I had been with Mom for about three weeks. She had failed and rallied several times but now there was not going to be another upswing. We were ready, it had been a long six months and the last weeks had been excruciating for all of us, especially Mom. She had some lucid moments in which we talked. She asked me to help her on her way, I said no I could not help like that, it was beyond my ability to handle, she let it drop. In her last conversation she told me she would wait for my brother and my children to fly in so she could say good by. We hugged and she went to sleep. I went to eat dinner.
My sister-in-law was there with me. She and I took turns doing what ever need doing next: dishes, laundry, food preparation, setting up for the next medication serving, bathing, brushing hair, cleaning teeth,all the little things one does in a day. We were just keeping busy, no thinking now, there was too much to think about. When I took time to think, the fear set in. she was Mom, she was the family anchor and the chain was breaking and, I was next in line. I was not ready to be an anchor, I was not ready to let go, I wasn't ready, I am not sure I am ready now sixteen years later.
We had settled into a routine of working, shopping, cleaning and not thinking until one day things seemed different. Mom was quiet and she was sleeping more. She would rouse up if I called her like her Mother used to call her but it was hard to keep her awake. I decided to just let her rest and I sat in her room, me and her little dog, Menschen. I sat in the big recliner by Mom's bed, Menschen in my lap with her head resting in the crock of my left arm. When Mom would move or breath funny, Menschen would alert in her direction until Mom settled again. I quickly learned to react when the dog did, she knew before I did, she was my gauge, I relied on her.
That night I couldn't sleep. I sat with Mom for a long while. She roused for a few minutes and told me she was tired and I told her everyone was on the way but if she could not wait, it was OK to go. They had all told me this and I thought it was time to tell her. I waited until she had gone back to sleep and went into the living room and called my fiend in Virginia who was throwing a clay urn for Mom's ashes. She was up late firing the urn and watching the kiln so was there for the call. We talked for hours, about what I have no idea. What I do recall was the singing. High pitched beautiful and Native American best I could tell. When I tried to listen to it, I couldn't hear it but if I just let it happen, I could hear it on the edges of my awareness. It was so beautiful, so ethereal. During the conversation my friend asked me who was singing, she could hear it through the phone so I wasn't crazy, good! I would love to be able to recreate it but, alas it was of the Angels and not for me.
My friend and I talked until two A.M. and we realized we were extremely tired so we rang off and I lay down hoping to sleep. Sleep had been in short supply in these last days and I was feeling the effects so grabbed for it every chance it got. Menschen trotted in to see what I was doing I spoke to her and offered her a place on the fold out couch beside me. I was sleeping there because it was close to Mom's room and I could hear her if she needed me. The little dachshund jumped up beside me but would not settle. I stood it as long as I could then told the anxious animal to go to Madelon, and she went. I settled back and was almost asleep when someone lightly pulled on the sleeve of my shirt. I thought it was my sister-in-law and I turned to see what she wanted. There was no one there, I dismissed it and rolled back over to sleep. Again, as I began to float in that space between waking and sleep, my sleeve was tugged once more. I startled and spun this time again to find no one. I sat up in order to better assess the situation to see Menschen sitting at the foot of my resting place. She gave a little bounce, accentuated with a soft woof, her signal that she had important information. “What is it?” I asked her, she came toward me, bounce/woof and retreated forward Mom's room and turned to see if I got the message. Since I was still sitting starring stupidly at her, she repeated the processes a bit louder and more impatiently, I got up and followed her into Mom's room.
The transformation was startling! Every other time I had been in there it was cool and dim. The walls were a light, very pale green. There was an old 60s issue lava lamp in yellow and red slowly burbling on it's shelf in the corner and it was quiet. No sound but Mom's deep, sometimes labored breathing. But, not this time, this time the room was different, the color, the feel the sound, EVERYthing was different and...still the same. The heat was what hit me first, then I recognized sound and movement. Menschen jumped up on the chair and danced for me to join her, I did, quickly because my legs were suddenly unable to hold me.
I said nothing. Menschen kept looking at me as though she expected me to do something, I was not able to do anything but sit and watch. While we watched, Menschen and me, people began to arrive and move around Madelon's bed. I could see them as misty, gray smoky shadows. Each separate but merging and changing with each other as they crowded in closer to the bed. Menschen was beside herself and it was all I could do to quiet and sooth the worried little dog. She whined and wagged as she seemed to...no, she did recognize some of the people in the mist. I know she did because I did too. Madelon's parents, my Dad and his parents, Aunts and Uncles long since passed and more than I can not possibly know or count, they had all come to help her go home. They spoke to her, to each other but I was too far on my side of the veil for me to have understood them but I could hear the conversations. I could see them moving about and this went on for a thousand years.
As dawn spread over the house, the visitors began to make their way out of the room through the wall at the head of the bed. I was fascinated by their progression, the sounds went with them and Menschen kept checking to see what, if anything I would do. The heat had been intense and I was dripping with sweat the room was cooling fast and I shivered in the cold caused my my soaking wet clothes. I told Menschen that I was going to shower so she should stay with Mom. I was in and out of the bath in abut five minutes and back in the room. My companion was trying desperately to get on the bed with Mom because she was gasping for breath, it was time. I picked up the squirming, struggling pup and let her get to Mom. Menschen snuggled as close as she could get to her best friend and human and I went to call the case worker then I went back and sat on the bed next to them. And while the Angels sang I held Madelon's hand while she slipped quietly away. Lesson, you can't hold someone here when it is time for them to leave. I felt a hand on my shoulder and again saw no one but they were there.
The hospice people came shortly after and they took over. I don't remember much after that, there were questions about the way I wanted them to take out, face covered or not. It is odd what stays with one at a time like that. I know I answered but not sure what I said, something about her liking to see the sky I think but am not sure.
The children and my brother arrived, we all got together and cleaned house, threw away, donated, claimed what we could use and waited. Waited for her cremains to return, waited for the urn. We remembered and laughed. We remembered and cried. When everything was ready we took her from Florida to Mississippi and buried her between her Mother and Dad, it was Mother's Day.
I have gone back once. It was weird, they aren't there at their respective holes in the ground, they are gone far from that place and I am glad. I feel they visit me sometimes, I miss but no longer mourn and Mother's Day is no longer painful.
THE ANGELS SANG
© Chessie 1997 BMI
Chorus: And the angels sang before they came to take her
In all my life ‘twas the only thing that I saw shake her
She was all that’s left, all the rest had gone before her
All that’s left behind are mem’ries in my mind. And I adore her.
You have someone with you, to guide you along. Someone to teach you and to help you be strong.
Someone to protect you , they won’t steer you wrong. You learn how to love them and then they are gone.
Oh you learn how to love them, an’ then they are gone.
Where does love come from? Where does it go? How does it choose us? We may never know.
It brings us such sadness. It brings us such joy. It just comes to take us and make us its’ toy.
Oh it just comes to take us, and make us its’ toy.
© 2013 Chessie Roberts, all rights reserved
Chessie Roberts is a Singer/song Writer, Spiritual Teacher, Mind-set Mentor, Meditation Coach, Author, Lecturer and the Founder/Creator of Evolution of Self: Journey into Body, Mind, Spirit Balance. Her experience with severe,crippling arthritis was her catalyst to share her healing, experiential, self improvement program with those who wish to rediscover their balance of Body, Mind, Spirit. Her ability to put things into an easy to learn package allows participants to fine tune their healing intentions, identify personal goals and clarify the path they wish to devise in order to heal themselves and grow into their own Spiritual Evolution. You can find Chessie's programs and products at www.ChessieRoberts.com and her music at www.ArchersMeadow.com