Eldon Ray Berridge – Feb 9, 1914 to June15, 2009

My father passed away just before 7 pm on Monday, June 15 at the age of 95.  We were a team.  This is my version of our story.  We think of life as a living and dying cycle.  Yet, to me, it is now birthing and birthing.  Daddy’s last breaths were as much contractions that took him to the next world as those that brought him into this world. 

For decades Daddy insisted that he didn’t want just to exist, only to live vigorously.  And, when living as defined by some undetermined characteristics that largely painted an abstract-type picture no longer occurred for him, he wished one of us would ‘shoot’ him.  I’m not thinking he had a gun in mind.  I’m thinking he, on some level, wanted to trust that we would honor his desires and prevent him from being trapped in a body which didn’t perform to the standards he would choose.  Or, at least, God would hear his plea and raise him just in time.  At what moment that body failed him, I cannot say.  Nor, I believe, could he.  When the dastardly deed was done and he was bedfast and wasted, I recognized we had missed the elusive signal which pulsed “life as you wish no longer exists, nor is it retrievable”.

Daddy was my ally when Mother had no time for a baby.  I expected to be his ally when his body had no time for life.  All those years, I thought he wanted me to add or take away something essential so he could avoid the suffering of just existing.  These are simple thoughts I pose…until they fall into the realms of choice and allegiance.  I agonized.  How could I help him, hopefully legally?  Would I honor the man I knew and his request of many years or would I honor his process and its timing?  How would I know what he would choose just then, given his new relationship with dying?  What if dying by his self-determined schedule aborted his divine unfolding?  What is it about this life-death process that grips our hearts?  How does it become a major decision instead of a natural process?  How is it we forget we are re-birthing ourselves?

Interestingly, looking for the right moment and right means of assistance actually led me to the right moment and the right means of assistance.  Simple is perhaps the most profound.  Sometimes one undefinable thing holds a person hostage to this planet when the rest of him is begging to go.  Forgiveness was the only subject I had not discussed with him.  He always said lots of things in life are a crapshoot.  You take your chances.  Throwing the dice, I went to him and told him that the time had come to free himself and his soul to be where he needed to be.  I walked him through the beauties and vagaries of our lives together and his with others.  I helped him ask God’s blessing for those who hurt or disappointed him and helped him set them free as well.  I did all the things any of us would have done, reassuring him how loved he is/was, how cared for Mother would continue to be, how the family would bind together to live out the traditions and strengths he set in place for us and how the pains of this lifetime no longer had purpose for him.  He sighed.  Peace permeated his being.  His breaths came less frequently and he died a few minutes later.

Had he gotten his death wish when his body quit servicing the needs he thought important, his work would have been unfinished.  I humbly witnessed his process fulfill itself and his spirit soar quickly and easily to the place he desired all along.



Grace is omnipresent, as is all wisdom through the grace of vision.  Seeing the truth in that statement changes my life.  Wherever I am and regardless of what is happening around me, remembering Grace and knowing Wisdom keeps me, or takes me back, into loving compassion. 

The Inka experience is, in the East segment of their medicine wheel where Jaguar lives, that life is about living in both worlds, the mundane and the mystery, without taking enemies.  

Life is a play.  I am the audience.  I laugh, cry and applaud.  Then I go home.



The Point: 
Being a child is rough.  We need to depend on others to keep us safe and love us since we don’t know how to do those things for ourselves.  Sometimes those around us don’t know how either and are so struggling to keep themselves safe and feeling loved that they fail to be there for us.  Then they get old and we are supposedly the adults and they, the children.  But, they make decisions which often propel us back into the same feelings and fears we had in childhood relationship with them. 


What works for me:   
Just find a way to love them and love loving them.  Love them all the way to heaven.
 

The Stories:
I decided my parents made their choices because they are who they are, so I didn’t get mad at them.  Mother has been my best friend since I was about 22 and decided she would be my best friend, requiring me to forget I worked very hard at despising her my first 22 years.  I’ll be damned if she is going to die as my enemy after I made that major investment in our relationship.  The same with Daddy.  I was his ally and still am, one month after his death.  

