A Privilege to Tend Legacies

Over two years ago I was assigned to a sweet man who didn’t speak, was mentally disabled and was dependent on others for care. I was given his case and a day later he was in ICU fighting for his life. I never got to see his eyes open. That last week of his life I would go see him every day. I would read to him as he was in a comatose state. I would touch his hands and his blood pressure would go up slightly letting me know he was aware of my presence. He was the first client I was assigned to in this new job. I will never forget the touch of his thinning skin underneath my hands, or the rapid eye movement under his lids, or the way his salt and pepper hair sat across his forehead. I will forever remember the way his soul was barely hanging to the body as it tried to leave. I wasn’t there when he transitioned but I felt him for days even though I never met him awake.

Today I lost my sweet 96 y/o. In a few days she would be 97. I saw her on Saturday and I begged her soul to finally leave. She did this afternoon. I will never ever forget the lessons this spitfire taught me. I will forever hold her up on some pedestal even when she scared my little girl during a Christmas party. (She took a hot sip of coffee and went to blow on it and her dentures went flying across the table. She began gently cursing while trying to feel for them on the table because she was blind). She was a hoot. And the stories she shared were priceless.

Each moment spent with someone is a gift. Whether it is their last or whether it is their entrance into this world, or into our lives. Elderly folks are the forgotten ones. I am always surprised at how few visitors they get in facilities. All they truly want is acknowledgment for their existence. And in return they will forever supply a little bit of love…and a whole lot of stories. Sometimes the stories are silent. Other times they are created by itsy bitsy memories. Either way, it is a privilege to tend to those legacies. And it is an honor to love them for who they are today.

I am so blessed to be able to witness humanity on every level. Thank you for being here!

Crossing Over

Yesterday I visited my sweet 96 year old who is barely there. She has been transitioning for weeks. She is all bones. When I got to her room with the med tech she was wrapped in several blankets. I spoke loudly to let her know I was there. I asked how she was feeling and she said she was waiting to go see the Good Lord. So I said loudly, “Go darling! It’s time. Go! You can dance and play with Him!”

Her roommate who is much younger, but has progressive dementia yells, “I wanna go. I want to go where she’s going!”

“No, sweetheart, it’s not your time. You can’t go where she’s going at this time. You go on a later date!”

My client started on her loop, “Don’t Rush me. I’m going as fast as I can. I have rivers to cross. I can’t get on the raft….” I touched her arm to calm her state of confusion.

Her roommate started yelling, “I wanna go where she’s going too. I know how to swim.”

The med tech looks at me with a scorn look and says, “See what you started?” We both smiled.

I heard someone come into her room in a wheelchair and the elderly patient was ready to also go on the field trip to wherever my client was going!

When you give consent and wishes to loved ones to go be with the Good Lord please be sure no one else is ready to join them. Seems there are rivers to cross and not enough room on the raft.

Going Home

I visited my favorite 96 y/o this afternoon. She’s fragile. I went into her room and sat next to her. She asked to touch my face and immediately said what she always says, “Hello. You are my favorite nurse! What time is it? Are you giving me medicine?”

I kissed her. She held my hands. I told her I just came to visit. I asked her how she was doing.

“I’m going home. I’m ready. That’s how I’m doing?”

“Where are you going, darling?”

She immediately said loudly, “I going to be with the Good Lord. I’m ready! I plan on seeing my husband. I’m gonna dance again. I’m gonna get my vision. I will sing and feel young again.”

She’s ready. I’m not. Not quite yet. Not today. Maybe not tomorrow. So I let the tears fall without her knowing. I will miss her…her spunkiness and smart remarks are precious. I will miss her stories. I will miss her soulfulness and smile.

She shared more about love and life. She was tired. In a loving and gentle manner she let me know after a bit that she wanted to go to sleep.

I kissed her tightly. Her fragile bones wrapped around me. Her lovely fingers traced my face. And I left keeping it together trying to be professional.

Outside were leaves flying all over. The trees showed their beauty as they stand the test of time and weather.

She has lived through some major weather changes: storms, floods, sunrises, and seasons. Her colors are dimming. She’s ready to go home…dancing, whistling, swirling in the wind like the autumn leaves falling right outside her window.

(Photo taken outside of her facility. Reminded me of her love for life. Vibrant).

The Look of Courage

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I see courage and vulnerability every day. It passes by me in the supermarket aisle wearing a thin smile without a wig while holding a child. It holds a sign at the traffic light asking for money or shelter after serving this great nation. It has sat next to me at a doctor’s office quietly waiting for answers. It is the voice from a loved one saying that her mate passed on after a long battle with cancer. It is the child who has no parents and has been in foster care for years waiting for a family.

