Mom had been in hospice for more than a year. I had a call one Friday afternoon from my sister that she wasn’t expected to make it through the weekend.
As Mom entered into her late stage dementia, my sister Nancy had moved Mom to be with her in Colorado. Mom’s decline occurred at the same time my husband Richard was entering into his own late stage dementia back in our home state of Minnesota.
I knew from the conversation with Nancy that I wouldn’t make it to Colorado in time to be at Mom’s bedside. But the rational side of my thinking wasn’t helping my emotional side at all. I’d been at my father’s side when he passed away. And I remembered how hard it was on my sister that she couldn’t be there, too.
All weekend I was tense as Nancy and I exchanged phone calls. By Sunday, we’d been told by the doctor “it was a matter of hours.” I felt I had to do something to keep myself busy.
Weather wise, it had been a gorgeous day with a bright blue sky and perfect temps. I knew there was a 5:00-6:00 pm yoga class nearby so I decided to attend. As I drove up, I was hoping it would be held outside on the deck overlooking the beautiful marsh land. I was so glad to see the teacher was actually putting the mats outside once I stepped out of the car.
I couldn’t help but remember how Mom liked nothing better than to be outside on a beautiful day. However, I was also wondering if I might lose Mom would while I was in class. I tried to stay focused on the breathing instructions from the teacher, but of course my thoughts kept going back to Mom.
Near the end of the class, we did a relaxing yoga pose called shavasana where the students lay flat on their backs. Normally I’d be falling into a nap at this point, but not that day. Instead I looked up at the incredible sky, listening to the birds.
I soon saw something cardinal red floating up higher and higher into the clear blue sky. A balloon maybe, or a satellite?
A tear rolled down my cheek. But still I felt at peace.
Afterwards, I hurried home to check my email. I had a message from my brother-in-law. He wrote that Mom had passed away at 6pm, just as class ended.
My sister called later from the hospital and told me when Mom passed, she saw a single tear had rolled down Mom’s cheek also.
I awoke early this Mother’s Day, the first one with out Mom. I checked in on the cardinal’s nest right outside my window. I saw the baby birds had moved on and were flying into the sky.
I left my nest as well, and drove to a special yoga class honoring mothers.
Once there I shared a special gift with Mom of just one more salty tear.