As I look out my living room window, I see what look like green puffballs on the branches of the maple tree in front of my apartment… little signs of regeneration after the bareness of winter.
My mom was looking forward to spring, and getting to sit outside in the sunshine, after feeling cooped up in her room through the winter. She loved the feeling of sun on her face, the fresh air, and seeing the changes in the plants and flowers.
So now she’s watching from a different vantage point – perhaps seeing through the eyes of those she loves – and now she’s free to shower love and presence on all without the limitations of this physical realm.
What a journey it was during her last days after a major stroke took her speech and ability to move her right side. A stream of family and friends came to say good-bye and let her know how much she was loved.
And instead of her usual way of taking care of everyone else and trying to avoid special attention, she was planted firmly on the receiving end.
My brothers and I knew she was aware of each person who came – she tried hard to respond. We understood a couple of words at first, and then that wasn’t possible anymore. She got to hear voices of grandchildren and others who couldn’t be present. We let everyone know that she heard them, knew who they were and loved them.
It was a time of release, gratitude and love. Her passing after three and a half days was quiet – a slipping into the next realm, as we held her hands and enfolded her with our love.
So those green leaves are bittersweet – a sign of a new phase of growth and possibility – along with the loss of an anchor point in our family. I can imagine my mom with other loved-ones who have passed – my dad, her parents, her brothers, and friends – enjoying the fresh air and light of the infinite and unhampered realms of Love and Beingness, and I am grateful for having had her as my mother.
One of the gifts of that time was that peacock feathers started showing up – on napkins that accompanied a gift of banana bread, and on a well-wisher’s sweatshirt. I looked up the symbolism, and found the meaning so fitting for the time: compassion, openness, immortality, watchfulness. Receiving that message reinforced my sense that this was a very sacred time, and that we were being held and supported by the unseen.
I’ve continued to see peacock feathers, reminding me that this whole life is a sacred realm and my time here is holy. My challenge for myself, which you are welcome to borrow, is to fully participate in this astounding gift of life while I still have these five senses! To pay close attention to the signs and markers of the sacred. To stay anchored in connectedness to each other and to the whole.
My desire for each of us is that we live rooted in compassion and openness, keeping watch for how the eternal is shimmering through the growing green leaves and other signs that show up to let us know we’re not alone.
With gratitude and blessings,
PS I’d love to hear from you about your markers and challenges. Feel free to share your thoughts below…
My mom: Betty Marie Martin Kniss