The calls came while I was at the park with Beaumont. I hadn’t heard them. My youngest daughter. My beloved. They called several times. My phone was on silent, as is my habit when out in nature.
For some reason, though we’d been sitting vigil with my mother for over a week, I hadn’t expected it to come so soon. As I told my sisters, “I was expecting some sort of sign, some warning that mum was about to take her last breath.”
Instead, mum did it her way. No fuss. No inconveniencing of others.
At the time of mum’s last breath, I was walking along the river on my way home, the sun warm against my face, the fresh breeze caressing my skin. Later, I was planning on driving out to spend the night with mum.
Jackie, our eldest sister, was drying her hair and getting dressed to go spend the day at mum’s bedside.
Anne, our middle sister, was sitting by mum’s bedside, drinking her second cup of coffee of the morning. We’d been taking turns spending the night and Monday was her night.
And then, without ceremony or fuss, at 10:35 am yesterday morning, my mother took her last inhale.
Anne waited for the exhale.
It never came.
And in that one inhale this tiny, kind woman who travelled far from her motherland of India to the other side of the world to give life to four children. Who no matter how complicated and hard her life, was always kind. Who believed in God with all her being and prayed nightly for her daughters, the souls’ of her lost loved ones, her brothers and sisters, for those who are gone and those who are still here, is gone.
This fiercely protective and often stubborn matriarch for whom the world sometimes seemed too harsh and cruel, has left her earthly body to return to the spirit realm of her deep faith.
In her passing, I envision the endless ribbon of prayers she offered up to God in a constant entreaty for good-tidings, peace and health for all, entwining the earth and all of humankind in Love.
It was my mother’s insistence she would pray for me that used to drive me crazy. In days long past, I’d hear those words and want to tell her to keep her prayers for herself. I’d take care of myself.
Age and time, not to mention a whole lot of therapy, helped me understand and appreciate her prayers as what they truly were, and still are – A gift of Love. Her way of saying, “I love you. Even when you make it difficult.”
Because my mother did. Love all of us. Even when we made it difficult.
And in these difficult days following her passing, it is her Love we carry. Her Love that remains. Her Love that fills each of our hearts and memories with gratitude.
My mother crossed over the Rainbow Bridge yesterday.
She took her final breath quietly. It was imbued with the grace by which she lived her life.
She is home.
This morning, I watch the sky bruised pink and violet by the rising sun and imagine my mother dancing with her brothers, sharing a smile and a cup of tea with my father and embracing the son she lost before his time.
I imagine her holding a rosary in her no longer crippled fingers, counting off the tiny round beads as she prays each decade. And as she did every night of her life, she prays for her children, her family and all those left behind on this earthly realm. Gently, she places her rosary into the folds of the ethereal gown that floats and flows around her body like angel’s wings, turns back into the circle of Love to which she has been eternally enjoined to dance like the whole world is watching. Sing like the whole world is listening. And Love like the whole world is beating as one with her heart.
That is what I believe my mother is doing now in the eternity of her life ever-after.
I had no intention of writing this morning and then, I heard my mother’s voice whispering how much my words meant to her.
There was a time, I never thought they mattered.
Now I know.
And so, I wrote.