for Pat Adair, and the people who love her...

Our beloved Pat got some shocking news recently, and we're off and running on a mysterious medical adventure. Not an adventure we would have picked, but we're off just the same... (If you're new to the blog, start here.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

We suffer less if...

I'm sitting in Mom's hospital room, and things seem to have taken a turn for the worse. (Not that I really know.) Last night in the ER, around 10 p.m., she had a couple of bites of a sandwich and then threw up. She complained about her stomach hurting, but that seemed natural. But in the night she had intense pain in her stomach that is now being treated with morphine. If you can believe it, this new pain seems worse than her hip pain. She's sleeping now and I'm waiting to hear from the oncologist. Maybe she has some ideas on what's going on with Mom's cancer.

I stumbled across this paragraph on a website as I'm sitting here, and it strikes me as, oh, perfect:

Sylvia Boorstein’s fifth book, "Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life", is dedicated to her dear friend who died of cancer. The message of Sylvia’s book is one that anyone can access: we suffer less if we stop struggling against what happens to us and begin to accept things as they are - when we acknowledge that ‘this isn't what I wanted but it's what I got.’

I have my work cut out for me. It doesn't sort of describe the suffering that I'm going through during this time - it completely describes it. I attended a one-month silent meditation retreat where Sylvia was one of the teachers, and she's a peach. I found another quote of hers on the same topic:
I've discovered there are only two modes of the heart. We can struggle, or we can surrender. Surrender is a frightening word for some people, because it might be interpreted as passivity, or timidity. Surrender means wisely accommodating ourselves to what is beyond our control. Getting old, getting sick, dying, losing what is dear to us, what the Buddha taught as the first Noble Truth or life's unsatisfactoriness-- is beyond our control. I can either be frightened of life and mad at life-- or not. I can be disappointed and still not be mad. Stopping being mad -- when I can, -- translates for me as being compassionate -- to myself as well as to other people.
Sometimes I know this, but I don't always know this...



At June 23, 2008 2:04 PM , Anonymous Judy said...

Thank you Dave for the update and your written thoughts. When possible, please let Pat know that Jack and I are thinking of her.
Judy Harper

At June 23, 2008 6:01 PM , Anonymous Mari Jo said...

Dear Dave,
I am praying for the doctors to help your mom, for your mom to get relief from the pain and for you to stay strong, as strong as possible. You inspire me with you honesty in your writing and your tender loving care for your mother.
She is such a dear lady. You are a dear son. Please hug her for me.
Sending love and prayers, Mari Jo

At June 23, 2008 7:10 PM , Blogger debra said...

Dear Dave,
Thank you for being you and sharing what you are going through.

Thanks for the words of wisdom and your strength. It humbles us all.

We love you; we send all our love and prayers.
-debra & bill

At June 24, 2008 9:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dave and Pat,
I just can't find words to express my sorrow at your suffering. Being so close to your situation and to my sister's situation, I can begin to understand how it was that Christ sweat tears of blood on our behalf.

Thanks for sharing the powerful words written by Sylvia B. on suffering - it was immensely thought provoking in positive ways for each of us in the extended Van Vliet family at this time in our lives. We think and speak of you daily with love and concern. Kim

At June 27, 2008 3:08 PM , Blogger debra said...

Brooke - that was beautiful, inspiring, and much more (don't even have the right words).

You are all very lucky to have each other and all the love.

All of you sharing this experience is a true gift to us all.

So I say thank you for sharing, and thank you for such inspiring and thought provoking sentiments. You have all enriched my life.


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