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Listen and Learn: Navigating the Ups and Downs of Life

Listen and Learn: Navigating the Ups and Downs of Life

Greetings one and all…

Another day dawns in Denver revealing a glorious morning indeed. I am enjoying a cup of coffee, watching our dogs romp around, and reflecting on the events of the past few weeks. So far, 2017 has proven to be fast paced and action packed. Therefore, it’s time to slow down, take a breath, and ponder the lessons to be learned. It’s time to listen to life.

Several weeks ago, a dear friend landed in the hospital due to complications associated with dialysis. The situation was serious enough that she stayed in the hospital for a week followed by 10 days in rehab. Her family and friends worked as a team to ensure a viable plan of care. At times, the process was similar to herding cats—frustrating, inefficient, and ineffective. Despite some bumps along the way, I am happy to say that our dear friend is now home and doing much better. To be honest, I wasn’t sure she would be able to return home and live independently. However, this is not the first time our 81-year-old friend has surprised me. Nor is it the first time she has taught me some important lessons about life.

In the process of companioning our friend, I witnessed the transformation of a fiercely independent woman who was reluctant to ask for help into that of an incredibly courageous woman who graciously accepted the assistance of others. The transformation was not easy. However, it was necessary in order to achieve the ultimate goal of returning home. With all eyes on the prize, we collaboratively established new rules, new expectations, and new boundaries. Because our friend chose to adapt to the reality of her situation, she is now home and savoring every moment.

Today, as I reflect on the past few weeks, I marvel at the wisdom, courage, and tenacity of our friend. I learned so much by observing her journey and listening to her concerns. I resonated with her unwillingness to abdicate control or to acquiesce to the directives of others. I understood her desire to “go home.” We are alike in that way—we love our independence and autonomy!

However, there are times in life when our greatest strength can become our greatest weakness if overplayed. Those moments are distressing indeed, because we must learn a new way of being in the world. So, I am blessed to “listen and learn” at the feet of an amazing woman who is navigating the ups and downs of life with courage, confidence, and grace. And we are all truly thankful that she is allowing us to companion her in this journey. We still have so much to learn.   

I look forward to the ongoing conversation. If you have specific questions or concerns related to your caregiving experience, I would love to hear from you. Until the next posting, I wish you and yours countless blessings…jane  

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