Once upon a time, perhaps two weeks ago or less, a most strange thing happened. It was the middle of the day, the sun shone, and breezes morphed cloud tendrils into somersaults.

There was this woman. Of all things, she found herself clinging to a rope. She had no idea how this happened, and no one was around to help. Through tears streaming down sunburnt cheeks, she looked up, then gasped—She couldn’t see the end of the rope. She looked down. The same was true there, but she heard the surf pounding the rocky shore. Perspiration moistened her legs hugging the rope, muscle pain fired distress, joints ached, and her grip crazed her knuckles. She was slipping and she knew it. She was going to fall.

 And do you know what happened to her?

 She was on the ground the whole time.

Frequently, I offered this story to stressed hospice patients, their gender matching the one on the rope. Played out by the recital of numerous ills and fears, they welcomed the diversion. Their eyes brightened as they identified with the plight of the unfortunate on the rope. Even their breathing quickened.

Then the question, … do you know what happened to her? riveted them, caused them to sit straighter. With my response, they slowly smiled. They did get it, and their duress was lifted, for the moment—Until the next visit and story.

Now that I’m the hospice patient, I sometimes feel like my eighty-four-year-old body is the rope in that story. Deep-seated habits of control prompt my holding on until waking up, once again, to my true circumstances and letting go. Only then is my contentment restored, the fruit of living the CPA 12 Steps. It’s working, one release at a time …