I have visited with heroes and the most brave souls from all walks of life whose tears leave scars as they fall down their cheeks. We are all brave and courageous. Each breath in life is a step full of courage. We are here surviving this race of humanity.
Be kinder to one another. Open your heart to all that’s around you. Who cares what your political or religious beliefs are because in the end that matters to no one. The sick need love. The hurt need a shoulder. The test here is true empathy to one another without expectation. And…you need to remember that you are not alone in this fight for life. One day you are on top and another you are holding for dear life. Struggles are all part of our lessons. Whether you are black, white, yellow, gay, straight, Democrat, Republican, Christian, Jewish, or a non-believer you will find yourself battling in this journey. You are not exempt from obstacles or challenges. You are not exempt from surviving or just merely existing. No one leaves here alive!


I am often asked what church I attend. My answer is the church of nature and humanity. I don’t need to enter a temple to hear about God when all I do is see God walking around everywhere in each soul who passes me. We forget to look outside of the walls, the box, and truly notice the world. What good is entering sacredness for an hour one day a week to then turn away from every test the Divine places in my path? Nothing HUGE has to happen to be brave. Nothing extraordinary needs to shift in order to be vulnerable. We tell the world to be brave as if it was a choice. But, bravery is a commitment between your spirit and your humanness. We have little choice in the matter. Just getting up is a battle at times that requires every cell to remind us that we matter. Be brave enough to know that you aren’t alone. I love you. I love you because you and I are in this together no matter what! My arms are open to hold your struggle in thoughts and prayers from any place. Thank you, for holding me in return.

~m.a.p.

 

 

 

Choose Your Journey Into Love

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I recently read Kerry Egan’s book, On Living. Egan is a hospice chaplain and her insightful stories of her patients and the things that are important in our life is magnificent. Actually that word is an understatement. I was glued to each word, paragraph and page. It made me gasp several times with awareness, heartache and joy. This little glimpse into ordinary lives, with extraordinary stories, will remind you why we are here and how not to take things for granted.

Having been around folks with dementia, terminal illnesses, dying individuals of all kinds, I understand that the transition from this world is always challenging. The five plus years of owning a motel/retreat center allowed me to visit with some incredible folks from all walks of life. I witnessed the essence of the human spirit. I noticed that every single person can have four basic experiences in those lonely moments when they know death is near: Regrets, Nostalgia, Fear, and Shame. I have witnessed it over and over. Life becomes a delicate dance with the unknown and time seems to never be on their side.

I’ve heard stories from family members, friends, and strangers. The dying, most times, isolate experiences in order to leave a legacy behind. They magnify events. They idolize others. They share secrets on their dying moments in hope of being released from shame and humiliation. They want to be heard and understood and forgiven. We all want to be acknowledged for our lives. At the end of the journey we want to know that we mattered. We want to believe we did the best we could without hurting our loved ones. We want to be loved. We want to know that someone will miss us because we were important.

Throughout the book the author takes you on a small voyage into the lives of some beautiful souls in her care. She shares her own shame and guilt from an experience that changed her life. She is able to take the reader through a mirage of emotions that is recognizable to all. I don’t care what your belief system entails, this book will touch a part of your truth and humanity.

The human spirit is absolutely beautiful. The things we hold and treasure; the events that change us; the things that bring us joy and sorrow; the greatest loves that touched us; the regrets for not moving past fear…and so on…create the composition of who we are. We, as spiritual beings, are created from a source so bright but we forget to shine. The things we hold inside are the things that keep us prisoners or in some cases allow us to fly freely. It all depends on the type of life you have lived.

I love this passage:

“What if the thing you consider to be your greatest accomplishment is not seen that way by anyone else? What if the thing you are proudest of is also the thing that you are most ashamed of? What if your great love is also your deepest secret?

People keep secrets in a desperate and often ultimately futile attempt to protect themselves or the people they love. They thing that the secret will be a bulwark against rejection and public humiliation, and so they carry it, no matter the weight. In so many cases, people keep secrets and even lie to each other out of love, and not malice.

What they may not realize is that in holding on so fiercely to what they see as shameful secrets, they’re actually strengthening that system of shame. Keeping a secret is like fertilizing a weed, and the family secrets that fertilize shame choke out love before it can even grow. The secrets themselves, instead of protecting anyone from shame, become a source of it instead. Shame is the enemy of love; it can never serve it.”

I read a lot of books, but this one touched me deeply. I love stories about the human spirit. I was inspired to reach into my own collective memories and find the stories from so many folks who have shared their journey with me. I feel a book being created.

