“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau
Late yesterday afternoon I received a call from my sister in Canada saying my mother was dying. I had just returned from a swim with Asha and I was planting seeds in trays on the front deck. Symbolic somehow.
My mother only entered the hospital one and a half weeks ago complaining of some abdominal pain near where she’s had an operation for a hernia in the top of her stomach in December. She’d been healthy until then. The only pills she was taking when I visited her last September were calcium tablets for osteoporosis. She is 77.
At 2.00am I called the hospital. It was 8.00am there and my sister was able to hold the telephone receiver by my mother’s oxygen-mask-covered face. Her voice was weak but she was lucid. We were each able to say the three most important words I know, “I love you.” When I called at 6.00am she was sleeping, but I was able to speak with my sister, who had spent the night by my mother’s side. I indicated that I would not, at this point, attempt to get flights for the 27 hour journey from New Zealand to Ontario. It’s a tough call, but I have been connecting consciously with my mother each night for the last two weeks. Part of me has known something was up.
And now I sit here at 9.30am. The sun is shining, burning off the last of the morning mist. I’ve been for my walk to the Pa (the lookout) and along the beach. I’ve rescued a crab which was stranded on low tide, returning it to the wet sand at water’s edge where it quickly burrowed in. A White-faced Heron had stalked the shallows of the estuary, in search of breakfast. A kingfisher dive-bombed a passing dog. I returned to the garden to stake some tomatoes and Jerusalem artichokes toppled by a recent storm. I am happy. Nature is my balm. I feel and know I am connected with all beings. I see my mother’s imminent passing as part of the continuum of life, as an essential part of the vast tapestry of existence. And I am grateful for the technology that allows me to remain connected by voice with ones I love who are physically so far away.
Excuse me. I’ve got go and use that technology, the telephone, so that I can once again utter that essential three word phrase, “I love you.”
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