by Natalie Dekel.

It has been 4 years since my mother has passed over.

I am looking back and I see the long journey we have taken over the years she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, over the years we have struggled against the odds to keep her alive and over the years we – each one of us in the family – has come to terms with the fact that mom is no longer with us on a physical plane.

Recently I have seen a series of photographs that a husband has taken of his wife as she was diagnosed with breast cancer and as she gradually dissolved into the process of dying and has passed over. Yes, it was harsh images at the end, and yes it is a soul tearing process to participate in the process of dying, and the anguish stays with one forever as if years never passed since. However what I felt strongly after seeing those images – was not the sorrow as much as joy. Because my mother as I knew her was made of both the sorrows and the joys, the good and the bad times all mixed up. This mix of pain and joy is what made her a whole being, what will always be my Mother for me.

After someone we love dies we go through a phase of confusion, fear, anger and then forgiveness and acceptance. This circle never quiet ends because those emotions do not have an expiry date, as our soul knows that it is impossible to truly die, as energy never disappears. And so the impossibility of this Truth battles against the harsh sense of loss, of never feeling this person’s touch again, or looking into their eyes, or saying how much you love them again and feel the warmth of their body against your cheek.

Mother is an ultimate symbol that our life revolves around since before our birth. We may love her or hate her but ultimately she is always on our mind in one way or another. The true love towards that being who gave us life is a confusing mix of tenderness, exasperation, anger and pure joy and hopefulness all mixed together.

'Honesty' (photo by Gil Dekel, 2013)

'Honesty' (photo by Gil Dekel, 2013)

At first I could not grasp this idea that the physicality of mom’s being is not a never-ending that I always imagined it to be. I could not conceive of that person whom I knew first thing in this lifetime and always tried to please, love, argue, appease, rebel against or joke with – is no longer there. I was so angry at this loss. I was angry with her, angry with God who not just taken her away from me but also did it in such a painful heartbreaking way. I was angry for all of a sudden I have finally become a grown up adult person cut off the roots. Because no matter how old you are, or what you think you have achieved in life, or how far you have ran and rebelled, as long as your mother is alive, it feels as if you are still a child. Once one’s parents are gone you are suddenly The parent yourself, or the grown up with no one to look back to, no back up, no more comfort or hug that would promise that everything will be all right again.

The first years were a constant nauseating pain physically, spiritually and emotionally. It was only in the last year as I have been pregnant and now have my little girl that looks at me with my mother’s eyes that I realise I stepped out from the grief’s edge.

I now can look back and smile because now as I comfort and support my children I can sense my mother living through me with me. I can feel her mannerisms, her intonation or even touch and most of all her love more than I ever felt before – all coming through me in me. I found what I was looking for… I have not lost her after all.

I spent years believing I was not loved enough (enough for what I felt I needed). I always judged, criticised in my head; looking for that missing something that could give me peace and joy and safety in my mother’s arms. I have not considered even for a moment that she was a woman, just as I am now, who had her own issues, worries, fears and problems. I have not thought of all that she had to struggle and face in life all the while providing me and my brother with the best she could. It is only now that I recognise that, and I realise that this is what Love is about. It is not a pure white fluffy cloud where one sits embracing another and pink fluffy dreams floating by. Love that I had from my mother was a little bit like a good chicken soup: a bit of spice, a bit of colour, a bit of everything all mixed up together.

To recognise that love we cannot sift through only good experiences, but see it shining through the darkest of times, holding us upright in the toughest situations, feeding and supporting us.

Not only we were lucky to recognise that Love for what it was at the end of the journey, we used the years she was diagnosed and fought to live as the opportunity to Love each other unconditionally and help and support each other. We developed that strong bond despite me being in a different country. We were bonded even more so as my first daughter has come along and helped this strong bond of love and courage to be even stronger; giving mom precious few more years of life in her desire to see how the child grows and bonds with her too.

It was doubly hard to let her go and see her body giving up even as her spirit held on to dear life, to the last possible moments, because I felt that I only discovered this Love with her as she fell ill. I found that illness has this strange effect of bringing clarity up close to our faces, and making us suddenly realise the priority of things and the significance of what we have and will never loose. Once discovered you can never forget the precious moments of shared love, joy and happiness. It may have lasted mere moments in between despair, pain and sickness yet it was there shining all over and through the darkness of that hour of our soul path.

Even in her death, my mother was bringing me joy and upliftment. As she has died at sunset in the hospital, the sun was illuminating orangy red glow all around me and peace was entering that place in my heart where fear constantly lived for the duration of her illness.

As she passed over she did it with a smile for the first time in what seemed a very long time. She was at peace and for her sake I was too, because she no longer suffered, she was victorious and raised above.

About a year ago I would not even let myself think of it without feeling of my heart being squeezed, but now I can cry and smile at the same time knowing it is time to let her go and let me Love.

Love seems to operate with the same rhythm as everything else in the Universe, the seas, the winds, the seasons – it comes in, rushing and overwhelming like a wave on the beach, then retreating gently only to come back again with strong force. The ebb and flow of it keeps us rejuvenated and alive, for we would feel complacent and ‘dead’ if all would be with the same intensity all the time, no beginning and no end to it. We seem to be meant to have our highs and lows to remind us that we are alive and are part of the Universe.

And so I feel this flow of Love to my beautiful kind and loving mother who gave me all that she could and more than I ever imagined.

And as I continue to grow and learn I recognise more and more aspects of Love that unfolds before me in a myriad of ways. I review my assumptions and judgements that set the glasses on my eyes of how things are. And so I learn to flow with love and see more of it wherever I go.

And so I have learned: Love is never what we want or imagine it to be,

It just IS.

© Natalie Dekel.
16 Nov 2013.