Heart Medicine

She was writhing in pain from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. In the fetal position. None of the medications were able to touch her pain. I walked in and knew, and I said, “Oh…She needs to be held, like an infant.” The care manager on duty said, “I’ll hold her.” So I bundled her up in my arms, and wrapped her in a soft blanket, and placed her in the care managers lap. The care manager wrapped her arms around her. She tucked her head into the care manager’s shoulder, under her chin, and she fell asleep. I kissed her on the cheek.

Seconds later, I am told that he is not doing well, either. I look at the med-tech on duty, and I don’t know who told me this once a very long time ago, but I recall the words often, and I repeated them to her (and to myself), “Okay. Now we have to find that place deep inside us, so we can go…and do it all over again.”

Her son tells me how she was a field nurse in WWII, and used to tell him stories about being charged with carrying the soldiers from the field…and sometimes there was no help to be had for them…and she could only hold them in her arms.

Sometimes you just have to use heart medicine to fix things.

Another care manager comes up to me afterwards, and says…”I just saw eagle energy. You have the wings of an eagle, and you soar.”

“When searching for our Mother in the air, or in the cosmos, or in the wee morning hours, we musn’t forget to look under our feet, for the foundation she has given us is a solid one.” – Hope Edelman

Yeah, eagle energy.

So…we exit his room, informed that sometime within the next 2 days, he will pass over the rainbow…

to the sounds of peppy music from the 50’s for the birthday bash.

I look at the med-tech and she looks at me. We quickly shake our heads slightly at the…distance between life and death. I raise my eyebrows and with eyes wide open, and one last shake of my head…

and mascara running down our faces…

we start snapping our fingers and doing the “twist” as we dance the group to the birthday bash and caution them to have fun and to try to stay out of trouble.

Then, hours later, in the late of night, I am sitting with his family. Grief and coping are such an individual thing. Some folks reflect on happy memories, and some folks set the grief aside for a time, to explore in private. So…I go in to check on the terminal agitation of the gentleman who will soon transition. His daughter is almost finished with her PhD in Sociology…and so ensues a conversation into relative sociological theories.

Again, that distance…between life and death…is so infinitesimal, yet profoundly infinite. The emotional roller coaster has left me half numb now, centered…so we discuss Marx, and Weber, and odd things like the sociology of language, and sitcoms, and such…and there are giggles and exasperation and inspirations while profound helplessness and resignations loom all around.

Heart Medicine.


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