Communion November 4 2011
She wanted me to see her mother and to talk with her.
Mom has worsened – failed terribly.
I was sitting in the deep blue chair,
At the foot of mother’s bed
In the nursing home.
The last time I saw the Mom, they had just brought her here,
Furnished her room with familiar pieces
And beloved photos –
Trying to recreate a sense of home.
Mom was anxious and alert and oh so gracious,
Greeting me, a stranger, with her brightest smile.
She was clearly fading, couldn’t read the clock,
And had forgotten the name of the white drink in her glass,
But kindly told me it was “stuff that’s sweet and good.”
Now, two short months later, Mom lies on the bed
And can no longer stay awake.
Yet she’s not sleeping – she’s rather in and out of consciousness.
Every time her daughter says “I love you,”
She rouses, beams, and sends her deep love back;
Her glowing smile bursts forth with pure, transcendent bliss.
The daughter — grownup, in her 50s, climbs on the bed.
She says “I want to lie in bed next to my Momma”
And she snuggles and embraces Mom,
Expressing one last time the child within.
At the foot, I sit and contemplate the two –
Mother and daughter – One barely here, yet with a beatific smile on her face,
The other relaxing finally, just being, looking at her mom with peaceful love.
In the blue chair, I also sit serenely, strangely content,
communing quietly with them in the love.
The daughter had felt alone cocooned within her grief, but now we’re all together,
Sharing this protected moment;
No strangers –
With a host of angels, we are one with God, outside of time and space,
Spanning life and dying,
Simply being, in the unity of love.
This privileged moment outside of time happened during a pastoral visit this past week. I was serving as the daughter’s chaplain, as she struggled through the difficult
challenges of her mother’s last weeks of life. The mother had suffered for years
with dementia. The daughter had agonized, desiring to love and care for her
mother in the best way she could. It was hard and disappointing and lonely. The
daughter had called and asked me to please visit the nursing home when she was
there so I’d see her mother again and talk with her, the daughter. I was happy to do so. As I sat there, sharing with the mother and daughter this intimate, loving moment, it struck me that none of us was an individual right then. We were all
present beyond time and the limitations of our separate bodies and egos. We just were,
together, participating in eternity. We were spirits united in love. I
was there as a witness and a companion – observing and validating a sacred moment . I was doing my job by existing in a state of oneness with them. No words were
necessary. Our unity in spirit was enough. I felt deeply grateful for
having been asked and allowed into that place of love. Who was I?
I was simply spirit, as were we all. Everything seemed normal and ordinary, though
strange and unaccustomed. I remember the experience as a tableau, outside of time, a moment and an eternity simultaneously.