Note from Karen, to all my readers: No matter what your beliefs, please read this with an open heart and know that I share this out of love to everyone who has experienced a loss in their lives. Be at peace. Thank you.
One year ago, a dilemma confronted me, which at first seemed insurmountable. Yet, it all changed into an undeniable miracle, as a Divine intervention occurred. My sister had just called to inform me that our mother was going through a significant health decline and could pass at any moment. It was 5 pm, after a very long work day, and my heart sank. Visualizing the 400 miles that stretched between my home in Northern Idaho, and my mother living in a Western Oregon memory care, it was clear that I would not be there in time.
Desperation started to fill my mind and tension sent its tentacles through my muscles preparing for some type of action,…specifically the impulse to jump in the car and drive through the night. Thankfully, my husband had more common sense, acknowledging my wishes and situation, yet gently convincing me to leave first thing in the morning. Resigned to a long vigil far away from where I wanted to be, this initial rush of energy drained from my body, leaving a heaviness in its place. Sadness filled my chest, and there was building constriction in my throat. Both my hands lifted up to cover my face against the tears now threatening to emerge.
My mother had been in hospice care on and off again for several years, her strong body fighting vainly against the end stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s, a degenerative process of the brain, steals a person’s memories about their life experiences, people they love and even basic self-care. Yet, my three siblings and I often joked she would out-live all of us. Every time she rallied from a descent in health, we watched her feisty personality and spark emerging once more. During my last visit with Mom, I spent time thanking her for all she had done for me, playing some of her favorite music and laughing with her about nothing. It did not matter that she no longer knew who I was, or that she lacked the ability to speak, other than a stray word here and there, mostly in Spanish as the English had faded away. We still laughed to be in each other’s company without need for any reason. We just made faces at each other in silent communication. It was all we had in that moment.
Frustration charged my body once more and I began pacing though the house like a caged tiger, unsure what to do as I waited. I had my cell phone in hand awaiting any updates on my mother’s condition, and I stopped moving long enough to look at recent pictures my sister had shared. They were of Mom’s 93rd Birthday. Pictured was a small Mexican woman seated in a wheelchair, wearing a large party sombrero and a confused look on her face. She was surrounded by local family members whom she no longer recognized. We had rarely agreed on much, Mom and I, yet I knew a large part of her was within me. It was that connection that drew me to her now. Achingly clear memories of how my father passed several years before began to assail my thoughts. In a drug induced coma he lay in a hospital bed, unable to communicate. I had felt so helpless at that time, holding his hand while speaking words of gratitude and love, painfully unsure if he’d even heard me. As Mom prepared to release her soul, I knew my sister would remain by her side, dedicated and ensuring her dignity. However, the distance that remained between us gnawed at me. This feeling initiated a tickle in the back of my brain. Something I should remember. Yet, it refused to surface.
Calling my two sons who lived in that area, the request was made that they also join my mom and their aunt, if possible. A similar call was made to my third son, also living in Idaho, to ask for his positive thoughts and love to be directed to his Nana. My mother, Rowena, was undoubtedly the matriarch of our large family. A strong character mix of strength, creativity, and often confrontation, she imparted an energy difficult to ignore. Loved, respected and just a little feared; that was Mom.
Conflicting emotions washed over me now, as a flood of positive and negative events emerged from the past. So many memories focused on this tough, little lady I grew up with.
Feeling helpless, as with my father, tears could no longer be held back. With a mixture of agitation and grief, I tried to keep busy by packing to leave the next morning. Heart aching, my head hanging down, the overall feeling was of isolation.
I should be there, I kept thinking.
It was then, in that lowest moment, that a wash of high energy suddenly filled me, compelling me to sigh. However, this was no simple release of air. My entire body was gripped by a power starting at the base of my spine and rushing upward, forcing me to stand upright and take a sharp in-breath before releasing it out with similar force! A resulting clarity emerged, pushing away the numbing sadness and dark clouds which had formed around my head. Within that abrupt stillness of mind, I finally could hear my Spirit Guides. In a matter-of- fact tone, they told me that I could be with my mother!
Elation filled me as they reminded me about all I had been learning since the traumatic death of my father. I recalled the teachings, classes and testimonials from instructors, such as the insightful medium, Suzanne Giesmann, and other messengers of the Universe. Once I had opened that door to Higher Self, they had steadily made themselves known during my spiritual quest to again connect to my father. Out of the Blue it had seemed, these spiritual lessons had come into my life, because I had asked for guidance. However, this knowledge gained was no coincidence, and obviously meant to prepare me for this moment…and others to come.
Specifically, a story Suzanne shared came to mind in that moment. Suzanne had related a time she was asked to contact a woman in a coma, being able to communicate soul to soul with that person. Like a light turning on in a dark room, the answer to this present moments dilemma was revealed to me.
I knew what I had to do!
