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March 15, 2010

Savouring a Mimosa: A Metaphor

It has been a while. Lots going on. Trying to be positive. Not succeeding so well.

Therefore, tonight I am going to share with you something that is so loving and inspiring that I think no matter who you are you will pause and reflect a moment on how you're living your days, moment by moment. Maybe, just do a little checking in with yourself. I know I am.

Tonight I feel it would do my heart good to write about one of my dearest friends. She is a wonderful, loving person. Her name is Peggy. She's a mom of two fine daughters. She's a loving wife to Chris. Eight years ago she was my boss who quickly morphed into one of my dearest friends. In spite of a life-long challenge of living with arthritis that made its presence known when she was 13 years old, she is someone you can count on to focus on the positive and I have only ever felt unconditional acceptance from her even when, at times, it must have been impossible for her not to be thinking Gayle, what the hell are YOU thinking?

In her finest form she is sharing with me, via e-mail, the experience of her days as she is caring along with one of her sisters for a favourite aunt whom after a lifetime of vibrancy discovered around Christmas that what was thought to be a stroke, wasn't. In fact, her aunt's change in behaviour was determined to be the result of two malignant brain tumours. Her aunt is, I believe, 86 years old. Her aunt's name is Mary. She lives in West Vancouver. She's not actually Peggy's biological aunt. But, somehow, and I always forget the story, they adopted each other and they have, I gather, one of those relationships that just "clicked" right from the first meeting. Mary is a widow and has no children.

I've met Mary at least half a dozen times at dinners with Peggy and Chris. She's a straight-talking Prairie girl with a good sense of humour. I've always enjoyed seeing Mary and being around her presence at dinners.

The other day Peggy's e-mail began with the line, "Don't know why but these were the best mimosas I've ever had. I think I've figured out that the secret is in the proportion to champagne to OJ." As you guessed, she's no bartender.  But, wouldn't that always be the secret of all drinks?(Sorry, Peg!)

I'm getting these very short e-mails from her because she knows I'm not at my happiest at the moment and it's her caring way of touching base. Sometimes, she'll say, "we're trying the Port tonight with dark chocolate" or "we think we'll make it a  Hugh Grant movie week or"We've been watching an A&E epic version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth."

Chic flicks. Chocolate. Champagne. Port. Meaningful conversation. The way the light streams into the kitchen. The view from the deck. Silliness. And LOVE. The very best of what days should be made of. What else could be better when you're living your last days?

As I'm hearing from her about what's going on and how her and her sister are going about their days with Mary, all I can hear in her words and actions is love and the recognition that it's very possible to make each day as special as possible, finding uniqueness, seeking joy at least once in every 24 hours, if not more. Why does it seem so hard at times?

I'm sure, as is so often the case when people are sharing life with those whose life is nearing its conclusion, it's the small things that take on proportions of truth that so often seem out of reach in our regular dailiness. For a short while, as a result, we experience that tender, insightful, pithy space that's always right in front of us if we're paying attention. Somehow it becomes magnified as if in slow motion as if you've just been given a new pair of glasses that let you see with your soul, not with your eyes.

I felt it in all the grieving I have ever done. Over Mac. When my sister died. As I watched my mother in the last month of her life in hospital. Strangely enough, even at my most depressed. The soul of depression.

Even now, I know it as I'm experiencing watching what happens when people age and how they either become the best of who they are or not. Let's not romanticize it all too much. I hate to tell you folks but it's very likely that it would seem we all become a magnified version of ourselves- foibles and lovability - to an exaggerated degree in direct proportion to that which we were when we were younger.

Such times call up all life's most important questions. How can my spirituality help me with this? What is it that I can learn from this? How can I see this as a blessing? Why can't I forgive that one person? Why can't I let myself? When am I really going to have faith when the going gets tough? How will everything be said through my actions, and if I have the courage and the moment is right, through my words?

And, having said all that, it demands getting out of our heads and like my dear Peg has done, savouring every drop of the best mimosas ever, drinking in the moment, as if it truly was our last!

Love to Mary, Peggy and Peggy's sister. In Unity! :-)


Susan said...

Thank you for this Gayle. This is just about the best thing I could hear today.

Gayle Mavor said...

Thanks Susan.
All is well.
Everything is working out to my highest good.
Out of this situation only good will come.
I am safe!
- Louise Hay (whom I'm not really a huge fan of but I like this).

Cookme said...

This is beautiful.Thank you Gayle for your insightful words. This is the best thing I could read at the end of a long day.