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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beauty In Death


I’m so glad they knew her.
Although my kids lost their grandma when they were seven and eight years of age, they still knew her and because of this, she has played a role in their lives. Even though she only saw them a few times a year, she took time to really know who they were. She had three granddaughters and three grandsons and she never gave them generic fair dollared gifts, but a gift that matched each one’s interest. She couldn’t take her eyes off of them and when they talked to her, she listened whole heatedly and with genuine importance. She would be so proud of the teenagers that my babies became and would be excited to watch Max prepare to leave home for college.
When my mama was dying, my children had the opportunity to spend time with her and watching my little girly readily climb upon my mother’s bed to kiss her goodnight, was beautiful.
There is beauty in death if we take time to see it…
Over eight years ago, after a stroke and an incidental finding of inoperable cancer, my mama had a wish to die at home. Along with my dad, my siblings and some amazing earth angels called Palliative Care Nurses, we ensured that this could happen. My mom had been a beautiful dancer but the stroke had left her legs in such a state that she could not bear weight on them in order to walk independently and of course, would never dance again. Facing him and supported atop his feet, my dad would guide her to the bathroom, the living room and the bedroom. He called this “The Dance” and one evening with his grand singing voice, as he guided her to bed, he sang, “Could I have this dance for the rest of my life…” 

On beauty in death, Kahlil Gibram writes
Dry your tears, my friends, and raise your heads as the flowers
Raise their crowns to greet the dawn.
Look at the bride of Death standing like a column of light
Between my bed and the infinite;
Hold your breath and listen with me to the beckoning rustle of
Her white wings.

As I sat at the dining room table that evening and in the moment when my dad danced my mom to her bed, my brother’s eyes met mine and without any words spoken between us, I discovered beauty in death - for this I am truly grateful.
This isn’t a special anniversary of her death, or life but a day where my thoughts just raced around her and so I will dry my tears and simply remember the beauty of all things mom…

~ Ellyn