Monday, September 1, 2014
Stay if you can, go if you must
September 1, 2014
At the end of each shamanic drum circle I attend, after we've communicated with the spirit world and networked with our spirit animals, we wrap our arms around each other in a circle at the center of the room. We "close the circle" by thanking the spirits for helping us to journey and learn. And the phrase we always use is, "Stay if you can, go if you must," referring to the spirits who have helped guide us over the past two hours.
For the past three weeks, my partner Andy's Uncle Fai has been in the ICU at his local hospital on Long Island. What started as possible food poisoning on top of an already sick body quickly grew more and more serious. He was in critical condition, then stable, then critical, back and forth in a very 2-steps-forward, 1-step-back fashion. Unfortunately, yesterday he was teetering on the edge of death after an operation to give him a tracheotomy and redress his wounds. His blood pressure was very low, and he was losing a lot of blood. The doctor told Andy's family that Fai may not survive another day.
And so I prayed for him, and for the medical professionals trying to help him. I prayed for many things, among which were strength, peace, clarity, and desire...desire to live. I also told Fai in my prayers to "stay if you can, but go if you must". I told him he had a family here who wanted him to stay with them for another 20 years or more if possible (he's only 67). I reminded him spiritually of his sons and 1-year-old grandson, Channing. And then, reluctantly, I also told him they'd all understand if he had to let go. He's been fighting hard these past three weeks, and it's been clear his body has just not been doing well. So I prayed this over and over: "Stay if you can, go if you must". His uncle is still with us as of this morning, and I do hope he'll continue to stay.
Go if you must, Fai, but please stay if you can.
I know it's time for me to go, though, but just back home to Malverne. It's 9:30 AM now on Labor Day Monday morning, and I've been in Vermont since Saturday, August 23rd. I'd stay here if I could, but I must go back now. Andy and his parents await me at my house back on Long Island, and the life and career I have back there await me too. My vacation is over, and I need to pack the car and head back home.
It's been a wonderful trip that lasted about 10 days, but felt more like a month. I take many treasured memories and experiences with me back to Long Island, as well as a collection of photographs and videos from my time here. I also take back about six bags filled with presents and collectibles! I think I must have spent more than I'd expected, but many items are future Christmas gifts to others at least. That gives me some solace!
Stay if you can, go if you must.
Life's travels take us this way and that all the time. Thoughts and beliefs come and go too. Judgments about others. Judgments about ourselves. We move all over the place constantly: on vacations, from job to job, relationships and friendships shifting this way and that, and yes, even our life itself. We move and move until we cannot move this body any further.
Stay if you can, go if you must.