May this new year allow you the freedom to let go of all that keeps you in a prison of emotional turmoil. May you find joy, wisdom, forgiveness and an exceptional amount of endless love. I see you…I feel you…I know a part of you because we are all interconnected through the Divine essence called Love.

See you on the other side. I love you!!!!

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The Love of One

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This morning in my way into town I stopped to see a sweet soul at an assisted living facility. She’s been in hospice care for a bit. I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I haven’t visited in a few months. And, today it made me so deeply sad at this acceptance because life is so fragile and delicate. Walking into her room I was shocked at how much she had changed in a few months. She had just had breakfast and I sat next to her. I gently loved on her, trying desperately not to lose my shit…cause the tears swelled and I wanted to just break in half there. But…I didn’t.

I told her about how much I appreciated her. I admitted that she and her family have become the epitome of a loving family. I met this woman and her extended family over five years ago when they rented my motel for a 4th of July family reunion. I was blown away at their unity, laughter and love. I told her today that, now from a distance, I witness the most perfect version of true love. Then I went down the line to tell her how her legacy has affected so many in her life.

I shared that I was proud of her granddaughter, Sara and her sweet husband, traveling through South America and how they are changing lives through their words and experiences. I told her that her other granddaughter, Megan, teaches me often how to stand up for what I believe in. “Darling, she teaches me to stand the hell up, and not take anyone’s bull crap. I love that about her. She’s my little writer who is going to have a huge novel soon.” Then I continued with her grandson, Sean, and how he’s helping so many being a therapist. I shared with her little anecdotes of her kids and grand-kids that I see on Facebook. She smiled. Tears came up and out several times. She is pure grace.

“Hannelore, you have made a legacy of pure love, faith and inspiration. Do you know this? So many generations have been created because of you!”

“I don’t think so.” She answered, squeezing my hand in hers.

“Oh, sweetheart, you have healed so many. They are here on this earth changing and shifting the lives of so many others because of you. You are the ripple effect in their hearts that keeps on giving.” She smiled and thanked me.

I told her I was excited about seeing my son after a whole year and he would be here on Wednesday. She said she was looking forward to having her youngest son home too. The confusion in her memory let me know how deeply she has deteriorated. She shared about her children as if they were young.

Here is the thing about legacies and how we want others to perceive us. We are always trying to leave deep-seated footprints for others to follow. We want to know that we have mattered at the end of life. This is one of the things most people think about as they wait for death. We want to know that their existence has been valuable. And, to me, this woman has been the crown of a long line of love and lessons. I keep seeing it with her family. They know how to love wholeheartedly and accept everything. They extend their humanity to anyone and everyone. I’ve never experienced another tight-knit group as this. This is all on her. She has been a healer for a huge part of her life. She has changed so many with her faith and unconditional love. She IS love. She is compassion. She is acceptance. She is radiance in divine light. She has been the foundation to a huge family that continues to return to the source…to her!

Her hands were cold but so soft. I mentioned her lovely hands to her and she held tighter. I reminded her that those hands have loved, touched, healed, caressed, forgiven, mended, worked, raised children, and experienced so much life. I took that hand and opened it up for her to see it clearly. I said, “I am so fortunate to have the experience of having you hold my hands on several occasions. Thank you, darling. Thank you for the love you have bestowed unconditionally on me and endless others out there.”

Then we sat in silence. She laid there in full gratitude for the visit while I promised I would return soon. I wouldn’t let so much time go by. I was ashamed of myself without saying it to her. I also noticed the sadness in her…the grief. Grief does not change you. It reveals the innermost part of your spirit.

To watch a loved one diminish and suffer is hell here on earth. There is no relief in that. The comfort is finally breathing and understanding that we are not immortal. We come here momentarily to love, learn and experience life. In the sadness of loss comes the joy of celebrating a life fully lived. So often we mourn the death instead of rejoicing the life and what that soul offered us in our journey. But, her life isn’t over yet. She is hanging on and, hopefully, allowing those parts of her soul to heal and release while she continues to shed light into the hearts of so many.

I kissed her head. I told her I would return next week. She smiled and thanked me for the visit. I shared that she had gifted me so much in that visit. “You continue to woo me with your magnificent radiance. You continue to show me what compassion is…thank you!”

