It’s lovely to have your company and I am very grateful to you for taking time out to read about my everyday musings.
This week was unexpectedly quiet. I had been anticipating a long planned visit from my sister and my young niece and nephew who currently reside in Melbourne. They were only planning to stay for a few days, however I was excited to be hosting them in my new home as they had not visited since I moved here about a year ago. Most of the time I enjoy having guests, as to be quite honest they are few and far between. When they do visit I like to make them feel welcome and loved. A warm tea cake just out of the oven with the scent of cinnamon wafting through the door when they arrive and some freshly cut flowers to freshen up the bedroom, a special touch to let them know I care. Regrettably at the eleventh hour, on this occasion the visit was aborted when my niece picked up a daycare lurgy and was not well enough to fly. This inadvertently however was to be a blessing in disguise, firstly because my significant other and I might’ve been spared the chance of contracting the bug and becoming unwell, and secondly because the dreaded COVID had reared its ugly head again in Sydney, which would have resulted in my sister and her family having to go into compulsory quarantine when they returned home. The last minute change of plans turned out to be a win-win for everyone, leaving me to ponder over how I would spend the week without commitments.
The next day I headed out for a walk in the sanctuary of Centennial Parklands. The sky was blue, the trees were pretty dappled in Winter light, the Willow ponds were misted over, and the birds were plentiful. As I ambled along with a contemplative mindset it wasn’t long before I came upon a waddling of ducks. I walked beside them slowing right down to appreciate this moment of solitude and respite from the complicated world we all live in. I felt unhurried and free, continuing to explore the park without boundaries or restrictions. I traversed across the parklands through fields of dew soaked grass and along deserted narrow roads that took me away from the grand circuit. I made two discoveries that day, the first a medieval style sandstone labyrinth. I followed the path inward to the centre of the labyrinth, a place of refuge in complicated times where I paused for a moment before following the path back out into the world again. A little further along Dickens Drive overlooking the Willow Pond and beside the Fly Casting Pond I also discovered The Celebration Steps, an area of engraved pavers with personalised messages celebrating anniversaries, weddings, births, beloved pets, special occasions and significant loved ones. It was an idyllic place for contemplation or celebration and somewhere I felt eager to bring my special people to.
The Willow Pond, Centennial Parklands, Sydney
At home I enjoyed the solitude whilst listening to the rain splashing onto the terrace and playing around with indigo inks and textile paints whilst creating my own tea towel designs. The process was both meditative and satisfying.
On ABC Life Matters here. I listened to a discussion with Professor Imogen Mitchell from the ANU Medical School about ‘End of Life Care’ both in hospitals and palliative care settings during the process of dying. This topic was of particular interest to me having had my own brother recently placed in this position. It is important to ask the question about whether what you are doing is going to help the patient? Should people be told that the treatment is not working and that they are dying? Should a discussion be had about quality of life versus time and whether interventions should be used to prolong life at all costs? In a palliative care setting a holistic approach is taken towards end of life care changing the focus from treating people to get better to providing comfort and the ability to ‘live well’ in the face of dying. Only twelve percent of patients have an advanced care end of life plan. The earlier that a conversation can be had with the patient and family about their preferences at this critical time, the easier the process will be at the time of dying. What is it that you want in your dying days? A balance between honesty and empathy, resuscitation or no resuscitation, pain relief to provide comfort, to be surrounded by loved ones or to pass quietly alone. These are some of the questions that need to be addressed early on to avoid family and loved ones having to make difficult decisions as the end of life becomes closer. Death will choose us all in the end and a little compassion and humility will mean so much.
Moving on from a rather morbid but important topic it’s time to indulge the taste buds in a slice of ginger cake with stout and spices, topped with a rather dreamy salted caramel drizzle. Tempted anyone? Head straight to my local bakery Flour Shop to get your fix.
Stout and ginger cake @flourshopau
Until next time may your days be both serendipitous and enjoyable.