We were luckier than many people - we'd had time to prepare for the end. You see, she'd been diagnosed just over a year previously. But I'll let you into a secret, you can never really be truly prepared for what it means to see your closest and dearest face the end of their life. So many rich lessons. So many laughs. All those tears. Kisses galore. I can feel my heart expand into my whole chest even as I write this and think of it.
It was, quite literally, the darkest of times. Mum became very ill in the weeks approaching winter solstice and it seemed to be relentlessly grey and wet outside, amplifying the already persistent dark we get used to during midwinter in Scotland.
But there was treasure in it, oh so much treasure! The tealights glowed against the darkness and our chakras were balanced beyond measure with repeated plays of our favourite CD. It was a sacred experience. Fecund. Many life changing teachings and illuminations.
One teaching trumped them all. One illumination outshone the rest.
That lesson was love.
We - each and every one of us - have access to an infinite wellspring of love. When we need to, we can tap into it anytime. Honest.
Sometimes we need to give it and oft times we need to let go and simply receive ...
I am not a natural nurse. I don't suppose many of us are. Caring for your dying mother, it comes as no surprise, is not all glorious and temple like. It gets messy - and I don't mean just in your mind.
Each day brought us many new challenges, most of which were completely outwith our ken. The sheer relentlessness of it was a surprise. The practicalities of it all, a mystery!
All of this meant that I sometimes found myself sitting outside in the car taking very deep breaths trying to prepare myself for what I was about to face when I walked through her door. There was a constant level of high anxiety, the like of which I'd never before experienced.
But when I did walk through the door, everything changed. I was enveloped in sheer, loving calm. The anxiety vanished and the love took over.
But our senses were still on high alert and whenever I left her, I was aware of the anxiety creeping in to overtake, to prevent sleep, to colour every single moment. And that's when I began the mantra
So even if I wasn't in her presence, I could still wrap myself in the comforting love and calm I felt when I was. Love got us through in the end.Breathe in love. Breathe out calm.
Love helped me deal with what was to come next. When I begin to lose myself in all of the hurt and the loss that hovers, waiting to hijack my senses, I breathe in the love.
Her love. My love. Your love.
We are all love.
Julie Gibbons enjoys art journaling, journal therapy and mixed media. Her passion is self discovery through intuitive, creative practice, to reveal personal patterns, symbolism & archetypes of the true self.