My dad went into palliative care last week. My mom and I sat with him, waiting for the ambulance to transport us to the hospice. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe the sad resignation I saw in his eyes, while he tried to be positive and brave for us. There was more than one moment where I wanted to smash something, while feeling my heartbreak.
I’m sharing this with you because I believe in authenticity. I also believe that life isn’t done to me … it’s UP to me. This is a mindset that becomes a practice, which had me wondering if I could find grace during one of life’s more painful moments. And if there were some useful insights I might share with
you as part of my community.
The opening words from the book A Road Less Traveled have repeatedly come back to haunt me: “Who said life was supposed to be fair?” There is nothing fair about what has happened to my dad’s health, mind and body.
But the book also focuses on finding grace in everything, and this concept had a significant impact years ago on creating a more peaceful and powerful life for myself.
In Marianne Williamson’s book Everyday Grace she says, “Most of us wouldn’t think of beginning our day without washing the accumulated dirt from the day-before off our bodies. Yet far too often we go out into the day without similarly cleansing our minds.”
One of the simple ways I create everyday grace for myself is to start my day with just a few moments of quiet time and focus on what I’m grateful for. I’ll often take something challenging and turn it around.
On the one hand, I’ve felt deep grief and even anger that my dad is suffering … and now has to leave his wife and home. Finding grace in grief is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
But … during his physical decline our family has pulled together in ways I haven’t experienced before. It was miraculous there was an opening at the hospice on the very day it was needed, and it’s only blocks away from my mom. Volunteers offer healing touch, massage and even pet therapy! My mom can begin to relax, knowing he’s being well cared for by experts who are kind and compassionate. He’s safe.
Does that mean the upset is all gone? No. But do I experience less of it, and feel more peace when I choose to focus on what I’m grateful for? Yes.
One of the stanzas from the Woman Of Worth Credo reads:
“At times I despair and I weep, when I feel the pain of a world that has momentarily gone mad. Yet even when I tremble through a dark night of the soul, I renew my faith and my courage in a single heartbeat because my spirit is indomitable.”
Everyday grace, even when I tremble.
One of my dearest and wisest friends wrote last week, “If I could take away your sadness and grief, I would. The good news is, I can’t. This process, as you are aware, is part of the experience of life. That we create such magnificent love and support around us is a reflection of how well we have done here. How wonderful to know how loved we are when we leave. You have an amazing heart and soul, and I know it is tender right now.”
I wept like a baby.
When I look in my dad’s eyes, there is infinite love and grace that will stay in my heart always. Choosing to find grace isn’t always easy, but it’s one of the more meaningful gifts I’ve given to myself that also ripples out into every area of my life and impacts those around me. As I go into each new day, I choose it again.
Author: Christine Awram
Christine is the founder of Women of Worth, affectionately known as WOW, which she created as a result of spending her “earlier life in the dark hole of believing she was never quite good enough.”
Photo credit: fallingwater123