That June was the last time he left home. It was the start of the slowest of the slow summer seasons of my life. Hospice was happening. It was his last time he went down the stairs until he went without his spirit in a black zippered bag.
That June was a decade ago. It had been 11 years since the delivery of the grim cancer diagnosis during which the doctor suggested that our Alaskan family vacation could be our last. But John defied all odds, doubling down on all things holistic from massage and meditation to wheatgrass juice and coffee enemas. Then as gently as the falling away of the spring blossoms, the day of a new season arrived.
With the passing of this week’s summer solstice, I see the season turn again. This time there are no pen and paper tracking of the titrating of Tramadol No middle of the night calls about a malfunctioning morphine pump. No holding up his six foot three frail frame on its determined daily walk from bed to sofa.
This summer, healing is happening here.
Six months ago my son Ben was driving from L. A. to New York when a teen driver crossed the median in the December dark at full speed on the interstate. The crash ripped off the roof of Ben’s car and crushed his leg on one side, his arm on the other.
The universe chose Nebraska as the perfect place for the trauma, landing him in the heartland and ultimately in the very hospital where he was born. This summer, instead of being in hospice, Ben is walking and I am celebrating. Instead of bearing witness to a body in decline, I watch a body getting stronger each passing day.
I see Ben surround himself with flourishing plants, eat healing foods, love others well. On his path back to wholeness, he lives the lessons John modeled for us all for years.
Once again I cherish the preciousness of each day. Days of life. Days of loss. Days of love. No matter the season, we have this day. In the words of Dag Hammarskjold:
For whatever has been, I say thank you.
For whatever will be, I say Yes!
What summer season are you in?
Is this a season for acceptance? For appreciation?
What lessons from seasons past might help you today?