4/27/11: [" I had a dream about my mother's passing. It happened in two ways- first she was younger and had a parasitic infection that she would never be able to be rid of. My brother and I had discussed giving her a 'happy pill' so that passing would occur in her sleep. She took a shower and got dressed in her paisley pajamas and emerged, was all groggy from the pill, she went to lay down. And slept. But somehow it didn't take. She did wake up... She wanted to smoke a bundle of sticks like incense or sage, tied with a red string, which would make her high, relaxed, so she wouldn't fixate on taking the 'happy pill'. So it would work. I was sitting with her alone in the waiting room and I told her that I appreciated her ( "mom..[pause]...I appreciate you"), that she was a great mother and I was thankful that we were all able to communicate openly (i.e. about her passing and her wishes for the pill, the sage, etc). She smoked the bundle of sticks in the office waiting room and we made our way back to the house for her to "rest". My brother and I were hurriedly making preparations, trying to do anything that could be or needed to be done before she was gone. Suddenly all these people were there in her house with a screen and a slide show; her friends-all older adults- people who had known her. They were giving out awards: "best cowboy"...I kept having moments of grief, of the weight of the reality that she was gone- would never return- but the wave of sorrow would pass and I knew I'd be okay.Before this party, and after her passing, we were outside in the yard where the hill begins to slope to the creek all sitting at a banquet table, celebrating perhaps commemorating. It was midday, clear, sunny. A huge white owl swooped from the direction of the creek across the yard and landed in the top of a tree by the stairs leading to the house, facing us. Perched. I caught eyes with it and I knew it was my mother reincarnate, or sent from my mother at least. I pointed it out to my brother who was walking around the table serving others- I said "mom is here" and I pointed, maybe even said hello directly to her (" hi mom"), to the owl, but it seemed that I was the only one noticing this large white owl so plainly in view. Midday. I was certain it was her, for I could just recognize my mother's soul behind the owl's eyes just like I can and have all of my life recognized her soul behind HER eyes." ]
****In my absence from writing and posting, I have changed. There is something matured in my aura, I have heard, something stoic in my essence. I feel this shift within. Perhaps the world around me has changed by my perception, and I am approximately the same.
|Kathy, in 2010|
My mother got sick in the fall. At one of her first appointments in the rapid-fire series of dire discoveries, complicated news, and dumbfounding prognoses, her doctor was dressed like a band member of Kiss, bare-chested, white-faced and all. We'll always remember it was Halloween. It was almost too uncanny to believe. Then after the doctor, it got better: she was finding dimes. Everywhere. Under car floor mats, inside pockets of things long since worn, stuck to original flooring when we peeled away tiles to put down new. We thought these signs were good, to keep one's sense of humor and perspective, take it all in stride, to bolster faith...
...She passed on a Friday the Thirteenth. We'll always remember that too.
These are embellishments I could not, would not, even make up. If nothing else they are ironic reminders of the nuances of life. Of living in a world. And taking notice. In the face of serious illness, every sense is heightened, every nerve is perked.
I remember one of the last times she left the house in early spring, we took her to the doctor. Then, since she was up to it, we cruised around town...we stopped for ice cream and visited her tenants, chit-chatted, all the while in the back seat she with the window down and her long strands of remaining hair blowing, her eyes closed, grinning, taking it in. it was so starkly sunny. White light. It was almost like a movie.
****The owl dream was kept private, intimate, because it was somewhat premonitory, my psyche's preparation for the blow it was about to receive. It became a kind-of sacred tether between this world on earth and wherever she might go. I share it publicly now because the dream, the owl, and this whole experience are part of me now. These will influence the days ahead. They already have.
I was living a sort of bi-coastal double life for a while, which my friends and I would joke about...getting on with 'art' and 'creation' and 'living, pursuing' here in the West, then ducking out unbeknown-st to most, and hopping yet another plane, navigating through the darkness of cancer, weakness and, as she put it, "deconstruction". The deconstruction of her life.
I made paintings 'with' her every month along the way:
|'finding dimes!' (October)|
|'resistant, cold, trust' (January)|
|'little successes' (February)|
|'I saw the face of God in a black disc' (March)|
|'deconstruction' (April) [coming soon]|
...to document her journey.
The owl came to the window of my [childhood] bedroom not an hour after she passed. It cooed in the window repeatedly, and I'm sure if it had gotten any closer it would have crossed the threshold, been sitting right there on the sill looking with its eyes. My brother was there bearing witness too, and we had chills and smirks and long releasing breaths, and inklings of comfort to carry us forward.
...What's uncanny is that I made a totem of animals at her house in December: a wolf, an elephant, and an owl. I picked them kind of arbitrarily, choosing them more for their respective 'attributes' than anything else...
Nowadays I wonder if I chose them or they chose me~