I put out a copy of this little missive at my Mom's wake tonight.
My daughters asked if it really happened.
I'm happy to say that yes, it did.
I was on my way to a 9Teen gig in Groton, Ct. on Friday afternoon when the skies suddenly opened up and the rains fell.
I had just left the Saint Francis Home after seeing my mother for what I instinctively knew to be the very last time. She was not doing well.
As the downpour pelted the roof of the truck I somehow understood that my mother had just died.
My cell phone rang seconds after the thought came to me.
It was my sister, Maureen, calling to say that indeed our mother’s long journey was finally over. Though the world seems a bit less vibrant to me now that she’s finally gone, her shattered life is once again pure and unmarred by the tangles and plaques that grew in her brain like the weeds in some long forgotten garden. I’ve come to realize that she didn’t have Alzheimer’s, it had her.
About a year ago, I was visiting her at Saint Francis, her home for the past five years. At that time, basic verbal communication had all but ceased.
Anything that she said back then came out in short blips and stutters; she was now fairly adept at talking ragtime. I didn’t know it at the time but I was about to receive a small miracle.
I bent down to kiss her forehead before leaving and I said, “I love you.”
Her bright blue eyes steadily held my gaze and prompted me to ask, “Do you love me?”
At that moment, the hands of God must have touched my mother and enabled her to speak because she clearly whispered, “You know I do.”
The surging waves of emotion filled my longing soul and I was unable to stop the flow of tears.
Those four simple words were a moment of crystalline clarity for her as she pierced the vapid fog of dementia giving me a gift I’d waited for, for so long. It was the perfect justification that love is stronger than all the diseases in the world, combined.
Here in the quiet chambers of my heart I’ve reserved a special place for my Mom. After all, she was the one that taught me what love was really all about. And though I’m profoundly sad to lose her, I’m eternally greatful that she found her wings. She is finally home.