For Day 2 in the #2018TarotReview we are looking at any loss that we suffered in the past year and how it changed us. I’m not going to blog all the entries of the 2018 Tarot Review but today’s prompt makes me want to use this opportunity to honour the memory of my mother, Elisabeth.
On the 23rd of December last year, my sister contacted me to let me know that our mother was dying. Our mother had been in a nursing home in the south of Sweden for the past few years, due to dementia. I had not seen her since she was transferred there. In fact, had not seen my mother since my youngest child was four months old and we were still living in Sweden. My youngest was born in 2002, so it had been 15 years since I last saw and hugged my mother.
We moved to the UK not long after that, in October 2002. Mum and I kept in touch over the phone sporadically. However, mum and I were never super close. She left me with dad when I was three years old and my sister was two. She kept my sister for another year and then she returned her to my dad.
After speaking to my sister, I knew I had to go and see my mum before it was too late. I travelled to Sweden on Christmas day, 2017. It’s odd because it was me who went to Manchester Airport in December 2017 and yet it wasn’t me. It’s true what they say – The death of a parent changes you forever.
My sister came to collect me at the airport and the next day we took the bus down to the nursing home – a truly lovely place as far as nursing homes go. The nurses placed mum in her wheelchair so that we could sit with her for a while. She had stopped speaking several months before that and had all but stopped eating.
It was difficult to see her like that, and not to be able to hear her voice, but I had prepared myself in my mind. My sister and I took turns hugging her and talking to her, telling her how much we loved her. She remained relatively unresponsive, except for a tear that trickled down her cheek.
We came back later in the evening, when she was in bed and in a more relaxed position. We played soothing music and gave her healing while she was sleeping. The next morning, we were able to have a final visit with mum and a chat with one of the main nurses in charge of her care. There was no way of telling how much longer it would be but we all agreed that it was not mum wish to have her life prolonged by artificial means.
A couple of weeks later, in January 2018, quite late in the evening, my sister phoned me to tell me that mum had passed away peacefully. I mostly felt relief that her suffering was over. There was no sense of regret or a difficult passing, the way things had been with my father who passed in 2014.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how so much of this year would be taken up with past memories surfacing for processing, healing and integration. It’s as if my mother’s death opened the floodgates to the past.
When I think of my mother now, I think of her from the point of view of having a better understanding of her character and struggles. There is no bitterness, only love and appreciation.
She may not have been there for most of my life but she gifted me with a good start in life from age 0-3 and she continued to love me from afar, staying in touch in unconventional ways. Her relationship with our father had been toxic and abusive and had she not left, the violence would no doubt have escalated.
My mother was a Highly Sensitive Person, gifted linguistically but at the same time suffering from dyscalculia. She had an affinity for babies and animals. She moved around a lot and found it impossible to put roots down anywhere. Mum learned sign language just because… She was into anything woo and constantly seeking for the truth.
Her spiritual journey took her on a roundtrip of the world’s major religions, including New Age but she always returned to Jesus. In all honesty, mum would probably have been happiest in a monastic setting. Life, as most people know it, never made sense to my mother. She was naturally intuitive and psychic, like so many HSP’s, and she became increasingly psychic with age (until the dementia claimed her).
Due to failed eye surgery as a child, mum suffered with double-vision all her life. She also had scoliosis. Physically, she was not strong enough to have children, but she did it anyway… and I know she did the best she could. After her fourth child, she was told she might die if she had another child.
I am so grateful that she went through the pain of having me and passing on her genes because it’s thanks to her I am here and am who I am.
Before mum was taken into care back in 2012, she had spent one year living rough after making herself homeless by simply leaving her flat. For a whole year, neither I or my sister knew where she was. One day, my sister got a call out of the blue from the authorities who were trying to locate relatives of our mother. At this stage it was clear that she could no longer care for herself. How she survived a whole year living rough is beyond me. It still hurts to think about it.
But, thank God, the final few years of mum’s life were peaceful. She settled into life at the nursing home and seemed to really enjoy it there. My sister visited her regularly and reported back. Her condition gradually worsened and a couple of years before she died, she had a seizure and a bad fall after which she became wheelchair-bound. According to the nursing home staff, mum never stopped being good-natured and sweet to everyone around her. Many of the other residents were drawn to her company because of this.
Seeing mum a final time before she passed away in January last year was so important. It was so obvious that she wanted to be free… and now she is.
For today’s #2018TarotReview draw, I pulled the 6 of Cups from the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot for how I grieved. This is spot on: I didn’t actively engage in the process but memories came flooding back… The Archangel of Glory corresponds with the King of Wands in a traditional Tarot deck. If I look at this card describing how the loss changed me, I would say it has made me grow the fuck up and reconnect with my vision/mission in life.
Life is short. Our days are numbered. It’s better to burn brightly every single day rather than wait for someone to give us permission, which is what I feel happened with mum… She was never given permission and she wasn’t confident enough to believe in herself or her gifts.
I love you, mum. Thank you for giving me life and doing the best you could as a mother.
If you want to review 2018 for yourself, with a bit of help from the Tarot, you can download your FREE copy of the 2018 Tarot Review eBook HERE.