Monday, August 08, 2011


Sat Nam everyone!

We are in beautiful Gilsum New Hampshire. This is where my husband Sopurkh's parents have a very sweet little home. We've got our RV parked in their driveway. I love being here. There are trees everywhere, and this gentle breeze that just makes you feel blessed. Jap Preet and I love taking walks and looking for chipmunks. And there is a great lake that we have been going to every day where the fish swim right up to you.

My mother in law got the first symptoms of Parkinson's Disease a few years ago, and just about a month ago her condition took a big dip. Now she needs someone with her all of the time. That someone has been my father in law. He just got some much needed back surgery, so Sopurkh has stepped in and has been taking care of his mother and now his father too. He is doing such a beautiful job, as I knew he would. But, there is something really special about this opportunity because I know how much he loves his parents and this is really giving him a way to show and express that love.

I am personally grappling with the whole experience of this form of Parkinson's Disease. There are many different forms of this disease. What my mother in law has includes a lot of dementia and the loss of other basic cognitive and physical capabilities. It is intense to say the least. From the perspective of yoga and meditation, loosing one's memory and not being able to do much but sit and breathe is considered an incredible yogic opportunity. In fact it brings you closer to just pure awareness. But to get to that place takes a journey through so many emotions and so many identities that we give ourselves from the workings of our mind. Here are some identities on my list.... I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a daughter, I am a cook, I am a house cleaner, I am a singer, I am a touring artist, I am a teacher, I am a poet, I am this, I am that. If all of my identities were taken away because I no longer could do things to fulfill my roles could I get to that place of "I am, I am"? Could I be alright with just being?

Many of us pray to be on the spiritual path where we are letting go of our identities on a daily basis, by our own surrender. My mother in laws identities are being taken from her without her wishing, without her consciously choosing it, and without her wanting to let go.

Watching my mother in law go through it is painful. She is such a beautiful lady. Just a few years ago when she visited us I remember how when we had a party in honor of the fact that she was with us, I found her in the kitchen doing everyone's dishes. I remember how when my daughter was born she was filled with so much joy to be with us. I think her Parkinson's symptoms were just coming on at that point and so she couldn't do very much in terms of helping with the housework that comes with a new baby. She decided to just be with her grand daughter and she sat, for hours, watching her, smiling to her, and talking to her. I will never forget that. I am sure my daughter is blessed now for her whole life to have experienced such pure love and devotion.

And now with the symptoms much worse, she still is showing all of us so much pure love.

In the words of Sopurkh, "for me, this has been an experience of surrender, which I guess is love, but it's more about accepting life just as it is, as it is placed before me. Then acting responsibly. All the while, creating joy and happiness, and having faith and gratitude with what is placed on my path."

I pray to one day understand why all of this is happening and release some of the pain in my heart in watching such a beautiful lady struggle in this way. I pray for all families dealing with Parkinson's Disease. For all families dealing with any disease. May we find God's simple and beautiful presence within us, when all else is stripped away.

Sat Nam.

Snatam and Sopurkh: My loving thoughts are with you and your family. This diagnosis is very hard on families. I want you to know that you are in a very good position to help through music.
If you have not already read the music therapy research on the effects of music on PD, then it is a great time to do that. You can help ease the way..the brain is particularly responsive to rhythm and the body is a rhythmic organism.
If you want to know more, I am happy to help you in your search. This is one of my specializations. Just contact me.
With love,
Sukhmani Kaur
Sat Nam Snatam to you and your entire family. A spiritual journey filled with new realizations for all concerned; strengthening your commitments to all that you know already. Blessings, wisdom, and peace to you & yours.
Sending good thoughts your way. Best wishes.

