Well, my mom’s dead, there’s no way around it. I’ve tried six different ways to write it down but there it is.
She had some company, though. Last week’s first death was the most distant, an elderly yoga teacher, and it affected everyone in my circle. My teacher and his wife flew off to India. Class is being taught, for the time being, by a wonderful woman who’s six months pregnant. She came up behind me yesterday to give me an extra squish in a forward bend, just laid right on top of me and pushed my torso down into my thighs and I thought, did she just push her baby into her own lungs to do that? Yoga teachers are such a mystery.
The week’s second death was a horrible shock. One of Jack’s subcontractors was murdered in his own kitchen, along with his wife, who was five months pregnant. The construction community here has been reeling. A detective has called, looking for clues. Was it random or was it planned? We remember to lock our door.
The third death hit closest to home, of course, even though it took place a thousand miles away. My brothers had kept me updated — she stopped drinking water, she became unresponsive, her back was bruising, her lips were blue. Saturday I couldn’t bear waiting around for the phone to ring anymore so I went up to Yoga Soup to hear Howard Wills give a talk about whatever it is Howard talks about. I went because Eddie had written such a startling, funny post about him and I thought, well, if there’s one thing I could use right now it’s to have someone snap his fingers and drain this grief right out of my heart.
Actually, I was terrified that Howard would snap his fingers at me and I’d burst. I managed to avoid the cosmic thunderclap (for now), but I did settle into the space Howard created, a space wherein I got a chance to meditate and spread the peanut butter of peace and love around on the, uh, bread of . . . my soul. In truth, it’s Howard’s belief that many of the ailments that we experience have nothing to do with us, they’re manifestations of anger and whatnot that have come down the line of our families. (Anyone who’s read that John Sarno book I never seem to shut up about — about the physical and emotional aspects of pain — may find this sort of reasoning persuasive.) So we meditated, twenty-five or thirty of us, on asking our parents to forgive each other, and that is what I was doing while my mother died. My grief transformed — into what? I’m not sure I have a word for it. Cotton balls? Then my phone started buzzing in my purse and I knew someone was trying to tell me she was gone.
I am grateful that she went slowly enough for us to adjust to each stage of her withdrawal. (God knows, my father died and the height of the LOLcat craze and look at what he got for a farewell post. *sigh*)
Yesterday I called up a guy I know who was also at the Howard thing, and while we were on the phone he gave me a visualization to do for my mom. He said, Imagine you’re in a room somewhere, someplace that’s not really on the earth but it’s a contained, comfortable place where you can sit. (I imagined myself sitting on a purple silk cushion.) Now, imagine your mom’s in front of you. What is she doing? (Standing there, smiling at me with her hands folded in front of her.) Now, imagine her parents behind her, supporting her, and their parents behind them, and their parents behind them for generations. (I can’t really see them, they’re transparent.) Then let’s just give them some wings. Now give your mother a gift. (I give her a sweater. She taught me to knit!) Now give her a basket filled with whatever currency she’ll need for where she’s going, a big pile of cosmic cash for her to take with her. (Her parents lift her up! She’s floating away with her sweater and her basket of cosmic cash and I’m crying like a baby.) Now breathe. (And suddenly she’s a little girl again and she runs to me and jumps into my lap and hugs me! Oh, the crying!) Keep breathing and tell her you love her.