Thank you Cathy Rapport of Yoga Pod College Station for sharing your beautiful words about how yoga has helped you through a painful transition. Your experience speaks to the difficulty in seeing a parent struggle at end of life, and the reflection that that shines on our own lives and the choices we make about how we live our days. We hope that by sharing your words we inspire others to feel more supported by their yoga practice and our community. We are grateful to be part of your journey and healing process.
Take it away, Cathy…
8 days after his last dance my Father drifted peacefully off to his everlasting life. I recall walking down the hall, holding hands after his “happy, happy birthday” party and saying, “you don’t owe me a day over 88.” The generous man that he was, he gave us 8 more days. 8 children, 88 years and 8 days. He died on the 19th. (9-1=8)
Who would ever imagine that guiding him in his final descent into Alzheimer’s disease would be considered one of the greatest gifts that I have ever received? When the decision was made that my Father would move to Florida where I would oversee his care, I vowed not to be devastated when he forgot that I was his daughter. I made a conscious decision to only be his guardian angel, not someone he would forget many times over. Dressed in only white clothing I presented to him in the color of my spirit, white. A symbol of kindness. Over the years as he declined he lost his memories, his words, his connections to time and place, and faces but he was never lost and alone. We made sure of that.
This past year I have reflected back on this most beautiful experience and still question, why me? Why was I the chosen one? The one who was gifted with the opportunity to assist this man on his final journey? The only plausible answer is, “God has his reasons.” Acceptance, it’s always about acceptance for me.
I am working on finding a balance as I am inching past my fear to embrace a new passion, this next right thing. Yoga. I have been practicing for a little over 3 years and it gives me a feeling of calmness that carries me through my days. Now I am hoping it carries me through my life. The balance, the grace, the fluidity are the ways I would like to go through my life.
I recently read, “If you can breathe, you can do yoga,” The very first thing that is required at the moment of our birth is that we breathe. The final work we have to fulfill on our deathbed is to take that last breath. Between those two breaths, hopefully we will love plenty, live some dreams, feel some pain, cry, aspire, be grateful, overcome hardship, enjoy friendships, have faith, make beautiful art, experience joy, embrace creativity, rest, read, play, never give up, learn, be courageous, have fun, be spontaneous, be still, seek calm, be happy, give to others, be vulnerable, have compassion for others, know God, be resilient, laugh, sing, dance, be authentic, show up, find meaningful work and breathe 672,768,000 more times.
The challenge of the practice becomes the rhythms of the body, breath and mind as one. My breath builds strength into my life, soft and strong, durable and responsive. So as I push on-trying to figure out my life here in Texas without him, I am moving forward with my decision to deepen my spiritual and physical practice by taking Yoga Pod’s Seva Teacher Training. I would like this new journey to help me stay connected to that senior community. I look forward to the self discovery along the way. Mostly, I just want to do something meaningful. I want to breathe fresh air into a room of wizened folks with aging but able bodies, I want to inspire someone, touch a heart and share a smile. I believe it is a good fit for me, a wise choice. And when you make choices that align with the life you truly want, you attain perfect balance. Following the light, wearing white.