Tears are a universal language
Yesterday as I sat at the dinner table with tears sliding down my face, my 87-year-old father, with early signs of dementia said: "Tell me what's wrong?" How do I tell my dad what's wrong when the day earlier he had no idea who I was?
The world is being knocked out at the knees because of COVID-19 and within weeks, I have witnessed everything around me falling apart. I wondered if things could get worse and as you know, they always can. I received a call last week that my mother who lives on the other side of the country from me was rushed in an ambulance to the Emergency Room. After quick conversations with my siblings, I made the decision to be the person to drive 650 miles to get to my dad who cannot take care of himself. There was so much fear of exposing him to this aggressive virus but the fear of him not taking his meds, falling down, or burning down the house was far greater.
I have spent nearly a week playing 24-hour nurse to my dad, taking his blood pressure, pricking his finger to test his blood sugar, administering a cocktail of medications, feeding him and even picking him up from the floor when he's fallen. And I've had so much fear that he will get up in the middle of the night and fall on the floor and I won't hear him until morning that it's caused my internal clock to wake me up each hour so I can go check on him.
Meanwhile, we've had no real idea what's going on with my mom. We don't plan when we get sick but my mom's timing couldn't be worse. The hospitals are shut down to visitors because of COVID-19 and she's been unable to talk on the phone. The hospital staff is overwhelmed and thus has not been helpful in letting us know what's actually going on with her. It took a few days to find out that she wasn't hospitalized because of the virus but nearly a week later, we sit here with big question marks.
Previous to everything happening with my parents, I've felt an energetic tug of war I was having with myself between "DO! CREATE! DO SOMETHING!" and "Be! SURRENDER! Just be...".
A few weeks ago I announced that I was creating a healing audio track specifically for animals with cancer and that it would be completed on the 7th of April. I had no idea of what was to come with my parents on top of a world pandemic. And even though things were shaken on their side, I sit here with shame that I have not been able to finish the Cancer Free Track at this time because it's impossible for me to while I'm caring for my father.
I have a feeling quite a few you also have these same feelings about different things in our lives that we 'could be' or 'should be' doing but cannot at this moment - the inner tug-of-war that is calling us to sit back and listen to our hearts.
So I sat at the table with tears that I could neither contain nor hide because I feel like I'm watching my house burn down and don't even have a dixie cup of water to throw at it.
I know I'm not alone - there are millions of people going through the same thing or worse. Mass graves are being dug as we lose our friends and family members and everything we've known from jobs to homes and ...false security.
Tears are the universal language. We see them and can connect to another's pain.
My dad sat at the table with me while my tears dropped and said: "Rachel (remembering who I am) I am here for you." Which, of course, made the tears burn even deeper because I felt his love. I muttered under a tissue, "Thank you, Dad."
"I'm here for you." The same words I've been whispering to myself for weeks. And now my dad saying them to me. "I'm here for you" Is so powerful, isn't this also how our animals show up for us? They are always here for us. Always.
I preach self-care (or negative emotions can make our animals sick) and especially in times like this but being reminded that others are out there to help take care of you too, can be equally important and my dad, despite his condition was showing up for me.
I didn't want him to witness my tears of fear because it seemed better to shelter him from it. Ever been here before? Sometimes you just can't hide what you can't hide... and maybe we are not meant to. Tears are the universal language and they can bring us together.
There are three things my dad loves to watch: War History, Mobsters such as Pretty Boy Floyd and Dillinger, and John Wayne. And in an effort to keep him entertained while I cook or clean, I have been rotating between the three genres. In fact, while I type this he's watching True Grit with John Wayne.
"Grit is passion and sustained persistence applied toward long-term achievement, with no particular concern for rewards or recognition along the way. It combines resilience, ambition, and self-control in the pursuit of goals that take months, years, or even decades." Angela Duckworth
Submerged in war, the depression era, and John Wayne (Yes he's his own category!) I'm reminded that a lot of people have had a lot of loss and with community, love, and Grit, we have prevailed. I guess my biggest takeaway has been that we must take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others and when things are difficult, persist.
I am going to keep showing up for myself and I am going to keep showing up for you. I won't be releasing the Cancer Free track on the 7th of April but it will be coming to you very soon - when the timing is right and I promise I'll keep you in the loop and let you know when it will be available to you.
I know I am not alone. I know my inner circle of friends and family are here for me. And time and time again so many of you have let me know you are also here for me. And in the words of my father, "I am here for you." and together, we will persist.
I get the honor of being with a group of women who show up on the first Monday of each month for themselves (we get to see each other tomorrow) and others in our online group healings. If you want to join us, please do. We will be there for each other.
This city (our world) might be on fire, but we are in this together with each other and for each other. Many of you have reached out to ask if I am working while the world is shut down. The answer is YES! Yes, I am working. Animals get sick and when our stress is at an all-time high, they are even more prone to illness. I am working while I am here in Oklahoma and it would be nearly impossible to shut me down from showing up for you and your animals. If your animals are sick and not doing well, please reach out. I would be honored to support you which will also be supportive to me. We are all in this together.
Be gentle with yourselves, friends. We will prevail.
Rachel, your holistic animal practitioner.