Time for another remote update on Mimi from Toronto. We're more than halfway through fall festival and the blessings are raining down. Thanks for keeping Mimi and Richard in your prayers here in Toronto or wherever you are this week. I've been talking with Richard on the phone every night and he's in fairly good spirits. Friends in Seattle who aren't attending fall festival are taking good care of him. Thank you, wonderful friends!
Last week Mimi started missing doses of her regular meds, sometimes because of having a hard time swallowing, other times missing a dose due to an untimely bout of nausea and vomiting. Missing any of her pills could be problematic since they're all working together to control her symptoms, but this was especially a concern with two of her medications: an anti-nausea pill, and the glucocorticoid (steroid) she's been taking to control brain swelling. The anti-nausea medication can be delivered via a different route, so that was easily fixed. The anti-inflammatory steroid was a bit more tricky. We were concerned about her suddenly stopping the steroid because sudden withdrawal of a glucocorticoid can cause adrenal crisis with symptoms like severe pain and vomiting, fever, convulsions, psychosis, dehydration, etc. So, to minimize her chances of experiencing adrenal crisis, the decision was made to taper off the steroid. She just took the final dose yesterday. The fact that she's no longer taking the steroid, in addition to some other signs Richard is seeing, lead us to believe Mimi won't be with us for much longer. Kadam Heather from Portland is coming to visit and provide spiritual support to Mimi this Friday. I'll be back on Friday as well, and will continue to keep you posted about the progress of these final stages of Mimi's life.
During this festival I've been contemplating the vast loving kindness that Mimi has shown to her family and friends around the world, and the amazing example she has shown in cherishing others. Mimi's an aficionado of English literature, and I happened to come across this Emily Dickinson poem that describes a small fraction of the kindness that Mimi has shown to living beings in her lifetime. And who knows, maybe she has even helped a fainting robin ;)
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
In the comments or by email, please feel free to share your stories about the ways that Mimi has cherished others.
In Eight Steps to Happiness Geshe-la says "'Self' and 'other' are relative terms, rather like 'this mountain' and 'that mountain ... 'This' and 'that' therefore depend upon our point of reference. This is also true of self and other. By climbing down the mountain of self, it is possible to ascend the mountain of other, and thereby cherish others as much as we presently cherish ourself."