Thursday, July 03, 2014

A painful, mysterious, love-filled gift

"The more we love another person, the more we can sense a potential devastation that could follow from this. We know that we must eventually lose this person, if only at the moment of death. What to do? Protect ourselves by not loving so much? Leave and live in isolation? Adopt a stoic philosophy? Our mind spins. None of these are genuine or satisfying answers. They only distract us from this razor's edge where we feel so sharply pierced by our love and by our vulnerability about where it may lead. Yet we need to feel pierced in this way. It brings us more fully awake and alive."
 ~ John Welwood, "Journey of the Heart"

Six years ago today, July 3, 2008, my Mother died. Here's an excerpt from the blog that I was keeping, written three days before her death, at a time when she was was coming in and out of consciousness.

 "There are many gifts in this process. Hearts open, and people get to places they can't normally access. We dread the thought of death, and most of us refuse to think about it, or worse, unconsciously think that it won't happen to us. But we have a choice - don't wait until it's too late to contemplate the changing nature of life, including your own death. Today's a good day to begin, while you have the luxury of ability and time.

 Lastly, I want to add that when I declared that my "suffering has ended" the other day, I was premature. Because Mom is still so with it, she can communicate when she's in pain or restless or wants to get up, and it pushes all my I-don't-want-Mom-to-suffer buttons. I mean, it REALLY pushes those buttons. Mike and I spent a long time today talking with Mom, and at one point, she said, "I feel really good." We talked about our favorite meals she used to make us growing up, and how caring she was, always worried about us. It was so far beyond anything we could have dreamed about a few days ago that we were both feeling so blessed. Towards the end, though, Mom started getting fidgety and anxious, and then complaining clearly about intense pain in her back, and I just about lost it. It's the one thing that I've always wanted for my mother - that she be happy and not suffer. I've been so motivated by that these last six months, but that's really just been the obvious expression of a lifelong desire for her. Between the supreme exhaustion and sleep deprivation, I was totally overwhelmed and cried, but not like a baby - I cried like an adult who really loves his mother, and is starting to understand that love in a whole new way. That, too, is a gift. A huge, painful, beautiful, mysterious, love-filled gift.

More than ever, I love you Mom.


(The End)