My Mom passed away on Saturday. She had struggled with severe obesity for most of her life, and by the age of 69 her body had become taxed to the point of gradual heart failure. It was a slow process, as she was bed-ridden for more than a month and finally ended up in the hospital during her final days.
The news came not as a shock, though it did seem to happen quickly. Due to the current global insanity, and because I live in Europe and she in Wisconsin, I have been unable to see my Mom in person for 2 years. The long-distance relationship was never easy, but is all I have known for my entire adult life.
Over those past 28 years, my relationship with my Mom consisted of weekly phone calls, occasional emails and texts, generous gifts being sent on holidays, and an annual trip to visit my parents. Our relationship was honest and close, though there were really no dependencies. I never really depended upon her advice and, similarly, she wasn’t interested in my guidance with respect to healing. After countless tear-filled attempts to help her, several years ago I had finally given up trying to change anything about her. I accepted her as she was.
Each time I would say goodbye, the thought crossed my mind that it might be for the last time. Therefore, I was emotionally prepared for her passing. I considered each new moment spent with her in this dimension a sort of unexpected blessing for which I am fortunate. My ex-wife of 22 years still loves her very much. She and my life partner Zuzana also became very close over two recent visits. My children love her as grandchildren do.
My understanding of spirituality is derived from many sources, but my practical understanding of death comes largely from a wonderful book I recently enjoyed called An End to Upside Down Thinking by Mark Gober. According to Mark’s extensive interviews and research, in the body’s death we transcend our physical limitations. We, as consciousness, are no longer limited by our senses.
At the moment of death, we experience a “life review”. In an instant, we see the complete truth about our life and about the lives of everyone we loved. This is a powerful vision of truth that transcends time and space and goes beyond our mere memories. Our entire reality is seen from the perspective of unconditional love.
In life, we as consciousness are restrained to a mind and body. While there are exceptions, most people cannot see events happening around the world or during another era (though very few can do). Furthermore, to varying degrees we become identified with our physical selves, our life stories, and our possessions. We become attached to specific people, situations, and become identified with our trials and tribulations as well as our hopes and dreams.
Due to her poor health, my Mom was not able to travel for the past 22 years. On Saturday, though, I know that she had visited me. She has seen everything meaningful about my entire life—not from a perspective of judgment, but of love. I told my 11-year-old daughter all of this when I broke the news to her. From this perspective of truth, our grieving process is natural and manageable.
What is real about my Mom—her love, her attention, the knowledge she gained through her unique experiences, the stories she told, her consciousness—it all remains with us eternally. It lives on in our hearts, and even her physical form lives on as me, my children, and in all the others who love her continue our doing in this world. She is here, closer to us than ever now that she has shed that damaged body, which caused her unimaginable suffering for so many years.
I got the news of her passing upon waking up at 6:00 am. I did not cry for several hours, though I finally did as I provided support to family. Now my brother and I will do our absolute best to support our Dad, to help him grieve, to learn to do certain things for himself, and ultimately to succeed at this new path he was destined for. Now he has the chance to become his own man for some time.
None of us feel obligated to do a normal funeral. She was a very private person; like me, perhaps too honest and open to have many friends. We have chosen cremation, and we will be guided only by our hearts as we celebrate her life and her continued existence.
I hope that these words might help anyone who is grieving the death of a loved one from a distance. We continue tomorrow and each day after that.