Lessons Beyond the Grave

Last week my  Mother passed away.  I don’t use that phrase because I’m afraid of death. I use it because I’ve always thought we misunderstand death and so I don’t use the word.  It think “passed away” is pretty descriptive, actually.  I think we do pass away from the physical, material world and continue on in pure consciousness where having a body is superfluous. 

I can remember when I was about 14 years old and my Grandfather passed away.  It was my first funeral and I had never seen a body in a casket before.  As I stood there with my Father looking at my Grandfather, I said out loud, “Now I know there’s no such thing as death. That’s not Grandpop. That’s his suitcase.”

But back to my Mother’s recent passing

We had an emotionally distant relationship, she and I.  She was uncomfortable with the giving and receiving of affection.  As she once told me, “I never had that growing up so I didn’t know how.”  Sad.  But true.  So, you do the best you can under those circumstances, as I tried to do.  In her final years, after my Dad had passed away, and she had 10 years on her own for the first time in her life, we shared a few genuinely Mother/Daughter moments that had been all too infrequent in the many years that preceded them.

For those I will always be grateful.

But here’s the important part.

Since the funeral, I can’t remember any of her personality that was distant or judgmental or just plain irritating to me throughout my life.  Since her passing, it’s as if it all never happened.  All I can see is the beautiful Soul that was the woman I called Mother, who struggled with the same human issues each of us struggles with, and who exhibited rather incredible patience and strength in confronting life’s challenges.

In a much earlier blog, I wrote about how wonderful it would be if every day an angel walked before every human being wherever they went announcing their arrival with a shout of “Behold the image and likeness of God.”  How differently we would see and treat each other, and ourselves, if that actually occurred,  And yet it does. 

We are each created in the image and likeness of God and so this is who shows up whenever and wherever we do.  Only by how we choose to act do we determine how holy the experience is for ourselves and others.

I wish I had seen that angel announcing my Mother throughout my life, I think I would have seen her and our relationship differently. I’m grateful to be able to see it now without all the earthly stuff that masks Its presence.

Perhaps what I’m finally seeing is simply the Angel… I happened to call “Mother.”

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