“She’s in a better place.” “It really is a blessing.” “At least she’s not suffering.” “She isn’t really gone. She’s right here.”
Really? You don’t say.
I am continuing to surf the internal waves of my mother’s passing, and watching with great curiosity the things people say to me in reaction to the news. I am ever so grateful to be experiencing an awakened relationship to all that this profound occurrence is bringing with it. I am grateful to be anchored in the knowing that I am the one relating to the loss, to the emotions, to the concentric reactions and responses within myself. I am grateful to be able to listen to the things people are saying to me with a sense of compassion and spaciousness. I do not deny that most of them do not ring true for me. I am not residing in judgment of the fact that most of these words seem to me to be ways of conceptualizing and thus avoiding the depth of experience that this level of loss brings with it. I am in thanksgiving of the fact that this gifting lack of judgment is granting me the opportunity to reflect on what I might say to someone in a similar experience.
“She’s in a better place.” Really? And where might that be? So she’s in a better place than right here in this world communing in the deep love of mother and son? If you are eluding to the fact that she is now in a far off heaven I must say to you that we often shared a deep experience of heaven right here in this realm of relationship. That was the deep and true blessing that we were both able to revel in. Is there blessing in the experience of death? There is indeed blessing inherent in all things. And could you maybe just stay with me as I awkwardly and messily get to the place of knowing and experiencing that sense of blessing without ideas that suppress and exclude?
I am grateful indeed she is not suffering the physical maladies that took her from this bodily experience. I also suspect that the consciousness we are dwelling in while in the body continues on after a particular incarnation. I do not know that there isn’t some level of pain, suffering, remorse that supersedes this thing we call death. I also am deeply called to acknowledge and stay with the fact that though at some level her suffering has ended, mine is just beginning. Even as I did not want Mom to suffer I also know she also didn’t want that for me. Will I move through the pain? Absolutely. I will move THROUGH the pain. Not by acting like it isn’t here, but by intimately feeling my way through it, waft by waft, pang by pang.
As alive as her memory and her love is within me she is in fact not here. I cannot literally hear her voice, feel her touch, or experience the tangible one-on-one that is the hallmark of shared relationship. I miss her. I want to call her. I want to have more moments, more laughs, and more shares. I want to reach out and feel the familiar crinkling of her aging skin the coarseness of her silver hair. I want to smell the subtle aroma of her coffee tainted breath. Please don’t disparage my wanting. Let me have that. It is in fact what I have left.
I don’t need platitudes. I don’t need spiritual fixes. I don’t need or want words that deaden. I have enough death to deal with right now. I hear you. I really do. But right now, will you please stop and hear me? Will you let me simply have this experience of pain and loss, knowing with me that it is appropriate, human, responsive, and real? I know at a level she is right here. And I need the time, the space, the acceptance, and the compassion to shift the level of relationship to what and where she is now.
Perhaps you could stop and stay with the feelings that arise in you around the shared experience of my loss. Perhaps you could say less, and presence more. Perhaps we could sit, side by side, in the silence of deep communion. Perhaps you could ask me what my experience is instead of seeking to define it for me. Let me just feel your loving, silent presence that speaks volumes beyond what platitudes could ever offer.
When I feel your heart connected and sharing deeply with my heart, then and only then will I be able to authentically respond with “really, you don’t say…”