Friday, July 27, 2007

A Final Goodbye

"Death is simply a shedding of the physical body, like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon...It's like putting away your winter coat when Spring comes." Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I received the telephone call from the care home an hour ago. My mother heeded Death's call...she died at 11:40 PM on July 26, her birthday.

She was in great pain at the end of her life...she taught me, as her body contorted from Osteoarthritis and bed sores, what courage and strength in the face of such agony is really like.

She was aware of all of us until the very end...she would groan in agreement to whatever was said. When her family was there, Mom ignored the morphine dreams...and still attempted to communicate her feelings.

I noticed a change this evening, as I meditated with her. I told her what a good mother she had been, and that there was no need to be afraid...that Heaven was preparing the greatest birthday celebration she had ever had. I told her no one blamed her...I knew she had been greatly worried about her capacity as a Mother.

I told her that when she died, she could run. Without medications, her walker or her wheelchair. I told her she could run through fields of Flowers, more kinds than she could ever imagine. I told her she would never be cold, hungry, tired or in pain again, once she traveled all the way to the end of that Golden Highway she was on.

I took her to the Boat that crosses that deep and very wide River, at the end of the Highway. I told her, when she felt the time was right, to step onto that wondrous, shimmering Vessel and sail off, into the distant Sunset.

I reminded her of those who had gone before. She would see her mother and father, her sister, her granddaughter...and all of her husbands. She made an mmmph sound, by blowing air through her mouth. I'm not sure she will necessarily want to see all of her husbands.

She had refused water...she had refused all sustenance for days; but her body shell continued to cling to life.

I left her, with the image of climbing aboard the shimmering Sailboat, after she received another dose of medication. She seemed to rally after that dose, slipping into a quiet, rested, peaceful sleep. Sleep that had eluded her, even with the morphine. Selfishly, I felt hopeful, when I left, that there might be another day or two in her company...

And now, my mother waves her final goodbye from the sparkling, silver Boat, as she sails off into the distant, golden horizon.

I stay on the beach, my work here not yet done, and watch her until she is no longer visible...

"Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves and Immortality." Emily Dickinson

In memory of Gisela, my mother ( July 26, 1921 - July 26, 2007)

Rest in Peace, Mama...I miss you.


  1. I will remember you this evening as you begin to remember your Mother and all the happy times. You wrote beautifuly of her and her journey.

  2. Condolences for your loss. From your beautiful words I think she must have reached a joyful peace.

  3. Marion, your words must have eased your mom's journey. I'm so sorry. It hardly seems like it, but seven years ago I watched my mother leave. As you did, I talked to her and told her I loved her and that she had been a good mother and that it was okay to go. Please take care.

  4. I'm very sorry. Bless you for being able to meet this event with such peace and wisdom, and for sharing it. Beautiful quotes. Both those women are idols of mine, and those particular quotes sublime, as is the moon photo, so fitting. Thank you, and I pray your mom's passing is a sweet release for her.

  5. I am sorry to hear of your mother's death, but you wrote about it beautifully and your words to her on your final evening together not only gave her permission to leave but were a wonderful preparation for her journey. It will indeed be a welcome release for her to be free of the restraints of her body at last.

    It can be very hard to come to terms with losing your mother. When mine died fifteen years ago, I would wake up from sleep struggling to understand what had happened. The world seemed suddenly unreal somehow, and part of it still remains so.

    Do be kind to yourself in the weeks ahead, and please accept my condolences for your loss.

  6. Sorry to read this. No matter how old you are the loss of a parent is very very hard. At least you were able to be with your mother and comfort her in the final hours.

  7. Marion,
    Your loss is heartfelt. I offer you condolences in your time of mourning. We both know that your mother is now in a place that offers comfort and joy. A place full of light and of love. She has started another journey and she is once more full of knowing. She is now the gentle breeze on a warm day. She is in the light of a candle on a dark night. The part of her that held her spirit is gone but she is always here with you. I know that you know all you have do is feel and you will know her presence. From afar I offer a shoulder and a hug and wish you comfort in your time of loss.

  8. I'm really sorry to hear of your mother's passing Marion. You have my deepest sympathy. This was a beautiful, very poignant post. I'm sure it helped you a great deal to put some of your feelings down on paper. Your Mum has journeyed to a better place now, leaving her physical body and all the pain and suffering behind. It's always difficult to lose somebody you love but your mum's spirit will always be with you, watching over you. The happy memories of the time you spent together will be with you forever. Take care and look after yourself Marion.

  9. Oh Marion, my heart goes out to you. Even at a time such as this your words are so beautiful. I hope and pray that you are in as peaceful a place as possible, under the circumstances. {{{HUGS}}} to you, and rejoicing for your mother's release from her pain.

  10. my deepest condolence to you. *hugs*

  11. Thank you all for your wonderful words during a time of great distress. There is no way to describe how all your comments eased the passage of grief and mourning.

    My mother and I renewed our relationship during the last years of her life, a relationship that had soured. I will always be grateful.

  12. Marion, I am so so sorry to read this sad news. Please know I am praying for you and your family. Please accept my sincere condolences.