Last week my mother died in peace and without pain at the ripe age of 96. After conducting her funeral I just returned home last night.
What has changed? Who am I now? Because you are listening – and thank you for that - I will try to give expression to that deep silent space that opened up in me, where the events of the last days are being processed.
A mother's death, I come to find out, is an enormous event. It goes right down to the bones. I assume it’s like that for all of us.
And I notice, I find no grief in me, and no pain.
What I do find are two wonderful sources of gratitude: first for her very being, her love, the way she kept me alive as a child against many odds, and for the great serenity she found and radiated so late in her life.
And then there is the gratitude for the skills I received from my teachers – which I am now privileged to share with you - that allow me to no longer create emotional and mental anguish, even at a moment at incisive as my mother’s death. They give me the miraculous ability to accept reality, each moment, just as it is. These days this ability was tested and found to be true.
I had to laugh. A dear old friend who knew my mother for 40 years wrote to me that I should forgive her for the way she ruled me and my father, sometimes with an iron fist and not with great skill. It was funny that he had to remind me, so completely had I left it behind.
Yes, he was right, but why should it matter? All I experience now is what a gift she has been to me. With all her good and bad parts she was exactly the right mother for me. She gave me me, the way I am. In that she gave me my path through life, into peace and self-love, and into God.
My very own path through life is the very best path. In reality I could have no other – although the mind loves to make believe it knows better. The gift of reality is discarded when we believe our painful stories of how things should have been.
Such thoughts are the true source of pain. “She shouldn’t have died. She hurt me. I should have treated her better. I will miss her.” That is how we torture ourselves. When we believe these lies, they become true for us and we miss the great completion that death is meant to be.
I notice in gratitude I believe such thoughts less and less. I sit on my porch and watch the light play in the leaves of the trees. My mother is alive inside me.
And it is true: She died at exactly the right time, as we all do. We both treated each other with all the love and care and kindness we had at the time; it was perfect the way it was. I love her. I do not miss her.
She is no longer out there. She is inside of me.
We are at peace with each other and with the world.