This might be the most intimate piece of writing I have ever tried to do because this subject touches deeply my own personal transformation, but here it goes. I was very young when I started to light candles for the dead. My grandmother had died and every Sunday my mother would give me a twenty-five cents to go up and light a candle for my grandmother and have me pray for her soul. This went on for years and was a part our Sunday rituals together.
But it was in my Mother’s own death process that I was directly effect by the intimacy of death. Noreen had suffered from dementia and also chronic pain in her hips. Her death march was a slow and a suffering process. I came back from France to help my father who was her main caregiver. I was not in such good shape myself since I had lost my relationship and my own work. I found myself in a situation I was not really emotionally ready. I had so much of my own personal suffering at the time that I had to put a side because my Mother’s suffering was so much greater. I did not seek out help from friends except a couple of old girlfriends that could endure the rawness of my situation. People I had known locally did not even know I was in town, I could not face anyone with so much personal pain.
I watch my Mother’s mind slowly dissolve and with it the walls between her own unresolved childhood wounding manifested as frustration and anger. As the mind slipped away reality became blurred of what happened and her own imagination.
My father developed the patience of a saint and the non reactiveness of a zen master. I learned to follow his lead to be able to cope with my mother’s mood swings and physical pain which had become her daily bread. I spent my inner time silently praying as I cared for my mother.
I laid in bed at night dissolving my own childhood patterns. My meditation was to breathe and allowing myself to go deeper and deeper into the core of my heart. I taught myself to pass through the layers of my own personal suffering through watching my breath and breathing deeper when I came to the layers of contraction. I found myself pass through different layers of emotional pain, judgement and reactions, and with each layer I breathed deeper. I came to a place of stillness and of watching and at best accepting what was happening rather then how I wished it to look.
It was not that I had not been involved in people’s death process before but somehow my Mother’s process was intricately connected to my own awakening process. But it was in my Mother’s finally weeks of life and her surrender that I learned the most.
I had come to visit my parents and I had only been in the house for an hour when my father slumped down in the chair holding his heart I called 911 and at that moment I was between my father maybe dying and my dying mother. My father had to have an operation and complete rest. The job of becoming my mother’s soul caretaker was on my shoulders. This was the most difficult six weeks and also some of the most profound. The only way I could pass through such an experience with my mother was be in constant prayer.
The last two weeks of my Mother’s life she began to dissolve into the Great Oneness. Each night she would hold court with all the people and situations of her past. She slept very little during the night. But she would be downstairs in the dark talking to the ghost of her past addressing each person or situation and making peace, surrendering and blessing each invisible visitor.
My mother was far from a perfect person but what she had beyond her many faults was a faith in prayer and also a Higher Power which she instilled into me. Two weeks before she died we looked into each other’s eyes, we did not always see eye to eye. My Mother had an iron will that wanted me to bend to her ways. And this Free Spirit Wild Child was not going to bend but more like blow with the wind. But it was in that moment that love was the most important thing between us not who was right or whose will would be on top of the game.
Those last weeks as difficult as they were I watch my Mom surrender each and every situation in her life at the feet of Love and Forgiveness. Others were not there to bare witness to such an intimate process . But this was the intimate unraveling process each soul must come to at that moment of death. And death comes to us all.
If you have a love one that is slowly loosing their mind and their memory files become mixed up and sometimes distorted it is because they are dissolving into the Great Oneness return to the Essence of Love. It through the months and now a couple of years the real gifts my Mother has left me the understanding of surrender and forgiveness I witness in those cold dark nights of December in the last days of her life. When I was driving from Arizona 1:00 in the morning to my Mother’s wake I looked up in the winter sky and I saw a vision of my Mother laughing in the stars flying across the night. She was free and she was happily on her way Home.