What It Took For Me To Have No Regrets When My Grandma DiedAug 12, 2021
Hi there, I'm Sandra Kim - the Spirit Weaver at WildSeed. I wanted to share what I've been up to in 2021 since it serves as a micro-example of what's happening to many of us during this time of burning and possibilities.
The Family Situation That Came Up Suddenly
For all of 2021, I’ve been primarily focused on keeping my grandma and uncle alive - and my grandma actually just passed away last week.
In January, my uncle had his second stroke and just one week later, my grandma got COVID-19.
All of a sudden, my grandma stopped getting the daily in-person home care she needed as a 91 year old and both my grandma and uncle needed a high level of medical advocacy and health management.
Navigating the medical bureaucracy is difficult enough for anyone. But especially since neither of them speak English, getting them the care they need is impossible without someone helping them.
While I have a lot of family in the area, I’m the only young local family member who speaks English, can drive, and can navigate the American system.
I knew that without me taking care of them in this situation, they would at least unnecessarily suffer a lot and at worst would die.
Unfortunately, this is a common struggle to varying degrees for many people - particularly in immigrant families and for women of color.
With my family’s situation escalating so suddenly during a pandemic, I quickly saw what needed to happen.
I needed to put my life on hold and take care of them - in order to keep them alive.
So, that’s what I decided to do.
The big question was how - and at what cost to me?
The Life Dilemma I Quickly Found Myself In
Unfortunately, our society doesn’t support us in taking care of our loved ones - even if they will die without it.
So, normally there’s a huge cost to doing the most human of things - being there for our family.
As the pandemic made very clear, the essential work that keeps us alive is not (well) acknowledged by our society or financially compensated (enough) by our exploitative capitalist system and the government that enforces that exploitation.
This often puts us in an impossible situation where we:
- Work ourselves to the bone between our paid work and family care work
- Work ourselves to the bone in order to make enough money to pay someone else to take care of them
- Feel guilty as we hope that it somehow gets worked out without us helping
And too often, we do some combination of all three.
Not good options.
The Pathway Forward That Was Thankfully Possible For Me
If this had happened several years ago to me, I would have been faced with that same set of terrible pathways forward - as set by the oppressive system we live in.
But I've been on a deep healing and spiritual journey for almost two decades - getting free from internalized oppression, including self-coercion.
I knew I felt my feelings and needs too deeply in order for my body to allow me to just sacrifice myself - or my family.
So I listened for what my body and spirit wanted me to do - trusting in my inner wisdom as well as discussing it with my loved ones.
Thankfully, given how I have transformed my life - both internally and externally, a vastly different pathway was revealed to me.
I knew I needed to take care of my family in a way that didn’t feel terrible to me and was in alignment with my path of healing and collective liberation.
By listening deeply to my body and spirit, I was able to:
- Reduce my work to just a few hours per week - and still be as financially supported as before
- Hold boundaries to not subject myself to toxic behavior from my family - so I could still be giving the critical care I wanted to without being harmed
- Notice and release old habitual thoughts demanding self-sacrifice - so they didn’t drive my actions
- Continuously ground and cleanse my energy - so I could show up in deeply present and caring ways
- Be emotionally supported by loved ones - so I could vent and release my frustrations and anger
- Feel really held by others - so I deeply felt that I wasn’t alone in this
That’s why it turned out that I wasn’t putting my life on hold in order to take care of them.
I ended up deeply practicing what it means to be in it together with care and consent - which is a big part of how I believe we move toward collective liberation.
It also meant that when my grandma passed last week, I had no regrets.
I made sure that she knew she was deeply loved and cared for in her last months - which was my main purpose for all of this.
To be able to offer that final gift to her, I am forever grateful.
What This Means For You
While this is just my personal journey from this year, it’s a micro-example of what we are all facing.
How our government has responded to the pandemic and climate change has just more clearly revealed how oppressive and exploitative the systems we live in are.
Our society is not structured to give us what we need in order to thrive - or even stay alive.
Our society is structured to keep us working - no matter the cost to our bodies, our loved ones, or our planet.
All in order to enable the few on top to hoard the majority of the power and wealth.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
With the support of so many others, I was able to do something that so few people are able to do in our oppressive society.
I was able to be there for my loved ones in their time of deep need - and still be financially, practically, and emotionally supported by others.
To help you consider if this as a possibility for you too, I’m going to be writing you a few more blog posts explaining in greater detail how I did it.
More importantly, I want to share ~ who ~ I did this with…
Sandra Kim is the Spirit Weaver at WildSeed Society. She identifies as a mystic for the (r)evolution and seeks to be a walking temple offering refuge to those wanting to come back to themselves, their bodies, their communities, and the land. She weaves together her Zen Buddhist practice, animist cosmology, and energy work to offer healing and spiritual teachings to navigate the burning world from a more grounded, connected, and intentional place.
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