Jeffrey Snover
Such a beautiful and soulful writing of a true story. Yes, it is wonderful to be able to give love to our parents as we see a disease take away their fullness. But what really is it, that has made them full...their spirit!
Thank you for a beautiful insight into love.
Yoga Energy Therapy
Richmond, VA
So tenderly written and experienced, dear woman. My expertise is with those with Alzheimer's. When it is challenging for the person afflicted to find their peace, I have found that if I am at peace, and share that person's best stories-humorous, poignant, adventurous-it puts me, the caregiver, in a place of respect and regard. Then it affects the sphere around him or her beautifully too. And if I write those stories down and make them available for any who join the circle at any time, all can share this loving sphere. I wish you and your family peace and forward flow from this day.
Your approach to this is admirable, as we always desire to do something when someone we care about is suffering or ailing. I am sure you know that being there with your loved one is a truly great gift, even if that person does not fully recognise you anymore or cannot comment on what it means to them. Being a massage therapist, I can add that touch is also an immensely meaningful gesture you can bring to your mother-in-law. It does not have to be massage strokes or anything that involves training; by just placing your hand on her back or rubbing her back gently, you are soothing her nervous system, which is currently undergoing so much turmoil. Perhaps you will be surprised by the effect it can have. We can never understand how or why these things happen, but we can always learn how the simple things are always the greatest parts of life, in its many stages. Blessings to you and your family.
Blessings to you and your extended family, Snatam. Thank you for sharing your sweet beautiful soul with us as you endure this challenge. I understand because I have been disabled for 15 years. Many but not all of my identities were removed from me. Coming to acceptance involves strength and grace of which you have both as does Sopurkh and everyone else involved...Sat Nam.
Thank you so much for posting about your family dealing with Parkinson's. I listen to your music all the time ... in my yoga classes, in my car ... I feel like we know one another :) And I'm going through just what you are ... with my dear Mum, changing daily right before my eyes, her resisting like all hell and me trying to get the hang of this surrender business :) I so appreciate YOU in this world. Thank you :) KIM
Thank you so much for sharing!
Lovely post. Glad I read it.
Dear Precious Snatam,
In yours and your husbands willingness to meet her loss, and yours, then her suffering is not in vain. It becomes a gift which reveals compassion, understanding and sacred service. Because of your devotion to the awakening of all being, this great blessing is for all. Your bow receives everything; grace, love, goodness prevail. My heart is filled with gratitude for your family.
Amen, Sat Nam. Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for sharing your heart, Snatam. I know many of us can relate in our own way. I'll keep her in my prayers.
Sat Nam! I am so sorry to hear of the illness of your mother-in-law. Just today I heard the worlds "life is the test...God is the comfort" may those words also bring you comfort as you travel this part of your journey.
Beantpal Kaur
Blessings to you and your family, Snatam. I listen to your music a lot. It brings me a lot of peace and somehow reminds me to just breathe and be. Thank you so much for your music. It has been especially important to me in the past 2 1/2 years because i've been able to do little else due to disease. Some would say that I've lost everything, property, virtually all my money, and my ability to work and yet in that process i've finally found something more than all these things that defined me. It's a tough way to discover the underlying truth of existence maybe but I'm grateful nonetheless.

As you say, who are we when our identity is stripped away? What's left? It's what we all say we're seeking. I suspect your mother in law is finding a deeper way of being present. And at the same time understand the grief of losing parts of your loved one.
I like how Sopurkh is holding the experience. He is truly wise.
I am deeply touched by your story. Thank you for sharing it.
I met you and your husband a few years ago in Sac. Ca at the Waldorf School concert. You left me with a beautiful gift of your music to get through my loss.

A wonderful book on caregiving is Gail Sheehy's 'Passages In Caregiving', turning chaos into confidence. Covers all aspects, even family supporters. Love and Blessings. Caryn, Sac. CA.
What a beautiful and thoughtful post. Thank you for sharing from your heart, and providing me with a post that made me pause and ponder.

wishes for insight and beauty.
I am so sorry to read of your Mother in law's illness. I would like to suggest the herb Ginkgo Biloba for memory loss, it has been proven to help even people with Alzheimers, and in some instances even reverse it, so I know it would help with other forms of memory loss, as it increases the blood flow to the brain and is an anti-aging antioxidant. I am going to pray for her, and for your Father in law, as well as the rest of your family. I will also send Reiki, as much as is needed. Again, I am so sorry that you are all going through this. I always tell others that when one is broken, we are all unmended, and I truly believe this. Blessings to you.
Sat Nam, **(-_-)**
Snatam Kaur Ji, I feel very sorry for your mother-in-law. WaheGuru Ji bless her she recovers soon and lots of love to your sweet daughter Jap Preet Kaur. I am a big fan of your's. Whenever i listen to any of your album it seems the voice coming straight from the Akal Purakh's kingdom. We, Sikhs love you. Satnam WaheGuru.
This story is so touching!

All I can say is may Guruji bless all of you for the sewa that you have been doing and may Guruji bless and guide her through all the pain too..

Sat Nam
Snatam, Thank you for sharing your experience so openly. It is indeed a gift to be with a person whose pure light shines through as she relinquishes the roles that have defined her. My mother showed the same grace as she was changed and eventually overtaken by a degenerative neurological disease. At her leaving, all that remained was her radiant love, even as it thinned and finally became transparent. It gave me great joy that comforted the sadness of my loss to see that her spirit was unimpaired as it was finally lifted from a body that could no longer support it.
Thank you for the blessing you have been in my life. Sat nam. Milree
Such a beautiful post and tribute. Wishing you all the strength of God's love and guidance as you go through this life experience.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?