Resources - Article: Transitions: Mind, Body, Spirit Continuim
By Lynn "Phoenix" Marks - The Messenger
Coach, Speaker, Author
"What was that?" I asked the divine. I awakened half dazed and with a sense of terror. God answered. "Death. You just saw your mothers death."
Too startled to ask more, I did my best to remember what I saw. It seems indelibly etched in my memory. It was a single scene, in black and white. A sole figure, a ghost of a skeleton was stretched out and hooked up to wires or cords on either side of it. The background was in black, the shadowy image in white. And, then it all went white, like a star burst.
Mom had fought the good battle, as its said, with cancer for almost half of her life. Her first encounter was about the time she was my age at the time of this dream. Cancer had traveled throughout her body for more than 30 years. And, she had been victorious.
Yes, there were set backs and times of extreme self-doubt and most likely loathing, and yet she had carried on holding all this inside. There were several surgeries, hospitalizations, depression, other physical and psychological maladies and more. All through these years Mom never complained, did her best to smile, no matter what, and share her love.
Mom was now into her latest episode with cancer. Some seven months earlier Mom had been admitted to the hospital for lung cancer surgery. Mom was very upbeat.
About a month before a spot was found on her left lung. The first surgeon she saw had refused to do the surgery when a second cancer was found wrapped around the esophagus and connected to the lung. Then a few weeks later another surgeon, a lung specialist, had confidently agreed that he could handle it.
It was the day before surgery, Mom had just checked-in the hospital and they were doing routine tests prior surgery. They found an open tumor on Moms brain.
When the news came, Moms doctors left their rounds and appointments and came rushing to confirm the findings. No one wanted to believe the tests and yet there they were. Everyone admired Mom for her positive outlook, great sense of humor and fighting spirit. Mom had never given into the possibility that she couldnt beat this thing called cancer. All were disappointed. There was no surgery.
Over the next three months, Mom remained in two different hospitals. The time was filled with one ordeal after another. First, there was dealing with the shocking news that there would be no surgery. Instead there were chemotherapy and psychotherapy. These were followed by pneumonia, falling and breaking her hip, hip surgery, learning to walk again, trips by ambulance for more chemo treatments, and strength training.
In retrospect it seems like it was all there to be a distraction from facing and internally embracing the truth of the situation. Mom in her quite moments sat quite dazed with a blank expression staring out to a place not scene. She was out there and not here. And, on Thanksgiving morning she finally came home.
The whirlpool is one of my special places to connect with God. While meditating I asked God when he was going to release Mom. I pleaded that surely she had served her lifes purpose by now and had suffered enough.
God said "On your birthday." There was no emotion, just a simple, detached response. It was rather matter of fact.
Every month I traveled back and forth from Houston, where I lived, to Miami to be with my mother. Amazingly, even though I was out of town more than a quarter of the time visiting Mom, my business flourished and my income increased over 25 percent. Eleven months had passed since Moms brain tumor was diagnosed. I was flying back to Miami for my regular monthly visit. Dad picked me up at the airport. On the drive back home he said, "We almost lost your mother this morning." My awareness was heightened. Today was my birthday. I knew this trip was going to be anything but a routine visit.
Mom was resting in bed, quiet and pensive. She didnt seem to be aware that she had died and come back. She wasnt aware that earlier that day she had fallen off her chair in the kitchen and that Dad picked her up and yelled and screamed while shaking her body to bring her back. I asked God for guidance and continued. I knew in that moment that I was Gods messenger to carry Mom through this transition. I was here to help her give herself permission to move on to another realm.
I asked Mom what happened without referencing anything I had learned from my father. She said that she had a dream. She saw Papa and Nana waiting for her at the end of a great passageway. And, then she saw herself in bed and my hands along with my two sisters stretched out across the center of her body. And, then everything went white.
I gently pressed on. "Mom why are you trying so hard to keep living? You saw Papa. Your folks and family are waiting for you. What would it take for you to be at peace?"
She said, "I need to know that my girls are happy." Then I shared how each of us was happy in our own way, assuring her that she had done a great job raising us. We were strong, educated, accomplished and moving forward in our respective careers and lives.
She wanted to know that each of her daughters would be taken care of and that we were married. We laughed at that one. I was just married to my second husband. One of my sisters had been married for one month when she had it annulled and the other had been living on and off with the same man for 17 years and now had a new boyfriend.
Then Mom perked up. She became very clear and said, "Call Diane and tell her that she has to be here by Tuesday." Then she asked to speak to my father. She called out his name. I went to let him know that she was asking for him. Dad wouldnt come. He never would meet with Mom again privately. He couldnt face her, face the reality. They never had that conversation.
Five days later it was Moms birthday. The night before, after she had gone to bed, I was busy getting all the things I knew she would like. Beautiful flowers, ice cream cake, birthday balloons, a new nightgown. When she awoke everything was arranged. Flowers were placed on her dresser and throughout the house, balloons hung in the family room and the gift lay wrapped on the kitchen table. She seemed to notice none of them.
Patricia, her nurses aide, came to me quite startled and concerned. She went to freshen-up and dress Mom as she did each morning. But today she could barely lift her. Patricia was a large, strong woman who never had any difficulty lifting Mom who by now was a fraction of her normal weight. After all the chemo, Mom had to really call on all her will power to keep eating and for the last several weeks had mostly not.
Intuitively I knew. Moms spirit had moved on and what was left was her physical body. It was very heavy and barely moved. She showed no real interest in anything or anyone, and said little. In fact, she woke up that morning with her face almost frozen, cocked about three inches to the left of center. The boundaries of her vision were quite restricted. Her eyes barely seemed to see anything more than a few inches in front of her and a foot wide on either side of her. She remained this way all day.
This was the day I was scheduled to return to Houston. I hesitated about the trip and then realized that I was meant to go. I was at Moms dresser looking into the mirror brushing my hair and adding a little lipstick. Maybe Mom remembered all the times as a child that she brushed-out my long hair. She spoke clearly, looking at me in the mirror. With a little smile she said "Youre beautiful." Those were Moms last words to me.
Upon arriving in Houston I called home and learned that Mom had been taken to the hospital emergency once again. Thirty-six hours passed. I was sitting in my office and then the world seemed to stop. There was this deep quiet and stillness. The clock said 12:55 p.m. I sat and waited. About 20 minutes later Nedia, my mothers good friend called. My mother had passed away. I asked when. It was 1:55 p.m. east coast time.
When I returned to Miami I asked my sisters about those last hours. Sandi, who never left her bedside, said that mom hadnt blinked her eyes in all that time. She laid in her hospital bed hooked up to IV machines, one on the right and another on the left. At the end, Diane was in the room also and then Nedia had just come in. All three were on either side of mom with their hands stretched out across her. In that instant mom shed one tear, closed her eyes and her body turned ash white.