A Shift was Taking Place – for All of Us

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mother portrait

The next morning dawned, and Mother was still with us. We were bleary eyed from the night before. Mother was not the only one who changed that night. In ways we were yet to learn, so did we.

May, the aide who had stayed with mother and been her companion and caregiver at times when I could not, arrived and was told about the events of the night. She had a kind nurturing nature and a special gift we came to value, she was spiritually attuned and not afraid of death. Mother was comforted by just seeing her.

While we waited for the arrival of the hospice nurse, we made Mother’s room our gathering spot, drawn by the constant awareness that she may not have awakened to this dawn. Mother began counting and naming each of us in the room as if keeping a tally. “One, Deanne, two, Richie, three, Bill,” and on. Sometimes she dozed off. When she awakened, she would again begin the count. If someone was not present, she would say words like, “Judy, where did Judy go?” and we would reassure her that she had just gone to the kitchen.

Bill and Judy announced that they would change their departure day. They knew this would be their last time with Mother and recognized fully what our future would be. They understood how hard this would be and took on a new level of support. They became our rocks.

When Jean, the hospice nurse, rang the door bell, I rushed to meet her. As I had done with all the many people who had, at various times, entered our house to assist us with Mother (the aides, the nurses, the physical therapists, the social workers), I immediately thanked her for coming. Then I began almost speed talking to be sure they knew everything about mother that I could share. I was her protector and wanted to be sure they knew who she was and what I thought she needed. “My mother’s mind is good. She has some vision and hearing issues. Don’t touch her left shoulder where she has terrible pain from the shingles she had many years ago.”

But this time was different. Jean, a tall and strong women, with graying hair and a kind face, who had years of experience as a hospice nurse, stopped my monologue in mid stream. “You can tell me all about your mother, but first, how are YOU? How are you and your husband doing?” I hesitated. I was dumbstruck. Then I started to cry. It was, in my mind, the first time anyone had asked about us. Even now I cry as I write this. It never occurred to me that someone would care so much about the caregiver and all of our stress, fear and fatigue. In time I began to see Jean as some kind of angel – though angels were not something I knew much about in those days.

The relief was palpable. I think my breath slowed down and my shoulders dropped (just as I taught my yoga students). I did not need to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders anymore. There was someone else who cared and, more than that, knew how to make this work. In time, I saw that Jean had wisdom to share and advice to give that far exceeded anything I could imagine.

Finally and gratefully, we could begin to learn to let go. We were not in this alone. And when Mother met Jean, I think she knew it too. A powerful force had entered into our lives. What it was, we did not necessarily know, but we were relieved and grateful. The surrendering would now begin.

About deannemincer

Deanne Mincer has been a long time student of religious and spiritual studies. For many years, she was a practitioner of yoga and in the late 1980's she was drawn to share her enthusiasm by becoming a yoga teacher. Her certification, from the Himalayan Institute, was a comprehensive two year program including the study of anatomy, diet, nutrition, Ayurvedic medical practices, the methods of teaching hatha yoga, the science of breath and the study of raja (the royal path of yoga) philosophy. She has taught yoga, meditation, and spiritual classes for more than twenty years. In the mid 1990's she became a follower of Siddha Yoga where she experienced a spiritual awakening called shaktipat and her teachings took on a new and freshly informed understanding. As Deanne continued her studies, she learned level one in Reiki and also sutdied with Henry Grayson, Ph.D. where she refined her work with muscle testing and the complex of energy healing methods Dr. Grayson has developed for use with his patients. Dr. Grayson's work is illuminated in his books, Mindful Loving and Use Your Body to Heal Your Mind. Deanne teaches group and private classes in yoga as well as stress reduction programs and meditation in many forms (sitting, walking, whirling, meditation in action, and "sleeping" meditation called yoga nidra). She has developed methods of using yoga in treating those with life threatening diseases as in the programs she designed for Gilda's Club and Friends in Deed in New York City. She was a consulting producer on an alternative health program for CNBC's Alive and Wellness, and she has demonstrated yoga on network television. Deanne created the audio DC, Inner Light Yoga with Deanne Mincer and she has spoken widely and demonstrated meditation in many venues. Deanne is an enthusiastic and joyful teacher. She is known for the keen interest she takes in her students' physical and spiritual development. She stresses that each student should work at their own pace in a non-competitive and caring environment. You can read some of the comments her students have shared in the Tesimonials Section of this site. Her teaching is grounded in her own steadfast spiritual awareness - that each of us is a being of eternal light and love and that we can all come to knowing this truth for ourselves. She is eager to help guide you on this joyful path of body, mind, breath and spirit.

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