What is life about. When you start a sentence with ‘what’, the expectation is to have a question mark at the end of the sentence. In this case there is no answer so the question mark would be a trick.
What what. Is is. Life life. About about. Echoing in my mind…
Animals don’t ask this question. If we look to other things for answers we find that the questions don’t even exist.
A lot of people aren’t even plagued with this question.
So maybe all that is true is unquestionable
Here is my dad releasing a butterfly that was trapped in his screened porch. One thing he still does regularly is catch and release all sorts of insects, birds, toads, lizards. (Thanks to Vincent for recording this video)
The other day a dragon fly was hanging by a wing from a spider web. It looked dead to me. I put my finger under his legs to make sure and the dragon fly grabbed onto my finger with his sticky little feet. So We pulled the web from it’s wing and there he sat on my finger, wiping his eyes (probably not his ‘eyes’ exactly but they look like eyes!) with his little front feet and to my dad and my delight, he took off and flew really healthily away. Great joy in that small moment for all 3 of us 🙂
What is life.
My mom passed away in May, the earlier signs of her brain damage from Alzheimer’s was to feed the cats all the time…The bowl empty, she must not have fed them so she’d feed them again. One day my dad says ‘she’s really feeding the cats too much, I have cat food hidden in my dresser drawer so she won’t use it all up’.
My mom passed away and then we sold her car to one of my employees children. Yesterday my employee came in my office with a can of cat food and said ‘here, I found this under the car seat’. My heart. Flooded with such sadness. And then more sadness as my dad has started doing the EXACT same thing with the cats and the dog just a few months after she passed away. The caretaker buying 15 cans of cat food twice a week! My dad gets upset when there is no cat food in the drawer so we try and keep it full to keep him from making someone drive him to the grocery store to get more cat food or worse have the repeated and stressful discussions of why he shouldn’t and can’t drive anymore.
The similarities in their behaviors, chipping away at my heart.
What is life about?
Here is my dad next to my moms ashes that are in a granite urn under one of her favorite trees in their yard . I had to move the urn closer to the house because my dad would get up in the middle of the night and go outside claiming there were six people in a taxi coming at night to see the urn. Since moving it on the back porch, he’s only gone outside one time.
On our last trip to his doctor, I asked the doctor about these hallucinations. The doctor said yes, delusions and hallucinations are common with dementia. Your father has no idea of time anymore. The past doesn’t exist separate from the present, they are all blending together. When my dad looks at photos from when my mom was in her 20’s he says ‘there you are’ as he is looking at me. Daddy that’s not me, that is mom, my mom, your wife. ‘Who is that?’ Like he doesn’t remember having a wife or that I have a mom that was his wife. Then he’ll look at a picture of her in her 50’s and say ‘where is she?’ She passed away dad, ‘she did? I hate that’ he says. Then the photos closer to her time of death I’ll say there is mom, she passed away and he will say ‘I know’.
What a bizarre scene. You lose your wife of over 50 years, you experience it. You lose your mind, you forget it. You see pictures, you think she’s still alive somewhere. You completely believe she is out by the gate, that she exists and that you must find her (with a flashlight in the yard at 2 am…). You forget again that she died. I can see the complete multi-level confusion exhausting him. One day before my mom went in the hospital she told my dad she was going to Maine to go to college with a group of young people. My mom, with advanced Alzheimers who would always try to wander and had to be brought back to the house by neighbors when my dad lost track of her. After my mom passed away my dad says she wanted to go to Maine with a bunch of young people (this was all supposed to happen out by their gate). Little did I know my dad was teetering on the edge of dementia at this point and was actually believing what she had said. So now that she is gone, he thinks she is in Maine going to college with a bunch of young people. His heart broken from the betrayal. Dang! What is life about when in the end your heart gets broken from things that aren’t even real. I would remind him of her illness and that she didn’t go anywhere but to heaven and he would seem comforted that maybe he was just losing his own mind.
Since I wrote this, my dad has passed away, almost six months to the day since his wife passed away. It’s been a rough six months for him. My dad was always the man that would insist everyone else go through a door before him. The ultimate gentleman with regards to treating others. I believe he let my mom go first in this instance too. The last year of her life, stepping it up to be her caretaker despite his own health problems and doing a good enough job that no one really knew how bad he was too until after she was gone.
What is life about?
Such a relevant fortune cookie message…
I think I have come to a personal conclusion that life is not about the brain, but it’s all about the heart. Dragonfly moments. We did everything from the heart for the last few years. Brain irrelevant. My own brain was discouraged at times with the amount of time and energy it took to care for my parents (not to mention the guilt from worrying about not doing enough) but my heart never quit, never complained and was ever present with what was important.
Life may be about opportunities to grow the heart. I have always been able to feel my heart strongest around horses. Especially my own horse. I can feel the pull from my chest when I am near her. A giant desire to hug that that does not necessarily want to be hugged, it’s pure gold. I have practiced having that same feeling when in situations with people. Strangers or not and especially with people that are being difficult. It’s always better to go with your heart places. The amazing thing to me was feeling that same feeling about my dad as I do with my horse. He grew my heart 🙂
I have no doubt that everyone has different ways of working out their hearts and probably for most people it’s with their children. I know a lot of people that are natural at giving everything from their heart, this is nothing really new for them. Some people may be able to do it with music or art or writing. The experience with my mom and dad has just given my heart the best workout ever and grown it in ways that I could never have imagined. At least for this moment in time I will not put a question mark or even ask the question about life and purpose. I will just remember that the brain is not to be trusted…the heart is where it’s at 🙂
Yes, she had beer in that cup…If you think about it the next time you raise a glass, give a toast to the best two people I have ever known! Hopefully at peace now that their hearts are together again.
‘Life is the greatest experiment. Each of us is an experiment of one-observer and subject-making choices, living with them, recording the effect.’ George Sheehan