Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Three years ago today, my mother passed away quietly after her breakfast at the skilled nursing facility. She had only been there a week and was recovering from what we suspected was a small stroke.

When someone as close as a mother dies, the experience is so alive with sensations and emotions and babbling in your mind. Everything is somehow larger than life. Charged with such intense emotion, details of the moment are vivid and crystal clear. As time passes, the intensity softens a bit, but always when the memory arises, that clarity and pure awareness remains.

The photo is of a Rose-of-Sharon given to me by several friends at the time of mom's death. They told me it was chosen because it blooms in mid-July and they wanted something that would remind me of her each year at this time. It is a fitting tribute to her. It started as a small bush and struggled to survive for two years. The landscape designers wanted to replace it, but I said "No."

This year it is in full bloom, even with the hot, dry summer we are having!. As I tend the garden throughout the year, I am reminded of her. It sways in the winds and endures the rain, cold and snow. Yet it continues to grow and blossom and become rooted in the Illinois soil.

There is a poem from John O'Donohue that speaks to what I feel this morning. Here is just a portion of it...

On the Death of the Beloved

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul's gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones...

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