he looked into her eyes for the first time in three days; it had been that long since she had last opened them. in two minutes her eyes would close forever. he held her wrist in his hand while his brother held her hand. she had fought it for two years but now the cancer was claiming victory. three days ago it had knocked her into a state of semi-consciousness during which she neither ate nor communicated. the nurse had called his brother and him into the room when their mother began to leave. they ran into her bedroom from the living room and saw her breathing quickly and deeply, her chest heaving and falling like someone trying hard to catch her breath. his heart iced over. he had experienced several shocks like this over the last few weeks as the cancer advanced and took his mother away piece by piece. a week ago he helped her onto a portable toilet and it blackened a part of him forever - he walked out afterwards into the living room, sat on the couch with his brother and they cried in each others arms, trying to be silent so their mother wouldnt hear. they wanted to remain strong for her.
this was no time for strength now. he let his emotions escape as he looked into his mothers eyes for the last time, her head laying on its side on the pillow which now soaked up the tears falling from her blue eyes. her eyes said im sorry. i dont want to leave you. he knew that that is what she would be saying if she could talk - she felt that she was needed - and she was right. he wanted her to live, not just because he needed her support but because there was so much she still wanted to do, so much she wanted to see. he felt that she had a great life and had no regrets but she had spent so much time raising children perhaps she missed out on some things she wanted to do. now that he, the youngest, was out on his own, this was her time to live her own life, but that life was vanishing from her now in that sad bedroom.
he wanted her to go peacefully, to go without feeling she had responsibilites left with the living, so he looked at her and said its ok, mom. she turned her head, looked at the ceiling and then closed her eyes as she took one last deep breath - and then took no more. he dropped his stare from his mother because his mother was no longer there. she was gone.
her spirit leapt from her body and thundered across the black sky, spreading out into a brilliant explosion of red, orange, yellow, and green electric, twisting light. the people in iceland, and the northern parts of norway, sweden, and finland marveled at the sight of it. they called it the northern lights or aurora borealis. she looked down at the earth which glowed beneath her magical light and thought i have never seen anything like this before.
the continents pulsed below her, twisting and spinning in their places, moving back and forth, shrinking and expanding, coming together and tearing apart again, revealing a billion years of history to her in a brief moment. all the magnificent creatures of the ocean burst through the surface and swam through her spirit, swirling in the colors, mixing them like paint. shooting stars shot across the sky, racing with her over the mountains of the world, sparking and spitting crisp, buzzing diamonds from within. the constellations pulled out of their holds in the sky and came alive. leo roared, massive scorpio whipped his poisonous tail at a passing comet, aries charged along with her blazing mystical stew and smashed his head into a challenging taurus. mozart had been playing on her sons laptop as she left her human life and now the cosmic giants who push the planets along on their orbits played lacrimosa for her on instruments made of the rings of saturn. i have never heard it quite like that before, she thought.
sagitarrius galloped along with her and fired a flaming white hot arrow at cancer which was scurrying away on its spiny legs. the wicked crab burst into pieces and arranged again into a red moon which would be discovered one day by her sons first child. the lumbering scale of libra jumped and crouched in a symmetrical dance, waiting behind mars for her arrival. the streak of light and sound, of color and fire, of love and happiness that she had become met with libra in the cool, dark sky, lit partially by the red glow of mars. she saw in that scale the balance of life and death and she understood that her kids would be all right, that they would survive without her, that she had prepared them enough for the rest of their lives, that she could let them go without regret. i have never felt as peaceful and loved before, she thought.
her light surged and the last bit of sorrow she may have felt for leaving her children melted away. the scale then tipped to one side, overloaded with a love so strong, so heavy, and so powerful it could not be held. it fell over her, swallowing her cosmic partners and all the earthly manifestations of her spirit with it, taking her to the other side. as she took another form, one more fitting for her next life, she gathered the gifts she had - those she no longer needed where she was going - and attached them to a star that was burning across the sky towards earth.
a flash of light, the sky tore open, closed again around her, and she was gone.
two hours later, as they each prepared for bed, her children looked up in the sky to say goodnight and goodbye to their mother. they each saw a bursting star explode across the darkness, and the light which blinded them for a moment locked into their eyes, passing into their spirits one last gift from their mother.
August 2004 - Helsinki, Finland