A Message from a Dream

The Book Stall

Two weeks ago I had that dream, the dream that’s most people’s worst nightmare: speaking in front of an audience. (At least I wasn’t naked.) In fact, I woke up feeling great. I had been worrying about what to say and my dream told me. I awoke knowing just how to write my speech. It seemed like a miracle to have my dream do my work for me.

Lori, Bob and I were scheduled to speak about Lori’s Lessons at the Book Stall in Winnetka May 4. I so wanted to do a good job for the Patins that nothing I wrote seemed good enough. The dream dispatch was a gift from my subconscious. It didn’t come as word-for-word text, but as a message to be straightforward, to tell why Lori’s story is so great and to say what a privilege it has been to tell it. This may sound obvious now, but it wasn’t before my subconscious gave me the dream.

I am a great believer in the power of the subconscious. When I was in college, I procrastinated about writing papers. The night before they were due, I would read through all my notes and then get a good night sleep. When I woke up, I would sit down at the typewriter and type my paper like magic. While I slept, my subconscious organized all the material, figured out what was most important and tied it all together.

My main problem with speaking about Lori’s Lessons was getting started. I usually open by telling of the blessings the Patins have brought to my life. Between the time that we set up our first meeting and the time we met, my daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy. Lori’s story, her wheel of attack against her disease, has helped me teach my daughter how to stand up to her neurological disorder. Bob’s words of wisdom about caregiving have inspired and strengthened me as I care for her. My daughter gave me permission to tell her part of the story in the book, but I knew she would not want me to discuss it when she was in the audience. That caveat had blocked me from writing the talk I wanted to give. My dream straightened me out: I didn’t need to tell my story.

I love a book by Rollo May entitled The Courage to Create. In it, he said: “The value of dreams…is not that they give a specific answer, but that they open up new areas of psychic reality, shake us out of our customary ruts, and throw light on new segments of our lives.” You just have to be ready to receive the message.

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Caregiving is a love story

 

I did not aspire to be a caregiver, but that is what I have become.   I have balked and struggled, but I want to do my best to help two women, one very young and the other very old.

 

Last year I became a caregiver for my 17-year-old daughter when she was diagnosed with epilepsy.  Two days after we got back from dropping her off at college, my 92-year-old mother had a stroke, and later a heart attack and a bleeding ulcer.  Now I am taking care of my dear mother too.

 

From Lori and Bob, I have learned that caregiving is a love story.  She says Bob reminds her of the gospel song: “He walks with me, and he talks with me and he tells me that I am his own,” even though this of course refers to a much greater love and power than the human.   You give care for someone because you love her or him.  You take on the task rather than delegating it because this is not a job.  It is life.

 

Caregiving is a dance where the person giving care and the person receiving it wrap their arms around each other and move in time together to the music.  Bob says that it is important for the person being cared for to respond with love.  “You must love the people who love you.  Their love and care demands reciprocity.  You can’t just expect or demand or even accept their love and care without convincing them that you love them back.  If nothing else, just tell them.”

 

The dance of caregiving is not a grim duty.  The caregiver both gives and receives joy, as does the person being cared for.  Lori advises: “Make constant ‘deposits’ into your energy bank accounts with hugs, sunrises, and laughs.  They will allow for big withdrawals when you get hit with the unexpected.”

 

Patins - picture 12 in my next blog.