The Actual Dance is the name of the play in which this event with my mother has a prominent role. “The Actual Dance” is also a metaphor for the ritual of that essential moment – the last breath. It is in so many ways a dance during that instant, holding them close, or of being held ourselves as we are about to go. We will know that time. There will be a unique, distinct rhythm, sound and a movement which only you two will hear, see and feel.
It was my time on September 8, 1973 to be with my mother as she was about to take her last breath. I stood at the end of her bed as two nurses held a wrist seeking a pulse. They look first at each other, then turn to me and announce, “she’s gone.” My eyes filled with tears and I turned away from the bed and what happened next changed me forever.
On her way out of this world, Mom in the form of a swirling tuft of a giant white cloud, visible only to me, stuttered for an instance, as if to say – “I see you, and I love you”.
Words fail to describe the moment.
Mother’s Day traditionally is the time to express appreciation for all that our mothers do or have done for us. Yet many Moms are off at work. Even isolated because of their work. It is going to perhaps take some imagination to find a way to say, “I love you.”
There are also Mom’s among us who are ill from the virus or other causes. Perhaps waiting for their own last breath. I know there is no “right way” to die and there is no “right way” to be with the one you love as they take that last breath. My prayer is that there is love and peace in these moments.
You could be my sister --- you are just like them
Sassier too – teasing me that I had to take a nap each day
When you already could go out to play.
You went away to a great big school
I stayed at home to the smaller one.
You found your man and I found my lady
I ushered at your wedding when I was only twenty.
Now fifty-four years later we are all still together!
You best me again with eight grandchildren
We have four. Whose counting anyway.
Perhaps you will hear this prayer i pray
That the Dance you dance together today
In this infinite moment on Mother's Day
Brings love, beauty and peace to you both.