What you, the reader, will see as this writing unfolds is something that springs, full blown, from my heart. It began to be written, (actually I was “commanded” to write it), only weeks after my mother took leave of her body, or, as we tend to say, “died.” In all the times I attempted to write on this most significant story of my life, I seemed to be thwarted and never allowed to finish it. I was not yet ready…
Now I know that my mother and I are jointly sharing this writing with you, but this will take some time to explain.
While my mother was “in the world”, she taught me many skills, like how to sew my own clothes, and curtains, and pillows. She patiently showed me how to cook and bake (especially her family favorite Christmas cookies). She shared ways to make our home warm and attractive. She made it fun to be inventive and try new foods and experience different cultures. I learned from her the joy of reading books and learning new ideas and skills. She helped me to develop a love for theatre and music and dance, enrolling me in ballet classes at a very young age. Overall, she did not program my life in such a way that I couldn’t make up my own ways to play with friends, with pretend restaurants and menus, forts and talent shows. All this has traveled with me throughout my life and I so appreciate every bit of it. Thank you, Mom!
But the best was yet to come. The greatest gift came AFTER she left this world. It came in the form of profound mystical experiences that surrounded her as she took leave and then, after she was “gone.” Much to the surprise of both my husband and me, Mother seemed to make it her mission to show us, without a shadow of a doubt, that life and love is eternal. No small undertaking!
In her lifetime, my mother had not been a particularly religious or spiritual person as far as I could tell. Yet, once she was free of the confines of a body, the spiritual power and force she demonstrated was astonishing. Through her charming and whimsical signs, manifestations, musical interludes, phone messages, and all forms of reminders, she was making clear to us that she was present and, in the course of time, I was to make this known that each of us is the Light of Divine Love and Eternal Life. Only because of my mother’s urgency and enthusiasm am I able to have the courage and clarity to tell you about my mother and how we came to know this Truth.
I borrow now from an earlier description of our “story,” which I have so far called Until the Full Moon: a Mother and Daughter’s Mystical Journey Through Life, Death, and Beyond.
“Our well tended lawn was purple with violets. They were never there before. Where did they come from? Two days later, a print hanging on the wall in our New York hotel room was a detailed botanical drawing of a violet. We often stayed in this room and never saw that before. Then a pretty antique handkerchief, identical to the one my mother used when I was a girl, showed up decorating the centerpiece on a table in a little restaurant in Ohio. It had violets all over it. Was it just a coincidence or yet another way my mother was sending me a cheery message, months after her death? She knew I would remember all the years she and I transplanted purple violets from the woods around our house and that I often made tiny violet bouquets for her. Soon my mother was sending songs on the radio, a photo of her legendary cookies tucked into a book about love, and even a plastic cheeseburger to remind us of our visits to MacDonald’s. Were these just coincidences? Not a chance.
“The odds are against us. One out of one dies.” So wrote Maggie Callanan in her book, Final Journeys, quoting her father as he ruminated on the certainty of death. But what if death is nothing more than a crossing over, a shedding of a temporary body? What if we move into another plane of existence, sometimes called heaven, where the “deceased” can still make jokes, send heartening reminders, leave their name on a cell phone, and bring signs of love to those left behind. While an afterlife is commonly accepted in many spiritual philosophies (indeed, 84% of Americans believe the soul survives after death), it was nonetheless a surprise to my husband and me when my ninety eight year old mother departed the world but did not depart from us. Instead she sent hundreds of reminders of her love for us.
“We will always be together,” were the words I spoke to my mother as she and I struggled with the inescapable confrontation with death. Mother had been living with us for several years, and, finally, in hospice care, the end was certain. She and I had a deep and abiding love that stood the test of time as the role of mothering reversed and death neared. I became her fierce defender and protector. I took on doctors, nursing home administrators, anyone who discounted her as too old to matter. In the midst of the mundane duties of care giving and the classes I was teaching in spiritual studies, mystical events began to occur at our home. At first, I was incredulous, then I felt fear and denial, until the frequency of these “miracles” and their purpose became evident. They were signs of grace and divine love meant to be enjoyed and shared and, unexpectedly, my mother was to be the foremost deliverer of these messages.
I invite you to join us in weeks to come as we explore together, and with my mother too, the certainty of eternal life and love. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain when you come to see YOURSELF as the Light of Divine and Eternal Love!