Lightening bolts. Not the flashy, light up the sky, sometimes scary ones, but the ones that hit you square in the gut and force you to go AH – HA! to yourself. I had two of those right in a row today.
First, once again, I lost another dialysis companion, Miss D. Oh man she was a special little lady! And I do mean little lady. She was no taller than 4 feet and the sweetest, most grace-filled woman ever! Everyday I saw her I just wanted to pick her up and hug her and put her in my pocket so she could be with me all day long! Her smile literally lit up whatever room she was in and she had a little chuckle that just made anyone and everyone around her chuckle too, even if they had no idea what she was saying.
Miss D was wheeled out of the dialysis room last Friday on a gurney, just minutes after she arrived. Today while I was at my treatment, one of the nurses came over and told me she had died last night. I was stunned. Completely. Stunned.
In addition to being a dialysis patient herself, her only son was also a patient at another unit. Her husband had recently died and her only brother was on a downward spiral with health issues of his own. And Miss D? She was also struggling with pancreatic cancer, one of the most painful cancers there is! I never knew one bit of this from Miss D. I knew she loved flowers and laughing. I knew she had a family she adored. I witnessed her always having a kind word for anyone she met. But the struggles? Never even a little bit of a smidge of any of it was evident when she entered that dialysis room! The nurse and I were talking about that fact for a bit.
And that’s when the lightening bolt hit. Not because she never showed any sign of struggle or difficulty, but because she was someone who lived very much in the moment. When she was in the dialysis room, she was focused on the people there, right in front of her. She was grateful for the people taking care of her and she was always interested in the other person and how they were doing. We used to have some fun conversations, with my main goal being getting her to laugh, because I loved her laugh so much. It certainly was never hard to do that. She laughed easily and often. I’m so grateful for that sound of joy I can carry with me in my mind and for the reminder of the “here and now” and how very important it is to be aware of the people right in front of you. Also how you leave a person, because you never know if it’s the last time you will see them.
Lightening bolt number two came when I got home from my treatment. I had an email from a friend and neighbor. One of our neighbors is struggling quite a bit right now and needs extra help with a wide variety of tasks. The email laid out exactly what was needed, from typical things like meals and maybe an occasional ride to an appointment to cleaning her home, walking the dog, shopping and other things that are everyday chores to most of us, but very difficult for her.
The lightening bolt? Being someone, myself, who has needed help in the past, and will most likely need it in the future, it was a hard lesson I’ve been needing to learn in regards to putting one’s ego aside and accepting the goodness of other people. And my neighbor is someone who is the first to sign up to help anyone in need or to be the one organizing the army of volunteers who want to help. Why is it so hard to receive that help yourself when it is needed? So in addition to an immense amount of admiration for what she is allowing to happen in her life right now, I need to constantly remind myself that we are all looking for ways to help us on our path to heaven, and if I only give, without allowing myself to receive, I am missing a huge opportunity to help someone else get to their final resting place.
And I want it to be one HUGE ASS PARTY when I get there, so I better start helping others along!! 🙂