April 9, 2008

Mom's One Year Anniversary

I awoke to the sounds of the birds on a mat, wrapped in blankets under a rock cliff, next to a burned out campfire in the desert of Wadi Rum on April 5th, 2008, exactly one year after my Mother’s passing from Breast Cancer; a ten year battle that was fought on the borderline of expanding education, research money and medical breakthroughs, some of which she had the benefit, some of which she did not. My thoughts on this chilly morning did not stray far from how I had awoke on the same day in 2007, curled in fetal position on the sofa next to the hospital bed that had been brought into the living room of her home, listening to the oxygen machine pump as she rattled her last earthly breaths. Her chest was still rising and falling with extreme difficulty, but, as I was holding her hand and stroking her sweet bald head, I knew she was already someplace else and even though the moment was assaulting all my senses, it was this one thought that gave me a shard of peace.
That day was a passage for us both; for her to the non-earthly destination for which she was intended and for me a powerful thrust onto a path in which I would have to reconcile life without her physical form. This is proving to be a tremendous task where some days my cup is so empty I can see to the core of the earth through the bottom of my glass and other days it’s as if it is filled with exotic, sweet juices I never knew existed. On the last of days, when Mom was still semi-coherent, I told her that it was not a goodbye; that there would always be ways for us to communicate and I have learned the truth in that statement this past year. There was a time she came to me in a dream and enveloped me in extreme peace and oneness with this world and I have actively sought out methods to contact her with clairvoyance and meditation. What I am starting to realize though is that all the communication and work has already been done, now it’s my job to slowly open my eyes to see how her lessons of love, guidance, encouragement and patience live on through my actions and decisions. I am truly channeling her when I am heeding her good advice or taking on a challenge only she knew I could handle, even in her absence.
This very thing happened to me in the Wadi Rum desert on the day before the anniversary of her death. I had been driven in a jeep all day looking at amazing rocky mountains that I thought only experienced climbers were able to handle. The day had ended and our group had gone back to camp but it was still a few hours until sundown and I wanted to explore these formations closer. As I started climbing one of the smaller ones I realized that it was easier than it first seemed and quickly got to the top. Seeing the beautiful view and feeling full of energy I wanted to get even higher, so I climbed the mountain next to the one I just completed which was a little bit taller. That’s when I noticed a really, really big one across a desert plain, and having the unfortunate characteristic of never lacking in want but always guiding myself by stupidity and deprived of self confidence, I set off across the sand in slip-on sneakers purchased from Payless with complete determination to reach the summit. I reached the mid-way point fast and then the terrain got considerably more difficult, to a point where I normally might have given up and started back down. But I heard Mom saying “Honey, you can do anything if you try hard enough- I wish you could see your own potential – throw enough things at the wall and one will stick”, and so at this moment I threw patience against the mountain and scanned for any foothold that would get me up to the next level without ropes until I finally found one, hidden and a perfect fit for my size ten feet. I used it, got to the summit and was rewarded not only with the feeling of her lifelong encouragement but with a stunning view and a short break in the clouds which let the sun stream through in majestic patterns my camera could not quite pick up through the lens. At the top of this summit I placed and prayed over a balanced rock sculpture people create for their families and ancestors in places of beauty. This is when I am truly channeling my Mother; when I think that I might just be beginning to step on the road she had been cobbling for me her entire motherhood. And it is this road in which I have never stepped before but one that feels as though I know the myriad stone gradients by night.
Where I was from April 5th 2007 to the same day in 2008 has felt like a lifetime apart. Without the choice of having her back, I have chosen to live with her beside me. This year I honored her in a way I hope to make a tradition; positively and creatively commemorating her and my passage together through this life. That morning I awoke and let everyone get on thier way until I was left completely alone at the camp. I quietly and in tears climbed one of the smaller mountains with my notepad and, when I reached the top, I wrote her a letter thanking her for this amazing life she had worked so hard to give me. Then I sat for a while and thought of some of the many things we managed to pack into our 32 years together and when I had come to a point of complete harmony, I climbed back down, buried the letter in one of the few green plants in the desert sand and walked back to camp with a spirit that probably felt as light and clear as hers.


ZaZa' said...

Wow! You know how to make a person cry. That was so beautifully written, I am truly without words. No one can understand the meaning of what you wrote until they lose someone they really love. That was truly moving.

I have been thinking of you this past week knowing your mother passed sometime this month and wondering how you were doing. Now I know.

I love you.

sand said...

Has it really been a year Andriana? It feels so close.

And like you hoped, she has remained so close to you, honoring you, and you her.

Thank you for taking us on this wonderful trip. That beautiful timeless place and those warm and lovely people. I was glad actually to read that Amman was not so spectular. I loved the look of it but we were whisked out into the desert so fast there was no chance to see.

Glad this is everything you hoped for.

Much love

Cowgirl said...

Oh Andriana...this post left me so full of the Great Spirit. I love you so much...you are my forever sister friend. What a gift it is to be able to hear your thoughts, see the world through your eyes, and travel with you on this incredible journey...I loved loved loved everything you expressed here...what a commemoration to the beautiful Patti. I love you for always and can't wait for you to come back and sleep in your Andriana Room! xoxoHeather


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