New Beginnings

new beginnings

I take the month of April as a time to celebrate. All 30 days honor as my birthday. On April 1st, I lost one of my sweet elderly clients. I loved him dearly. Although he was in hospice care, I didn’t expect his departure. On April 3rd, I lost a family member who died way too young, leaving three young girls. Yesterday I visited a brand new baby at the hospital who will be adopted by a beautiful couple. She was born from a crack addict who abandoned her as soon as she could leave. Holding her in my arms completed the circle of life. As two souls left this world, this little one came in fighting for her existence. Life is fluid and magical. I left the hospital celebrating it all…the losses and the gains. All three cases are heartbreaking and require emotional acknowledgment.  All three souls touched me in deep ways. I keep hearing the pain out there but I also keep rejoicing the healing and love.

A week ago my husband and I made another difficult decision. We will be taking on another child who needs a loving home. We will love him with the same ferocity and acknowledgment that we’ve given to others. I will be 50 years old in two weeks. It’s not an easy decision but it is the right one. He sat across from me and shared that “Batman never questioned or ignored his bat signals. He armored up and went to the call….” In this case he is Batman…and I am his side kick (yours truly). We will answer the call and provide the superpower of love.
I suspect this is going to be one of the most intensely surprising April’s. We leave in two weeks to Machu Picchu on a spiritual journey of sorts. It’s been calling for me for some time. And, we need this before re-entering another phase of parenting. I sat across from him and said, “Darling, this is not my first rodeo. This will be number 8. I know how this works.  This is number 2 for you. I know you will continue to be magnificent in your role….” So, Peru will be healing and full of mystical surprises.  My spiritual guides have been preparing me for some incredible experiences there.
I feel it’s time to recharge and return to the origins of me. It’s hard to define that. It involves faith, grace, and acceptance. I suspect that something is emerging and it’s lovely on so many levels.  I am open to the expedition of self. It is spring after all…regrowth and newness.
I urge you to make decisions without worrying about how others will react. I ask that you live fully and love openly. Life is fragile and beautiful. You get to decide how you choose to live it. You never know what’s around the corner even when you think you have it all figured out. I look forward to my journeys…the trip and another round of motherhood. For months I was living with panic attacks and anxiety during the night. I couldn’t figure out why. My soul knew of the changes. I resisted unknowingly in my human form. Once it showed up I was able to return to peace. And here we are…today is beyond lovely. Our little boy will be arriving to a home full of joy and love.
I want that for you as well….joy and love. Over and over again. I love you.

The Dash

I attended a client’s funeral this afternoon. She would be 97 on Tuesday. Shortly after the service we went to the grave side. I was staring at all the tombstones. All those folks and the stories I will never know. I know her birth date and her death date. It occurred to me I didn’t really know much of her dash…that lifeline between those dates. I saw pictures of her youth…her segments of small history. But, I didn’t really know her dash. Her dementia didn’t allow for stories to be coherent at times. I had to really add to them in my mind.

I stood there, cold and teary, thinking of my dash. I want my dash to be full of adventure and laughter. I want my dash to be strong but kind. I want to make sure my dash is long lasting and full of delicious stories.

Every time I enter a facility to visit an elderly person I will make it a point to learn more of their dashes. I have to take time and sit with their her/histories. I must make it a point to learn from those dashes and the spaces in between the birth and death.

How will you live your dash? How will you want to be remembered? I want to make sure I don’t forget that I am making my own story every second. I want the words “to be continued” after my death date…and a heart instead of a dash.

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.