We are here passing through: for learning, accumulating, and exercising the greatness of our existence. There is no real secret to life. That’s perhaps the secret. We all want to know that we’ve mattered. We have. I have. You have. We are here in this melting pot together making our way home. Every day I am gifted favorable circumstances. I get opportunities of love (giving and receiving), forgiveness (for mistakes and misunderstandings), learning (beyond my means), dreaming (manifesting all my desires), kindness, and compassion (without them I am not human) so that my spiritual, physical and emotional bodies can evolve into greatness. This greatness is called life. Make each moment count with joy, surrendering abandonment for the past, miracles for the future, and appreciation for being present at all times. Laugh at the silliness, forgive the hurt, love those who you never thought you could. Allow these opportunities to map out the journey. You got this! No one else can do it for you. Create the greatest story of YOU! That’s your legacy.

Listen to Your Soul

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On Friday morning I got to work super early. We had a giant mess to put back together because of moving. At around 6:30AM I loaded up three drawers of a huge file cabinet, when I sat to fill the bottom drawer, the file cabinet collapsed on my back, pinning me to the floor on my stomach. I began to laugh. It was a nervous laugh that happens when I know I am stuck in a bind. I knew no one would be in for several hours. I laid there thinking, “Okay, this is not a fun way to go…someone will find me along with messy bodily fluids.” I could imagine the jokes that would come from how Millie passed on! I began to laugh harder, at which time, I couldn’t get my strength because I just felt so silly. Then, of course, a little bit of panic started to creep into my thoughts. “Like, oh my God, this is no way to go. How long before I stop breathing? And, shit, I shouldn’t have had all that coffee cause I have to pee.”

Suddenly, I heard a clear voice, that voice that comes from the cosmos with no accent and complete assurance, “Listen! Get a new soul.” Then I thought, “Oh well, here we go again. I am about to die and get another soul. Nope, I won’t come back! I am done! I ain’t having it. I am not coming back to this earthly thingy called life. Hell, no…this is it.” I am actually whispering this back out loud. Again, the voice, said, “Listen! You will have a new soul.”

After some heavy breathing, jiggling, and strength that came from I don’t know where, I was able to get out from under the cabinet and actually stand it up. I recognized then that the floor was really uneven, and had I actually paid attention, nothing would have happened to me. But, then I wouldn’t have been guided by the magical voices…because it takes all of me to be pinned and shut down in order to really listen to guidance. I have to be put into a difficult health situation in order to listen to the Universe.

Miraculously, other than a scratch on my arm, I had no bruising or broke anything. I say that because it was a miracle. I worked the rest of the day, still thinking about the voice. But, I got busy and forgot about it until 2AM Saturday morning. It was then that I recognized that maybe I did need a new soul. Maybe it was time to go see what a new soul would cost me. The maybe became quite a certainty!

I haven’t had my own car in years. My husband and I have been sharing one. I got up Saturday morning, dressed our little girl, and drove to the Kia dealership. It was 9AM and 11 men (I counted them cause it’s very intimidating to see who will attack first) were standing waiting in a sea of sharks. I made eye contact with the oldest one I could find. I knew he would listen to me. We introduced ourselves. I told him what I wanted: “I want a Kia Soul not older than 2 years old, with the least mileage and will pay X amount!”

He proceeded to try and sell me another car. I once again, looked into his eyes, and said, “Let’s start all over again. My name is Millie, I am here to buy a Soul….I am not interested in anything else.” He listened. He explained that with what I wanted it would be difficult to find something in that lot. I laughed. I told him I would be leaving with a Soul, whether it was in his dealership or another, and that I believed that if he checked in his computer there was one car that fit all my needs. “It will be a miracle,” he said to me.

I answered, “Well, I hope you believe in them, cause I am driving a new soul out of here today.”

Now, you can imagine the rest of the story. This is not my first rodeo. I have bought many cars. It’s a game of pull and push for me which I truly enjoy with zest. It’s a game I actually play very well. I might not be good at many things, but buying a house or a car are on top of my talents. The manager came to talk to me, trying to intimidate me, to which I kindly answered, “Darling, you aren’t doing me a favor by selling me a car. I am doing YOU a favor by buying one here. You have a lot of 2015 sitting out there. You need to move them. Here is a list of all the other dealerships with the car I need.” That made him go back and forth a few times. They, miraculously, met all my needs and beyond. The little old man was shocked and shared that he had never seen anything like what he experienced. He began to share about losing faith. He told me a very personal story, eyes watering, and told me that I had made a believer out of him. He just couldn’t understand why he had lost his way. His story is one of many we hear everyday about financial struggles, losing everything, addiction, and so much more. I am always surprised at the things total strangers share with me. Almost like a confessional before they die. It’s astonishing. But, a miracle did appear that day. He saw it because to all effects, there was no way in hell anyone should have sold me a car without money, and a not so great credit, and with the amount that I told them. I told him that the logistics didn’t matter to me because I knew I would have a soul to drive home in.

