Friday, February 18, 2011

Ten-star days and Love

Gerri continues to enjoy every day to the fullest. Every time I see her now—enjoying each day without pain, blissfully eating chocolate, sipping hot water, chatting about God and the world—I try to absorb Gerri's gracious and courageous attitude into my being with the hope that I'll remember it and will be able to emulate it when my time comes to get ready for the end of my earthly life.

I "sat with Gerri" yesterday. What an expression. I guess your vocabulary changes when someone is ill and is safer with someone sitting with them. This Gerri-sitting was really a delightful visit in her great company, topped with servings of excellent tea and scrumptious chocolate. Even better is that you can always feel the love Gerri is surrounded with, draws strength from, and exudes with every precious minute you spend in her company.

On Valentine's Day, Mokuh sent to some friends on facebook a virtual box of chocolate with what I think is the perfect definition of Love and its immense power.
"Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God's holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heaven's kindly light, the Holy Spirit's eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul. Love is the cause of God's revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance... with the divine creation, in the realities of things. Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha)
Thank you, Bartholomew. I've savoured each word, because there is nothing to add or to remove from the perfection of this statement. Gerri is sending everyone her love.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Good days continue...

I got an email from Gerri herself yesterday:
"Just tears and sighs and many thanks from me today--a ten Star bonus day of five this week!"
Gerri had a big day yesterday, full of emotions. Two visits from people who came to see her from out of town. Her first visitors, Bruce and Mark, came to sing the Lord's Prayer to her, for which Bruce specially composed the music. It will be their loving contribution to Gerri's (interfaith) funeral service, and as, when the time comes, Gerri won't be able to hear it, they made a special trip to sing it to her.

Think about that for a moment...

Harold Rosen  launched his book "Founders of Faith" yesterday at North Island College. In any other circumstance Gerri would have been at his book launch, but since she was unable, the book launch came to her. Am mentioning this here because this is one book that Gerri was looking forward to reading, and I think it will be of interest to a lot of her friends.

Yesterday was a day of spiritual love that went far above and beyond the Valentine's Day version.

A note of caution to all of Gerri's friends. The no visits, no phone calls, no deliveries or other disruptions request is still in effect. Your prayers, good wishes, blog comments and emails will reach her.

It is easy to forget how fast Gerri can spiral into a crisis when she has had good days. Her ten-star days have stretched into several in a row because she has kept to a tight schedule of treatments, medications, food and rest. Gerri herself is inviting the people she needs to see. You may be getting a call from her when it is your time to talk with her.
Today, Gerri is exhausted. It's a day of rest for her. As she said in her own words, her days have been ten-star days. Pain controlled, she is eating good food, even some things she had never tried before, and treats, like chocolate and ice cream.

Gerri now enjoys her meals, savoring every bite. Something she had not been able to do in her earlier days. She was always afraid to gain weight.

Her approach to food started changing when she knew her diagnosis. She would open that chocolate, break off a piece, and ask with her wicked little grin: "would I eat this if I died tomorrow?" ...You bet she would!