This Sunday, May 9th, is Mother’s Day. Seven years ago, I wrote the blog entitled: The Gift My Mother Gave to Me. I hope you might reread it. It tells a bit of her story and explains the gift she gave to me as she took her last breath.
The Actual Dance, of course, is the play I wrote. It features my moment with my mother as she took her last breath. “The Actual Dance” is a metaphor for the ritual of that essential moment – the last breath. That instant, of holding or being held as we take the last breath, is a ritual we will all one day experience. There will be a unique, distinct rhythm, sound, and a movement that only the two will hear, see and feel.
It was my time on September 8th, 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. I began to turn 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 a brief instant 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 still isolated because of their work. Perhaps it is going to take some imagination to find a way to say, “I love you.” Maybe better, this year, everyone is vaccinated and a small gathering can put her on a pedestal.
There are also moms among us who are ill from the virus or other causes. Perhaps they await their last breath. I know there is no “right way” to die, nor a “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.