Posted by: soulshinemoments | April 3, 2015

Just Be There

Being  a hospice social worker requires a lot of creativity, I’m discovering.  Many of my patients have dementia and Alzhemiers and can be very difficult to connect with as they are often uncommuncative and sometimes do not even make simple eye-contact.  I’ve learned that presence and silence are very powerful forces that may be undervalued.  Sometimes just sitting with a patient in silence and holding their hand is all they need.  It sometimes feels as if “it isn’t enough”.  However, I am trying to change that mentality I hold and realize that maybe it is enough–presence is enough.  It is a sort of prayer or meditation to simply sit next to someone who appears oblivious of my presence and come to terms that just doing that is enough.

I met with a lady today who does not have Alzhemiers, but does engage with me very minimally due to another form of dementia.  Knowing that she is a mother, I tried to build rapport with her by relating to her on that level.  I showed her a picture of my son and that did bring a smile to her usual flat affect.

“Since you are a mother,” I started.  “Maybe you could offer me some advice on how to be a good mother to my son and step-daughter?”

She smiled, again. Just her smiling is a win for me because I can barely get more than a word out of her during our visits.  She said, “Just be there.”

I loved that.  And, guess what…. as simple as “just being there” sounds, it is really freaking hard.  Giving someone or something full attention….that takes a lot.   And, boy, I definitely fail at it a lot.  I fail at it when I try to meditate (if I even make it to a quiet place to meditate).  I fail at it when I’m with my kids and am playing on my phone instead.  I fail at it when I’m with my patients who do not engage with me and my mind quickly wanders to what I’m doing later that night.  But, I want to do better because I do believe in the power of presence and attention.

Just be there.

In other news, I am really on the self-care bandwagon.  I am ready to get in really good physical shape (mentally, spiritually, emotionally, too, of course).  I felt that I’ve had a lot of barriers (excuses?) in my way previously to really pursue getting in shape.  I felt impoverished not only monitarily, but lacking the time, as well.  Now that I have a full-time job, a steady income, and am not in grad school or working a second job, I feel that I can spend the time needed to devote myself to physical development.  So I joined a gym last week.  I have been working out every day since.  They even have yoga classes at the gym (not the same as a studio experience, but I am still grateful to have the opportunity to still do yoga!).  I’m lifting weights and doing cardio.  The gym has child-care for my son. I am really happy with this change and the way it makes me feel. My 14 year old step-daughter was even able to join me this week and we got to bond as we worked out together.  I actually had a lot of fun with her.

I am just feeling really grateful right now.  It feels that all the hard work I have put into getting myself through school is finally paying off.  It is nice to not be quite so broke and able to invest in taking care of myself a little bit!  Maybe in a few months, I can post amazing before and after pictures of my transformation. 😉



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