The packing and weeping stopped. I firmly announced to my husband I was going to my meditation room to “talk” with my mother. Startled by my shift in behavior, he raised his eyebrows in question, probably wondering if I was going to sneak out the back door and drive to Oregon anyways. However, he had been supporting my spiritual progression fully and recovered quickly. He gave me a reassuring smile and simply stated, “Good job, Honey!”.
As the calmness of meditation enveloped me like a cocoon, the grief was put aside. Elevating to a positive vibration, extending gratitude, sending waves and waves of thankfulness, I reached outward to my mother’s I AM presence.
And we connected! I was overwhelmed, now shedding tears of joy!
She emanated calmness, even humor, acknowledging my I AM presence, and greeted me in her usual, “Hi, Mija!”, which she hadn’t done in years! She proceeded to let me know who was with her in the room, including “little ones.”. This I validated later, not realizing how much family had arrived to be with her, including great-grandchildren and my other sister from Tacoma. Happiness was experienced as my mother shared through feelings and images, that my father was also there. Only recently had I been able to communicate with my father through my developing skills, and now his warm smile joined us briefly, lifting my heart to feel them together once again. My sons both informed me later, that she kept peering upward to the ceiling at a specific place, as if looking at someone who was waiting for her.
In their 60 year marriage, my father often waited on her to join him. She tended to wander off to look at flowers, or talk to a stranger about something. It was not surprising to envision my father patiently waiting for her now, his hand extended to guide her when she was ready.
This communion with my mother lasted for a couple of hours, steadily sending my love, comfort and support for her transition across the veil, where I knew she would be at peace. During this time, my sons also updated me with brief calls and texting as they sat with her. She was awake and interacting, still making her funny faces and smiling, but was in steady pain they stated. She would double up from some abdominal discomfort and the hospice nurse had yet to arrive with something to help with this. So, my family took turns talking with her, making eye contact, speaking gently and holding her hand. One of her granddaughters brushed my mother’s long hair and braided it. Gratitude filled me, knowing she was surrounded by so much unconditional love.
I continued my meditation to share spiritually from afar. Her love was equally palpable in our amazing connection.
Eventually, exhaustion pulled at me and I joined my husband in bed, the phone next to me on the bedside table, awaiting that imminent, but dreaded call. I kept my heart and mind open to my mother’s spirit presence, silently ensuring her over and over, I am here, Mama, until I drifted off to sleep.
I suddenly awoke in the darkness of my room, and heard a soft voice clearly and calmly say, “It’s all ok.”
I quickly looked at my cell phone and noted the time was 11:48pm. As I held the phone in my hand, it began to ring. My youngest son was calling and I knew, without doubt, it had been my mother's voice moments before, giving me that reassuring message as she transitioned.
My son was crying as I answered the phone, and all he was able to say was “Mom,…”, before I interrupted him saying, “ I know…she’s gone.”
My son was silent for a moment, before continuing. “She just passed 2 minutes ago.”
“Yes, Mijo,” I replied, “I heard her tell me, ‘It’s all ok.’, just before you called me.”
We spoke and cried together for a few minutes and I said I would be there early afternoon tomorrow.
During the long drive over to be with family, I sustained contact with my mother’s presence as much as possible. I strove to be with her in this manner as I arrived, listening to the stories and tears my family shared. I gently spoke to her I AM presence during the viewing of her small, still body, noting her face was wearing her familiar half smile, which was almost a smirk. A fitting tribute to her sometimes mischievous and stubborn personality. I saw the beautiful braid my niece had completed with her hair…all reminding me she passed with love around her.
The drive home seemed even longer. As I parked in the driveway I was suddenly filled with a deep, profound sorrow. Walking directly from the car into my Summer garden full of growing vegetables and herbs, I was startled to see so many bright pink zinnias where none had been prior to my departure a few days ago. It was breath-taking to see such a concentrated display of brilliant beauty! The fuchsia-colored petals extended outward in rays from a bright yellow center, waving joyfully on their long stems, in the light, warm breeze. Mama would have loved these, I thought.
“Mom? Are you still here?” I suddenly voiced aloud. An overwhelming desire filled me to know that she was still with me. Once more, I connected to my I AM presence and reached out to the Divine, asking for a sign from my mother. Seconds later, a beautiful gold, brown and orange butterfly fluttered into view. Watching it flit here and there, I thought, Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this was my mother communicating with me?
As if drawn by a string the butterfly flew directly to me and circled around me a couple of times, eventually landing directly before me on the bouquet of dancing pink flowers. It all happened so quickly and perfectly in alignment to my request for evidence, I knew it was no simple coincidence. It was another miracle presenting itself, as this whole experience had been in its unfolding. In my heart and soul, I knew without a doubt, this butterfly was a message from my Mama, now across the veil and once again saying to me, “It’s all ok.”
Thank you for reading, and may the Divine be with you always!
Karen Angela Shupp
Medicine Woman, Physical Therapist, Biologist