So, I look at the situations my parents created and my relationship with them (now her) and decide what is missing that would make her life more pleasant and which I can execute without compromising my standards.  For a while I was her self-appointed social director.  It didn’t last long because her memory wasn’t good and her filters had so fallen off that her Alzheimers regaled one of her friends with her version of why Bob and I don’t have, couldn’t, in fact, have, enough sex.  She explained how worried she is about us because Bob goes to bed at 9:30 and I after midnight.  No amount of reassuring changes her mind that going to bed together is required as foreplay.  That little incident made it unnecessary for me to call Evelyn again for a delightful luncheon in the local tea room with Mother and me.   

You can tell now why Mother is my designated best friend.  We are truthful with one another and trust that we love each other, period.  She and I still laugh at the most ridiculous and unfunny things.  For years, we spent all day Tuesday together having lunch, getting her hair cut, banking, grocery shopping, refrigerator cleaning, sorting through closets and drawers.  One Tuesday before her Very Big Stroke, I went to the restroom and found her staring at her feet upon my return.  She said, ‘Well, look what I did.  It was so dark I got two different shoes.  They are the same color and similar but not the same.’  We laughed.  She commented about her memory loss and how we can still laugh at the funny things she does in old age.  Then I realized she was wearing two right shoes.  When she stood up, both her feet pointed the same direction.  We got so hysterical that the restaurant became absolutely silent while we screamed laughter until tears ran off our faces.  I kept asking her if her left foot in the right shoe didn’t hurt, but it must not have because she forgot it was there and wore those shoes the rest of the day.   

It may be disguised, but there really is a trick here for loving when it feels impossible.  I’m addressing this as if it were your Mother as it is now my Mother.  But it can be anyone.  You find a little place where you can be who you want to be with her on your own terms and you be That Role until That Role is no longer useful – sometimes as little as a few minutes.  Then you reinvent yourself.  You find some little thing you do well that honors your relationship with her, and you do it.  Then you gather her in your arms (literally or otherwise) and hold her safely.  She can trust you to respect her and her choices.  And you know, when she is gone (one way or another), that you and she were always just you and she.  

You smile at your creativity and recognize you are giving life to a relationship that could just as well die under the strain of angst.  Why let it do that?  Angst begets regret begets pain begets…..  Just love her.

 

 

 



Loving kindness shines most brilliantly when offered from heart to heart.

When we love, greater love is kindled and our glowing fire exponentially expands to others as well.



I am fascinated by this human experience in which we co-partner, like it or not. Witnessing rather than ‘taking enemies’ intrigues me. We typically react, at least on the emotional level, to unwanted stimuli. That seems the one thing that keeps us from experiencing the joy we find in grace. Actually they are co-creators, aren’t they – joy and grace?



Bob and I life coach together.  Bob is an MBA-financial analyst type who works as CFO of an organization which manages care for emotionally-disturbed children and their families.  I am a healer, feng shui consultant and aspiring author of ‘If You Want Something, Make Room for It’.  Our book delineates how to go from where you are to where you want to be using The Four Shifts.

My parents are in their 90s, living in a continuing care residence.  Bob and I yak daily, often discussing the quality of life and potential contributing factors.  Yesterday, in a moment of clarity I said to him, ‘You understand and explain things by figuring out the whys and hows.  I understand and explain things in terms of their inter-connections.’  Thank goodness we have one another for balance.  Writing is an humbling experience.



My nose-to-nose encounter with my personal life is currently my book-in-progress, ‘If You Want Something, Make Room for It’.  I must go deeply inside to make connections that coach others through the same amazing experiences Bob and I had a few years ago when we threw out our rest-of-our-lives-on-earth plan and threw open the door to whatever was awaiting us.  Wow!  Nuclear blast!  Writing about what works makes me face each day more responsibly and thoughtfully.



Welcome to Make Room Now.  Life is much richer when we come together to share experiences and thoughts.  I’m happy we are in this together.



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