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The Hard Goodbye

There is so much more to life than what we see. Even when it appears we are making a hard goodbye–nothing is really happening.

As a mystic, I walk between the nonphysical and physical worlds–constantly receiving information from both even though I don’t always understand what it may mean. So it was with the passing of my mother. One night, in a meditative state, I found myself sitting around a mountain campfire with many of my deceased family members. I noticed that my mother was sitting there as well. She told me that she had been coming to these campfires for the past month and that it would not be long before she arrived for good. Since mom was 90, this did not surprise me even though her health was good.

A day or so later, I received a call from my sister who was extremely upset and emotional. “Mother has suffered a massive stroke and we are at the hospital. Here, the doctor’s needs to speak with you!” At that moment, I was told the basics of mother’s condition and what her options were. In essence I was asked about how “heroic” mom would want us to be in keeping her alive–given the situation.

At that moment I was ushered from a comfortable life to a period of utter stress and torment that would last 11 days–actually the rest of my life. I traveled to Abilene and arrived at midnight. Mom was barely aware and couldn’t hold focus for more than a half-minute or so. She could look at us and squeeze our hands–nothing more. It was clear she was disoriented and uncomfortable; yet, she also appeared to realize where she was and had some ability to comprehend what was happening to her. She recognized that I was there. She had to know it was the end.

My sister and I spent the night at the hospital. Mom’s condition did not improve. A feeding tube was placed in her nose while we awaited further information about the stroke. The news wasn’t good. We could try to keep her alive longer by inserting a gastric feeding tube into her stomach–if she survived the surgery, we could then move her to a nursing facility to see what improvements, if any, would take place over the next several months.

In previous conversations Mom made it clear to us that she never wanted to live in a nursing home and that she did not want to leave her home. She was an  independent woman who could be very stubborn. A few weeks earlier when I mistakenly suggested that it was time to move to assisted living, she told me, “I’m the boss, and I don’t want to move out of my house!”

Medical intervention could have extended her life–probably a few more months–but with very little quality of life. Even with treatment, the doctors believed that her condition would most likely deteriorate from where she was as an ICU patient.

My sons and I tried to talk with mother to see if she could give us some sign of what she wanted us to do. We told her that there was a feeding tube in her nose and we asked her if this is what she wanted but she continued to look at us blankly. I will never know if mom did this consciously or not, but about an hour later Mom found enough energy to actually pull the entire feeding tube out of her nose! I believe she gave us her vote. What courage!

Moving to hospice meant that mom would receive no more extra intervention to feed her and that the doctors would do all they could to keep her comfortable and out of pain. Mom passed a few days later with all of her children and my two sons at her side.

On the day of her passing she mostly slept then briefly awoke. She was unable to speak or hold focus–but all of us by her bedside spoke to her. We told her how much we loved her and we let her know how much she would be missed. We let her know she was not alone–that we were physically by her and our belief that angels were with her as well. In three painful gasps, which were hard to witness, her spirit pushed out of her body.

It was a hard goodbye. Over the years Mom and I had our differences–but neither of us ever doubted our deep abiding love for the other. It was hard to believe that this portion of our lives together had ended. She gave me life–and I it seemed I had to end hers that she might cross over and begin a new life.

We were glad that she did not have to endure any more pain and suffering.  Mom’s passing was based upon a hard choice that broke my heart. My pain is lessened because I know that she suffers no more and that none of us really dies. Her consciousness has only passed from this dimension to another.

Even when it appears that we are making a hard goodbye–nothing is really happening. There is so much more than what we see. There is only life. At some point, I intend to visit mom at that campfire. I’m looking forward to that.