We got the call you don’t want to get last Saturday. My mother had been struggling with cancer for months. She recently had to be admitted to a care home. She had lost much of her mobility. I had been coming to my home-town Oxford every weekend to visit her ever since. The call was from the care home. They told us that mother was coming to the end of her life. They seemed to know about these things.
We rushed to the home. She was still breathing. Her eyes just about open. She was clearly very weak. I held her hand, then her wrist. I wanted to find a pulse. I couldn’t find one. I quietly panicked. I checked Google. I re-adjusted my fingers. I found the pulse. I thought maybe the nurse had got it wrong. She may just be going through a rough patch. She had her ups and downs. I couldn’t find her pulse now. The nurses came in. They checked. They checked again. No pulse. She had passed away.
I was crushed. I cried. I filled with grief as her body emptied of spirit. My first thought was of her lively smiley face as she picked me up from school. I could feel the warmth of her hand, walking home, eager for her lovingly-made dinner. But today her body was cold. I sat at her feet. ‘Heaven is at the feet of your mother’ she used to say to me. I must be in heaven now. Didn’t feel like it.
Is there an after-life? She certainly looked at peace. ‘To the Divine we belong and to the Divine we return’ was another expression she used to say. She was returning to whence she came. But she wasn’t leaving us alone. Aunties, uncles, family friends, old school friends – all started to stream into our lives over the following days. We were being enveloped by the love they had for mother. There was an after-life, or should I say a life after. Now I could feel heaven.
The void is still there. It’s been a week. Nothing can replace mother. Sometimes I feel sad. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I smile. Her body was failing her. She wanted to return to her Divine. I wouldn’t want to change anything.
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