Friday, November 30

after











The first evening...after...we would find ourselves shaking our heads, again and again, as we remembered the beauty and mystery and perfection of those last moments...while we lit more candles...while we bathed and dressed the lovely vessel that was left behind...while we listened to her songs and were grateful, all over again, that her troubles had "melted like lemon drops, and high above the chimney tops is where" we'd find her now...



 


 Looking for a photo to place in her hands, of me and my brothers, I leafed through the album I had made for my parents thirty-some years ago...and for the first time in a very long time, was able to feel the joy and pleasure of my mom's life again, seeping through all of the rest....I was almost giddy with it...for awhile...










 ....we kept watch on Mom's moon...had pizza and plum wine, toasting Mom at every opportunity...tried to watch a movie I had recorded for her weeks before with her beloved William Holden...





...but that didn't last and soon all I longed for was the oblivion of sleep...which I was given, until the early morning, when it was time to say good-bye to Mom's moon and hello to some of our new beginnings...








































There was one more good-bye, tho'....

With the frost still on the ground,  I walked out to the far edge of the kitchen garden...near the fruit trees...and leaned my arms upon the fence and my chin upon my arms and looked at the curled and frosted leaves of the apple tree, lit up by the climbing sun...then closed my eyes and listened to the little birds in the trees and hedges nearby...and the echo-y birdsong drifting over the fields to me from our woods...and waited.

When I heard the muffled closing of a car door, and the slow crunch of tires on the gravel of the front drive, I walked towards the "hay-way" drive, as we call it, hurrying, needing to be in sight of the dip in our fields where we can always wave to our departing dear ones. It's tradition! In the good old days, Mom would beep the horn of her sky-blue Beetle when she saw us waving towards the dip. On this day, there was no answering beep, of course, to the subdued raising of my hand towards the black hearse glimpsed briefly between the shaggy pines...but it was good, never-the-less.

It is tradition. And I am learning on a whole new level how much tradition and ritual and ceremonials, large and small, take us into the heart of Things...and will lead us out the other side...




6 comments:

Megan said...

Hi Lesley,

A beautiful, unfettered death so full of grace is so rare to hear about in our complicated, frenetic culture.

So glad you shared this last journey with us.

I feel sad that our fellow caregiving-blogger bond is now ending, but equally happy for both of us to be moving on to the next wide open chapter.

Take care.
Lots of love to you,
Megan

kkkkaty said...

Dearest Lesley,

Today, I finally read your last several posts here of all that has transpired since I last checked your blog on Nov. 21. Having gone to the ocean for Thanksgiving, we were without a Wi-Fi connection until I arrived home and yesterday caught up on all reading and emails. I am amazed at your strength, the light and blessings that have been around you, how you describe the last days and hours of your dear mother's life, and the motions you all went through, and still managing to reassure us all in such a gentle manner. It has been a long journey and I know you will look back with gratitude on the writings and photos and all you have saved as a record of the difficult task of taking care of your mother. I'm glad it was a peaceful and graceful time. What a truly beautiful story of the moon and of the extra-ordinary life of your mother you have, as well as your keen insight and constant care. Many are with you in spirit and thank you for opening your heart to all of us. May you have continued support and love during the coming days, months, and years. I look forward to reading more from you,, when the time is right for you. With a lump in my throat, a full heart, and a hug goodnight to you,I send my
loving regards,

Kathy (kkkkaty)
P.S. My last email failed to get through to you

Bella said...

Lesley,

thank you for sharing your thoughts of your mom and the rituals and blessings, and tribute to her life. she is so very lucky to have you care for her. wishing you the best care now, and journey ahead.

blessings, Isabella

Laureen said...

Dearest Lesley,

I remember your beautiful Mama from the very first evening that I met you in Richmond all those years ago, when your creations became part of our life and our home. I can only thank you for sharing your life with such honesty and beauty. You have my love and prayers.

Blessings,
Laureen

walklet said...

You have written about this all so beautifully -- it leaves me speechless and remembering how it felt to move thru those days after losing my own beloved grandmother who raised me. Thinking and praying for you.

Laurie said...

I have just caught up here, and in reading your words, I feel I have been given a gift. Such beauty, honesty, and clarity in those last precious moments with your Mom. How magical the moon and the shooting star were. Be well.