Monday, July 22, 2013

For Mom

Although this blog is relatively new, some of you may have noticed my absence.

Back in March, I suffered a major personal loss: my Mom passed away.  She was 78.  Her Lymphoma had returned for a fourth time, and by the time it was discovered, the damage was done.  It had returned two years ago, and at that time, the doctors weren't sure about her chances of survival.  I thought she was a goner then, but she bravely took on the chemo and radiation and I got two more years of phone calls, weekend visits, and holidays.  Oh, how I wish I knew then what I know now.

With her passing, everything I ever learned about the law of attraction, positive thinking and the like went straight out the window and I sunk into a depression, where my mindset changed from one of "Everything will be alright" to "Positive thinking is all bullshit. Get out of my face."  I languished in a pit of negativity and loneliness, and I didn't care.  Despite the huge outpouring of love, and despite the fact that this brought me and my sister closer, I felt alone.

I am struggling to re-learn everything from scratch, in the hopes of finding happiness again, because I know that it's real.

And let me tell you, it's rough trying to be positive again.

When I started learning about positive thinking and the law of attraction, I immediately told my Mom (as well as anyone else with ears) about it.  I got her a few books and tried to coach her regularly.  As an older woman with a lot of life experience, I hoped that this new way of thinking would help her get through the day better.  I hoped that maybe her health would improve, that her relationships would be more satisfying.  But was she too set in her ways to take this advice?  Often times she would simply sit there and listen, as I told her stories about how I was able to miraculously improve a shitty day in less than ten minutes.  It was like the roles were reversed, and I was the wise parent and she the child.

The week before she passed, I was riding in the cab with her on the way to her radiologist.  She told me she was scared.  I hated hearing that she was scared of anything.  That's not what you want to hear from your mother.  I tried to give her some positive reinforcement.  A few sentences into my little pep talk, she sighed, turned her head toward me, and said, "Oh, God, is this another sermon?"

I just had to laugh.  Through all her fears and worries, she still had her sense of humor.  I won't lie: I felt a little stupid.  Is that what I sound like when I'm talking about this?  Some kind of preacher?

Sometimes I wonder what kind of effect the law of attraction had on her.  Did she read the books when I wasn't around?  Did she get a deeper understanding from them?  She never dismissed me or laughed it off.  Even though she was religious, she was open minded enough to understand the simple message I was giving her.

In Western cultures, we fear death.  We see it as tragic, unbearable, something to be feared and avoided at all costs.  We cry at funerals, we wear black, we mourn.  We're pretty dramatic.  And yes, I did all those things after my Mother passed away, even though I witnessed something utterly fascinating a few days prior.

She was in her wheelchair at the end of the dining room table.  My sister (who was so crucial in helping her with her countless medical visits) was on one side of the table, I was on the other.  I watched as my sister spoon fed her apple sauce.  It made me sad to see that she was reduced to this.  I glanced down at the floor at the wheels of the chair and saw something.  It didn't hit me until my sister's eyes widened and she asked, "Did you see that?"

"Yes.  Yes I did."

My mother asked what we were talking about, but in her woozy state, we did not want to tell her.

It was some kind of distortion in the air, maybe 2 feet tall.  It was like how the air gets distorted from the heat above a road in the summer.  Whatever it was, it circled the wheelchair in a clockwise motion and disappeared.  I wasn't scared, I was in awe.

My sister saw the same thing.  When I described what I saw, she nodded.  Over the years, we have (like most siblings) butted heads on many issues, but this time, we were shocked into complete agreement.  I believe now that whatever this was, it was only going to show itself in front of the three of us and no one else.

When I describe this to people, some say it was her energy.  Some say it was a spirit.  Others say nothing, which makes me wonder if I should expect a visit from the men in the white coats.  To me, it was like an embrace, someone coming to comfort her in her end and escort her to where she needed to go.  This gave me a little comfort, knowing that she was on her way to a better place.  I refused to accept she was going to die and held onto the stubborn belief that she would recover until two days before the end.

I'm not that religious or spiritual, but I believe now that we are not alone.  At the very least, our "energy" moves on when our bodies are done.

I know that she sent me signals after she was gone.  On the night before her funeral, I had a dream.  I was in the middle of the street where she lived.  Have you ever seen a movie where the camera pulls back to reveal the whole scene?  That's what this was like.  She was sitting on her front steps.  A neighbor across the street was waving to her.  Another neighbor was sweeping.  (I also heard the name Madonna mentioned, but since I have been a fan of hers for many years, I don't know if it was the pop star or the Virgin Mary being referenced here.)

The next day, as the funeral procession drove past her home, I looked out the car window and one of her neighbors was holding her young son in her arms.  She waved to the hearse as it went by.  Even through closed windows I could hear the woman telling her young son to wave goodbye.  Was this a kind of "Madonna and Child" symbolism?

On the weekend after the funeral, I decided that I had to go to the gym to vent.  I had been crying for weeks prior and stopped taking care of myself.  My gym is near Madison Square Garden and as I got to the corner of 31st and 7th, she was heavy on my mind.  Suddenly, everything that I saw was blue: the LED billboards, the clothes people were wearing, and in the center of it all, a huge bus that was painted light blue from end to end and top to bottom.  It was as if only those things stood out and everything else was kind of dim.

My mother's favorite color was blue.  I feel like this was a big signal from her.  (Speaking of signals, I see 11:11 almost all the time now, but that's a subject for another post)

She would want me to be happy, and it's not just a cliche.  That's just how she was.  She was never one to mourn and suffer for endless years.  Sure, she grieved like the rest of us when someone died, but she knew how important it is to move on to happiness again.  I think the guilt is what keeps us from doing that.  We feel like it's somehow disrespecting the dead if we, say, take a vacation or celebrate a birthday.

I have learned a lot from this experience.  In my opinion, our "grieving" and "suffering" over death is self destructive.  If I sit here and mourn and cry and and weep, I'm only hurting her, and myself.  My vibration plummets and we are further and further apart.  On the other hand, I can choose better memories and still honor her.  I can remember her big, hearty laugh (so loud it would scare me as a child), her beautiful smile, her generous nature, her tell-it-like-it-is attitude, then I start to smile.  I remember how she could get along with anyone, from the cashier at the grocery store to the cable guy to a random stranger in the street.

When I picture her laughing, being happy, having a good time with her siblings again (they are all together now), it makes me feel good.  When I think about all the little things that made her happy (her favorite foods, a cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts, a good book, her favorite movie), I realize how vibrant she was.  When I feel good, my vibration rises to be closer to hers.  That's when those signals come to me.  If I shut down and cry, nothing seems to happen - everything stops.  It's all in the vibration and finding joy within yourself.  And that's what the law of attractions is all about, isn't it?

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