To my wise, beautiful, soulful mother – never could I have imagined, much less accepted, that I would be writing this letter to you. As I sit here on the eve of a new year watching snow fall abundantly outside, I feel like I am dreaming; that I will wake up and call or text you like I did every day for as long as I can remember. Certainly, we would have commiserated together over the Colorado cold, but we also would have appreciated the majestic, winter wonderland that undeniably reminds us we are home here this time of year. Even when I lived halfway across the globe, you were always there for me on the other side of the line or just a flight away. You were my source of strength, confidence, and inspiration. You were my everything.
Unfortunately, I am not dreaming, and that requires accepting a new reality wherein your familiar form is gone. That also means that my definition of “everything” must evolve beyond form. No longer can I hold your hand, hear your sweet voice, or feel your butterfly kisses on my cheek. I’ve done so much work over the last few years to understand the impermanence of life – to comprehend that it is part of the deal we make with Source to experience what it is to feel fully. The duality of our existence is both the lock and the key. We do not get to love without hurt, laugh without tears, or live without loss. Still, I cannot entirely embrace this perceived tradeoff.
Not coincidentally, a book came into my life last year that transformed me to the core and naturally, I shared it with you. Immediately I knew that Conversations with God was and would continue to be my Bible. In the book God states that “All human actions are motivated at their deepest level by two emotions: fear or love. In truth there are only two emotions–only two words in the language of the soul…Fear wraps our bodies in clothing, love allows us to stand naked. Fear clings to and clutches all that we have, love gives all that we have away. Fear holds close, love holds dear. Fear grasps, love lets go.” Mom, you were my example of living from a place of love, always. You showed me what it means to step into authenticity, to dare to make the choices that honor your heart’s desire and to speak your truth with the trust that love prevails. You exemplified love as a willingness to let go – and now my true test begins.
Before you transitioned, or perhaps I should say returned to your original home, I felt an urgency for a confirmation of our sign, or how exactly I could expect you to communicate with me in this new reality. I asked you to tell me that fateful October day in the doctor’s office and I asked you once again on Christmas morning, just hours before you passed. I never heard a clear answer, and I trust that was intentional. On one level, you never gave up the fight for your sacred human experience. I am certain of that because you continued to make plans, and to dream of swinging your leg over your motorcycle, riding off into the sunset with your love. And true to form, you also gave my father clear specifications to trade in the tennis bracelet he gave you over twenty years ago for a more modern version – just one day before you departed this material world. Mommy, I am in awe of you.
I also know that you did not reveal our sign because not only would it ruin the surprise, but because choosing just one would be too limiting. Although I rarely admit it, you know how much I love surprises. And in your subtle and eternally astute way, you are reminding me to stay awake. As much as I want this all to be a dream, you are showing me that I have been living so much of my life asleep – afraid to let down my guard and be amazed; fearful to feel what it is to live in my nakedness, my essence, and my truth. I have been so attached to the signs of affirmation that I have not paid attention to those that are right there inside of me, yearning to be heard. You are teaching me, even in your physical absence, to trust. I must trust myself first and foremost, but I must also trust that you, as a force of the Universe, will always be by my side illuminating the path, reminding me that we are forever connected. Signs and wonder will abound.
One of the authors we shared, Marianne Williamson, wrote: “To trust in the force that moves the Universe is faith. Faith isn’t blind, it’s visionary. Faith is believing that the Universe is on our side, and that the Universe knows what it’s doing. Faith is a psychological awareness of an unfolding force for good, constantly at work in all dimensions. Our attempts to direct this force only interferes with it. Our willingness to relax into it allows it to work on our behalf. Without faith, we’re frantically trying to control what it is not in our business to control, and fix what it is not in our power to fix. What we’re trying to control is much better off without us, and what we’re trying to fix can’t be fixed by us anyway. Without faith, we’re wasting time.”
I cannot control the circumstances outside of myself. I cannot control the dreadful disease that took you from us far too soon. But I can commit to trusting in a force far greater than I could ever begin to know on this plane. I can also commit to opening my heart and feeling your energy move through and around me whereby no sign is off limits. You had a plan to spend Christmas with your family this year, which is exactly what you did. Now I must have faith in the grander plan: that all is exactly as it should be. Although I want to fight it, I know it’s futile and once again, duality presides. As our friend Rumi reminds us: “This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
Mom, one of the many legacies of your life is serving as my guide from beyond, and your light will shine through me for eternity. I love you to the moon and back – and I will meet you there when it’s time.
“May you never become lost in the bland absences.
May the day never burden.
May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities, and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered, and protected.
May your soul calm, console, and renew you.”