Monday, September 17, 2012

Newport Beach: A U-Turn To Re-Turn

Newport Beach, CA – Sometimes on the road of life there are U-Turns, a chance to return on the same path where we came from.  For me that place is at the end of 32nd Street in Newport Beach at the Pacific Ocean.  This U-Turn began more than a week ago when I received the dreaded phone call that my mom suffered a stroke.  I left Basecamp near San Francisco and went straight to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach to visit my mom.  Luckily, since my brother was with her at the time of the stroke, she came through with minimal injuries—mostly spaghetti legs and left-side weakness.  Still, we’ll have to step up her care to round-the-clock vigilance for the next month.  Now I am eye-ball deep in strategic planning for her estate, retrofitting her home to accommodate a wheelchair and walker, and interviewing full-time caregivers.  One Southern California evening when it had been a 100-degree day I gave in to the endless task of caring for an aging parent and gifted myself with a beach trip to watch the sunset.  I went back to my childhood place—32nd Street, and stood knee-deep in the warm ocean water and melted into the watercolor painting that was my life.  As the sun drifted down on the water, my spirits began to soar and take flight like the seagulls on the horizon.  Suddenly, there it was—the gift of grace, the U-Turn, the sunset on the water enveloped in air so light and warm that if I was a feather, I would have floated on the breeze to Catalina Island which on this day I could see the outline with clarity.  I began to twirl and dance in the water, on the sand, with immense gratitude at the gift of life without regard to how it presents itself—in sickness and in health.  There is only one time and it is now.  Carpe diem—seize the day.