Stairway to Heaven
I welcomed returning to work after the countless, stressful, and unfamiliar medical conversations and decisions that materialized with doctors, nurses, and family members to best create comfort for my mother as she moved closer to death. While we alternated timeframes to sit by her bedside; the return to normalcy was grounding as well as an opportunity to absorb this emotional life changing moment.
Seeking to lighten the mood and infuse humor into the tense circumstances, I explained to my caring and concerned coworker that I switched any phone numbers connected to my mother’s care to a ring tone of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan. (Although, I really hadn’t.) Thinking I was hilarious and knowing my mother would appreciate the humor and creative problem solving during a tense life transition, my usually boisterous, fun filled coworker felt uncomfortable. I reassured her that all was well. Well, it was well enough given my mother’s failing health from her long-term illness.
Once the funeral arrangements were completed, the last of her belongs given to charity, paperwork signed, lawyers obligations fulfilled, family members and friends returned to their lives, I took a northern seacoast road trip. My ultimate destination a small, remote, and artsy island. The best place to process her death, her life, and the unpredicted questions and feelings that arise when a parent dies.
Comfortably driving for an hour or so with my snacks close by and a confluence of thoughts rambling thru an emotional maze of love, sadness, pride, and wonder, combined with the incongruous sensations that arise with the business of death (casket and clothing shopping, death’s financial responsibilities) I settled into the long drive with the quiet hum of the radio commercials, meaningless comments, and songs…….
….. and then I heard it. A song I haven’t heard in 20 years. Bob Dylan was singing “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. After the warm shock lessened, I settled in to listen and couldn’t help smiling knowing that my mother was playing my joke on me as she ascended the stairway to heaven.