Compassionate transitions in hospice care and in nature
by Valerie Hartman
Yesterday was a beautiful day in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
It was the first day of spring, and the sun was shining. The white snow drops have been in bloom for over a week, weathering two temperature drops and a snowfall. They remain tall and strong as I walk by and notice them in home gardens this week. The snow drops are first in the sequence of blooming events that the avid gardener measures via nature’s timeline. A stroll around the flower beds is like glancing at a wrist watch. What I love the most about the snow drop is the flower’s constitution to rebirth right through the snow in winter. They seem so relaxed about it too. Just one tiny, pure white, fragile drop of closed flower petals, will hold your eye to such beauty against the backdrop of winter. Stark and peaceful.
Many people are feeling the renewal of energy this week. Even when physical energy is down, spiritual and emotional energy around this change of season can go up. You and your loved one may find some natural moments of relief as the Earth brings forth great beauty and fragrance, more sun, warmer days, and opportunities for reflection.
I might suggest that if you live in the North, pick a few snowdrops today and set them in a small vase in the house. If you live in the South, the red buds are in bloom. Float a magnolia blossom in a bowl of water – place it on the countertop next to the sink where you wash your hands often, or perhaps on your own bedside table. For your loved one, keep a fresh flower from nature’s own timeline in clear view.
Besides bringing nature in, sometimes books, poems and music can help to make the transitions we all face a little more understandable. Graceful Passages is a nice collection of poems, readings, and music from all faith traditions, and spiritual readings from end-of-life educators compiled in a 2-CD hard cover book. When I am looking for solace, words that comfort me in the face of transition, this collection facilitates the sacred in the experience. I listen to it alone in the car between nursing visits, especially at this time of year.
This quote seems fitting for the ushering in of spring.
Let yourself relax into this moment.
Let yourself be held without any need to hold yourself up.
Let yourself meet the unknown.
It’s OK. It’s a place we don’t have to know with our mind.
“The Welcoming” by Michael Stillwater
Graceful Passages, A Companion for Compassionate Transitions
CD Collection available through wisdom of the world press