Today I got the news that one of my sisters, the one I wrote about in ‘Realizations from My   Birthday’ [] has had a stroke. And my first reaction was fear – that I would lose her and I know that I’m not ready to have her not be in my life in any way at all.  I know that strokes are no longer the pretty much immediate death sentence that they were when I was a child.  And yet, I was afraid of losing her.  And then I was sad for her – that her life would become even more proscribed than it had been before the stroke.  And I remember something my other sister had asked me last week.  She wondered if I thought that our middle sister had decided to die.  Maybe this stroke had something to do with that.  And then my fear and sadness turned to anger at my brother-in-law who had not let me or my other sister know what was happening.  Hell, he waited until a few days after this event to let one of his daughters, who is out of the country, know.

I cannot understand his reasoning for that choice. And I wonder if my sister has chosen to die.  And there’s nothing I can do but accept.

When I was a child I learned very well to accept things: what I could wear, what I could eat, what school I was going to go to, what I could do with my free time, what I was expected to do at home to help with the smooth running of it all, how I was expected to behave at home and when I was out in the world, that I had to wait my turn, that I had to ask for permission, what was an appropriate career for me to follow, how I was expected to be as a female in my culture.  So many things I learned to accept without outward objections.  Oh, I had many reservations and questions about all of the things I was expected to accept.  And I found out very quickly that to voice my questions was a sure path to rejection and anger from my father.  And I learned that my mother would not intervene for me because she had had accepting literally beaten into her when she was a child.

One of the things I know to be true for me and about me is that I feel called to help and support others and to help them realize the fullness of who they innately are. That’s one of the reasons that I chose the career I did and why I choose to volunteer now that I’ve retired from teaching.  And, for me, it’s been about seeing a need and stepping in to help provide for that.

I know that I have to accept that there is nothing I can do to take this turn of events from my sister. There is nothing I can to do make it all better.  And I can only be involved in her life to the extent that she chooses to let me.  I have to accept that I do not have agency. I cannot step in without permission.

And as I write this, I know that this is the hardest lesson I have to learn. And it’s not easy.

While I find myself tearing up when I think of my sister, I know that what I’m really crying about is my sense of helplessness. I’m crying because I know that I must accept that.

Maybe learning to accept our very real limitations – those which come from inside of our true self and which do not come from any outside authority – is one of the hardest lessons for each of us.





About Authentic Vibrations

My life is about learning and personal growth. I was an educator in the public secondary system for over 33 years. I now work with women, individually and in small groups, using words and music, art and language to help them explore their individaul sense of self in ways with are authentically meaningful for each of them. I also facilitate discussions with educators at all stages of their involvement in the teaching profession to help each of us explore the meaning, value and potential of learning and teaching. It is my belief that, in working individually and in collective, we have the power to transform and evolve. In the power of the collectives which we create together is the power to create culture. As a musician, I believe that the arts have the power to change lives. Certification: CODE Model™ Coach WEL-Systems® Institute Affiliate Education: Ed. D (c) (Applied Psychology – Focus on Teaching) University of Toronto M. Ed (Curriculum Development and Design) Queen’s University (1992) B. Ed (Music, English, Elementary Education) University of Toronto (1976) Mus. Bac. (Music Education) University of Toronto (1975) RCM Grade 4 Harmony, Grade 4 History, Grade 9 Voice, Grade 10 Piano Awards: Life Membership, Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation (2009)
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