Friday, May 27, 2011

Calm & Storm

Throughout my day, week, whatever, I will have these phrases pop into my head. Maybe I've heard them before. Maybe I've made them up. I have no idea. 

Seemingly at random, these phrases come to me. Over the last 2 days, at various times of the day, without meaning, I would start repeating calm & storm, calm & storm.

The week was very hard on me.

For those of you who do not know the story, 5 months ago my aunt was given 3-6 months to live. She had been diagnosed with a very advanced melanoma. She has gone through many surgeries and experimental treatment.

The cancer had progressed into her brain where there were 4 very large lesions and many smaller lesions. The neuro-surgeon advised that brain surgery was not an option.

She was given 2-3 weeks to live.

People die from massive heart attacks. It's shocking. There's no time for closure. 

Something like cancer is different. Family is an active part of the dying process. Last requests, wishes.....

Even when you are given a timeframe of 3-6 months, it doesn't seem real.

In the end, the option that the family chose was to move her back home with in home care.

On one of those days, I left to go for a short swim. 

My emotions were pent up all week. I would cry for no reason. I would cry because I couldn't get the door unlocked. I cried because I couldn't comprehend some legal documents I was supposed to sign. 

I just couldn't stop crying.

Then I hit a void. I knew it was time to do something, so I went swimming. as many of you know, swimming is incredibly meditative for me because it comes naturally to me. I don't have to think about it. I just do it.

The day I showed up at the pool, I stuck my foot in the water, and it was cold as ice. I sat on the edge of the pool with my feet dangling in the cold water. I sat there for 10 minutes when I decided to skip the swim. I went over to the hot tub and got in.

That's when I noticed that there was a woman in the pool. I've talked to her before, but I was completely drawing a blank as to how I know her or what her name was.

She said, "Something must be up. I've never seen you turn down a good swim before. You've swam in much colder water than that."

I nodded as the tears welled up again. 

She looked at me and looked away and said, "Let's go swim." She came over and took my hand and we walked over to the pool.

She jumped in and let out a squeal and smiled at me. Without thinking, I jumped right in.

At some point during the swim, she got out of the pool. She didn't say anything to me. She just got out quietly, somehow knowing that I needed that time to be myself and process the emotions and thoughts that had been simmering below.

As I swam, I thought of something Mr. Tea had said to me before. He said, "When you swim, it looks so smooth and effortless. there's no splashing. No noise. but I know beneath the surface is where all the power is."

Calm & Storm