How my mother walked in her death was her final and one of her most beautiful gifts. Conscious living has the power to integrate the conversation about conscious dying. I will say that as a mother of 2 small children, while I pray that my passing will be a long time in coming and hopefully not as painful as my mothers, I am conscious and aware that it is coming. I am conscious that I want to give my children the gift that my mother gave to me during her final process. I will openly admit I don’t think I am there yet but it is a conversation that I have started within myself. A conversation I hope to inspire within you. When you die, will your passing be a gift or will it leave a burden for those who love you?
My intention is for my life and my death to be a gift.
My mother died 7 years ago of stage 4 lymphoma. Her death process took a very long 8 years. She was in and out of hospitals, battling various aliments due to her cancer, which compromised her immune system. In addition to the radiation and chemotherapy, my mother dealt with several rounds of bronchitis, pneumonia and spinal meningitis. They had to put my mother into an induced coma for 13 day because her lungs started to spontaneously fill up with fluid. My mother’s death was a long and very difficult process with a lot of pain. There were at least 6 times that we thought she was going to die and we said our final goodbyes. It was an emotional journey.
Death isn’t pretty, it is not fun and it sucks; however death is what makes this life…life! Without death our experience here would be very different. The fact that we all get to die and that we all get to lose people we love along the way unites us and death is what makes life, life. It is true that you can’t have life without death. If we are really going to be conscious and live consciously, then death has to be apart of our conversation. It is the backdrop that our lives hang on.
Through watching my mother’s death process I realized that dying well, is the final and one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children. While my mother was in extreme physical discomfort, she never got angry, she wasn’t in denial, and she never got mean or nasty, as many people do when they get sick. My mother was conscious about how she was dying; she was sweet and open, vulnerable and present. She allowed us to morn her while she was still here. She created and held the space for us to talk to her openly about our fears of losing her.
I will never forget about 3 months before she died, I was laying on her lap and I looked at her and told her that I didn’t want her to die. She looked at me and said, “Susan, you are going to be just fine without me.” In that moment I didn’t believe her, but today it makes my heart warm loving her, knowing that she was right. I am fine without her and I love that she was wise enough to give me the permission to be fine. That has been such an enormous gift. I have seen so many people who feel so much guilt and sadness after someone close dies because they are burdened to carry unresolved issues, words not said, fears not expressed, love not shared. I am blessed and feel humbled to be able to say that because of how my mother chose to die and how she us to participate in her process I look back on my mother’s life and death, not with sadness but with love and a wonderful feeling of completeness.
I know this might sound strange, but I don’t even really miss my mother. She is gone physically but, because I have no guilt or grief, I am able to be with her directly. Getting to this place took a considerable amount of time. I had to move through my own grieving process. But today, I feel like my mom is everywhere and that gives me such great comfort.
So hopefully I have started a conversation or have added to one that has already started. Your death is a very important part of your life.
Thank you Mom!!!
Note to my Mom Janet F. Leahy: 1/19/1939-12/1/2006
Mom you are my hero and I love you more today then the day before! The lessons you have taught me both in your life and in your death have been life giving!! Thank you for who you were and who you continue to be! I love you and appreciate the conscious choices you made as a mother, committed to raising and loving your children in a positive and joy seeking manner. I love that I can still feel your joy. I love knowing that I am genetically, energetically and spiritually connected to you. I love feeling you when I hold my children in my arms. I love holding them and thinking about you holding me the same way. You are right, I feel a closeness to you in death that I didn’t in life. I love that you are the example that I get to live from, what a true and sacred gift you are both in your life and in your death. I love you mom and am blessed to be your baby!! Thank you from the deepest parts of my being!! Thank you….