"Zebra's", watercolour painting by my mother.
My mother passed away. Quite suddenly it now seems. A year's long battle with terminal small cell lung cancer ended with a fall. A broken femur and heart-wrenching pain. A quick exit from a relieving morphine haze into a coma. A non-responsive body, shutting down with us by her bedside. Blank stares and limp hands held. Shallow breaths and silence. Letting go, alone in her hospital bed and white gown. A final breath in solitude.
I wonder if she knew we were there. Was the brief grip when I held her hand just a reflex? Were the murmurs a cry for help or a stifled cough? Was her blank gaze seeing or in darkness? Did she hear me when I told her it was okay to let go? When I told her I loved her so very much.
How can the space be so vast when a person dies? The vacumn in energy so deep. Her spirit so light, I cannot feel it near. Is she near? Where is she?
Why can I not feel her?
It feels like a bad dream and in time I will awake and she will be at the end of a long telephone call. But I know she is gone. I did not go to be with her when she expected me to. I lost the time for talking about unspoken truths. I did not ask her to write a letter for her unborn grandchild. She will never see me become a mother.
Perhaps from the other side, but not in this life.
I like to think she will see everything from the light. That she is at peace and in a time and space so gentle, free and content. That she will be able to be near when we need her, and bear witness to the special days she will now miss.
How I miss her already.
In my mind, with the recent therapy sessions, I have held her in contempt and then forgiven all the wrong my child heart has held onto. I released her and forgave her just a few weeks ago. And now she has been released from all the pain and fear of her earthbound life dis-ease. How brave she was. How in awe I am of her strength and calm towards the end. How thankful I am to St Jude who was with her all the way along the twisted path to death.
What a brilliant, bright and unconventional woman she was. Her talent as an artist, an intellectual, an intuitive was exceptional. Not nurturing in the conventional sense, but a special inspiration to those that loved her. I will always remember her light on spirituality, common-sense, practicality, general knowledge, art, literature, and life. She taught me to lie on my back and look at the stars at night. To ask questions and to enquire deeply. To hold onto my freedom, always. To explore any subject and search for meaning. To be open to experiences. To appreciate music, nature, beauty, animals and the underdog.
She did not teach me to love unconditionally, to trust, to be patient, to protect my inner-child, to be kind to myself, to care for my needs. I took on the role of caring for her, even if she was unaware of it. I over-developed a thick, heavy layer of responsibility to protect her, me and my sisters. I became a pleaser to all. A performer. Needy of attention and acknowledgement. Serious, sincere, loyal. I pushed the child-me into corners and under cover so I didn't push her buttons. I absorbed her anger, her hurt, her shame, her sadness. I witnessed her self-destruction, her cry for help, her pain, her healing, her growth.
And now she is free.
And the gift she has given me is life.
My journey continues.
She is part of me, I am part of her.
We will forever be entwined in lifetimes ahead.
Be at peace my mother, until we meet again.
With love forever