Sooner or later we all face our own special kind of scary. Not your Halloween or roller coaster type of scary. No, I’m talking about the type that you would never intentionally sign up for. The kind of scary that forces you to reach down and see what you’re really made of; an unexpected event or circumstance that catches you off guard, takes your breath away, and then patiently awaits your next move. It might be a divorce, broken heart, career shift, accident, diagnosis, the death of a loved one, or physically or emotionally traveling far outside your comfort zone. If it doesn’t bring you to your knees or make you tearfully question everything, then it’s not the kind I’m talking about.
Losing my mom was my special kind of scary.
She died on August 4, 2016 at 11:50 a.m. A moment that is emblazoned in my mind as the most excruciatingly painful and beautiful experience of my entire life. My older sister, younger brother and I were surrounding her bed at Hospice House in Coeur d’Alene when it happened. My sister was massaging her right hand, my brother her left, and I was at her feet. We knew it was time, but we didn’t want her to go. I suggested we share what we were going to miss most about her. We each started reminiscing, telling “mom stories,” laughing and sharing our sweetest, most hilarious moments. It was right in the middle of one of our stories that she gently took her last breath, and just like that, she was gone.
Now what? My mom was my rock, home base, guiding light and North Star—every cliché in the book. I couldn’t imagine a world where she wasn’t just a phone call away. Witnessing the moment her soul left her body and confronting this new world without her changed everything for me. It forced me to ask core life questions about identity, purpose and meaning that I had never thought to ask before. I had no choice but to go inward to uncover feelings, thoughts and emotions buried deep in my heart and soul. I meditated like a mad woman and begged God for clarity and answers. I cried and cried and cried and probably lost 10 pounds of water weight (not that that was a bad thing, lol).
Fortunately, I gained some (metaphorical) weight as well. I gained guidance, resilience and courage from deep in my being. I gained a connection to my heart and to my soul that I never knew existed. I found answers and insights and messages that were directing me toward my own greatest-highest good. I couldn’t believe the biggest loss of my life was shifting me to living the most meaningful life possible. Thanks Mom. I should’ve known you weren’t quite done.
And the good news is my mom is still with me. On the afternoon of her death, I went to pick up my daughters, and great grandma on their dad’s side was there. She gave me a big hug and said that in her family, they leave each other dimes after they’ve passed to let living family members know they’re still with them. She followed it up with, “Google it. It’s really a thing!” I thanked her and didn’t think much of it until the middle of the night when I got up to use the bathroom and found, no kidding, exactly three dimes in the middle of the floor. I started bawling, picked up the dimes, thanked my mom for letting me know she was still with me, and then I googled it. Sure enough, it was a sign. Since then, my siblings and I have found plastic dimes, Canadian dimes, chocolate dimes, pictures of dimes, dimes sewn into family blankets (that one was insane), I mean – some creative dime tomfoolery. She always did have a great sense of humor.
What started out as my special kind of scary has turned into my biggest life transformation. And while I would give it all up to have her back, I know there is a bigger, brighter force at work which I have no control over. And so, I flow.
If your mom is still with you, do me a favor and give her a big hug for me.