a long goodbye

We stand at the threshold of the doorway. 

The Patient is an elderly woman, leaning on her left side in bed, her head looking upward towards us.

As soon as we move closer we soften everything of us. She holds us in her gaze, unflinching and soft. We are drawn together. Her gaze in some way speaks, the gaze always does. 

There is a quality in her eyes of a longing. She drinks in the dance as if we are water. 

She travels her eyes with each gesture, and with that her breath softens. Her left hand is curled around the plastic edge of the bed, she is hanging on, or wanting to take flight with our hands that are shaping the air around of the entrance of her room. I’m not sure which. 

Something passes through the air in the non verbal and we let ourselves be moved by what is drawn out of us.

Our gestures lighten, our eyes soften, our hands become hummingbirds that hover in the doorway. There is this lighting fast process of receiving the world of the patient and ‘attuning’ as best we can to how we receive the moment. 

It happens with very little language. There is immersion, almost that we are stepping into a particular atmosphere and place that the patient is, then we follow what comes.

Our Presence Is called out of us by each patient. 

In this sense we can be like texture or an atmosphere of a place. it can be felt. As we shape shift.

In this moment with this patient, 

if we were dancing an atmosphere of place into being, 

We would have been a remembered horizon. A memory of Dusk 

Of looking out and seeing light falling through into the end of a day

making everything shimmer. 

She smiles. There is great tenderness. There is great fragility. We slowly edge away from the doorway. Its so hard to leave. There is a magnetic pull to stay.  The moment is full of a meaning we don’t really have words for. Just this being human, it’s beauty and fragility, pain and pleasure all held there for what felt like an eternity.  The exchange of eyes and everything unspoken behind them.

Both Louise my collaborator and I have tears in our eyes. 

We soon realise we have been saying goodbye through the whole dance, a long goodbye.

We are witness to someone in this precious moment where the body becomes almost transparent

And we are speaking with each patient without saying anything at all with words

But its deeply felt that an exchange has taken place and in some way we are both changed by it.

Its impossible not to be.

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