THE MEMORY OF HER HANDS
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage…” – Lao Tzu
I am amazed at the thoughts and images that pop into my mind since the passing of my mom. It is shattering to realize the truth of death, the final vision of the person I loved. It is three months the day after Mother’s Day as her ashes sit on my mantel. Her wish to be placed in the water on the way out East that we travel in our boat. Still, I am not ready to let her go again. It comforts me her being here even if it is just her ashes. This process is a sharp cut to my heart; death, ashes, placing them in the water! Emotionally even if in my heart I know she stands right by me on the other side of the veil.
“Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.” – Sophocles
For some reason, it is her hands that I remember most. I can picture in my mind her slender fingers, manicured nails. Later in life, she would hold her index fingers up crippled from arthritis. So crooked she would tell me they hurt as she tried to straighten them but couldn’t. I can remember we held hands whenever we were walking side by side somewhere. Our fingers laced together – her fingers so cool to the touch I now recall.
As her daughter, I am witness to seeing her in me at times. A flash of insight or quick look or glance in a mirror as I walk pass. I smile at these times to myself, that yes I am her child. Sometimes the simple way I sit when watching television or drink from a cup recalls to mind a picture of her. She was twenty years older than me. I can remember her as an amazingly young woman at heart.
Since her transition, I have been delving into my life growing up with her as my mom. I’ve asked a few questions of myself and have come to know some interesting aspects of her and who I was to her before the onset of dementia. As a metaphysical practitioner, I know of the power we possess to manifest our lives by our thoughts, words, and actions. We are powerful in manifesting everything we want and do not want in our daily lives. We do not realize the strength of our personal beliefs.
Metaphysically dementia’s probable cause and belief is a refusal to deal with the world as it is. Hopelessness and anger. If only my mom had chosen to believe she was in her perfect place and that she was safe, I wonder how free she would have been of her nightmares all of these years. Her anger was part of her fear that she imagined due to the losses in her life.
I only recall the stories she chose to share of her childhood, her belief in God and for years her nightly reciting of the rosary. Not having a wealthy upbringing and being one of nine children during a very different time in life than how she raised me, I praise her today for doing the best she knew how under the circumstances.
“Many of our fears are tissue paper thin and a single courageous step would carry us through them.” – KMH
She survived it all; fear, alcoholism, abuse and death until she could no longer close her eyes and be witness to the pain anymore. Dementia crept in slowly at first until she was no longer the woman I knew her to be. It is a slower death to the person and the family then choosing to die. I write choosing because I believe we choose our life experiences and all that we want to learn in life from our parents, our children, the place of birth, family and friends as well.
We are born to love, heal and grow our souls. To love unconditionally all, to forgive, awaken to our truth and our freedom. However, many of us like my mom become frozen in the depths of their fear – their past. They cherish what never was possible because of death, and then cling to their pain daily and stay in the mindset of fear. For many the greatest of fears is death!
“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” – Henry David Thoreau
My mom never knew of her greatness. Her entire being became engulfed with too much fear of life and what it could do to her. I saw as a young girl how terrified she was of my dad and how she finally had to walk away from the fear after twenty-five years. When my brother was killed suddenly by a drunk driver on his way home from work, she began her descent into escaping from this world as she knew it. The pain was unbearable, and her grief took her away from my family and me when she chose to leave New York and move back to her hometown in Puerto Rico.
At first, I felt abandoned, actually for years I felt that she left me. Today, I know it was her grief that she tried to get away from and it had nothing to do with me. Recently, my son told me that he felt that she abandoned him and his siblings as well as, me twenty-six years ago, I was surprised! It is during these types of a moment that forgiveness comes into play. I believe she did what she needed to do at the time to survive the pain. It never helps to take anything someone else does personally. Many have trouble speaking their truth and fear is part of the anxiety of their day. It is all they know and cannot express their feelings. I believe this was true of my mom.
“Motherhood is … difficult and … rewarding …” – Gloria Estefan
Recently, I have been thinking about my life with my mom and my thoughts about her as a mom. Today, I know she did the best that she could, and my favorite memory of her was her childish behavior at times and holding hands with her whenever we walked somewhere. I would like to say to her that I understand and I know she loved me in her way but could not handle the pain and fear. I no longer feel abandoned by her actions to move away from my family and me. The greatest sadness I felt at her passing was that she had never met my six grandchildren. Then I think to myself can this be part of the plan that we agreed to at one time in spirit form. It matters not anymore because it is in the past and can never be any other way. I must stay in the present! To do so, I must live out my dreams. These were her choices and as her daughter I respect them. Fear was her choice for her entire life. Had she chosen Love things would have been different. There are not many choices but only two that we all get to choose from. Ask yourself how do you choose to live your life? Is it with fear or love? Fear is the roar of your ego from within. Love is the whisper of God from within. Choose wisely!
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
At this time in my life as a wife, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother I thank my mom for all that I learned from her. I am who I am today because of her choices. I discovered my truth, my passion and who I want to show to the world as a spiritual being bursting with unconditional love to share. There was a time twelve years ago when I asked her to come back to New York and live with me. She refused! She believed she would ruin my marriage and her fears would destroy her and me. That was when dementia climbed into her mind and settled in for the journey. I thank God for this life experience with my mom, and I am forever grateful that I chose her.
Today, as a woman, I am blessed to know I have always been able to live by my strength and beliefs. I feel sad that my mom never knew how strong she was and that she loved me unconditionally and I had never realized it before. I always believed that I was a teacher to my children as all moms are. I was setting an example which I hope today they can realize themselves. Mothering a child is about unconditional love because loving them as they are is key to their fulfillment.
“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” – Robert Browning
My mom never tried to change me, nor did she try to influence me in any way to be different than I was. I can hear her voice if I close my eyes and listen to how proud she was of me as a mom and wife. I am happy to write that was a great lesson for me to learn from her. Today, during this month of May when we celebrate our mothers, I wish to say to mine, “thank you, mom!” Take a moment and say this simple prayer as well … “thank you, mom!”
Pray! Meditate! Journal!