I’ve been a little distracted lately. Life’s getting in the way of my writing. My writing’s getting in the way of life. And all of it is getting in the way of letting go, of dying, of accepting that at the end of the day we must give up the good fight and go home to the light.
My mother had a stroke a fortnight ago. We’re now in recovery. Yes, we … mother, father, Heart Guy, my siblings, my children, nephews, nieces and me. Yes, me.
My mother’s only had a mild stroke. It’s the afterward, the now, we’re having to confront. She has various health conditions, all previously “controlled” by a delicately balanced combination of medications. After this stroke, the doctors will be ‘upping” one set of medicines. This will affect her other conditions. It is a precarious compromise.
Friday, on the way back from one of the doctors, she said to me, “It’s not very important. Everyone has to die.”
I know we all begin to die the day we’re born. My mother, in her mid-80’s, has been visibly fading for many months, perhaps years. My doctor brother told us what signs we needed to be ready for. Those signs hadn’t shown themselves. We went along, merrily. Then she had this unanticipated stroke (3 actually).
“Everyone has to die,” she said to me in the car.
My mother doesn’t believe in saying anything bad if it doesn’t need to be said. But, she does believe in speaking her truth when its necessary. She must have thought it necessary to tell me this.
Matthew 7:11 of the Bible says “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” Yet, this is the hard stone of truth my mother has given me.
This too shall pass I tell myself. It doesn’t matter. Everyone has to die. It is the present that counts. Make the most of it.
Other things my mother told me come to mind. Carpe Diem, seize the day. This world, it’s not our true home. We go home to somewhere better.
I swallow the stone. I let the juices in my gut gnaw at it. A gem will emerge, I know. But it hurts, this polishing.