Forgive me followers for I have sinned:
it’s been 122 days since my last blog.
And whew, what a 122 days…
Six months, really. This is definitely in the “Top 5” consciousness periods in my life – and I’m including my birth and reserving a spot for my death in there!
My Mom died.
Thank you, I can feel your warm energy.
It was not an unanticipated passing, but not a given at this time either. She had a stroke three years ago; and between adjusting to physical limitations, and struggling to re-engage the social stimuli – which was equally her life-blood, she faded a little more day by day… by day….. by.
After the initial stroke, Mom’s personality and thus my relationship with her changed. She and I had a very intimate meeting of the minds and shared a life-philosophy that was not comfortably entertained in our household: it was a lovely place to deepen our relationship. The cool conversations we would share for hours (typically me lying on her bed, she in her favorite chair after having watched our daily regimen
of The Young and the Restless [another confession!] in our cozy bedroom cave), well… they simply changed. It became more and more challenging to explore and share the vulnerabilities of our take on the world as her attention, body and mind recessed. It was then that I began grieving the loss of “My Mom”.
“how lucky i am to have known someone
who was so hard to say goodbye to”
– adapted from Winnie-the-Pooh
Coincidentally- or not- as a permanent student of life, at the time of Mom’s stroke I was in a phase of actively exploring “change“: neurologically, behaviourally, emotionally and philosophically. [Managing change is the most prevalent challenge with my clientele- and that of most coaches’ and therapists’.]
I was intrigued with and paid particular attention to experiences and behaviours around loss, death, and grief. It’s never sat right with me how the majority of North Americans (and my British heritage) perceive and thus manage death: as a death sentence. The default mood upon hearing of a death is morose, dark, sad, uncomfortable, and clinical. It mongers fear: we almost instinctively jump to the negative view of our own mortality. But death is SO a fundamental part of life: it is an equal milestone to birth in our journey here on earth, is it not? We highlight death dates in obits (virtually the main public bio of one’s existence); and d. is one of the few bits of info on headstones: we don’t list our grad dates, first-job dates, marriage dates, or birthdates of our kids in either of those important declarations. I’ve never seen any contract guaranteeing: my exit date; the amount of time my parents/mates/kids get with me; or how or why I go out. You?
Life is jiggly. Life on earth is simply a full contact, no-rules journey. Then it’s over. We have HOPE ONLY, of impactful experiences. Even if it’s as simple as a mother and baby only ever knowing each other’s heartbeat from inside the womb – THAT is as complete a journey as any – and we have no reason to expect more or judge it less. With full knowledge of the crapshoot nature of life, why is death so feared and so devastating to some; and so minimized as an accomplishment? The evolution of our physical bodies alone is miraculous, and worthy of conscious acknowledgement for “housing” our beloveds – and in Mom’s case, for a time, me. Shouldn’t deaths send our thoughts instinctively to a place of fascination, dreams, inspiration and motivation, as we anticipate the wonderful space ahead of US, just waiting to be filled? Big, BIG discussion… but at the time of Mom’s stroke, in my personal journey, I was massaging my own working theory around life and death and was LOVING the insight into the beliefs and practices of others around this issue. I did in fact solidify a belief about death that was comfortable for me – but it was all still in theory, not yet in practice.
Well, in my Mom’s world, “practice made perfect” and she did not miss this opportunity – although a rather extreme one, Mom! – to offer me the benefit of experience. And I’ve got to say: both my curiosity of life and the belief system that I have tentatively adopted are paying off in spades: I am having the most enlightening, beautiful, fulfilling, calm, loving “mourning” period ever.
Page 2: Confessing to enjoying death? What, how, why, who helped – who didn’t… and the greatest confession of all