We’re approaching a year and half since we had to say goodbye to our dear old hound dog, Sammy. He was a constant friend who passed just shy of his 18th birthday. A week after he died, the house felt empty without him and so we decided to leave and take advantage of an artist in residency opportunity in Charleston, SC. Just as we were backing out of our driveway to go to Charleston, we got a phone call. And just like that we found ourselves on an emergency flight to California instead. We got to the hospital in Sacramento, CA, just in time to be by the bedside of Donald, my husband’s father, before he passed away.
Then, just under two months later, we were back in California to lay Matthew’s mother to rest. She had just celebrated her 82nd birthday the day before.
During it all there was many an Oasis.
I first created Oasis Moments during a period in my life when I was experiencing panic attacks. I found it helped me ease out of or even disarm an attack altogether. An Oasis Moment is when you are able to be aware that everything is okay even during the most intense or painful of moments. To find your way into an Oasis Moment you ask yourself: “Is everything okay in this very moment? Within the time it takes me to ask myself this question, is everything okay?”
Remarkably, I’ve always answered yes to these prompting questions. Always. Even in the heart of a panic attack when I was so scared it felt like I was going to black out or die. There was a place inside of me that always answered yes to the question. And once I had the yes, I was there. If I was able to know everything is okay even in one beat of my heart I was able to be inside an Oasis, a moment when, regardless of what I’m experiencing, feeling, or doing, everything is okay. Not that there’s no pain or grief or fear but despite it, regardless of it all, the moment is okay. It’s really a practice of finding peace of mind in any situation.
We collected around Matthew’s father’s bed, encircling him as he transitioned out of this life. Even in that moment, especially in that moment, there was an Oasis to be found. And I pray it was Donald, my husband’s father who found it.