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I just finished giving a talk on the subject of loss to a room full of people here at my nursing home, and it seems to have gone well. If you live as long as we have, you’ll naturally be familiar with that topic.
There were fewer people in the group today, because some of them had visitors and a couple of them were not feeling well, which is very common here and applies to all of us here in “God’s waiting room.”
One day we are better, and the next day not so well, and again we bounce back. Today, I’m happy to report, those who did attend my talk participated more, singing along with spiritual music as well as asking questions and responding to my subject.
We all go through loss in this world. A few tears were shed when remembering the loss of my audience’s loved ones. It is very interesting to me that most of the elderly people here are still mourning the loss of their parents, more than others in their lives. I thought maybe I was the only one who still hurt over the absence of my mother, but I should have known better.
I continue getting visits from hospice nurses, and there will be one more week of their twice-weekly visits with me, checking my vital signs and assessing my overall condition. I will also have a visit from the chaplain next week, and it will be interesting to see how he wants me to accept Jesus. Of course, I already have! Because I’m a Baha’i, I’ll need to convince him that I do love and believe in Christ, not only for his first coming but in his return in the revelation of Baha’u’llah.
For a single purpose were the Prophets, each and all, sent down to earth; for this was Christ made manifest, for this did Baha’u’llah raise up the call of the Lord: that the world of man should become the world of God, this nether realm the Kingdom, this darkness light, this satanic wickedness all the virtues of heaven – and unity, fellowship and love be won for the whole human race, that the organic unity should reappear and the bases of discord be destroyed and life everlasting and grace everlasting become the harvest of mankind.
This realization of the oneness of all the prophets and the essential unity of all their religions gives me hope and peace of mind. I know that we’re not separated from one another, and this helps me relate to everyone. I mentioned previously that I’ve developed a close friendship with one of the residents, who I met almost as soon as I moved into my long-term care facility. She used to live in the same section as I do.
This dear soul has dementia, but when I originally moved in she was still very coherent. I remember the first time we met – for some reason, she asked me what will happen to our souls after we leave this body. This woman, a former professor with two Master’s degrees and the ability to speak two languages, was obviously quite bright. But gradually her mind has progressively and now speedily disintegrated.
Now I am observing the decline of this dear friend up close, and the speed of her mental degradation is amazing. It is heartbreaking for me to see the changes in her appearance and the strength of her voice, her ability to hear and understand. She has passed beyond the stages of paranoia, anger, and the fighting mode, and now it seems she is becoming docile.
I visit her almost every night when I have the energy to walk to where she sits in her wheelchair. For some unknown reason, at least to me, we both know that we love each other deeply. Despite her dementia she remembers me very well, and tells others that I am the one she can trust.
I have never experienced anyone’s gradual mental demise like this. I am seeing it now and I am becoming grieved, and I think if she dies before I do, I will feel lonely for her companionship, even though mentally she is not all there. But seeing her, caressing her hands, her hair and seeing her relaxing and falling asleep, is such a pleasure. I feel that she is my child, even though we are the same age, and I want to protect her. She seeks my hand like a child, looking for her mother’s hand. I am so grateful that I can give her my hand to hold, and sometimes she lovingly caresses mine. What a mysterious thing is this love!
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If I was not here in the nursing home, I’m not sure I would have felt so compassionate about anyone like her. She is teaching me how to love deeply and without any conditions, and I sense that my soul is becoming more generous. I love so much this new opportunity to grow.
Thank you, God, for directing this stage of my life, to have been placed in this environment where all I need to do is become a better and more loving person. What else can I want or need? I feel so blessed!
The past few days, I’ve been busy – LOL! – with my usual job of sleeping all afternoon. This afternoon, I felt tired of sleeping, so I forced myself to go out of my room , and try to walk and visit my old and new friends. I visited the first friend I made here and saw that the aides were trying to give her the medication she needed. She was not swallowing, so they allowed me to help them by getting physically closer to her and encouraging her to swallow, which she did. Then, after dinner, I sat with her and just conversed with her. I don’t think she could understand what I was saying, due to her increased loss of hearing and comprehension – I have some of that, too. My friend calls me Mama. So, I became her Mama, and we held hands as I caressed her hair. Her medications started working, and she just relaxed. I continued holding her hand and caressing her hair. As I looked at her I felt so much unconditional love.
I realized again, at this moment, that God is answering my prayers and fulfilling my desire. I felt tears of gratitude and joy moisten my eyes. O Baha’u’llah!, I thought – thank you for this opportunity, and for showing me that the Creator is a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God. Thank you, God, for my cancer, which made my physical body need the help and support I’m getting here, as well as increasing my ability to love more and more people. My heart is expanding. My future is actually now full of joy and happiness, while I am waiting for my home-bound train to come.