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Letter to the editor: Simple questions offered answers

I have been blessed with a lesson from one of my former students. Her name is Rose.
Rose and I visit with each other, now and then. We saw each other this past autumn. We took a walk in Bristol. Rose said her grandmother has dementia. She shared with me how her grandmother now communicates with her. From my point of view, Rose’s grandmother has the wisdom to know what three questions need repeating:
“Do you know how much I love you?”
“Do you know how beautiful you are?”
“Is today the day we go to church?”
Do you know how much I love you? To understand and acknowledge the infinite depth of having an open heart — yes, that is lifelong work for me to act upon.
Do you know how beautiful you are? When I am in the presence of someone who is open and loving, I believe that his/her beauty shines through. Inner and outer beauty become one. When folks gather together to do good works in our world, then their light shines. By good works, I mean work that manifests in the determination of human rights.
Is today the day we go to church? There is no need to wait for Sunday to experience the presence of God or the Holy Spirit or the Light — whatever you want to call this awareness. Experiencing the sacred can happen when I am in awe of something present in the natural world. Worshipping with others, in silence, at Quaker Friends Meeting works for me. Ritual daily prayer is also important to me.
I know that I, as a human being, will have to face my own death. Right now, on this physical plane, I am open to a vibrancy that might be a gift from loved ones who have died. My father died at the age of 75. Alzheimer’s disease had riddled his brain. His body was no longer getting the signals he needed from his brain. I do not know what is in my genes. Rose’s grandmother has helped me immensely, in reducing my fears. I merely need to practice being present in the mysteries of love, beauty, ritual and the sacred.
Thank you, Rose, for sharing this lesson. My test: being present with aging and whatever life tosses my way. And yes, having someone sing with me, would be great company.
Patricia Heather-Lea
Bristol

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