Leaving the Shell…


My Mother went peacefully. So they told me. I couldn’t ask for the details. Only that it took maybe ten minutes. So they said. “She went very elegantly”. So I was told. “Why didn’t they resuscitate her?” my eleven year old son asks.

“Because you wouldn’t want to come back after a massive stroke” I told him. That’s what I’ve been told. That’s what common sense says. I stopped him asking questions. I couldn’t bear to think about details. Details make you worry. Details make you wonder what could have been done better. Details will drive you mad. And they haunt you.

Mum was lying waiting for me. In peaceful repose. Her long beautiful fingers. White hands draped silently over each other. Across her abdomen. Her pale blue silky nightie with creme lace trim. Not her best one but the pale blue suited the mood. The quiet of the room, the sombre mood. The blues….the soft letting go of this quietly elegant lady. My private mother who laughed in disbelief at my openness.

I always imagined I would be with Mum when she went. I thought I would have a makeshift bed beside her. We would be together. I would cuddle her close and hold her hands and I would tell her how much I loved her. Over and over. I would have stroked her high forehead and run my fingers over her soft skinned cheeks.

I would have smiled and reassured her and told her what a wonderful, loving Mother she has been. How much I adore her. How much my children adore her. I would have sung her songs she used to sing to me when I was little. Songs she sang to my children. I used to snuggle onto her ample lap, leaning in against her soft bosom. Enveloped by her warm arms and the soft familiar scent of my mother. The scent I knew at birth. Before birth, before time. The rhythmic rocking of her leg tapping slowly on the floor. Her body moving in time with the tapping. Gently rocking me to sleep. I would have rocked her to sleep.

I would have given back everything she gave to me and held her close as she transitioned from my material perception of her into her true, eternal spiritual self. The spiritual reality that was always there but had to be redefined by my human need to see and feel her.

Later that day my son asked what I had done when I visited Nanna. I answered, “I sat and held her hand and talked to her.” He responded with “Nanna would have been thinking – Why are you sitting around staring at my body….that’s not me…that’s just my empty shell.”

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