In 2000, Native American elders of the Hopi Nation issued a statement which was both a prediction of things to come and advice on how to survive. They envisioned a fast moving river, with many people clinging for dear life to its banks, trying not to get swept away. There were also those who chose to jump into the fastest part of the wild river and got swept away. There were those who saw a large log, floating down the center of the river. They saw the log, swam to it and embraced it, then rode it together down the center of the river, carried by it. The elder's advice to those on the log was to notice who was beside them, to greet them, and to understand that these were your companions on the turbulent journey... your sisters and brothers. They were not swept away by the current, but learned to live in its midst.
Living in the midst of the turbulent river is a potent image. We contemporize it by calling it going with the flow of life. But it is the same joumey. Life is challenging and not always smooth sailing. Just when things seem to be humming along splendidly we get thrown a curve ball: a cancer diagnosis, the sudden loss of a dear one, a time of financial diffculty, having to provide care for a loved one with dementia. In those times we want to cling to the moments before the crisis emerged, like those on the banks of the river, thinking if we just held on long enough we'd be okay. We want to let go and dive in, thinking we might get ahead of the challenge and change its outcomes.
It takes courage to go with the flow: to face the challenge at hand and hang on to it. The elders healing advice makes for good coping skills: notice who is there beside you, for that one will understand your shared joumey. find out whom you could call a compadre on your diffcult path: perhaps someone who has had more experience in surviving the challenge, someone with wisdom and experience, someone who is kind. Find someone who will support and guide you and let you relax into the flow, assuring you that while it may seem precarious now, your chances of survival are good.
That is why your team at Hospice of the Valleys embraces the concept of hospice care: we have traveled the difficult joumey through the end of life, know the handholds, and know how to companion you with kindness and expertise. That is why we offer bereavement support groups, and groups for Alzheimer's/dementia caregivers: we can you find the road maps for the bumpy terrain ahead and help reduce the pitfalls. In so many ways, that is why we do what we do: to take your hand so that you are not swept away by the current, to help you discover how to live in the midst of these deeply human challenges, and to guide you as a fellow traveler to the wisdom that life is sometimes rich, and sometimes tragic, but always, that life is a most previous gift. A gift to be shared.