Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why I Do This Work

Tending to elders with dementia, has been an amazing practice. No need to contemplate the five remembrances every morning. The work does it for me. 

Today, I got to see the reality of old age. Worn out, twisted bodies in various states of disrepair. And unsteady minds to further complicate things. 

Today, I got to see the reality of ill health. The old man was lying in bed, too weak to move any more. I asked him if he was in pain. He said "Yes, at the usual place."

Today, I got to see the reality of death up close. One of our residents had just passed away, and we spread rose petals over his dead body, as it was getting carried out to the mortuary car. 

Today, I got to see the heartache from a family I visited. Their father was letting himself go after the news of a ravaging diagnosis, and all were on edge from the near end.

Today, I got to practice right action, right speech, and right view. Moving slow, taking the time to be present for all I met. And I ended the day in joy.

May you too, discover the benefit from contemplating the hard realities of life, old age, sickness and death. 


  1. Dear Marguerite,
    Beautiful. Thankyou. Old age and frailty, approaching death are stillness teachers. My mum has this slowness and inner peace - a few months back an ageing women said that she wished she could die in her arms. That is the level of quiet attention that contains peace and joy.
    with heart

  2. This post truly resonates with me as I watch over my elderly aunt who so closely matches your description. It's beautiful to see that we can view these moments/hours/days as precious opportunities to embrace the cycle of life, to practice our practice, while treasuring and celebrating the human being that is before us...in life and in death.

    Thank you, my friend.

    With love,

  3. Thank you Andy. Thank you for the work you do. Thank you for bringing mindfulness into serving others.

  4. Alicia, so sweet of you to visit here! We are due for another face to face meeting. As this day unfold, may you dwell in mindfulness, and kindness. I am very touched by your journey with your aunt. She is very fortunate to have you, and you to have her!

  5. Bless you for doing this work. What gifts you have, what light you bring to others.

  6. Do you think your mother's journey lead you to this?

  7. Kristen, light to others, and also light within.

  8. Was Once, yes, my mother's journey has been the inspiration behind all this work I am doing. Yet another unpredictable life turn . . .