My aunt is dying quickly. She has weeks at most, and we are glad that her mind is sharp so that we can talk and laugh and cry about what we all feel is coming too quickly. As I drove over to her house this morning, toting an orchid to add beauty to her surroundings, I looked at the clock. I have meetings and responsibilities that don’t care. I own that I’ve let them stay on my calendar. My aunt gets tired; a thirty-minute visit is plenty…
…and yet I feel the pang of guilt that I haven’t dropped everything. She doesn’t want me to, doesn’t want anyone to fuss and we are doing everything she asks, including double desserts. Still, I wonder if I’m doing the hard stuff well. How will I know? I decided to ask. I tell her what I just wrote and that I want to get it right. She laughs. “Honey, you are getting it right and you can work and be here for me. You are doing it right now.”
Ah, acceptance, forgiveness, honesty. They cool the air, removing the dust and humidity, leaving me feeling refreshed.
Some people would feel best if they did drop everything. Others don’t want to be around when some one is dying soon. Some straddle being there and not. When life serves us the hard stuff, I want people to know that what they need and how they deal with things is just that, how they deal. There is not a right and wrong way to do it, except in the eyes of the judgy people. And, paraphrasing Brené Brown, “it’s easy to criticize from way up in the cheap seats”.
Writing this in June of 2021, we still don’t know what the fallout is going to be from Covid-19. We don’t know what vaccines will work and how well. We don’t know what will happen to the people who choose not to be vaccinated. There is a lot of hard stuff we simply do not know how to deal with well. I have decided to approach the work hard stuff with longer and more curious conversations. Asking people how they feel not why they feel a certain way. Their hard stuff is sometimes the same, sometimes different, than mine and I want to give them the space to be in their hard stuff without piling on more.
For people who do best with more time to process change, the last year+ has been very difficult. They were forced into change and many had to juggle multiple changes. Wherever you land on the ‘how do you react to change?’ bell curve, imagine you were your opposite and allow forgiveness and acceptance to be a part of how you interact with others and yourself. Double dessert is, IMO, a perfectly acceptable response.
P.S. My Aunt would love that I shared part of her story with you as a way to put things in perspective and find gratitude and appreciation in the little things.
– Becky Sharpe, President & CEO