Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Mother's Passing

Yesterday, around 3:15 AM Seattle time (5:15 AM Houston time), my mother died. She had checked into the hospital on March 28th originally, with a problem that wasn't thought to be very serious, and that she'd be out in a few days.  Days stretched into weeks.  She came home once, for about 30 hours, before having to go back to the hospital, from which she never returned.

Turns out my mother had Stage IV Peritoneal Cancer, and it had invaded her liver and bowel. Mom had ignored fairly obvious symptoms and used her favorite tool, Denial, to deal with the problem.  At the end, she simply gave up. I was in the process of raising funds to get a plane ticket to Houston, and she literally begged me NOT to come.  She said it would be a waste of money.  I beg to differ, Mom.

I will be wrestling with that conversation in my head, for some time to come. It's the last time I spoke with my mother, and I feel a deep pain exacerbated by my not being able to touch her, kiss her, and wish her a safe journey.  With the help of one of Mom's nurses, I did get to tell her I loved her, I forgave her, and I understood that it was her time to go.  The nurse held the phone up to Mom's ear, and I spoke directly to her.  Mom responded, the nurse said - she opened her eyes, and her eyebrows went up. I could hear Mom making some faint sounds, though she was no longer capable of speech.

I go back and forth at the moment - alternating between a zombie-like numbness and a grief so deep it feels that I'll never emerge from it.  The history between Mom and me is so very complicated...  So much pain, and so much Denial on her part.  She was an alcoholic, though a dry drunk at the end of her life.  She physically and emotionally abused me - including a memorable occasion when she forced me to cut my own switch with which to be beaten.  All of that, in addition to standing by while my step-father sexually abused me so horrifically that the scarring lasted into my adult life.

Still, I ache...  I want to hear her voice one more time, and I've called her voice mail to do just that.  Mom's partner will be cutting off the phone next week, so I need to record mom's greeting as an audio file.

At the moment, I feel very much like Chiron, the wounded healer.  I was able to send Reiki to my mother at the end of her life, and I hope it eased her passage from this world to the next.  I am capable of facilitating healing in several ways, using shamanic and other techniques.  At the same time, I am wounded, and will be working on healing myself.