My mother has been in my heart a lot, lately. More than I want to admit. The dreams keep coming, announcing her departure for a place of no return. When I call, she still recognizes me, but I can tell, she is getting worse. I have been putting on a good face. Rationalizing, here on this blog, and elsewhere, that there are some happy parts to her illness. As in, she no longer remembers enough to be anxious, like she used to. Or, I get to practice the Buddha's way and be in the moment, for that is all she knows now. I even have this elegant theory, that Alzheimer's is like going full circle, back to the darkness of the unconscious.
You can't fool the heart, however . . . or the body. My stomach has been in a knot for quite some time. And frequent trips to the bathroom, speak of my fear of the inevitability of this irrevocable loss. To deny it, is of no use.
Down the fear ladder, I go, and find, right below the fear of loss, the fear of suffering. Wise mind takes the relay, and summons the Four Noble Truths - from In the Buddha's Words, edited by Bikkhu Bodhi:
The noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering.
The noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving that leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there; that is craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination.
The noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonattachment.
The noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is the Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
Tonight I fully accept my mother's parting gift, the opportunity to practice love without the taint of attachment.