Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's it all about

Remember the song, "What's it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?" was the next line. From one moment to the next, I haven't a clue what's happening or what it all means. Two weeks ago, the medical doctor in the inpatient hospice unit said we had a week at the outside with mom. This morning, one of the aides thought, because mom started coughing after swallowing some coffee, that meant she was beginning to have difficulty swallowing and we might have to stop giving her fluids.

Her stomach is bothering her today. That's new. I don't know what it means. The unknown is scary. The process of dying is unknown. I don't think it matters what experts say. Each of us will have our own journey and there will be different guideposts along the way, depending on who we are and what our lives have been about.

One thing I know for sure. If and when I get to the point where I'm in diapers, bedridden, can't feed myself, and can't find the words I'm trying to say, I'm done. Mom has kept her dignity through all of this. Her spirit is always there, unfailingly. She's a trooper. I'm still learning so much from her. This time together is a gift--not an easy gift, but a gift, nonetheless. Especially since she can no longer get her thoughts across clearly. It's getting harder and harder for me to understand her.

At one point she wondered why she deserves all this attention. It makes me think why memoir is so important. Each of us, whether we are famous celebrities or not, have our lives to lead and leave our footprints in many places during our lifetimes. Every one of us has instrinsic value because we exist. We can learn lessons from everyone's life stories, if they are willing to share the struggles with us. And the victories.



L. Diane Wolfe said...

What you are learning from her is priceless. So is this time you have together.

Crystal Clear Proofing said...

What a lovely post, Karen. This time with your mother is a gift – one you'll always remember. I don't recall many things about the time when my mother was dying, but I do remember certain moments we shared and they are blessings; embedded on my soul and deep inside my heart. Memories I'll cherish forever.

Cyndi said...

This is a lovely post. A gift. You're so right and it's amazing that you see it that way. I would not have if you hadn't said it. When my friend was dying I was grateful that I got to say goodbye and talk to her on one of her last good days (and consider that a HUGE gift) but the next few times I saw her I only felt grief. I'll have to re-think those last few times and see what gifts I was missing.

"Every one of us has intrinsic value because we exist." - Also very true and another concept that has taken me 30+ years to learn. This is why this blog is important too.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Are you journaling more extensively through the day to record your insights in more detail? Probably not. I find it way hard to journal during times of intensity. Wonderful that you have this blog as a memory jogger to write more later. These insights are priceless gems.

Joanne said...

Bravo to your last paragraph. I second your thoughts on memoir, and usually find the ones of everyday life, the relatable, common stories, are the ones richest in meaning.

Helen Ginger said...

It's wonderful to see you looking at this as a gift. I don't know if I could write a memoir. I'm not sure I could be neutral enough to tell a true story or if it would be so one-sided that it wasn't the "whole" truth.

Straight From Hel

The Old Silly said...

"We can learn lessons from everyone's life stories."

So true dat. I'm going to be reading yours soon, too. Can't wait.

Marvin D Wilson

Elspeth Antonelli said...

This road you're traveling right now must be a difficult one; you have my endless admiration for your sense of seeing as a gift and not a burden.

Mason Canyon said...

Sometimes people can teach us so much without knowing that they are even sharing with us. From your post I think Mom is a very strong person and you may be surprised to learn that she is giving you some of that strength that will go with you from now on. Continue to be strong.,

Patricia Stoltey said...

The value of each and every individual life -- sometimes we forget that when the current rhetoric lumps people together in groups with tidy labels. There's an important lesson here in your post, Karen.

Simona44 said...

Yes. The musings of Marcus Arelius were penned a couple thousand years ago, and they have survived to this day. It is an interesting thought that our words could survive so long after we are gone.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Karen, I tried to comment on today's post and it wouldn't let me.

You just keep writing what you want here!
That you could provide Mom with a private concert sounds wonderful, despite the tears.

Helen Ginger said...

Karen, I'm commenting here because Friday's post wouldn't let me. What a wonderful thing you did for your mother in law - giving her a concert.

Keep writing. And if you're worried about forgetting the details, you might get a small digital recorder to carry with you. Driving somewhere or just before you go to bed or whenever, you could give the date and leave a few comments on what happened or your emotions.

Straight From Hel