When I returned back to work after taking a week off after my mother transitioned, I was not sure what I was going to encounter. I asked my manager to please not have flowers and cards enveloping my work station. I had already been inundated with sympathy (which is so beautiful), however, it was not allowing me the moments of quiet when I could focus elsewhere. Not only do I know a lot of people, my mother knew a lot of people and the ripple effect kept going and going and going. I couldn’t find quiet. I needed quiet. I needed peace.
My second day back to work, one of my clients, an elderly, Jesuit man, came in. He looked in my eyes with deep love and expressed his sorrow for my loss. He said this, “I’m sorry for the loss of your mother, but I am happy for HER.” That’s not a message that would sit very well with some people, but for me it was perfect. I don’t believe he had any idea how he blessed me with his words that day.
You see, I had cringed and shuddered my whole life any time I thought about walking this earth without my mom. We had a very close relationship especially after co-housing for 4 years during and post “tsunami”. I often referred to her as “the best husband I ever had!” In those years, I was able to heal myself and divinely, she was able to heal herself as well. She said to me several times, “I know why you are still here [unable financially to move out yet]…. You’re here to help me set my soul right before I die.”
My mom had dealt with cancer for over ten years. It was a very slow growing cancer and she opted to try many chemo/medical trials as her treatment. Although she did everything with grace, I lived in very close proximity with her “struggle” every day. Even though she constantly told everyone she was fine, I knew better. I watched her with an eagle eye. I couldn’t help it. Every ache, pain, cough, long days in bed, energetic spurts, eating, not eating, hair loss, hair growing back, bruises from needle pokes, hospitalizations, diarrhea blow outs in Walmart (yes, that happened) and appointments, appointments, appointments, I felt deeply inside my heart. Even though she had her husband and oftentimes I was just in observance, she’s my momma, I’m her daughter, and we carried one another.
So often I had to hide the pain that watching her journey caused me, because I knew if she felt for one hot second that she was a burden or causing me pain, she wouldn’t let me in. It was always the juggle between letting her to know how much I care and showing up bravely so she would feel free to lean on me when needed.
On Sunday February 1st at 6:30 a.m. I received a call from her best friend, Marcie, who was visiting her at the hospital requesting, “Please come quickly. Mom wants you. She thinks it’s time. They have moved her to ICU.” Although this was completely out of the blue (she was doing great yesterday!) somehow I knew I had to be brave for her one last time. I walked into her room with a smile and love written all over me. I did not have a chance to assess the situation before the doctor inquired about her Living Will.
I almost hit the floor. Suck it up, Kristen! Suck it up! She needs you now more than ever. You CAN do this. You can do this! Allow your love for her to guide you. And I did. I held and studied her hands. I kissed her face. I whispered loving, peaceful words in her ear. I kissed and kissed and kissed her face some more. With all her ducklings, her husband and close friends in the room, momma made her transition 3 hours later.
When my elderly client said he was happy for her, I understood completely, because I, too, am happy for her. She was engulfed by love her whole life because she exuded love. I know where she is. I know she is existing only in peace and love now. I know she lives inside me as I live inside her. I have not gone one day without feeling/knowing her presence. I don’t see her physical body anymore, but I FEEL her as if she is in the same room with me.
Even though a day does not pass without missing her, I can say with utter conviction and certainty, I am happy she is finally resting. And from the position she now “lives”, she can do an even better job watching over her ducklings which is absolutely her most favorite thing to do.