It’s OK that you do not remember what happened. I understand. I’ll remember for you, now. Letting the mind relax, letting it be free of unnecessary effort will help it relax, and to slowly heal. The doctors and nurses and other hospital staff are very skilled in their caring for you in this neuroscience center.
I understand that it is uncomfortable to have the tube in your nose. And that your throat feels tight. That tube is bringing food and medicine down into your stomach because you are not able to swallow yet. Perhaps soon, but not yet. If you try to swallow before the mouth and throat are working you could choke. I understand that the tube makes your poor, dry throat even sorer. So many high-tech machines in this new facility, and not one of them measuring how dry and sore your throat is.
Other patients in this neuroscience section of the hospital also suffered a cerebral vascular accident, CVA. They too are being treated medically and have the hopes and prayers of loved ones to regain the use of their arms, legs, to again be able to chew and swallow, and to remember. They too filled out this advance directive form to indicate a preference on how aggressively to be resuscitated and kept alive mechanically.
Do you still remember how we would go out to lunch, from time to time at different restaurants? Do you remember when I was young and you attended my football games? Do you remember when I was a little baby, small and premature, needing extra special care? I understand that right now you don’t remember raising me and your other children. Perhaps all memories of my infancy are gone, for now.
I’ll let you rest now, dear mother. The nurse has come with the bed pan and will wash you. Those medicines will ease your pain and make it easier to sleep. After a lifetime of thinking and worrying, now is the right time to relax. No place to go, nothing to do. There’s nothing to worry about. No cell phones to answer.
Breathing in calm, deep breaths. Breathing out, worries and stress. Taking refuge in this hospital bed. Cared for by bright, enthusiastic health professionals. Taking refuge in each conscious breath. Body and mind relaxed, at one in this special moment of still being alive on this earth.
When you deny the reality of life, you appreciate it less. Meditate on the Buddha’s Five Remembrances and rediscover the magic of life just as it is.
I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.
I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love are the nature to change.
There is no way to escape being separated from them.
My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground upon which I stand. ~Thich Nhat Hanh, from the Plum Village Chanting Book