Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Circle of Life

This winter break has been a very busy one for me. Even though it isn't spring, I have done a lot of "spring" cleaning around my house. It seems with my work schedule, I don't have much time to get things done at home because when I am home, it is a time to relax and unwind.

The past several days, we have gone into Phoenix to my cousin Pat's house. Her husband, Phil, is declining more and more each day. All of her children are here except for the youngest, Michael, who is oversees. Her two sisters from California have also come to be with her.

I made red and green chili meat and beans and we took it over last night. There are many of the cousins in and out and the little children are playing and having fun with each other. Cameron loves to go over there to play with his cousins. There is a park right behind the house and they love to go and play football.

Kerri has a special bond with Phil. She has been in Albuquerque visiting a friend. Yesterday when I talked to her and told her how things were going, she asked me to please tell Phil how much she loves him. So I went in to his room to tell him. He has had his eyes closed and appears to be resting and very much at peace every time I have seen him the last few times. Pat was sitting next to the bed holding his hand and his children and their spouses were all sitting around talking. I am not good with things like this, but I knew how important this was to Kerri, so I leaned over and told him what she had asked me to tell him. Pat asked him if he had heard what I said and he squeezed her hand to indicate that he had heard. Of course, I had to leave the room. I called Kerri to tell her about this and she wasn't able to talk to me. She isn't much better than I am in these situations.

As I went back to the kitchen to finish getting the tortillas cooked, I thought about how truly beautiful this whole experience is, even though it is so sad. Their house is filled with the hustle and bustle of our family being together--which is not uncommon. The football game was on and many were watching it and cheering in the living room. The kids were running around and making a lot of noise, just as they normally do. The really little ones, Rory and Bisbee, were doing what one and two year olds always do! The newest member of the family, Cole, cried for his bottle. Aunt Teresa was holding Cole, as she always loves babies. Cecilia, Marion, Yaya, Teresa Ann, Judy and I talked and laughed in the kitchen as we finished getting everything ready and then ate. It was a typical family gathering. This was how things were when my mom died. She died the way she lived. It will be that way for Phil, too.

I read a quote last night from Helen Keller that I feel is perfect for what I have felt these last several days. I wasn't looking for quotes, but saw it in a catalog that I just happened to pick up when we got home last night.

"What we have once enjoyed, we can never lose.
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."

7 remarks:

velvet brick said...


Martha said...

Sheila, this is a beautiful note. I'm sure Phil hears all the noise and bustle of his family around him and that it brings him peace of mind and a feeling of a life well lived.

I'm not being morbid or anything, but I am facing a life-threatening illness with a poor prognosis. It's hard not to think about what dying might be like, while at the same time hoping it's still a long way off. This story helped me to know it can be a loving, peaceful experience surrounded by those you love. It brought me some peace of mind during a time when my emotions have been really swinging. Thanks for sharing it!
Love you tons!

Anonymous said...

Sheila, well said! Both Pat & Phil are an inspiration for me. They truly are my heroes. I, personally, have learned a lot just by watching the love between them during this time. God Bless them.

PS Your Mexican food was delicious! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful Sheila!
Love & hugs,

Anonymous said...

I know Pat & Phil won't care if I do this. I don't know how to write a blog, but I do want to wish you a very "Happy Birthday!" on this January 10th. I am so glad you were born. Our family is so blessed to have you.

Susie of Arabia said...

Your family is so close and loving - exactly how families are supposed to be, but sadly many are not. You are so lucky to be in such a wonderful family.

Meags said...

You too are good at these things. I love your writing and you do wonders with the way you honor those in your life. Thank you.