Connecting The Dots

Discussing the threads of my own passions which have culminated in my work as coach, mentor, presenter in my own business.

You don't get an engraved invitation

Mary Johnson - Tuesday, January 02, 2018

This has become a funny time of year for me. Certainly I am all over a new year, blank pages, calendar yet to be filled with interesting and enjoyable pursuits. Delight in it all in fact! Today though is also the last full day my mom walked this earth. She died 5 years ago tomorrow most uncomfortably waiting for her attending doctor for hours. It still fills me with horrors! This missive is not what this is about ..... 

For a good number of years I was on my mom to organize her affairs. There were many loose ends. I had friends who had a nightmare navigating their last parent's affairs. Had wanted to avoid this with mom. My frequently expressed comment to her was "You'll not get an engraved invitation (about when you'll die)." It was said jokingly and she would laugh. Not that it budged her for a good many years. My frustration was why can't she see something could happen at any time!

Mom's landing in Emergency New Year's Eve didn't set off any huge alarms. A cold had affected her bad lungs. It was in ER we found out she had quit taking her pills. Her blood pressure was through the roof. We could see she wasn't feeling well Christmas Day but at 88 and a half this happened periodically. Mom was contrite about the medications and was quite clear on her medical directives. She did want issues to be investigated but we danced around full on resuscitation. Mom had a cancer, albeit slow growing, COPD, a heart arrhythmia, severe arthritis and her mind sharp. Okay.

January 1st she had all the family come up on their way to dinner at our house. The next day when we visited we were told her blood pressure was under control and she'd be going home Friday, 2 days hence. Great! I started making plans to get her place ready for her return to her assisted living apartment. Mom was exhausted from not sleeping well in a 4 bed ward and was still having stomach discomfort. She just wanted to rest. So we left her to do so. The disconnect between the cheery report on how well she was doing and how my mom really seemed blew right over my head. She was coming home. Of course she was. Mom was strong and a fighter!

The next day more family and friends were scheduled to visit. Their reports said she was so very very sick. My brother, bless him, got up there at noon. With texts back and forth told me mom was quite unsettled but the doc would be there any time. I felt a need to get up to the hospital but not anxious. Carl was there and the Dr. coming! Finishing some appointments I headed up around 2:00 PM. This was one sick lady. A huge flu outbreak was keeping all sorts of doc and interns busy in emergency. The hours passed trying to make her comfortable. My mom then had a stroke. Our family gathered. Despite pleas and demands for her doc, no sign. The helplessness and frustration overwhelming. At one poignant moment I seemed to step out of my body. I came to 'see' that nothing we could, would do would change the course of what was to happen. It was set in motion. Mom would die. I was shocked out of my denial and utterly blown away. She did die, peacefully, shortly after finally receiving medication for her pain. We were numb. 

Time shifts some, though not all the pain around this. Mom did had a good run and was happy in her later years. That's a comfort. The ultimate irony though? After years of telling mom she wouldn't get an engraved invitation announcing when she would die, either did I.  

What do you love?

Mary Johnson - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Are you a glass half full or half empty kinda person? When looking at a situation do you see the glaring mistakes, things that are wrong or do you marvel at what's going well? If you are like many of us the glass is half empty and our partners, kids, co-workers, the world haven't figured 'it' out yet!

Just got off the phone a while ago with someone near and dear to me. She's a wonderful gal on so many levels. When it comes to work though I am not sure why she is still there? So little seems to go right, multiple layers of process and people don't line up day over day. Now I'm not saying that isn't so. Lord knows in a big company things don't run smoothly. That said she's hard pressed to speak of anything going well. (yes I ask and get a huffy sounding reply). This is a pattern of years. Of course suggesting this isn't a great environment to be in everyday doesn't net me a cheerful response either. Thing is it's often soul sucking to speak with her. My energy levels plunge. When we are with others I watch them check out when she speaks. This impacts the world! So when I catch myself focusing on the darker side of things it makes me realize I too am putting a low energy vibe out into my world. It's a habit of thinking and speaking.

Now the flip side of this is, of course, looking for what is going well in your life. This too is a habit one can cultivate. While at lunch last week with a dear friend and colleague of mine, he shared a practice he has gotten into and does every morning. With a cup of coffee in hand, the radio on low, he looks out his window and appreciates his day. All the good things that have happened (or bullets he's dodged!) to bring him to this moment. His wonderful daughters and the lives they are launching into. All the great people he will meet today. The wonderful opportunities he knows are coming his way as well as the unknown delights that will occur as well. He said he sits for an hour or so and marinates (my word) in this space of appreciation and humility. The upshot is very little ruffles him, most delights him and he's present to the day and what it brings. I was inspired!

Taking this up a notch what if we spoke about what we love, ... on a regular basis and even out loud. Affirming the good things in our lives in person, on the phone, on email tends to have you eye see more of what is going well in your life. This sends a very different energetic vibe out into the world. I felt lighter and loving after my time with my friend. The world is impacted by this also!       

We often are flummoxed by what/ how we can do anything that would make the world better right now. We get stuck thinking the action needs to be big and bold and impact thousands. Well being conscious and responsible for the energy we bring to our lives is a great place to start. Seeing the world with appreciation, curiosity, compassion touches those in our world who touch those in their world, who touch those in their worlds. If we are all connected, then this small act indeed makes a difference for many!