Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Circle

I stand in the church, head bowed, gripping the pew in front of me. The congregation is praying as instructed by the priest, but my eyes are open, my stare alternating from the popping veins in my hands to the draped casket parked at the foot of the alter.

It is the funeral of my friend's father. It is the first loss they are experiencing as a family; a parade of bewildered eyes, profound, stoic sadness and blank faces as they follow the casket of their beloved. My heart aches for them, and then my heart aches for me. My mind takes a travel back to another time and space. Another loss of profound sadness. Another reluctant goodbye.

I retrace the final days leading up to the impromptu meeting with "the team". The moment when the medical wizards looked at me with collective sympathetic eyes and told me that there was nothing left to be done; that my family and me should start preparing ourselves. I remember smiling, nodding and politely thanking them for all they had done. I remember my body executing the proper social graces as my mind raced with my heart in close contention. I was weightless, unable to connect with my physical self as my thoughts operated erratically - independently.

I fast forward the memory to the final hours of her life. The phone call in the middle of the night ... "your mother is experiencing acute respiratory distress ..." . The panicked drive to the hospital with my family. The horrific sound of laboured breathing greeting us as the elevator doors opened. The look of hopelessness in my mother's eyes as they inserted chest tubes.

It was over. My optimism was brutally invaded by the realization that the end was waiting in the wings -- and the doctor's hand on my shoulder confirmed the worst.

And in the end -- the very end, we formed a ring of love around our angel. She opened her eyes one final time, and blinked when we asked her if she was going. And bathed in pink glowing light, she passed over. We felt it. As she departed, she gave us a final gift - a millisecond of utter bliss and peace - and we knew she was free.

It had been easy to finally let her go. It was like childbirth; pain greater than anything I had ever endured, followed by a flood of emotion, and finally - a lifechanging moment as special as one can be.

Since my mother's passing, at every funeral I attend, I retrace as others pray. But the important lesson I garnered from the experience of ushering my mom to her eternity, was that there are things worse than death; and that death can be the beautiful, bittersweet closure of the circle that is life.

6 comments:

  1. I'm glad you're okay, Lyn. And I agree, death is an important part of life... Fearing death is like fearing birth, it doesn't make sense when you stop and think about it.

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  2. Lyn, you really have a way with words. I'm always filled with compassion and a touch of bitter regret when you talk about your mother's passing, but today you've moved me to tears. :(

    Again, I am so sorry for the loss you and your family suffered. :/ I'm glad that you have so many happy memories to smooth the healing process, such a strong heart to bear the pain, and that eternal optimism to keep you pressing forward.

    I'm sending you a hug and lots of warm wishes for you and your friends' family.

    Lots of love,
    Carrie.

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  3. What astonishing words Lyn.
    That is the beauty/ pain of blogging we don't know what were going to read from each other when we click on.
    These words got me so in touch with being with my Mum when she died. An expereince that still touches me 24 years later.
    Makes me want to awknowlegde it a bit more, maybe a post I don't know. For now just thinking will be enough.

    Thank you
    xx

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  4. It had been easy to finally let her go. It was like childbirth; pain greater than anything I had ever endured, followed by a flood of emotion, and finally - a lifechanging moment as special as one can be.

    Oh, this makes my heart ache.

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  5. Jon - I'm fine and at peace. And I agree - I think I have put death in its proper place.

    Carrie - you are so sweet. My family came through that experience stronger and closer. Thanks for your kind words and wishes.

    Mandy - I feel that those of us who have cared for and buried a parent share a special bond of understanding. I hope I wasn't morbid. I didn't mean to be.

    Harmony - I started off intending to write about one thing and ended up with something different. I am always surprised what I reveal to myself - about myself. No worries ...

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