Monday, February 8, 2010

Each Moment

Pictures from times before comfort me. I remember the experiences I had with my brother before the accident. He was always so strong and daring, always pushing me to step outside of my comfort zone, yet I always felt safe, knowing he would protect me from danger. I would like to be able to say I protected him from this danger. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. Life’s moments are so unknown.

I realized as I was falling asleep last night that pictures capture a moment in time. That is all they capture. I often see a picture and I automatically extrapolate, assuming that the moment the picture took place never changes. I then realized that it is up to the photographer to notice and capture a moment that most of us would not even recognize. A photographer sees a moment of beauty, a moment filled with meaning, a moment that describes an experience in ways words cannot and she snaps the photo. Moments change as rapidly as we breathe and the feeling of the moment changes with it. I wonder who else is paying attention. I wonder how many of us become disillusioned as we look only to one moment or one picture to describe our entire experience. I wonder how many children are fed the idea that a single picture-perfect moment will sustain for the rest of their lives. I wonder how we prepare ourselves for moments like this.

We have taken two trips to the emergency room since Matthew was discharged. An in-home nurse still has not arrived to provide Matthew with the care he was promised and the insurance still has not approved physical therapy. It's Monday and it's the beginning of a new business day. I will probably be on the phone today, attempting to get answers to questions I should not have to ask. If anyone has any question in their mind about whether the health care system here in the United States needs vast improvements, I would be glad to assure you that it is in desperate need of renovation. While Matthew was in the ICU, everything was taken care of. We could not have asked for better care. We had no idea that once he left the trauma care unit, we would have to fend for ourselves. There is no way to know how bad it gets until a person has to try to navigate the system. I am hopeful that one day our country will adopt a system that works, a system that incorporates all of the best ideas of the health care providers and the patients. It is absurd that it would ever take over a week for an insurance company to determine whether my brother with a broken pelvis meets medical necessity for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nursing care.

I have been taking time to practice mindfulness. I am reading Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, which is helping to liven my motivation and commitment to mindfulness. I am still relying on The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield to keep this whole experience in perspective. I highly recommend both of these books. They are grounding and stabilizing. Life makes more sense and is much easier to bear when I see meaning and experience on a universal level. As I pay more attention, and as I focus on the moment I am in, I notice how my thoughts are full of fears and worries, followed by impulses. How much of my life is acted out of impulses in reaction to a fear or a worry? How much of my life is acted out mindfully, with intention and purpose? I am on a never-ending journey and I am eased by the idea that no matter what, I have nothing to achieve or accomplish other than noticing. What a difference we would make in our lives and in the lives of others if for just a few minutes a day we each made a commitment to notice a little more, to react a little less, to acknowledge our intuition, and to move forward from this place, rather than a place of urgency or fear...


  1. Indeed. It would be such a huge shift in consciousness if this were to occur. Fear is so pervasive. Action based on an awareness of your state of mind is difficult, but attainable. Your words are eloquent as always and your attention to mindful awareness is keen. Thank you for writing. We love you.

  2. Time will heal the wounds. The wounds will be healed by time. Your love for Matthew is what keeps him moving forward. Your journal is excellent. Thank you for keeping us informed and for taking such good care of your brother.

  3. So much unnecssary energy spent dealing with the insurance!! Way to be an amazing advocate Erin! <3

  4. Tonight Pleasanton showed its love for Matthew. We all have a wonderful time at the benefit at Redcoats Pub, and best of all, Tom was there with us. It was great! The Peelers (band) donated their time for the evening and rocked the house! Many of Matt's friends from Amador came out and were happy to contribute to the cause. It was fantastic. We all signed a poster that will go back to SD with Tom.