Yellow dog breathing beside me. A special friend who knows me well enough to clear the way forward for me. The sound of my dear husband’s squeaky chair as he writes. My Nora Jones Pandora station playing Clapton’s “If I Could Change the World.” My Candle flickering beside me. Floor to ceiling windows allowing me to be outdoors on my inside day. My red hummingbird feeder, signaling my hopes that one or two little wonders will choose to stay with me over the winter.
Mindfulness comes a little more easily to those of us with heart failure. We slow down. Our world contracts. We are more at home and more with ourselves.
Over the past two years, my new specialized pacemaker has allowed my world to widen. I’ve done things I never thought I could do again: walking downtown, eating out, paddling around a bit in the pool. I stopped counting salt and water. I ate what I wanted.
The shining glory and gold of this time was that I was able to be a grandmother to my first grandbaby and to grow closer to my daughter and son-in-law. I can honestly say I took not one moment of my time with my granddaughter for granted. Not one moment.
I did, however, begin to think that I was past heart failure; that perhaps my myriad other heart and health issues were all that was on my plate; that I could be the grandmother I wanted to be to Sam, that I could see my daughter and son-in-law through this next family transition, that I could, I could, I could…..
Instead, I’ve come home again. My heart failure is back. And my Grandson is due to be born in November.
The timing is not at all what I wanted.
And it all does break my heart, just a little.
Back I go to noticing things in my small world. I hear my dog sigh as he settles near me. I see the blues and pinks in my dining room. I overhear my husband talking to a student who says: I always feel like a bother when I need help. Indeed. Indeed.
I need help.
I let those words stand alone because, if I say them at all, I hurry past them. I always feel like a bother when I need help, this young man admits. Hmmm. Turns out I do too. But lucky me, I have people in my life who figure that out about me and who are so gracious, so kind and so much fun, that accepting help feels like the Blessing that it is. These are some of the wonders that will stay with me over this winter of mine. How did I get so lucky?
Maybe I’m finally going to learn to receive. Imagine how much more I will have to give then. Imagine what another period of mindfulness will teach me. Imagine a world in which we all help one another, as we are able, and that what we can give without depleting ourselves is, most wonderfully, enough.
Imagine growing wise.