Friday, November 25, 2005


I am returning to the Hermitage today in the hopes of finding solace. It will take time, time for mourning and grieving, time for knowing how to respond, time for re-finding my center and due north on my compass.

The catalyst for this visit to the Hermitage occured at 2 a.m. this morning, the day after Thanksgiving. I was woken to be told that my sister-in-law (the wife of my oldest brother, not the brother who died last month) was in the hospital. Barb had a brain aneurysm. Come to find out later, 2, to be exact. There was nothing they could do for her but make her "comfortable." As the day unfolded I discovered that one of the aneurysms was so deep in her brain that it had caused extensive brain damage. The only brain activity left would be a few body twitches.

My sister-in-law has had MS for about 15 years. She had had bouts with it, times she had trouble walking, but no pain. It was only in the last month or so that she started having pain. We had the sense that her life would be shortened, but not to this degree. She is 52 years old. The brain aneurysm had nothing to do with MS. It was just a freak incident. She had the symptoms of having the flu yesterday, which is about the only symptoms you see with a brain aneurysm.

As I retreat to the Hermitage, my brother and his three sons are with Barb now as they remove her from life support. I've asked the other residents in the Hermitage, and the staff, to send good thoughts out to my family, my oldest brother, Steve, and his sons, especially. Steve spoke today of deja' vu as he was at the hospital with my brother, Stan, as doctors spoke of no brain functioning and brain pressure that could not be relieved...the same things the doctors told him last night in regards to his wife. And, again, he has to be with a very dear loved one as she passes on.

So much pain and grief in the past month is hard on us all, but most of all, on Steve. He was closest to Stan and obviously, to Barb.

One thing that is making a permanent impression on my brain is to not take life for granted. Tell those who are important to you how you feel. Don't wait another minute, as it may be someone's last.

I was awake most of the night and day, having a nap in the middle of the day after visiting Barb at the hospital and saying my good-byes. I will be visiting the Bath House shortly in hopes the warmth and aroma therapy will help relieve the creases in my brow, release the pains of the heart through my pores. I'll schedule a body massage for later to help this muscles I've held so taut to relax, to have the grief kneaded from within.

All the while I'm here, I'll pray for my brother and nephews -- both Stan's and Steve's sons. I'll pray for all those who have or will lose a loved one during the most difficult time of the year for loss. And I'll pray that I have it within me to move on from here, crawl out from under the shadows, stand once again in the sun and walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before me with greater wisdom to guide my days, no matter how short.


At 10:14 PM, Blogger Heather Blakey said...

Oh Shari. I am so sorry! You really have had a terrible time of it. If you are outdoors and happen to see a raven circling know that I have sent messages of love to you.

At 11:17 PM, Blogger Imogen Crest said...

Shari, what a piece of news. Thank goodness you came to seek solitude and you will have it, along with the blessings of everyone here in the region. I will post some flowers I just captured today, and they must have been meant for you and your loved ones. Hold them close. Blessings to you.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Vi Jones said...

You are in my thoughts, Shari. Make the most of your stay at the Hermitage ... it and the solitude it offers. It is through that solitude and with the thoughts coming your way from friends and fellow travelers that healing can be found.


At 4:27 AM, Blogger Fran said...

Our hearts are with you. May you find strength in your love when your loved ones suffer with you. Fran


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