The Dhance: A Caregiver’s Search for Meaning

Strength in Unity #1

by Coy Cross II, Ph.D “
For a moment life seemed surreal, as it likely would for anyone. It’s Friday afternoon, my friend Greg and I are having coffee in Peet’s coffee-shop on 19th Sacramento. Yesterday, my wife was diagnosed with Stage III, Level C, Ovarian cancer. Her surgery is scheduled for Tuesday. As Greg and I are talking, I share with him: (1) I know there are profound spiritual lessons in this for both my wife and me; (2) I have to do it differently this time; (3) I have to accept this and “let everything be as it is.” The only thing I can do is be “consciously present with her.”

After walking away from a fundamentalist church as a teenager, by age 40 I felt something missing from my life and started looking for answers. I started going to a small Unity church in Modesto and later a guest speaker named Carol Ruth Knox delivered the Sunday talk. For the first time in my life, I heard a message that resonated to the core of my being. I knew this was Truth, capitalized, emboldened and underlined.

A few months after that first meeting, I bought a small business in Walnut Creek, near her church. Over the next few years, her teachings on “Non-duality,” “Progressing Spiritually from Victim to Victor to Vehicle,” and “The Dark Night of the Soul” changed my life and the way I see God. This helped me see that my wife’s cancer would have a profound spiritual impact on us both.

I had been a caregiver about 30 years before and it didn’t go well. I tried to do everything myself and avoid the pain by “stuffing” my feelings and numbing out with alcohol. Part of “doing things differently” was to recognize I couldn’t fix my wife. I could take care of many of her physical needs: cooking, driving her to doctor’s appointments, buying groceries, cleaning house, etc. I realized this time I needed to take care of myself, if I was to remain strong enough to take care of her. I would ask for help or hire someone to do the routine chores.

The greatest gift I could give to her and to me was to remain conscious throughout the experience. I said to God, “Okay, I am going to be present for all of this. I am going to feel it all.” My promise to my wife was, “I will be consciously present with you and hold your hand throughout.” As we move forward in time each of us will face a ‘dark night of the soul’ or a moment that seems surreal from crisis in our lives. How to find mental, physical and spiritual strength to cope, survive and assist those in need as a caregiver is just the beginning of finding strength in Unity.

Share with us each month here and visit Facebook to learn more at The Dhance. See author Cross as he discusses discoveries, lessons and shares insights on YouTube. You also can learn to cope in delving into the mind, life and acceptance of life and death that is the heart of Coy Cross’s experience related for all to learn from in “The Dhance” (Available from KohoPono Press, ISBN 978-0-9845424-2-0, visit or call 503-723-7392).