Threads of Reality ©2018 Joan M. Newcomb, CPC
If you look at your life from an expanded perspective, you’ll see that it’s an interweaving of storylines. I don’t feel that any of these are set in stone, they’re more liquid threads of possibilities that we can engage in. I’m currently engaging with several of these and it’s fascinating to look back to see how they’ve floated into my reality at different points.
A year or so ago, I was musing about my brother and his wife who live in Queens, and what would happen to them if one of them died. Her only child lives in Taiwan. In this kind of daydream I was in I realized they clearly would need help. And I knew that I’d go out to help them, although it meant confronting fears and unknowns (I cannot drive freeways, I know nothing about Queens).
It was one of those random kind of thoughts, I don’t know what triggered it. My family isn’t super close. I have two other brothers, one lives in Pennsylvania - I visited them once in 1999. They have three adult children and numerous grandchildren.
My other brother lives near me, we only see each other for funerals and weddings, it seems. He’s married, and he has four adult children and a couple of grandchildren.
My assumption is whatever comes up, for those two guys, the adult children will be able to step into handle things.
But I worried about my little brother, or at least I did at that moment. And our main connection is playing Words With Friends. He was the one who drove down from New York every long weekend between April 2011 when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when my caregiving journey began in earnest (although in a way, it had begun years before) and January 2013 when she passed. They’d given me much needed breaks. So I felt they were the only ones who’d really pitched in and helped.
And then I forgot about it.
At the beginning of August my little brother abruptly stopped playing Words With Friends. His last move was about August 5th, and our last little side chat on WWF was late July when he complained about the heat in NY and an earache. So I felt something was up. But sometimes they go on trips, and maybe this was one of those times. I posted a note on his Facebook timeline, “Hej, Bro - haven’t seen you on line in a couple days. Has the heat done you in? Hope your ear is feeling better! <3”
A week passed and I sent an email. And a day later heard back from my sister in law, “Matt has had a stroke on the back of his head. They are moving him to rehab next week”.
That was August 16th. And looking at my note on his timeline, it was written on August 11th, which was about the day he went into the hospital.
A series of emails followed to determine if they needed help and even if I’d be welcome to help or if I’d just be in the way. Then the weekend before Labor Day it got affirmed, so I booked a ticket for Sept. 2nd and have been here since.
There are other threads, with friends, clients, other relatives that are weaving into the reality that is unfolding here.
Like my two year cycle with my mother (which was really a 7 year cycle and really a lifetime), this current situation is coming into reality with no clear script of the future.
I’m here, “boots on the ground”, offering assistance and, as I can see, healing in a myriad of ways I could not possibly have imagined.
Now, he’s not dying, so I’m not midwifing him out of body, as I did with my mother. You could say I am midwifing someone into a new phase of their life.
I have no idea what each day will bring, even if there are prewritten scripts, I’ll just show up and improvise.
Regardless of what threads in your life are weaving together, you’re in charge of how you respond or react to them. You can interrupt longstanding patterns by responding differently. And ultimately you’re at choice on whether to engage in any of them.