I Ching

It had been a day and a half since we visited Mom when I received a phone informing me that mom had just died peacefully in her sleep. It was expected news, but it still left me dazed.  I decided to throw the I Ching, not with any particular question, but as a meditation on this particular moment.

When one uses the I Ching, the traditional wisdom is: Ask a clear question with as few words as possible. Preferably a yes/no question.  So I was off on the wrong foot, as I had no question.  I was looking for a broader understanding of mom, her life and her death. I might have also been wondering about our relationship. But I didn’t ask a question . . .

I tossed the coins and my lines produced  Hexagram 53 Chien/Development.  (It changed to Hexagram 9 /The Taming Power of the Small. Which I will write about later.)

Hexagram (#53) talks about right procedure and following tradition. It speaks of protocol and events that must be allowed to occur in their own time.  At first I thought this Hexagram was vague and not helpful. Not like the spot-on messages I’m used to receiving.  Maybe I had made a mistake by not asking a question.

This hexagram talks about a young woman preparing to marry.  There are procedures that must be followed. (What does this have to do with my current situation? If I was looking for something specific, I should have stated what that was) After studying the hexagram for several days, I’m starting to see how this particular Hexagram is appropriate for my situation. This is a time of transition.  My mother has died and she has been a very important person in my life. I am reminded to deal with this in stages.

“Hasty actions are inappropriate at this time.”  Clearly, a time to move slowly.

My relationship with Mom became more complicated as her mind was slowly taken over by Dementia.  Until the past ten years, I’d  considered her a person of wise counsel.  But those same ten years threw me into situations beyond what I thought of as my emotional maturity.  I needed counsel.  So many times I was upset and confused with my alarmingly complex family life.  So many times I called her to talk over a situation, especially concerning my teenage son, but I would start talking and usually she would say “I can’t hear you.”  Which really meant, “I’m not listening.”

Conversations became about her physical problems and her hallucinations.  Not that she saw the creatures cohabitating with her as anything but real.  Fortunately, these animals were mostly benign.  She was surrounded by finely attired cats (their clothing described in detail), who proved to be quite helpful with housework.  She swears they were folding laundry and even ironing. (I’m not clever enough to make this stuff up!)  On the whole,  they were not menacing and they talked to her and became companions.  She only worried that the management would discover the animals and take them away.  I asked her how on earth they got up to the third floor – the elevator?  They were too short!  But my questions were unheard.

With this Hexagram I’m reminded to back away from judgements.  Nothing will make sense too quickly.  This is not the time for me to process my hurt feelings about who she couldn’t be when I needed her most.  For now, it’s enough to see the progression of mental disintegration that took her away from me long before her actual death.

The first moving line states: “A wild goose gradually draws near the shore.”  The young son is in danger.  My youngest brother, Mom’s youngest son, will have the hardest time coming to terms with her death.  The interpretation of this line in the Wilhelm /Baynes translation specifically says: “The young son is just now finding his way and he is surrounded by danger.”  This is word for word, very appropriate for my youngest brother.
The real message is to think about him and perhaps help him as he is just now moving into his own housing. somehow help him with this transition.

The influence of my mother’s life and death on my growth will slowly make more sense.


6 Responses to “I Ching”

  1. Linda Zbigley July 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Sorry to hear about your loss. Wishing your Mom and you well.

    She sure had some great friends. Love

  2. Michael Schackow August 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    I feel like I’m often looking for interesting things to read about a variety of topics, but I manage to include your site among my reads every day because you have interesting entries that I look forward to. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more amazing material coming!

    • Lucy August 29, 2011 at 7:47 am #

      Just when I thought I was writing to the wind…Thank you!

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      Thank you for reading and commenting.

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