Dearest Mom, it is just impossible to believe that it was three years ago today that we were all gathered around you, encircling you with love and light – as you peacefully let go of this life and took flight. You faced cancer with a grace, dignity and determination that was inspiring and humbling to watch. The strength and love that is your spirit was not extinguished that day, it just moved from one form into another. Your incredible spark is now a bright star in the night sky, a soft breeze that touches the face of a loved one, a dream of your smile. You are with us everywhere now, truly free.
I have often pondered the mysteries of death since Moms passing. That great unknown and equalizer. Moms passing was both heartbreaking and awe inspiring. So many things occurred that make me positive that our departed loved ones are still near, just on the other side of the looking glass. With the healing that time has brought, I can look back on those final days and the months that followed without being filled with sadness. Instead, wonder and gratitude now fill that space in my heart. I will share a few stories that were moments of light and revelation during that dark time.
Near the end, before Mom became unresponsive and was still going in and out of consciousness, she would look up to the far corner of the ceiling and say “No, no, I don’t want to go” over and over. Finally, I asked Mom who was there. She said it was my beloved Grandma, who had passed away less then a year earlier. She had come to tell her precious daughter that it was okay to finally let go. She had come to take her home.
Once Mom became unresponsive, the Doctors advised that we only had a few hours left. Her body was shutting down from the unstoppable tidal wave of cancer that was washing over it, and the unbelievable amount of drugs that were being pumped into her to try to control the pain. In spite of this, Mom went on. Hour after hour and then day after day, much to everyone’s astonishment. Even after Palliative Care removed IV liquids and pumped more drugs into Mom, she continued to stay with us. That incredibly strong, amazing woman did not want to go. Then Moms sister-in-law came to sit with us. We were talking about how remarkable it was that Mom was hanging on and she asked me if I had given Mom “permission” to pass away yet. I was puzzled. She said that sometimes a person will try hang on if they feel like a loved one still really needs them.
That night while I was sitting alone with Mom I thought back to what had been said. It made a lot of sense. As a self-professed Mamma’s Boy, and her biggest cheerleader in the fight against cancer, I had never made letting go seem like an option. In those quiet twilight hours I got to take Moms hand and tell her how much I love her, and say that I wanted her to go toward the light – that it was okay. It broke my heart to say that because all I wanted was for her to stay with us, but it was the most loving thing that I could do. Even though Mom had been unresponsive for several days by this point, I could see her eyes grow wider when I said that she had to let go. Exhausted, I then put my head on her shoulder and snuggled into Mom, dozing off. When I woke I could see her smiling peacefully, holding her “little boy” one last time before saying goodbye. She passed away that morning with all of her beloved family around her.
Beautiful glimpses from beyond the veil continued all throughout that first year. In the months that followed, I would often dream of Mom when I needed comfort or advice. In my deepest moments of grief, a wave of calm would unexpectedly come over me. I had the feeling that Mom was never far away. She hadn’t completely left this realm yet, because she knew that we still needed her. Little signs were everywhere.
I was out having a meal with friends, and happened to mention that it would have been Moms birthday. As the words were leaving my lips, all of the mini-lights on the restaurant deck twinkled to life. The server mentioned that it was strange as they were set to automatically came on after dusk, and it was the middle of the day. Standing on a bridge in Paris, listening to a busker play a beautiful piece of music that Mom loved, the air was suddenly filled with the scent of her perfume. On the first anniversary of Moms passing I was distractedly trying to watch a movie. Just as I said silently to myself “I love and miss you Mom”, the TV lost power and tuned off. Then a few moments later came back on and picked right back up where it left off. I could go on an on. Mom was just letting me know in little ways that she was still here, even if I couldn’t see her.
Rest peacefully now my Angel, you were there for me way beyond the finish line. You somehow found a way to stay until I was strong again. I could literally feel your arm around me during the deepest depths of my sadness. You walked every single step of the murky valley of grief with me. I know that you are still watching over your family as we grow and evolve, sending pure love from the heart of the universe. You are now one with everything.