It’s incredibly muggy and a bit uncomfortable sitting on the deck this Friday morning. The area is still quite damp from rain cells that passed through here on Thursday evening, the sky is heavy with dark grey clouds to the south and clear blue skies with white fluffy clouds to the north. The air is heavy with 96% humidity and the leaves and wind chimes hang motionless with no breeze to stir them into action.
Thursday was a mixture of work and utter laziness. I researched and napped, and it was on repeat the remainder of the day. At 5:30 PM, a senior student and I went to dinner and returned back to the study to discuss and prep life-planning with lots of spirited progress until 8:30 PM.
I worked until 11:00 PM from my study and turned in very shortly to read. My goal for the past several years is to wait out the arrival of August 5th at 1:05 AM to remember Mother’s 2019 passing.
And just as I wrote the above paragraph, the male and female cardinals, as though on cue, perched on the limb and clothesline post. The Quartet did not budge nor acknowledge their presence… yet, a fly has entertained Bailey for fifteen minutes!
In many ways, August 5th is just another day. Life for me that early Monday morning in 2019, did not end but rather, expanded and grew. Mother had given me all the life tools for fifty-five years. I always knew there’d be a day when our earthly paths would part but I was pretty damned certain the spark that she created inside me and my siblings would continue to grow and multiply.
Was Mother’s death an ending or a beginning? I see it as both. Her life ended. Our personal connectivity ended. But, the sparks within me got brighter and stronger, just like she silently predicted and planned. Her two surviving children would need those sparks of forward-thinking and strength as they each entered similarly separate journeys with multiple sclerosis.
My sister and I spent the last few earthly hours with Mother that Sunday evening and on into Monday, not knowing when the time would arrive. As the physical signs increased, our laughter and chatter did not. While the moment had been awaited for several weeks, my sister and I were still aware of Mother’s ability to hear. By filling “up to the end” with laughter and comedy, I am certain Mother was confident her two remaining children would be okay.
And, we have been.
One thing occurred to me as we watched the dear woman’s respirations slow to a staggering slow and irregular tempo: Dena, Destin, and I were the only ones to have heard Mother’s heartbeat… from the inside. Her heartbeat became each of ours.
I do and I don’t miss Mother. Her maternal, and often needed paternal training had me set for the day that would come. I have the sparks she imparted, encouraged, fanned, applauded, and insisted be shared with others.
And, I have her heartbeat that fills me with the determination to make every day a great day.
Know you are loved, Mother…