shrinking – that’s the word that came to me while i was visiting my hospice patient yesterday. not that he is shrinking, but his life is shrinking. he is well cared for in the assisted living facility he is in. he is a stroke victim and while his speech can be challenging to understand, he is still mentally alert and can carry on a conversation.
he likes to share his concerns with me and i am happy to listen. that’s why i’m there. like his concern that the control of his finances is now completely out of his hands. and his concern that he has no telephone in his room. he rarely gets mail. and he rarely has visitors. it bothers him that his drawers are stuffed full and he can’t keep them organized. he’s always been an organized guy. i can relate to that and try to help him.
so what once was an active life filled with family, work, responsibilities and activity is reduced to this. he was waiting for someone to come and wheel him to the beauty salon for a haircut. this is the event of the day. like i said, shrinking…….
i realize i’m not going to win the happy post award with this topic. but, as always, there are some things we can learn. like if you know someone who is in this situation (there are millions) the smallest thing can mean so much. i know you know that and i know it, but reminders are good. when i’m there i try to speak to the other residents too. they don’t have a lot going on. and i’m adding a “kindness” section to my brain-storming journal. we’ll see what comes up!
so what can i apply here to my own life? pretty sure my life will shrink too if i am lucky enough to live to a ripe old age. it’s the life cycle and there is nothing we can do about that. (in some ways it feels like it has already shrunk some since my days of working full-time and being constantly on the go).
but as always, we do have control of our attitude. i want to be ok with it when that happens. not be taken off guard and have a bunch of regrets. or feel like a victim. i want my inner self to be strong and joyful. i want to increase my capacity to appreciate the smallest things. i want to accept my limitations with dignity and grace. and there is something i can do about that.