There are many hard things in life, but to me saying goodbye to your child is probably the hardest. It is not something I have experienced directly although my youngest child has been at death’s door twice due to his epilepsy he has returned to me both times. When I was a toddler my aunt lost her daughter of six to cancer, she was someone I played with on a regular basis and so I felt her loss deeply as well as my aunts. My aunt has a smile that reflects her hidden pain, she is one of the best huggers I have ever met, she knows the feel of one last hug. I believe this experience in my life is the reason I became a hospice nurse, it colored my world with deep greens and blues, the colors of healing and sorrow.
This past weekend I accompanied my dear friend to the ICU 2500 miles away to bear witness as she said goodbye to her youngest son. He had been a brilliant young man who had made his own way following his dreams until alcohol slowly destroyed his life. It was not for a lack of trying; he had been through multiple rehabs but ultimately was unable to come out the other side of sobriety. There is no shame, no judgment; there is just life and choices. We are all God’s children, perfect and whole in his Light.
He had called to his mother in a dream earlier in the week, he needed her, and so she went to be by his side in his last moments. A mother’s love knows no distance. A mother’s love is unwavering. A mother’s love finds the strength to endure the unthinkable. He needed her to help him let go and move into the loving arms of his father who had passed several years earlier and this is exactly what she did.
As we stood on the street outside the hospital a crow silently landed in the tree above us. She said she thought it was the sign of death, yes but I said the Crow brings with it the sign of Faithful Love. It is perhaps little consolation in such a momentous moment, but it was a beautiful bittersweet gift of spirit, as a mother’s love is unconditional and ever faithful from this world to the next.