Lover's Key, Florida

Lover's Key, Florida

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Thursday, March 29, 2012


Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of  Gwen's illness was to watch someone so vital and appreciative of every moment of life lose ground each day on the things that we simply take for granted.  Things like being able to dress, walk from one room to another, feed oneself, or even brush her teeth.  Had she been able to do so, she would have stomped her feet and said "I do not like this one bit!"  In fact, she often said words similar to that.  I have said before that caring for her was never difficult, she made it easy, and, in the process, taught our children and me a lot about unconditional love.

In her book Kitchen Table Wisdom, Rachel Ramen makes this statement:  "The healing of our present woundedness may lie in recognizing and reclaiming the capacity we all have to heal each other, the enormous power in the simplest human relationship; the strength of a touch, the blessing of forgiveness, the grace of someone else taking you just as you are, and finding in you an unsuspected goodness." 

Many of you know that Gwen was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at age 28.  As she would later do with cancer, she acknowledged that she had this disease and then went on with living her life just as she wanted; which included returning to college at the age of 36 and earning a bachelors degree in nursing.  In a funny sort of way, what happened was that my children and I loved her, not in spite of her disease, but because of her disease. Such was the strength of her character. 

 In my professional training and practice I have often been taken by the awesome power of unconditional love and acceptance.  Especially during her illness, Gwen showed us that power by her refusal to ever complain about either the unfairness of her illness or the manner in which we cared for her. In return, we all grew in our appreciation of and ability to practice unconditional love. The words below are  my attempt to capture a little piece of what that felt like:

I lean over
Kiss her on the neck
Do my best Mr. Rogers
I love you just the way you are.

I love you more
She whispers back
Kisses me on the cheek
Softly, gently.

Imagine doing that
For fifty years
And then no more
Welcome to my neighborhood.

John A. Bayerl, February 1,  2011

 The healing of our present woundedness may lie in recognizing and reclaiming the capacity we all have to heal each other. . .

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