Welcome the New. Respect the Old

It’s amazing, really, how fast the emotions move through when you just give them space.

It’s been a rather complicated few months. Yes, my “Month of Miracles” adventure to Europe was incredible. And the 11-11-11 launch of my new book, The Miracle Keys, was a lot of fun. But woven just beneath the surface of those happy life events, my husband and I are going through one of our roughest times ever.

Friends with cancer, a child in distress, and parents losing their minds.

I don’t want that to sound trite, but the last is one of the scariest things I have ever imagined—living out my final days in a facility where old (and some not that old) people are wandering the halls without a clue where they are…or (worse) sitting staring at the TV or the walls, looking at (from all outward appearances) not much.

Moving my husband’s parents to a memory care facility was the last thing they wanted, and we tried for months to avoid it, but it finally became the thing we had to do. It hasn’t been easy. One of them needs it more than the other. Both have resisted it mightily.

Watching bodies fail can be a difficult thing, but feeling the loss of a mind while a loved one’s personality falls apart is heartbreaking. I never imagined it could be this hard.

My husband tells me his heart is being ripped out, and I can see it in his eyes. I can feel it too. It’s different when it’s your own parents changing before your eyes, but I’ve known his parents for over half my life now, and it’s breaking my heart, too.

There’s a good side to letting our hearts break, especially when we open to the hurt rather than hiding from it. I’ve felt my heart grow a few sizes through this whole experience.

As with everything, there’s a beautiful side to losing minds, too. We’ve had some precious moments of laughter and wonder, and I’m capturing every one of those in my heart to remember when the loss grows even more difficult, as I know it will. Watching the way minds start to let go can actually be quite fascinating, and when we stay in a place of cherishing the simple moments rather than longing for the past, there is still much joy in the journey. (Please, let me finally learn this one in all other areas of my life, too!)

I had a BIG AHA as we were moving my in-laws for the third time in a month (on the eve of the New Year). I realized the HUGE GIFT and extreme usefulness of these precious beings that are failing in mind, body or both. Not only are they teaching patience and compassion, they are helping us learn to let go in many rather important ways. Every time I visit the memory care center, my heart is deeply touched by watching the patients and the caregivers who are devotedly attending them.

I started wondering what might happen if we treated ALL endings in life with equal respect.

What might this coming year look like if we could all slow down enough to treat every situation, welcome or not, with complete gratitude?

How might our world change if we would care for one another every day with the patience & compassion that is often reserved for the hard times?

Who would we make time for, and how would our lives change, if we knew someone we love might be leaving…or if we knew the only lasting memory was the one that is this very moment?

Just asking these questions brings me to a place of curiosity and compassion, and the whole situation feels lighter and less devastating to my nerves. I think I’ll let Curiosity and Compassion guide this year.

Wherever you happen to be with your personal New Year transitioning, I invite you to consider these questions and see what comes.

Sora Garrett
Sora Garrett
Sora Garrett is a highly-creative humanitarian who spent years resisting her identity as an organizational genie. After becoming burnt out trying to change the world, she decided to focus on shining light on what’s Good in her world while helping you create joy and meaning in yours. With her fourth book to be published in early 2020, Sora is blending her love for writing with her gift of inspiring people to think outside the box. Still passionate about creating a better world, her business is a philanthropy playground where she shines light on collaborative giving programs and the everyday beacons who inspire her. When she’s not writing or creating, Sora is walking by (not on) water with her mini-schnauzer joy-mate, watching movies with her newly retired husband, sharing time with her two grown children and one amazing grandson, and skiing or hiking in the mountains of Idaho where everyday miracles can be found.
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Mike Pitocco

Thank you for sharing your heart Sora. Showing gratitudel even in the midst of trials. I believe trials show our true measure….. the valleys are where we grow, so much more than the mountaintops.
Caring with the kind of compassion reserved for the hard times… much better a husband, father, brother and friend I would be! And realizing the frailty of life, treasuring the time we have – not taking it for granted. What worthwhile challenges for the new year ahead. May we aspire to them all. Blessings and prayers for you and your family Sora.

Laura Staley

Your beautiful, poignant essay resonates completely with my heart, Sora. Thank you for sharing what’s happening for your in-laws-. How important to remain open-hearted and compassionate as you grieve and celebrate the sweet moments and grieve, again. The practice of loving acceptance of all that life brings us can be quite liberating as we let go of what was and stay grounded in this moment right now (because that is all we ever really have.)

I appreciate the reminder that grieflove keeps expanding the heart-or that’s what it does for me. As I continue to notice how precious in person time is with another human being-that nothing replaces this-nothing, I center in that value. I observe that I put away what might distract me. The widening inner contentment I feel in the midst of much change becomes priceless. I know what I really care about-how I want to live my life-moment by precious moment.

I recently learned that my significant other’s son, who lives in Rochester, NY (we are in NC) was in a car accident. He is ok. Miraculously, he walked away with only bruises. It happened on the freeway with a semi-truck.

We are not promised tomorrow. Best to make as much peace in our own grieving souls so we can feel the love, the wonder, the awe of being alive and in connection with those we love. I have chosen to keep my heart open as a practice, as a contribution, as an offering.

Thank you so much. I absolutely loved this essay, your beautiful way of expressing yourself with tender care. Exquisite.

I will keep you and your husband’s parents in my thoughts and prayers. We are all in this together.

Maureen Nowicki
Maureen Nowicki

Curiosity and compassion sound incredible for you, Sora! Thank you for this honest and balanced perspective you have extended to us. Much appreciated.



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