On Thursday, my father (Pete), sister (Romie), and I laid my mom (Palmira) to rest. She was all of 74 years of age – considered young by today’s standards, but nevertheless, gone.
I knew that Hospice was visiting my parent’s home once a week, but I wasn’t ready. And although I had received a call from my dad a few days before telling me that my mom wasn’t doing well, and that he didn’t think that it would be much longer, I wasn’t ready. And when he called that fateful Saturday afternoon to let me know that the time was near, and held the phone to my mom’s ear so that I could say, “Goodbye,” I wasn’t ready. And even after we cried and spoke for a few moments longer before I asked him to put the phone back to my mom’s ear so that I could tell her, “It’s ok mama, it’s ok to let go. We are going to be ok, I promise. We are going to be ok, you can let go now,” I wasn’t ready. And when my dad called back less than thirty minutes later to tell me she had passed. I was in shock.
No amount of visiting, calling, and praying could prepare me for that news and the week ahead. I was lost and wanted my mama to tell me that everything was going to be ok, and that it would all work out. But she couldn’t.
As I sat there crying on my bedroom floor, I could hear the soft voice of my husband sitting next to me, “I’m so sorry Rena, I’m so sorry.” I could feel the warmth of his hug, as we both sobbed in denial. Shortly after, he stood up and began making the phone calls to those on our list, as I rolled over and lay down on the carpet staring up at the ceiling. My thoughts were racing a million miles an hour, “How is my dad, my sister, my nieces and nephew, my brother in law? OMG, the Aunts, how are they doing? I wonder if I can get a flight out to Arizona today? Tomorrow? OMG, I need to do laundry and get packed! I need to buy pantyhose. Do people even still wear pantyhose?” Then I would start crying all over again.
As that cycle continued to repeat itself, I thought I heard my mom’s voice over mine, and could see her beautiful face. Then a complete sense of calm came over me, and the Medium in me took over, “Mom, did you float out of your body? Were you in your body when you passed or standing next to it? Was there a tunnel? Were there really people there to greet you? Or did you like teleport there (Heaven) like in Star Trek?” The thoughts made me laugh, and somehow feel a little lighter – my mom was in a better place, no more suffering.
The week was a blur of arrangement making, ordering, organizing, requesting, providing, picking up, and decision making. But in the end, everything turned out beautiful. And as I sit here on my bed looking down at the carpet where it all began, I feel a sense of calm sadness. I suppose I will feel that way for some time to come, as it all seems like a bad dream, except for the wonderful time I spent with my family and good friend Tina.
I slept for the first time in a week, waking up this morning back in my own bed, but wondering where I was. Romie calls it, “Robot mode.” She is so right. I was on autopilot, moving through the motions while I was in Arizona. But now I am back at home and have to feel again.
My mom is gone, and there isn’t anything that I can do to change that. But we know that she can hear us talking to her, and see us visiting her at the mausoleum. We know deep down in our hearts that she is still with us, a burst of energy vibrating in another dimension next to us, even though our physical selves in this material world can’t reach out and touch her. It is such an internal conflict. But we can feel her around us, and for now, that is enough.
We will miss her today and every tomorrow, until we meet again.