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Like a weaver, you roll up my life and cut it from the loom…I twitter like a sparrow, I moan like a dove. Isaiah 38: 12-14

This quotation from the prophet Isaiah speaks to the quaking in my depths that sets my teeth on edge: I’m confronted by the Weaver’s power that will end the ongoing project of my life, one I dearly love, but so late in its actualization. Clearly, I am not in control and I don’t like it.

This time, it is nerve pain in my left heel, stinging as I sit at my word processor.

Other bothersome symptoms, related to the Dexamethasone I’m taking, continue shadowing my day: moonface, increasing fatigue and shortness of breath and dizziness, weight gain, increasing deformity and flexibility in my hands, intermittent knee pain. Coughing up infected mucus exhausts me. Only physical death will free me from these symptoms.

In the interim, it’s critical to interface these downers with CPA’s 12 Steps and to receive daily support from my buddies during meetings and phone contacts. Although my terminal illness tries to waylay me into believing that I am alone, that no one cares, this is gobbledygook. Together, we surrender, afresh, to Higher Power and live.

Only the Weaver’s shears will set me free, whenever, however. Until then, like the twittering sparrows outside my study window, I watch and listen. It’s about growing spiritually, one day at a time, with still more opportunities to unfurl my birthright.

 

 

It was 465 B.C.E., Cyrus the Great’s liberation of the Jews after two hundred years of captivity in Babylonia. No longer would they suffer beneath the heel of their captors. No longer would they doubt God’s saving presence in their midst. Once home in Jerusalem, they would rebuild their Temple with the help of funds and goods given by that Persian king.

This event drew the prophecy of Second Isaiah: Listen to me, House of Jacob,… you who have been carried since birth, whom I have carried since the time you were born. In your old age I shall be the same, when your hair is gray, I shall still support you…I will deliver you. (Isaiah 46:3-4)

Such words must have inspired the newly freed to recommit to their covenanted life with God. Their sloth in observing the Law had made them easy prey to the Babylonians, two hundred years before. I imagine the Jews rubbing their eyes in wonder as they began their trek home, their sacred scrolls strapped to the backs of donkeys. Indeed, the Jews still enjoyed God’s unconditional love and protection and they knew it.

My present circumstances mirror those of the Jews in captivity: diminishments in energy, in focus, in movement; temptation to despair; wimpy faith; stark loneliness; uprootedness from my identity; inability to grieve; flatness of affect; interminable dark nights; terror of the unknown.

But like the Jews, there are interludes of grace: CPA phone meetings, daily contacts with my CPA sponsor, Dr. Singh’s Grace in Dying, February’s mildness, the southern magnolia flourishing in my back yard, daily blogging, the still small voice within my psyche, my sister’s nightly phone calls, meditation, and nutritious food.

Mercifully, I live one day at time while awaiting my deliverance—I, too, will return home.

 

 

“It’s critical to live while dying than to die while living,” so urges Kathleen Dowling Singh, author of what’s become my handbook, The Grace in Dying – How We Are Transformed Spiritually as We Die. Such has become the leitmotif of my hospice experience that began last November.

Ninety days have passed since I signed those papers, de-cluttered my house of all that I’m not using, and finalized my affairs with my lawyer, broker, funeral director, and accountant—even alerted significant others of my decision.

Weeks passed with visits of the hospice team, experienced in end-of-life issues and supportive of my efforts to wrap words around my terminal illness: Interstitial Lung Disease. Initially, it felt like I was talking about someone else, even felt uneasy when they responded. To remedy this disorder, I began blogging my daily experience, and it’s been working. I also did not miss my supplements or my accustomed activities outside my home. The “little blue pill” became an even smaller white one, the dosage reduced from four milligrams to one. But my body is old and subtle changes are occurring.

I liken my decline to the pace of the snail: loss of muscle mass, need for nebulizer treatments for breathing, slower gait, and even some weakness and brain fog. Yet I continue all my ADLs and appreciate my helpers’ support, one day at a time. Conscious contact with Precious God and my CPA sponsor makes this work. Huge is my gratitude when I retire for the day to await dreams.

And Last week Medicare authorized a second ninety-day benefit period for my hospice care. I’ll keep blogging.

 

 

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