Through My Mother’s Eyes

Although there wasn’t a “set assignment” for the first week of Writing 201: Finding Your Story, I decided to write something anyway. The following piece is mostly from a spiritual standpoint and how I imagine my mother’s final days when she was in hospice. Writing this has given me some comfort and I thought it would be an effective way to illustrate a bit of my life from a different angle ~ through my mother’s eyes.


 

For a few seconds, she felt disoriented, unsure of where she was. As she looked around, she saw such beauty, even if her surroundings were devoid of people. She was walking, almost floating, her eyes struggling to take everything in.

As she walked, a bench appeared in the distance, almost beckoning to her. Upon reaching it, she found it occupied by someone who looked vaguely familiar. That’s funny, she thought, that person wasn’t there before. She sat down next to the mysterious figure, wondering if she should say something first or wait until greeted. The ensuing silence caused her no discomfort; she felt at peace for the first time in a very long time, as well as an unexplainable sense of awe. She felt surrounded by such a serene, yet surreal beauty. No fear, just the awareness of the most profound love she’d ever felt. After what felt like an eternity, a beautifully spoken {Soothing Voice} filled the space, almost as if it were being broadcast over a loudspeaker, enveloping her in an aura of comfort and safety. ‘Are you ready?’

Ready? Although she felt sure that she was speaking, she couldn’t hear the sound of her voice.What was happening? Was she dreaming?

Suddenly, she was in a familiar place ~ sitting in a rocking chair, looking down at…her infant daughter, whose thick, dark hair astounded everyone. The feelings, the memories came flooding back to her; she’d already had two children but still, amazingly, it felt like the first time. Her heart aflood with the intense maternal love she felt, her eyes filled with tears as she recalled the anticipation of watching her little girl grow and evolve.

The next thing she remembered, she was in the living room, talking to her sister-in-law. Her precious baby had become a girl of 4, running through the living room when, out of the corner of her eye, she saw her young daughter lose her footing. The feelings of horror came rushing back, as she knew she was powerless to stop what was about to happen ~ the child’s head made contact with the corner of the table before she fell to the floor, crying. Instinctively, she swept her daughter up into her maternal embrace to survey the damage and her heart sank when she saw the gash just above the child’s left eye. She remembered the panic as they raced to the doctor and a few heart-wrenching hours later, they were back home feeling more relieved than when they’d left. Fortunately, the doctor said, there was no damage to the eye and after the stitches came out, she’d be as good as new, albeit with a tiny scar that would always serve as a reminder of almost being blinded in one eye.

Further along, she was now sitting in the fitting room of a local department store, watching her now 17-year-old “baby” trying on dresses for her Senior Prom. She remembered feeling amazed that time had flown so quickly and wondering how her daughter could be a year away from adulthood. Then, the door opened…revealing a vision that took her breath away. Instantly, she knew that it was “THE dress” because it made her daughter glow. She remembered not caring about the price tag; it was the last Prom. At a loss for words, she admired the young woman standing before her. Together, they’d been through so much and she felt grateful for the fact that they were both still standing…and smiling. Apart from the usual teenage stuff, her daughter didn’t give her too many headaches. As if on cue, the {Soothing Voice} said, ‘She’s always had your back, you know. She made better choices to lower your stress.’ Deep down, I always knew that… 

The scene changed again and she was now looking down at a different infant, one she recognized as her grandson. Her eyes moved to the face of her daughter, now a mother herself. They made eye contact and she saw the glimmer of understanding now present in her daughter’s eyes that reflected a newfound appreciation and respect she hadn’t seen before. ‘You’ve taught her well, you know,’ the {Soothing Voice} said. ‘She’s going to do whatever she has to for her children, thanks to you.’ I know. She comes from a long line of strong women. The following scene was almost instantaneous because it brought her to the time when she first held her granddaughter at 2-months-old. She found herself looking at her daughter’s face and, although there was a great deal of pride in her expression, she saw signs of stress. ‘You couldn’t have done anything to help her,’ the {Soothing Voice} reminded, ‘other than to be there for her throughout her journey. And you were.’ She never deserved what she went through. She’s a good person…like me. The {Soothing Voice} responded, ‘She knows she had to go through that to fulfill her purpose…but she’s doing it for you, too.’

She felt a twinge of physical pain as another scene materialized before her. There sat her daughter between her two children, listening to her talk. They were smiling at her, but she could see the sadness in their eyes. She felt grateful that she was able to see them often; they’d finally made it home ~ all of them ~ after so many years away. She knew what her daughter had been through to get back home; she’d endured a hellish set of circumstances…and survived. {The Soothing Voice} said, ‘She’s being so brave for you. She doesn’t want you to see her cry, but she does.’ She can cry in front of me if she wants to. The {Soothing Voice} responded, ‘No, she can’t. She doesn’t want you to worry about her because she knows you will. Your feelings are more important to her than hers. She loves you so much…and right now, she’s struggling with the concept of life without you.’ She’ll be okay. The {Soothing Voice} said, ‘You realize that she has been afraid of losing you since she was seven years old, right? She cried herself to sleep every night. She’s grateful for the time you’ve had, but she’s reliving the feelings she had at seven. She will be okay. She wants to tell you how much you mean to her, but she’s afraid for so many reasons.’ Like what? The {Soothing Voice} continued, ‘She’s afraid that she won’t get the words out without being overwrought with emotion. She’s afraid that if she starts crying in front of you, she won’t be able to stop. She’s afraid that if she says what she wants to say…it’ll mean the goodbye that she doesn’t want to say.’ Damned goodbyes…

As the last scene faded before her, she tried to make sense of what she’d just experienced. It was almost as if someone gave her a flip book and told her to thumb through its pages. Despite the speed at which the pages flipped, she saw every detail with crystal clarity. She then realized that what she had seen was some of her favorite memories in full view, amid the quick glimpses of her daughter’s changing face over the years.

When the visual journey through her daughter’s life was over, she found herself back on the bench beside the mysterious figure. Why did I only see highlights of my younger daughter’s life? The {Soothing Voice} said, ‘She’s the one holding your hand, talking to you now…her voice is the only one you’re hearing. She’s speaking to you with her touch.’ How do you know so much? Who are you anyway? The {Soothing Voice} answered, ‘Who do you think I am, my darling woman?’ Are you God? She knew the answer without confirmation. What happens now? The {Soothing Voice} remained silent. When she looked to the space next to her, she saw nothingness. She could faintly hear her daughter’s voice and felt strangely comforted by it, even though it was fading away. I’m okay! The pain is lessening! She wanted her daughter, her family to know. Would they know she wasn’t suffering anymore? Of course, they’ll know and, hopefully, feel comforted. It was time. Peaceful…everything is…peaceful. 

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Through My Mother’s Eyes

  1. Powerful Carol. So powerful. That line about not showing emotion because “she cares about yours more than her own” just spoke to me. Mhh. Great piece of writing. I don’t know what else to say other than that. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s