A letter to the SFZC Elders Committee
included in the Zen Alumbrella proposal of 10-05
Zen Alumbrella proposal of 10-05 Overview
Letter from David Chadwick to SFZC Elder’s
Emailed to Lewis Richmond who distributed it to the members in early July, 2005.
Dear members of the SFZC Elders Council,
Ananda Claude Dalenberg is living now at Central Garden Convalescent Hospital at 1355 Ellis Street at Laguna in San Francisco. It's easy to park there. Last fall he had some strokes that have left him unable to move much more than his head and left arm. He is all there and can communicate by whispering. He's been back on a feeding tube recently. He doesn't have to be but he worries about choking because eating makes him cough he says. He wasn't making enough progress with physical therapy for the therapist who said there were too few results for too much effort - so he's not doing any now. It could be seen as his stubbornness but it's hard to know. His speech therapist has been more pleased and Ananda sang me a brief song (in a whisper) that he'd been working on. He does have access to a computer with wireless but his room is too far from the router so we need to get another router closer to him. He has perked up a little when we've sat him up and put it in front of him so he can read it and write something - using one finger of his left hand. He appreciates visits from people whom he was friends with. Just one visit from an old dharma sibling means a lot to him. He likes to be read to. He likes Buddhist material but he'll listen to whatever is read. I'm over half way through reading him the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. His wife Vera sees him pretty much every day and his twin daughters (31) go there quite a bit too. But so far he hasn't had many visitors from Zen Center people.
One problem that Ananda has is that he's running out of money. His wife Vera needs help figuring out what to do to keep in the facility he's in without draining all her resources and loosing her home.
There are other people to consider.
Della Goertz is in Napa at Piner's Guest Home at 1800 Pueblo Ave. Her number is 707-261-7378 and the number of the home is 707-255-3461. She gets around on her own and is healthy but her memory is slipping. She always talks about returning to her Page Street Apartment.
Betty Warren is living at the Redwoods, a retirement home in Mill Valley at 40 Camino Alto across from Tam Hi. She's a ringleader of the Friday afternoon protest against the Iraq war. Loly Rosset Also lives there. The Redwoods was started by the Community Church of Mill Valley.
The Berkeley Zen Center has a Sangha Support Network that tries to match those in need with helpers. We could look to what they're doing and what other communities do so that those in need are not forgotten. The Mormons and the NFL both have extensive outreach programs. I wonder what other Buddhist groups are doing. Alan Senauke said that when he was ill three years ago he was very taken care of by the Berkeley Sangha. I started thinking about all this after Del Carlson told me how dismayed he was when no one came to visit him in the hospital a couple of years ago when he was there for three weeks. There was a wellness ceremony for him at Green Gulch though.
There are many points to consider, but for now the main purposes of this letter are to 1 - encourage people to visit Ananda and also Della and Betty and 2 - to encourage the Elders Council to discuss the need for more attention to be paid in our sangha to the sort of outreach needed to respond to the needs of those in a situation like Ananda. There is a whole lot to think about and plan for. This is definitely a growth issue. I don't know what should be done in terms of Zen Center policy but I imagine that there could be some sort of structure both within the Zen Center and without, maybe an independent alumni group. I trust that the members of the Elders Council will have many good ideas about how to proceed.
Thank you for your consideration of these things.
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