Forgive me this flight of fancy…
This is the story of a woman, a very determined, outspoken, non rule following woman who happens to be my mother. It is because she didn’t follow the rules, wasn’t a slave to convention that I am the independent thinking, relatively well-adjusted person I am today. When she passed away in June 2014, she left an astonishingly big hole in so many lives. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that she’s gone.
Someday that will seem real to me, I know, not today though.
Anyone who knew my mother would agree she was not a rule follower, and lived her life being told she couldn’t and proving she could. She was an older college student before everyone was. She worked when few, if any, mothers worked outside the home. After graduating (with honors, mind you) she worked in a very challenging profession and kept all in order during the heyday of the AIDS epidemic at her hospital. I have heard (more than one) stories of her breaking silly rules during her time there. Nothing that hurt anyone, rather her actions were always in an effort to help a person in need bound by some arbitrary regulation, never anything that crossed any line.
When she passed she left my father, her life mate and companion for the last 50-plus years. They had met and married in a different time. She had raised children while he built a career. He was the one who encouraged (pushed was how she saw it) her to go back to school, to be more than she was. They enjoyed many wonderful years together. He took good care of her when cancer had her in its grasp. Her loss left him in a horrible, heartbreaking place.
Here’s the part where imagination/faith takes hold. Everyone who knew my mother would agree that she loved my father more than her own life.
And my father, the skeptic, logical, smart and the least spiritually inclined person I know, is reporting strange electoral issues (flickering lights, smoke detector batteries) since she passed. He is even feeling and seeing my mother in the middle of the night. He is awake, aware and feels her in bed beside him. She never speaks, she’s just there with him. As she always was. Still his companion; though now a silent one.
You see, it was the deal she made when she reached those pearly gates. They must have had a time with her, getting her to accept what had happened, that the fight was over. She would not go on without my father. She didn’t care what the rules were, she wasn’t leaving him behind. Believing as I do that God is merciful, I imagine such deals are made from time to time. And so she made her bargain and considered herself content.
Fine, you can be with him, she was told. But you cannot speak.
Anyone who knows my mother knows what an extreme sacrifice keeping silent would be. After all, she’d have access to the secrets of he afterlife, and would be just the person to share them with the living as she saw fit. Things that Heaven might not like us to know. Shortcuts that would ease worried minds. Assurances that we are all loved and need make no effort.
God could not put that kind of power in her hands, so He granted her request but with a unique stipulation. She cannot speak.
And she doesn’t. Not a word. Not a sound. In all the nights my father has seen her since her passing she remains silent. A clear vision, a comfort, but unable say a word. I can’t help but think this is an incredible challenge for her.A hard bargain for the woman I know.
But the only one to be made. And so she made it, with love in her heart and without one instant of regret.