The phone rang. Caller was a middle-aged son with an elderly parent who had recently broken his hip walking the dog; surgical repair was complete, but Dad was not working very hard on the rehab part of that program, so Medicare had stopped paying for the stay. What to do, the son was wondering. Keep Dad there? Bring him home?
What does Mom say? She wants him home, walking.
Walking might not be possible since he’s not working the Physical Therapy exercises.
What does Dad say? “Get me outta here!”
What does the son think? But there’s a raging pandemic out there, numbers of the infected and deaths climbing every single day. And this pandemic especially likes the elderly and infirm – they fall down and often don’t get up. And this virus goes through nursing homes like a buzz saw – but what if Dad’s already infected and he gives it to Mom if we bring him home? What if they both die? I don’t think I could stand it if they both die. Around and around goes the fear mind, replaying endless what-ifs.
Many of us have a similar fear litany going through our minds every time we step out of our homes. Some of us manage that fear with denial – it can’t be that bad, it can’t get me. And some of us just go out and play basketball, cause whatever’s bothering the old folks isn’t going to bother me. And some of us overreact in our posts about “I just saw someone cough!!” We all have our own ways of managing the fear and anxiety over things we cannot control.
What happens if you turn the focus to love? What might be the most loving thing that son could do for his Dad?
IF Dad is infected – bring him home or leave him in the nursing home? If you bring him home, infected or not, he’s going to have to be quarantined for 2 weeks to monitor for symptoms before he can rejoin Mom routinely. But he’ll be home, surrounded by his own stuff and smells and foods and sheets and you wouldn’t believe how important one’s own pillow can be. And one’s own pets, and beloveds, and family and surroundings.
If it were you, if you were the Dad in this picture, what would you choose? When you don’t know, can’t know, if here or there is safer or more dangerous to you. When you’re flying blind but have to fly anyway – would the fear mind take over, or can you look with eyes of love?
What would Love do?
What would Love do?
I believe that Love would honor the autonomy of the individual. After a long discussion of risks and benefits, phrased so the Dad would understand what would be different if he came home, ultimately I believe that Love leaves the decision in Dad’s hands.
Do you want to die alone in a strange place? Maybe Dad doesn’t either.
Do you want to continue the relationship with your primary Significant Other? No matter how good or bad that relationship may be, maybe Dad does too.
Do you want to make your own decisions? Maybe Dad does too.
Love lives with an open hand, accepting others as they are, not seeking to change them. If we look to the Unitarian Universalist principles, “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” is certainly involved. “Acceptance of one another” is in there too. And the “free and responsible search for truth and meaning” certainly sounds a lot like living and dying on one’s own terms.
Robert Green Ingersoll writes: “Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.”
Be well, be blessed. May we all survive to learn from this pandemic. – Dana
Dana Morgan was first dedicated to the Wicca in the late 70s in Chicago. First met CUUPS when co-founder Rev. Lesley Phillips came to Pan Pagan in 1988, stirring up interest in CUUPS formation. (Pagans and Churches? Unthinkable! Absurd! But sometimes it works.) She has attended one GA, (so far!) and is a member of Olmsted UU Church. She recently retired after 40 years of coven leadership. But somehow the teaching and learning and sharing with the next generation never seems to stop, So from that perspective, her Thoughts About Things are humbly offered for your consideration. Blessed be!