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“Hi, Liz! It’s Alice. Come to check on you again—Finish your nebulizer first, though.” Her voice fills my home with morning’s brightness as she settles around my dining room table, its center resplendent with red-fringed yellow tulips. Tapered fingers unzip her case and whip out her computer, notepad, and pen as I finish my breathing treatment and adjust the nasal prongs of my oxygen.

“Good to see you again, Alice,” I say, supporting my steps with my cane and sitting opposite her. On the table was therapy putty for my hands lest my terminal illness further weaken them, and a glass of water to loosen mucus from another lung disease, prior to coughing it up in an emesis basin. “Not much new to report. My weakness, shortness of breath, and speech worsen, but imperceptibly so. Certainly, I’m not where I was one month ago, but I still get by with my helpers—Even take short walks in the sun. Still keep up my deep breathing and stretching exercises.”

Her dark eyes warm me, despite the put-off of her black mask as she takes my vital signs: all normal—they always are.

“Seems like I’m really into my old age. I never dreamed it would look like this. Often atop my bed, I pray, stillness enfolding my body and psyche; at others, grief for my intransigent stuff seeping into global darkness like raw sewerage. Here is where the mantra, ”Mercy!” comes in, cried with vehemence.” She leans toward me and listens, not wanting to miss a word. 

“Yet, each day, there’s something new to learn. Yesterday’s was critical: stop seeking answers where there are none, a waste of vital energy.” She nods and with her eyes hugs me before leaving.

At 7:35 A.M., I woke with this dream:

I’m attending a luncheon at a trendy tearoom filled with women engaged in animated conversations. No one comments upon the opaque gray-like mist that screens us from seeing each other; they only affirm the delicious soup placed in front of us. I feel strange.

What stands out immediately in the dream is the opaque gray-like mist that prevents all vision; it also isolates me from my surroundings and myself—a condition likened to denial masking my psyche from the inevitable diminishments of living with symptoms of terminal illness. Increasing shortness of breath upon exertion crimp conversations with others, require more help from my helpers, and more time-outs for rest and dream catching.  

The opaque gray-like mist also suggests the aloneness I must continue experiencing until my transition. I still relate to others in the world around me, but it’s not the same. Each day has its critical tasks as I forage into the unknown. I know when the insights come.

The dream also forewarns me to avoid the trendy tearoom that I so easily create in my imagination when zip locked into yahoo—a huge displacement of critical energy.

Above all, the imperative is to remain focused upon the new learning, however painful. Change still turns things around, and the struggle is well worth it.

At 6 A.M., I awoke with this dream:

It is night. I am with an animated group of seniors who intend to work on their life reviews in a large well-lighted room with tables and chairs.

The dream story begins at night, always symbolic of endings, closure, especially of life. Within darkness, change inevitability occurs.

I do not recognize the animated group of seniors who I’ve joined, but I appreciate their willingnessto engage in this endeavor. On a deeper level, however, perhaps they mirror the health of my psyche, still engaged in my life review that began with my 2001 retirement from hospice. Self-publishing two memoirs in 2012 and 2015 was its tangible start.

Since then, ongoing Twelve-Step work has kept me abreast of current slips and need for amends, mostly to myself for the snare of fear based-obsessive thinking. As an example, last night’s email about my credit card distraught me until its fraudulence was determined. 

But my Dreamer seems to be asking more—perhaps deeper prayer to recall my dreams upon awaking, to scrutinize practices of acceptance, responsibility, forgiveness, and love. True, my Heartwhisperings blogs have brought to light some of the dark recesses of my psyche where more of my flawed character hangs out, still unbeknownst to me.

My ongoing life review spirits each gift of twenty-four hours: Within them, lies psychic transformation, impossible to attain on my own.

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