Decorating the Tree of My Soul


We experienced another shift in our journey of caring for my momma as she transitions with dementia. She resumed levels of distress and anguish, with restlessness that left her with little sleep. That, along with my profound exhaustion led to her admission yesterday for respite care for the week.

The agony that we both experienced yesterday was real and tragic. She sobbed and stated she was terrified, as she knew on some level change was happening but did not understand what it was. I was in anguish because I felt so guilty, knowing that I could not go on taking care of her at home at this time. So with the immense support of the hospice team social worker Tom and nurse Michelle, we had her admitted for respite. It was not the direction I thought we would take, but it was what was necessary for her stability and my well-being.

I agonized all night, waking up every hour, worried about how she was doing. An early call to the nurses put my mind at ease, she was comfortable and had been sleeping nearly all night. I was blessed that my very dear and wildly talented friend Zail, is the medical director and will oversee her care. She assessed momma and made immediate changes in her medications to increase my mom’s level of comfort; thus easing her anguish. The wave of relief and lifting of the weight I felt, having been told this, was extraordinary. I know that my momma is comfortable and stable, and well tended to. The hospice team created this wall of support for us this week, with daily volunteers for her, so that I could take time to breathe, to sleep, and to attend to matters left undone (Christmas).

Today, I felt a strong shift in myself, and I had further insight and a sense of understanding about our journey. While finally decorating our Christmas tree, I received a perspective that left me filled with hope and glimmers of light and joy. The Christmas tree, is this beautiful living perfection of wonder, hope, love, and joy, representing so much magic. I realized that I am just like this glorious tree; I am a living soul, filled with wonder, hope, joy, love, and magic. And each ornament placed lovingly on the tree, is a decoration of my soul. Each ornament represents my life experiences of joy, love, excitement, pain, anguish, and. despair. And it is each of these ornaments (experiences) that I have lovingly placed upon the tree of my soul; that decorates and declares who I am. These moments and experiences (ornaments) are the culmination of all my life’s beauty, expressed within my soul. While each may bring a continuum of experience, together this magical combination creates the radiance of love, light, and glow of my soul. No matter what the experience (ornament) that I hang upon the tree of my soul, together the magic manifests into the exquisiteness of who I am becoming; and thus who we are becoming together.

The profundity of this experience has not been lost on me. While many of those moments with my momma have been very hard.. each carries a shiny light, a glimmer of hope and understanding of who we are as exquisite beings working out our pains, traumas, burdens, and our beliefs together through our shared love. In honour of this understanding of my decorated soul, and in recognition of some magic returning; I decorated the Christmas tree with our collection of “wee fairy folk”. These Christmas fairies, are a shared loved that my momma and I collected over the years; and they are a reminder of the joy and magic that exists, even when you cannot see it.

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