On a cold January morning, I remember waking up, opening my eyes, and breathing a warm smile. In the peace of that moment, I realized that I had not awakened on my own. I had help. The divine essence of life pushed my eyes open and allowed me to be conscious of my being. The protection of my home and the love of my family made it worthwhile. My sense of destiny and purpose kept me from rolling over and going back to sleep, and instead sat me up and prepared me to stand. As I sat on the edge of the bed, I also realized that the day will come when I will need even more help than that
At the time, Mom was still working; still being Ms. Dee at 89-years-old. She knew that the Divine awakened her, but she also believed that she was doing everything else on her own; that it was she alone who got her on the set, on the stage, at the event. In reality, we got her there. All she had to do was get in and out of the car and be Ruby Dee in between. We kept close watch on her sense of freedom and independence, and when she would curtly remind us that she didn’t need any help; that she had been doing “this” all her life; that she could do it, go alone, and be OK, we sucked back our concerns and left them in her echo: “Don’t you know me? Don’t you know who I am? Sometimes, later on she would hear us. She would thank us for taking care of business, and she even talked about getting the help that she agreed she needed.
The transfer of care-giver to care-receiver and care-receiver to care-giver requires a sensitive compass. One that belongs to both, and one that is guided by the steadier hand. I know I will need more help than I now need or want, but I feel blessed that I have three children who have already contributed to the care of their great grandmother, four grandparents, and two parents. I still have an independent compass, but I have begun to navigate this part of my journey with grace. I am relieved to gradually relinquish control, agree, and trust blindly the love of my children and their direction.
I awakened today. And I am divinely grateful to all the folks who helped.