Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Peace (03/15/04)
TITLE: The Peace that Surpasses All Understanding
By Gloria Haynes
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
SEND ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
I was sure that in a normal world where normal people enjoyed normal relationships that the death of one's mother could eventually get better in time. But in my world, that was just not the way it was.
Her battle with cancer had been long and hard -- not only on her, but on us all. I had yearned that last year to make amends with this woman I had spent so much time fighting with for so many reasons. But I had waited too late, for she wasn't having any of it. When she died that cool September morning, she took with her the only chance I had to put things right with my mother.
Those hectic funeral days passed by in a blur of old friends and family. I was farming out children to neighbors and juggling schedules to keep track of my family. When the burial was done and over, there was nothing left to do except go home and try to go on with my life.
The problem was, however, that in my mind there was no reason to go on. If my own mother had not loved me enough to help me set things straight, what chance did I have with any other relationship?
My hurt was sharpened by the anger that Mom had managed to inflict by "getting the last word in." As I sat with her body the morningshe died, my sisters and Mom's husband sat in the living room reading a letter she had left. In it, she told each of them how much she loved them and would miss them. As for me, she said nothing except she hoped they all could forgive me for being the way I was.
I was different. Vastly different from them. My head was full of wild ideas of being a writer and making "something of myself."
In the days that passed after Mom's funeral, I became deeply angry. I couldn't sleep. I didn't want to eat or spend time with my children. I just wanted to be mad at my mother for making me feel one last time that I was so unloveable.
On the fourth day after the funeral, I became overwhelmed with the need for sleep. Barely getting to the bed before collapsing, I fell into a deep, soundless dream that took me into a dark room. At the far end, a light shone down, reminding me of a spotlight on a stage. From that beam of light, my mother stepped forward. She looked so young and happy and healthy. When she held her arms out to me, I ran to her. She smelled like the Mommy I remembered from childhood, not the mother who had battled cancer for so long.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, unable to believe that my mother was there with me.
"I can't stay but a minute," she said. "They let me come back to tell you that I love you, too."
In the fifteen years that have passed since that day, I can say I was truly given the gift of peace that surpasses all understanding.