When the Divine speaks at times it is humorous. You can either take it literally or figurative. I have learned to stand back and allow Spirit to guide me. Whether it’s a new soul or not…it’s pretty amazing the way that things unravel if you just take time to listen and follow the magic because your Higher Self is always watching out for you!

5 Lessons Death Teaches About Living

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Death is a taboo. No one wants to discuss it or face it because the fear of it is greater than the reality. I remember reading some article years ago that when asked thousands of people what their biggest fear was they said “death: mine or someone near to me.” We have been taught to fear this type of death. But the fear of death is an illusion because it is only a transition. Now 2-1/2 years later I have woken to deeper lessons of dying that teach me to live fully.

Lesson 1:  The hardest part of dying is waking up.

I traveled to a beautiful place. The light that embraced me felt like nothing here on earth. Makes you wonder why anyone would want to return, huh? I asked that question for many months…still continue to wonder in rough days. We return from that experience just because we must (it doesn’t help that someone is pulling your butt away from the light either). There’s no great mystery to it. There are moments in my days that seem to stop me for a bit and I return to that place of safety, love, and omnipotence. In waking up there is the melting of illusion. Life is a magical experience. Yet, most people take it for granted, bogged down with the control, anxiety, and fear of living the lengths and widths of such a fortitude. Waking up to death, is embracing life.

Lesson 2:  Your body is a great wardrobe.

For months after my near-death experience I had to re-size myself to fit into this skin. I still wake with an abundance of immensity from traveling the cosmos. There are less nights of dreaming, and more nights of visiting other realms. This began immediately after my experience. For a while this was a huge issue when I returned from the “beyond.” I didn’t fit into my body. There was this expansion and greatness that didn’t modify to what I knew was my physical body. I looked around me and saw everyone’s light so much larger than their costume. I kept asking myself, “How do I get inside and stay in there?” I stopped trying. I just went with it. Your body is the best outfit you will ever have. Treat it with kindness and love. Give it the consideration it deserves. Honor this amazing outfit that keeps you here. Your heart beats to keep you alive along with every organ in that outfit.  Love it!

Lesson 3:  Growth is marvelous; stagnation sucks; laughter is the teacher of all.

This doesn’t read like a lesson but I promise it is one of my favorites. I don’t know the problem anymore to anything. I know there are challenges that force me to deviate from my spiritual truth, but I do return quickly to this moment. I see the potential to the story, the event, the issue, and the whatever. I see the drama behind the words when someone is sharing with me the woes and stagnation. And, then I witness that turning those situations around and noticing the ridiculous insanity to them creates laughter. Growth is a conscious effort to move beyond what is not real. We all have the capacity to move past what doesn’t serve us, or causes us hurt. Nothing is easy. If it was then we would not learn from it at all. Let joy be your travel agent through these stories you keep reliving. Let those stories entertain you with endless possibilities.

Lesson 4: Love is the source.

It is the only source of the universe.  It is the only source of your BEing. Love is all. You want love? Look in the mirror. It starts with you. Forgive others. What they think of you is their own issues and a reflection of their own insecurities. Love is the beginning and end of all in you. The more you love and forgive, the easier this journey becomes.

Lesson 5:   Live now.

Don’t wait for the children to leave home, the parents to pass on, the retirement check to start rolling in, and the won’ts and can’ts that make absolutely no sense to the present moment. Live for today! Make a gratitude journal. Walk outside for five minutes. Be alone. Be with people. Laugh at yourself at least one time every hour. Look at the sky and its infinite wonders.  Look at yourself and your greatness. Live every moment with awareness that you are here on borrowed time.  You know that feeling when you go on vacation and everything is just perfectly special? When the moments are full of joy and just being away from your normal life is soothing? Well that’s the greatest privilege for living. Make your life a vacation. Be mindful of your experiences and what they are teaching you. You are on this journey expanding the evolution of your soul. Even in vacations there’s work to be done, but you don’t mind it, right? Play! Pick a childlike moment and return to it. Life is what you make of it.

I would be lying if I said that my life is peachy ALL the TIME. I still ride the emotional roller coaster of struggles and disappointments that then dip into man-made stories of doubt. If everything was enlightening all the time I wouldn’t stop and learn anything. The difference now is that I understand why those lessons appear in my path. I also desire to grasp and incorporate everything to the wholeness of me. I am grateful for visiting with deep emotions: anger, sorrow, joy, forgiveness, compassion and love (to name a few). I believed in magic before dying. Now I live it every day. You go do the same! Don’t wait to be in your last dying breathe to figure out that you have struggled for nothing.  Make today the first day of the rest of your life and enJOY!