Stepping away for awhile.
Stepping away for awhile.
To perceive is to distinguish merely a classification of knowing. While all living creatures share the same inherent nature, perception is what classifies one as Buddha and another as machine.
We mistake perception as permanent truth and such delusions cause us pain. Perception itself is void, as is the process of perceiving.
As I am a perception of this void, please see me as I am.
Fill your mind with nothingness.
From where do I come? And to where do I go? What am I? From where do I come and to where do I go? From where do I come and to where do I go? What am I?
— quotes from the short film, The Doomsday Book
She had a vice-grip on her walker and wasn’t letting go for anything. Mother, come on. Give me the walker.
No. I can still do some things, you know. I’m not completely helpless, you ingrate! The cross look on her face informed me that this simple task was not going to be so simple.
Mom, you can’t fold a walker while belted into the car. Besides, I’m standing right here. I’m your daughter. Let me have it. I pulled on the walker to gently wrest it from her liver-spotted hands. She merely tightened her bottom lip, gave the thing a surprising jerk, and I lost my grip, falling flat on my back into the adjacent parking space. My breath left my lungs with a loud, Ughhh! At that moment, a light blue Subaru turned into the space and stopped just inches form my head. I was petrified and eye-to-eye with a dragonfly, stuck to the turning light by its liquefied remains. Well, hello, I said and laid my head back down. I tried to regain my breath, and looked back at the dragonfly.
Mother’s voice brought me to my senses. You fool. Look what you did. Almost killed yourself. Then she faced forward and in her best third person, past tense, Always, always was a clumsy child.
I looked at my palms, soiled from the oily asphalt. The hems of my long-sleeved cotton blouse were mottled brown and grey. My backsides were probably black. I arose, placed my hand on the aluminum tubing of the walker and looked her firmly in the eye. Her expression said she was suspicious that something had recently occurred between us, but wasn’t sure if she wanted to investigate. In her uncertainty, she relinquished the walker. Thank God. I folded the legs, closed the door, walked to the rear of the car where I stored it in the trunk and shut the lid.
The Subaru was halfway in the parking space, and thankfully at the wheel was a kind-looking man with a well-kept, greying beard, and who looked concerned. I’m sorry, I said, and gestured meaninglessly, revealing my soiled hands. Really.
Are you okay? he asked.
Yes, I’m alright. It’s just … I glanced over at mom through the back window, then randomly across the parking lot where I eyed a store which she had refused to enter because the clothing was frivolous. I wished I were in that store … Well, things are difficult. As you can see. I offered a sheepish half-grin.
But are you alright?
Yes. Yes, of course. I’m fine. I will be. Thank you.
He nodded and pulled into the space. I placed my hands on the trunk lid and rested there, assuming the position as if I were being searched. This was just too much. Our altercations at home were one thing, but she had nearly caused my death or at least brain injury with lifelong therapy.
Subaru man walked over and paused next to me with his hands in his pockets, as innocuous as possible, I’m sure, and I met his gaze with what must have been a What the hell do you want? look. He smiled. You look frazzled and not quite ready to drive her home, yet, nodding in Mom’s direction. He motioned over to the strip mall where a bench sat under the awning. Why not rest for a few minutes? She’ll be alright while you get your bearings. Without hesitation I followed him over and sat down. The bench was actually a cement plank with no back support, so I placed my elbows on my knees and rested my face in my hands.
I sighed through my fingers. Thank you. I think I already said that.
He remained standing. He removed his wallet from which he took a business card and offered it to me. It read: Caring Home Health with a name, cell number and business address. We’re not Hospice but we do take Medicare and other insurance. I do this because I had similar situations with my parents several years ago. Sometimes families just need a little help. So they don’t ruin their memories of their parents with too many days like, well, like what you’re having. He paused. And it can get worse.
I looked at him, incredulously. Don’t tell me that. I covered my face again and laughed.
Hey, I mean it. Yes, I make a living at it, but it’s my way to help. I wish I’d had help with my parents.
I examined the card. Don?
Okay. If I need your help, or when I think I’m ready, I’ll call you. Thanks. I offered my hand.
Deal. Just keep the card. There’s no crime in that, you know. He turned and entered the store, leaving me rather alone and feeling it. No crime in that. I did feel guilty even holding the card.
I looked at Mom’s silhouette, stock-still in the passenger seat. She was either stone-cold asleep with her mouth open, or scared silly and about to come apart at the seams wondering where I was. Increasingly, these days, both our seams were bursting.
Some young, teen girls were leaving the clothing store, laughing and heading with their colorful plastic bags to the nearby cafe’. I looked at the sky, a blue and otherwise perfect day. I leaned against the pebble-and-cement trash container and turned my head toward the plate glass window in which I spied a woman I did not recognize. She looked tired and unkempt, despite the nice outfit she had donned with a smile just two hours before so as to have a nice outing with Mother. I could see our car in the reflection behind her.
I retrieved my cell from my skirt pocket and dialed the number on the card. Don? Yes, this is Janet. You just almost ran me over, then gave me your card. Uh-huh. Listen, would it be too much for you to call me when you get back to your calendar? I’d like to meet about … well, about this. Mom. Yes. You have my number on your cell, now? Thank you. Okay. Goodbye.
I pressed End. I pulled my knees up toward my chest, pressed the card and phone against my eyes. My body heaved of its own volition. I began sobbing and could not stop.
“Humans, you were each born with enlightenment already attained. You have only forgotten. … I pray that you ponder deep within yourselves and achieve liberation.”
quote from the Korean short film, “The Doomsday Book”
so I’ve wanted to share this with you for a long time. if only you could see, touch, feel, run your hand down this form. there are lines I wish you could see, as they curve and merge from neck shoulders and arm to nether region. waist to length to leg.
this is a map of the outer limits of my territory. it’s a navigational test to see from where you cast-off to where you make shore. but once you’re made shore, you’re in.
some have navigated and never made shore. most, in fact. it’s not my doing, necessarily. it’s more my way of receiving. the ship need not have beauty of sail and profile. rather, her cargo and voyages speak through timbers creaking into deep waters to where I hear and respond, and rise in her wake.
There comes a time when people are angry at their parents for not being what they always thought they were or should be, which is really the disappointment that their parents are human beings. The next disappointment comes when they realize, sooner or later, that they, themselves, are also human beings with choices and lives that are neither right nor wrong, but merely unexpected.
There comes a time when a person releases their children to live their lives, and realizes that there is nothing to forgive when their children come to their realization, and that they do not ultimately need resolution with their children.
Resolution happens or it doesn’t. This shouldn’t affect what a person does, how they live, or their love for their child. No person – young or old – needs to wield the power of bestowing or withholding forgiveness over another person. If one allows another to hold that kind of power over them, this is self-abuse, and fosters seeds of abuse in the other. No child needs that weight. Set an example for your child, and offer love, but strength of moving on if they choose not to resolve differences.
If a person realizes that they do not need resolution in order to be happy, then they are not hampered by its lack, and then they are free to live.
You are free. Live your unexpected life.