Fish and Chips with Nana...

What a ride it's been since I wrote last. It feels like a lifetime ago that I embarked upon and completed the Camino journey, and yet it was really not that long ago. When I finished the walk, I spent some time near Barcelona with my dear friend Luisa, who luckily, was a nurse. I stayed with her for 2 weeks with a case of bronchitis and she took such good care of me; taking me to walk-in clinics, bringing me to the hair salon to cheer me up etc. etc. That being said, never go into what is the equivalent of a Super Snips in a small village in Spain where the hairdresser looked like she just put her finger into a socket, leaving her looking like Einstien trailer trash (red-chipped nail polish to boot). I came out feeling mildly better, having had someone actually wash my hair, but the cut was to be desired. Back in Ontario my friend and hair artiste Jen shook her head, "Oh dear, what has she done to you?" However, my hair was the last of my worries while I was in Spain. My worry really was Nana, whom i heard wasn't doing very well. My original plan was to sail to Antigua from Palma, and bypass Canada in December completely (not a bad plan...I did it last year and am still hearing about the infamous ice storm I missed whilst I was sunning and sailing). As we all know: plans change. And thank goodness for that. I caught a milk run flight with my airmile points last minute: Barcelona-Frankfurt-Washington...missed the connection...overnight in Washington...then finally landed in Toronto. I took a taxi straight to Nana's nursing home and found that she had deteriorated so much over the past few months that I'd been away. Seeing her so frail and sick made my heart bleed, and all of my Buddhist studies and understandings about impermanance flew out the window...I didn't want her to die!

Of course I was beyond sad, so I thought I'd try and invoke some joy into life by not telling my sister Michelle that I'd returned to Canada. She thought I was on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic when she walked into Nana's nursing home that December morning. We were both elated to see each other, and even though Nana was pretty much out of it, she could sense the happiness and surprise in the room. I spent the holidays in Barrie with Dad and the family, which was really special, as I missed last Christmas. I then decided to book my flights for Antigua for just after New Year's. Again...making a plan. Again, changing the plan. Due to Nana's health, I decided to cancel the flight and stay with her to be her caregiver for a couple of weeks. If this was time for her to go, I wanted to make sure she was as comfortable as possible. I massaged her hands and legs, played her music (one time, in a moment of lucidity and irritation she barked, "What the hell are you doing?! and made me stop playing. I read her poetry, and read myself Buddhist teachings to prepare for her death. The first week of January she bounced back, started eating again and seemed like she was on the mend. I took that as a sign to rebook my flight for the following week. The day before I was to leave, she was put on IV and seemed to deteriorate again. I had to make a choice: Should I Stay or Should I Go? Many of you know I love playing that song live, and now I was living it. Making decisions is not a forte of mine: I get confused sometimes deciding between using tahini or almond butter. I flip coins to make life decisions. I consult Goddess Cards to see what good dates are to travel. So I was obviously torn about this one: it was a biggie. However, I made the decision to go and felt as though Nana really wanted me to go, in fact, she told me so. I listened and spent what I thought would be my last afternoon with her. She sang "Over the Rainbow" when I played it on her piano and I told her how much I loved her. I thanked her for coming with me on our roadtrip to Nelson BC from Toronto after Mum died, and found out that she had cashed in her funeral money plans in order to come with me. This woman is amazing. I use the present tense "is" because she is still rockin' it. I heard from my aunt today that she is once again more lucid, coherent and doing so much better than when I left. So, once again, my plan to say my last goodbye might (hopefully) be foiled and she may be with us when I return to Canada at the end of April. I'm at a place now where I feel peaceful with my decision to go...I got to spend amazing quality time with her, and realized that I need to continue teaching and performing, learning and living and am certain that although I'm sure she misses the hand massages, she is smiling, knowing that I am continuing to follow my dreams.

Question for You: When have you had to make a really difficult decision lately, and what was it? I look forward to hearing from you. As always, thank you for coming along with me on this journey.

Much love and light,

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