Human, too (a blog)

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Sitting in the Stell Coffee Cafe’ at 7am reading your words Marco,attuning to the felt sense of the moment that is living in U & I as the words touch -contact through my eyes ,travel into my Heart & l
Listen to the Beat- some kind of energy with a shape is vaguely present.

As a Person I have come to Experience through this digital medium over the last two years ,the contact has been a Gift.
Thank You

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Not much to say except take care Marco

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Thanks, Marco, for the reflections. I would encourage you to check out the thread we have started recently. What to do when the system crashes? Gathering micro-narratives, streetwise stories, such as you have done in this account of your family saga, we find a motif that belongs to a great wisdom tradition. It is out of such stories that Emerson and Whitman weaved together the odds and ends of their experience into art. I share with you an email, I sent to my brother, after I had a deep learning with some of our friends on that thread. This is, for me, an example, of trying to re-embody a sense of agency. An agency lost, and an agency regained. Here is the letter to my brother. I hope we can make use of these mutual attempts at sense making in a confusing time. The letter I sent to my brother could as easily be sent to you.

Dear Brother,

Can you do me a favor? Since Mama doesn’t type I would appreciate it if you would be a scribe. I have a question for her that is important for me to know. If you could help her type up her response I would be very grateful. If she could send it out as an email, a written form, it would be most useful. .

What is the story of your life that you would want your children and your grandchildren to remember?

Please let Mama do the talking and take notes about what she actually says.This is important that we get some clean material, uncontaminated.

I have a question for you, too, dear brother. Can we be good ethnographers of our own situation?

As the system we live in is collapsing we may need to figure out what happens next.

I hope you are well and creative. I am in the midst of great turmoil but enjoying the challenge.

Love, JD

If you can write out her story and then ask her to read it out loud to you every day, twice a day, it can re-connect her to a relational space. I did this with my dear friend, Beatrice, and it became some of the most powerful communion experiences I have ever had with another soul. Blessings upon you and your dear mother. She is a lucky lady to have a son such as you.

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DuBois, PA is a good place to despair. That’s where I did my student teaching half-a-century ago. Small world. Thanks for making it smaller, closer, more personal.

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I want to say…
I want to weep for your loss…
I want to cheer for your stamina…
I want to rip spacetime open and find all the strength, courage, and blessing I can scoop into my arms and drop them into your heart…

Yes.

Thank you, madrush.

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Thank you, friends, for reading… receiving… reflecting back. I arrived safely to my home in Colorado last night after 3 days of unalloyed stress amid the tractor-trailers and truck stops of Interstate 80 going 75 mph most of the way.

I wish I could have been a saint of equanimity and compassion the whole time, but there were moments when I just couldn’t help insisting on reality, against all my better sense, arguing and snapping back after the five-hundreth time answering the same question about where we’re going (Oklahoma? Florida?) or why we won’t be flying back to New York the next day, or the ceaseless stream of commentary about my driving.

I did hear some sweet stories about my mom’s early life. And we did listen to some music and sing some songs. Those were the better stretches. But it was impossible to sustain that level of conversation the whole time, and she refused to sleep or take her eyes off the road. She remained extremely anxious about the house, and my brother. The Great American Road Trip, it was not!

Nonetheless, we made it in one piece. I walked into the house and hugged my wife (who rearranged the inside of the house to accommodate my mom) and daughters for a long time. They showed off the artwork they’ve been making, played with Mojo, and my mom smiled and laughed with them. So there is hope. Now comes the task of reconstructing our daily rituals and routines, addressing health issues, and working on our stories! I am hoping I have the energy to write more soon.

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I would try to externalize the sweet stories by writing them down, typing them up in a special notebook. Get dates of birth, her parents, where she grew up, important events, and keep it simple. Have her read it out loud to you or the kids several times a day. Be sure that someone is listening and asking questions. It may only take a few minutes but it actually can save lots of time if she gets confused. Show her the notebook, and let her read it. This routine can help you, too, so that you are not stressing out. Also find out what she is really good at, sewing, dancing, singing, cooking, and get her to do that consistently. Routines are important to prevent anxiety. And this is not your mother, it is the disease. It is not normal aging. It is a mystery still and no pharmaceuticals seems to help but there is much evidence that relationships are very important. Good luck and may the force be with you both!

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Just found your words here tonight, searingly human yes and profoundly beautiful. So familiar, so recognizable. A gift, as someone else here said. Your words, word-maker, are literally nourishing… as strange as that may sound to say. Your words, I cherish them, and you.

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@Michael_Stumpf: I love that Buddha-painting, and your kind words.

@ycbmwig: thanks for reading. I have been glad to see your ‘microcosms’ and other post on the forum.

@johnnydavis54: I appreciate the very practical advice. It is also a reminder to take care of my own stories, too, in the sense of what I’m passing on but also the meta-narratives I’m living in my daily gestures.

@achronon: all I can say that the Dubois Best Western was a friendly place, though their continental breakfast (which the night clerk assured was at least above average) leaves a few such qualities and greater to be desired. Davenport, Iowa, on the other hand…

@patanswer:

I feel you, the ripple of spacetime ruptures from your arms. I am grateful we get to co-be.

@Ariadne: Thank you; I feel more valued than i feel, if that makes sense. I also feel the cruelty in the act of extracting my mother from her familiar environment, disassembling the whole theater of her life of 40 years, putting all its contents (and disposing of much) in a bunch of a boxes and bags large and small, shipping it all and transporting ourselves by automobile (because I was afraid she would not board a plane) in the middle of the winter, even though (as she has said) she would prefer to die in her own home. But I can’t let that happen, for it would be neglectful and love wouldn’t allow it. So we are recreating a whole lifeworld. This is also my microcosm—as below so above.

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"“I feel more valued than i feel, that makes sense.” Everything you say makes total sense to me. Even those two kinds of first person singular pronouns: I …i

Love “disassembling”, yes, and love “recreating a whole lifeworld.”

You inspire me, in more ways than I can say.

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