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October 27, 2009

Dangerous Elders

It it's Tuesday morning it's time for meditation. But first the ordeal of getting an elder ready.

Today everything was going so well until we got to the door of the house. I turned to open the door and in the split second that I turned, and she moved from steadying herself with her walker to her cane, something happened and in slow motion I could see her coming towards me falling towards the front closet door.

I lurched to grab her with my left arm grabbing one of her own arms. You would think I was a football player reaching with the tips of my fingertips for the ball just before it touches the ground. As a result, I unsteadied myself and landed on my back with her on top of me. Jesus. Lucky for her, I"m a puffy one now. It's a relatively soft landing.

I got up and grabbed her under her arms from behind and righted her as if nothing had happened. I'll probably end up breaking my own hip trying to prevent her from breaking hers I thought to myself not amused. Free rent. Keep repeating that. I haven't had to repeat it yet. But, we have reached the one month mark of living in the "basement" and the 3 month mark of sleeping overnight, Monday to Thursday.

When I knew she was okay, I started laughing trying to circumvent one of those laughing fits that just keeps coming up as the memory replays in your mind.

"What is it about you and me," I say rhetorically. "How come every time I'm with you and you fall down, I fall down too? It's like a sympathy fall!I say jokingly.

We get in the car. As I'm driving her Toyota Echo along Vesuvius Bay Road she starts to stay something her in gravel-lane voice (because a former stroke has affected her voice) and then she's wincing and grabbing her chest. I'm looking at her and I'm confused. Now what?

"What's wrong," I say, not fully recovered from the early morning fall. She doesn't answer me.

"What's wrong," I say more loudly, with greater urgency already playing in my mind the route to Lady Minto Hospital.

"Are you okay?" I ask.

Yes, she finally says laughing. Was she feigning a heart attack as a joke? God only knows. My blood pressure is through the roof. Let's just get to the bloody church. Too much exciting pre-8:00 am.

We get to the church. I'm the one who needs the meditation.

We enter and it's got that slightly musty church smell. The dark wood is layed in vertical strips. There are only 5 dark pews on each side. A red carpet leads to a large alter and above that three beautiful stained-glass windows. The middle one is a picture of Jesus (I guess) wearing a flowing ruby red robe and his hand is up in the air, sort of like Superman's is when he's ready to take off.

There's a dedication under the window to two men in drowned in Ganges Harbour in 1898. There are two side windows and the morning sun is lighting the pink of what looks like a celtic cross to a sparkle. Inside the pink, a small round circle is glass in my favorite shade of green. I want to lose myself in the brightness of that green backlit by the sun.

Three people are there already and silent. Our arrival interrupts them slightly. Without saying a word we take our seats. There are two women and a young guy with a black hoodie. Who's he I wonder. Why's he doing this? What's his story? He's kinda cute. I like his salt and pepper beard. Mid to late 30s. Why? I want to know why he would want to do this? Of course, I can't speak to him.

A conservative looking woman sits to the left of Margaret. She appears to be in her mid to late 50s. Another woman is kneeling on the rug. she has a long, taupe-coloured, hand-woven shawl around her shoulders. A tibetan bowl and wooden pestle lay on the red carpet beside her.

I close my eyes feeling tired. She woke me up last night at 3:30 flushing the toilet. I marvel at this twist in my life. Now I'm sitting in an Anglican church before 8am on a Tuesday morning. How did this happen I wonder. I admire the stain glass. I want to keep my eyes open and soak up every detail of this cute little sanctuary.

We've been sitting in silence and my lady lets out a little chuckle. A big smile crosses my face. I think I know what she's laughing about. Silence returns. Another five minutes pass. Another chuckle.

I was just getting into it when suddenly, it's over. The shortest meditation in history. An ADHD child could probably do this I thought to myself. The others begin a walking meditation and Margaret indicates it's time to leave. I want to say No. I want to be a defiant child at bed time. I'm not ready to go. I just got here. I want to hear what they're going to say at the end. I want to hear that guy speak.

But, no, we leave. I ask her how long the walkling meditation is. Five minutes she says. Five minutes. Why don't we stay I say. It's a bit much for me she says. Damn.
You mean from now until Christmas I'm going to go to this Church every Tuesday and I'm never going to know who these people are because I'm never going to speak to them.

I walk away with a handout. It's not meditation. It's called centering prayer actually which is a christian form of meditation.

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