Two days after my last post, I received emails from both my sisters regarding mom’s failing health, and an email from my brother about Zoey’s well being. The night before I had some very vivid dreams, one of which was a hawk resting on a branch with his back and tail feathers facing me. Two white horizontal stripes emblazoned the tail, representing my 2 choices.
When I awoke, my decision was clear. All of this information seemed to descend upon me as messages that indeed, it is time to return home. A feeling of calm certainty washed over me and I felt for the first time, very strong and clear about the decision. This seems like a miracle to me, that after wrestling and struggling with it for weeks, all of a sudden I had clarity and relief. Truly I believe it could not have come a moment sooner, and I thank God for patience and guidance during this time of transition and discernment.
After emailing PC, SEED, and the Nursing Department about my decision, I felt a huge sense of relief. For the next few days it was difficult to make it through the morning at the hospital, and when returning home at noon, I had to lie down. I went to bed at 8 pm for the next three nights, so exhausted, yet peaceful.
Clearly, my body and spirit were so traumatized by this decision process and now I have such a sense of relief, and excitement about returning home. We have decided to move mom to Florida where my sister Mary lives so someone will be able to visit with her every week. After facetiming with Zoey for the first time in 8 months, I can visualize the reunion we will have, reducing me to a sobbing mess.
This is what I have to look forward to: supporting my daughter, Kate, on her return from the DR after 3 years of PC service. Visiting with daughter, Carrie, and sharing her excitement about her job and new life in Austin. Spending time with mom. Walking in the woods and cuddling with Zoey. Visiting my 5 grand children. Catching up with friends. Figuring out where to live! Perhaps going to graduate school. How lucky am I!
For now, I am going to enjoy and savor every moment and opportunity in Malawi. I am aware on some level of the beginning of the process of detaching, and want to be careful not to withdraw my heart and my spirit as a protection from the pain and sorrow I will feel on leaving. I have many opportunities to continue to immerse myself and engage in fellowship with the peeps here.
Today I sat in church for 3 hours listening to the entire service in Chichewa, though Father Kamanga was kind enough to welcome me in English at the beginning, the only white person there.
Wednesday afternoon I met with my “girls’ group”, a group of orphaned teenage girls, to discuss sex, HIV, and dating. Wednesday evening I attended the 50th anniversary celebration of Brother Michael’s commitment to the St John of God Brothers, a beautiful tribute to a wonderful and kind friend who has loved and supported me here. Thursday evening 25 or so of us mzungu partied at Macondo Camp and listened to a band perform folk and county music, guitars and mandolin! Friday evening I treated my Level 2 clinical students to a feast to celebrate the end of our rotation together. We talked at the table for 3 hours.
Saturday, a student visited with me for an hour to discuss her choice not to have sex with her boyfriend of 4 months. She feels pressure from her friends to sleep with him though she is not ready and feels alienated from her girlfriends as a result. So these are the real and tender moments that still grace my every day life.
Thanks to Harvey Blatt, I now have a terabyte drive filled with movies to watch as evening diversion if needed, and popcorn I can make on the stove (no microwave). I have recently just completed Season 2 of Breaking Bad, WOW! Riveting….and at times necessary!
This week I travel 4 hours north to Chitipa and Karonga to supervise students in the district hospitals. This is stressful as it is a new environment, hotels are strange and gross, and the food is meager and boring. Another chance for adventure and new experiences! Stay tuned…