlfammation and ulcers....no need to change my treatment plan. We were lucky and found a motel room available and moved into the Red Roof Inn (they take dogs).
8. Saturday the temp dropped so my husband went home to keep the woodstove going and check on our 3 kitties (and keep the pipes from freezing.)
9. Monday we went down to Children’s Hospital for the day for some education about Crohn’s disease in children and to come up with a treatment plan. Added some more meds to her regimen. Tuesday evening, our daughter had a fever…but Tylenol got that under control. (I must mention here that our older daughter who is almost 15 has been amazing though all of this…she is strong and compassionate…and a typical teenager!) The girls and dog and I stayed at the motel through Wednesday. (That afternoon my husband found an electrician with a generator and had him install it. We now had heat…lights…running water (but not hot water).
10. Thursday: The girls, dog and I stayed over night at a friends who now had electricity.
11. Friday: Woohoo! The power came back on and we moved home!!!!
Good news, no burst pipes...3 of the guppies survived (the others are "fish sticks") and the kitties are happy to have everyone home. We emptied the fridge and freezer and were able to get to and from the store to restock before the next snow storm! Had a home cooked meal and ate by the glow of our Shabbat candles. (we had over head lights too!)
I had no idea how much the meditation retreat would benefit me when I drove home from New York exactly 4 days before our child’s diagnosis and 1 week before the ice storm. But I feel like it grounded me. I had moments of tears driving my husband to work (while the kids were still sleeping at the motel in the morning) and moments of frustration and overwhelm while hiding in the closet sized bathroom at the motel with the kids blissfully unaware in the “other room” watching cable tv. I even cried at the doctor’s office when I went to pick up a prescription (I had missed an appt. that morning that had been scheduled a while before because the calendar I use is on my computer and I had limited internet access!) But in between….the moments of sadness, frustration and feeling lost…there was humor…and gratitude…yes gratitude…these were the two tools that lifted my spirits when I started to become entangled with the dark voices in my head….I “stepped back” and became a witness to the situation…I looked around me and saw lots of humor…(my husband warming water in the coffee maker once we had a generator and washing his hair with it –he named this process “head and folgiers” and things to be grateful for in the moment (a warm shower…food…a flushing toilet…access to news on the tv…being together safe and sound…finding a laundry facility down the hall from our room!)…We were forced to live moment to moment, meal to meal…I didn’t have a whole lot of time to wallow in my thoughts….and I was able to pull myself back when I did.
So, breath by breath, moment by moment, step by step we will continue.
And unbelievably, it’s still snowing outside (it’s up to our dog’s “arm pits”!)
Warmth and light have become more literal for me this year as the holiday season begins…but their metaphoric meaning still holds spiritual buoyancy for me.