The Bliss Blog

“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.'” – Eckhart Tolle

This line jumped out at me this morning as I am nursing a headache, listening to music, tip tapping on the keyboard on a day that could include writing, gym time and visiting friends this afternoon as they bless their new deck with a party. It will also involve being aware that a dear friend is in the ICU and requiring my fervent prayers; seeing him healed, whole and healthy.

Yesterday, I sat in an all too familiar setting of the family waiting room of Temple University Hospital, surrounded by loved ones as we took turns by Phil’s bedside. He is my son’s surrogate father who claimed him as ‘unofficial Little Brother’ when Adam was 14; three years after Michael died of Hepatitis C. Phil has had numerous hospitalizations over the years due to a cardiac condition. This time, it led to kidney issues that now have him on dialysis. With the added life sustaining measures of being intubated and on a ventilator, it made for a frightening experience for all involved as we gathered the troops and circled the wagons. I know I am mixing metaphors here, but you get the point.

I indicated that it was familiar, since nearly 18 years ago, I was the wife, (as is my friend Janet who waited anxiously for news from the medical staff about Phil’s condition) wondering if I was going to lose my husband. My sense is that Phil will be with us for awhile as we get through this crisis together.

On my way to the hospital,  I was listening to WXPN and the Pink Floyd song called Shine On You Crazy Diamond came on. Although the lyrics don’t all apply to Phil, it felt like perfect timing. A moment later as I was on Butler Pike in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania while en route to picking up my son and his fiancee’,  I passed a restaurant called….wait for it….Phil’s Tavern and the sign said, “Good Friends, Good Food, Good Fun.” Then another instant passed and a truck up the road also said Phil’s on it. It felt like a good omen. I told Janet and then him, that when got discharged, we needed to make sure he was surrounded by all three of those things.

When it was my turn to enter  his room, with the mechanical beeps and swishes; the dialysis machine helping his kidneys purify his blood,  I took a deep breath and walked to his right side. He reached for my hand and squeezed intermittently as if tapping out a pulse-rhythm. I placed my other hand on his head and offered Reiki, which as an ancient healing modality. I could feel the energy flowing between us. Phil is a Reiki practitioner as well, which seemed to intensify what felt like an exchange, rather than just receptivity. Because he was intubated, he couldn’t speak, but before I left, was able to silently mouth the words, “Thank you.” The nurse asked if he had any children and he nodded and squeezed my hand. I explained the relationship between him and Adam.  He jokingly refers to me as his ‘Baby Mama’.  This ‘baby’ is now 29 years old. I shared with her that Adam and Lauren are  getting married next summer and that Phil and I will be walking him down the aisle. He nodded and squeezed my hand once again, as if to say that he would be there.

Humor, love, music (played on guitar by another friend named Rich) and prayers are part of the medicine that are helping Phil to heal. I could worry and immerse in stress by contemplating ‘what if?’, but when I focus on the present moment and the power that exists within it, no matter what else I may need to do, I can harness what Eckhart Tolle refers to as The Power of Now. Nowhere else I would rather be.

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