Wednesday, June 06, 2007


I was going to write more about tradition in my next blog but something has come up that sets that subject aside for a bit.

On Saturday May 19th, at around 11 AM, my mother died. I guess for someone my age, 62, this is not that unusual an event and I was not that surprised but still it is strange. At the beginning of that week I had talked to her on the phone, she lived around 5 ½ hours from me and she asked my advice about going to the hospital. She was having trouble breathing and was almost immobile, having even more trouble moving about. I agreed that she needed to go to the hospital and called her friend to make sure that was going to happen. Two days later I drove up to see her. I also wanted to talk to her Dr. about what was really taking place and to speak to a social worker about the possibility of moving her to a facility closer to me. I had these visions of taking her great grand children to visit her in a nursing home, thereby cheering her up. There is nothing like a bouncy four year old girl to cheer someone up. I thought many things during the three days I was up there, in Watertown, NY. Another thought that kept creeping into my mind was what I would do if she died on the way while I was driving her to the hypothetical nursing home close to me. It was not a thought that I wanted to have but it kept slipping in.

She was very uncomfortable. She had been struggling with myasthenia gravis for many years and the disease was advancing in her body. In case you do not know, myasthenia gravis is a disease that creates anti-bodies that interfere with the signals that nerves give to muscles. Because of this disease she was now unable to swallow, her throat muscles were not getting the signal to contract. The hospital inserted a tube directly into her stomach, called a Peg of all things, in order to get nutrition into her.

I stayed in her little apartment and went several times a day to visit her. Whenever I visited I would find her sitting in a chair beside her hospital bed. So far as I know the staff left her there as moving was also very uncomfortable for her. She looked so much like she was sitting there waiting.

We did not have much to talk about. It was odd really. Here I am a spiritual teacher of sorts and I cannot talk to my mother about death. I really have no idea what her thoughts were during these last days. I suspect she was aware that the sand was running out but she did not make any reference to death and I did not feel it was my place to bring it up if she did not want to. So I bought her a large print bible. She really liked that and hugged it to her chest. I do not think that she actually opened it but she did hold it as a kind of talisman.

Almost the last thing she said to me was, "I want to go home," meaning her apartment but I sensed a sub-text as well. She was tired and wanted it all to end.

On Friday of that week, I drove back home. On Saturday her friend called me to tell me she had died. Apparently the hospital staff was taking her to X-Ray to check on the location of the Peg. She was chatting with the technicians when she just stopped.

I cannot say that I have been close to my mother. There was never much overt affection in our small family and over the years I kept my distance for many reasons. Still I did call her occasionally and visited her when I could. Every few months I would drive up to see her, listen to her discussion of her various neighbors many faults, and drive back home. I knew she was increasingly uncomfortable in her body and kind of knew that the moment of separation from physicality was approaching. But the reality is very strange.

I would like to write something deep and philosophical at this point but nothing really comes to mind. So much has been written about death that I doubt there is anything that I can add It is the natural order of things and something in us knows that it is okay. It is obvious I suppose. For me it is okay.

The day after she died my wife and I drove back up to Watertown to sort through her things and make the various arrangements necessary. Most of her furniture we gave away, keeping just a few small things. I think I was in some kind of numb state so Majida more or less took over and made sure things were done. I did what I was told to do. People would say, go here, do this, go there, do that and I would do as I was bid. And everything got done.

And now? Now I feel normal I guess. As I said, it is strange knowing that she no longer inhabits a body here on Earth. I did get a sense of her right after she left. I had this fleeting vision of her in her 40 year old body feeling quite happy. I liked that.

Love and Blessings, Musawwir


Shazia. said...


I think I can relate to the feeling. The death of a parent leaves one in a daze. There is absolutely no way of preparing for these situations.

Aren't we all waiting to go to our heavenly abode!?! I don't understand why do some people fear death then.


celticgoddess said...

I'm not really sure to say, I'm always here if you want to talk.
Blessed Be

molly said...

Thank you for sharing.

Jules said...

Dear Great One,
I fear that in death i am quite selfish, i fear the death of my friends more than my own. My loss! A treasure stolen, and although i know this to be untrue it is still hard to reconcile my childhood memories of death with what i now know to be true.
For me death is a transition from one state to the next, a journey not to be feared.
But when the journey comes to those you cherrish, it always comes as a shock whether it was anticipated or not. And the loss to those who are left behind.
All my Love Jules

Anonymous said...

how lucky one is to have a partner who can take charge at these times of emotional turnoil.