When I think about my caregiving experience, it often evokes memories of the act of caregiving. I recall how the hours, days and years were filled. I can still envision the list of items I felt compelled to learn about, the vital calls that I needed to make and the creative methods of problem solving around issues that were unanticipated and constantly evolving. I have embodied all caregiving roles: I was the primary caregiver and lived with my parents; I have been the secondary caregiver providing backup emotional and logistical support; and I have performed duties as a long distance caregiver from afar. I metamorphosed into a strategist and manager of crises trying (and often falling short) to preserve my own personal life while doing my best to neutralize any urgencies that would often show up just in time for dinner.
But when I peeked into the cracks and crevices - the space in between the long list of caregiving duties - what was exposed was my defenselessness. It was quiet and resilient. It was where our life conditions paralleled-- the caregiver and the receiver of care surrendering to our ever expansive vulnerability. Witnessing the dying process, sometimes lingering at the side and other times perfectly embellished in it, gives voice to the silent fragments of caregiving. It is an act that is not fully examined or addressed wholeheartedly when we speak of tending to another. Being in full view of the dying process can elicit feelings of bewilderment, guilt, anger and sadness. But, it is also one of the universal circumstances of our humanness. In the actual process of witnessing a fading of life as I knew it, I faced the spirit of being alive.
The wonderment of living through suffering is that through the looking glass, we can choose to see everything for the first or last time. My senses have become more adept to the truth around me. I am in a constant state of witnessing the miraculous in the everyday and find glory in dancing a little lighter in this world. I now hear the music.