I wrote this in a Facebook post at 12:28pm on my way to the nursing home where she had lived out her last months of life.
She died before noon; I was the first family member that the nursing home was able to get in touch with. It was a 10 minute walk through beautiful Annex streets in Toronto. I met my younger brother, Allan, outside the nursing home, and we went in together.
10:41am The Next Day: When a loved one first passes away, there is a feeling of peace, the pain and suffering are gone, and my mother's death was the most peaceful I've seen, she was ready, and a sense of unreality, like they haven't really gone. As the cycles of grief begin their descent through the months ahead, there are painful moments of recognition that the loved one is gone, truly gone, and comforting moments when you still feel them close. Death is a beautiful mystery. She has returned to the Ground of Being. The last time I saw her alive, on Monday, she absolutely glowed, for an hour or so, her skin luminous, her eyes with such depth, she looked very beautiful. I carry this precious image in my heart.
Yesterday, the nursing home allowed us to keep her there for 7 hours after her passing. Family members congregated around her bed. We each mourned and cried and some of us kissed her and we sat talking in the room. This is unusual in our high tech world where death is covered immediately.
I am grateful for these hours in ways I cannot yet articulate.
It will be a very simple funeral, a cremation, with only immediate family early next week. I have become mother-less, but at this moment, it feels as if the whole universe has become my mother.
(ps. I added this post to my blog a month after she died. It was too hard at the time. I also tried to publish the condolences below as a comment, but it exceeds Blogger's comment box word length. )
From Facebook. I wanted to keep these words of condolence which meant so very much to me.
September 13 at 12:28pm via mobile ·
My mother just died.
Jennifer Wöhrle -I'm so sorry. Light and love to you.
September 13 at 12:30pm
Dale Favier -Oh, I'm sorry, dear. xo
September 13 at 12:35pm
Mawr Gorshin -I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I hope it's a comfort for you to hear that she's surely in a much better place now.
September 13 at 12:37pm ·
Uma Gowrishankar -I am so sorry, dear Brenda Clews.
September 13 at 12:39pm ·
Deb Scott -Oh, my Brenda. I am so sorry. Sending you love and hugs. Oh, Brenda.
September 13 at 12:40pm ·
Kathleen Dowling Singh -I am so sorry, Brenda. May she rest in great peace. Prayers for you.
September 13 at 12:48pm via mobile ·
Bent Lorentzen -Namaste!
September 13 at 12:52pm ·
Patsy Priebe -oh no! Brenda! it took my breath away to see those words! I hope you at least can feel the love and concern of all of your friends. a big hug!
September 13 at 1:06pm ·
Minakshi Watts -Oh my god !
I remember you told us some time back that she wasn't keeping too well.
Sending you a big hug, Brenda.
September 13 at 1:10pm ·
Brandon Pitts -Brenda, I'm so sorry to hear this. My prayers go out to you and your family.
September 13 at 1:19pm ·
Maude McDonald -Brenda, I am so sorry, hun. Having lost my mother, I empathize with your loss.
You are in my thoughts.
September 13 at 1:24pm ·
Bent Lorentzen -Having this year lost my Ma, the closest person ever to my heart... and just last week lost my beloved little daughter,Shivie, I know nothing anyone says can console the griefs entangled by the loss of your mother, Brenda. Memories of different types, meshed with different senses and emotions, will constantly percolate from out of nowhere or simply by a spoken word or smell.
One thing that interestingly popped into my head a little while ago, while thinking about "death," is what Murray Gell-Mann stated about the reality of being. He was perhaps the greatest physicist of the past half century, one of the very few in the world who might have understand beyond all the mathematics what really sits beneath the everyday time and space reality of physical being. He came up with a ground-breaking theory which he called the Eightfold Way, partly due to the Buddhist tradition. But it was to help explain in physics that the everyday laws that permeate human consciousness to ask any question, well, at the level of atoms and up, that those laws don't apply as you go deeper into core beneath all those particles within particles. That there is a symmetry there which can never be explained even by the paradox of "Is the cat in the box alive or not."
For me it is a process of continuously letting go, for the ego that feels and reacts to the stuff of life is not the true reality, but can, by choice, be the stepping stones to there. Everything your mom evokes for you now can be considered her offerings of those stepping stones, for she's free of all their entanglements now.
September 13 at 1:39pm ·
Brenda Clews T-hank you, beautiful friends, here in Toronto, and on-line around the world. Your condolences are making me weep. With gratitude for you all. Many thanks. I'll write when I can. Blessings. xoxoxoxo
September 13 at 1:52pm ·
Marc Neys -Sorry to hear that. Hope you find a way to grief... Condolences...
September 13 at 1:52pm ·
Steven McCabe -I'm sorry Brenda.
September 13 at 1:54pm ·
Claudia French -My condolences! Big hugs and prayers your way!
September 13 at 1:56pm via mobile ·
Kauser Noorani -My condolences!
September 13 at 1:59pm ·
Miguel Arboleda -Oh Brenda, I'm terribly sorry. My deep condolences.
September 13 at 2:03pm ·
Dick Jones -Peace to her, comfort to you.
September 13 at 2:09pm ·
Christine Cantow Smith -My thoughts and I prayers are with you. I SO UNDERSTAND as dad died a few months ago and mom died 7 years ago. I wish you peace & comfort.
September 13 at 2:22pm via mobile ·
Michelle Shell Rummel -So very sorry to hear, Brenda...
September 13 at 2:27pm ·
William Yong -My condolences to you and your family! Stay strong! Take care!
September 13 at 2:34pm via mobile ·
ParisK Black So very sorry Brenda . My thoughts and Prayers are with you and your family
September 13 at 2:35pm via mobile ·
Caroline McGillion -Very sorry to hear that dear Brenda x
September 13 at 2:43pm ·
Kathryn Esplin -Oh I am so very sorry to hear this, Brenda. I was just reading your comment to Bent on his thread. I agree with what you said about starvation. so so sad.
September 13 at 2:49pm ·
David E. Gallaher -Our thoughts are with you. Thanks for sharing this.
September 13 at 2:54pm ·
Dana Helmig -I am so very sorry Brenda
September 13 at 3:01pm ·
Jamie Rumley -My thoughts and prayers are with you.
September 13 at 3:07pm ·
Rachel Shaw -Oh, Brenda. *big squeezy hug*
September 13 at 3:13pm ·
Svetlana Goryacheva -I can relate to your feeling of loss so well, dear Brenda, since I've lost both of my parents... my warm, comforting hugs and condolences... just hang on there.
September 13 at 3:18pm ·
Ramina Bayzad -So Sorry ,my Players........she is now flying like a Angel and Feeling Good.
September 13 at 3:21pm ·
Caro Cloutier -i am so sorry for your lost dear! Blessings to your heart! May she find peace and the Light! <3 p="p"> 3>
September 13 at 3:33pm ·
Juan Gallego -So sorry , my thoughts and prayers are with you.
September 13 at 3:34pm via mobile ·
T Daphne Vasquez · May she visit you in your dreams soon! Safe journey Momma!
September 13 at 3:36pm ·
Saumya Agrawal -Brenda all I will say is mother's and father's never die there love is sooo pure and profound they love thru it with us all our lives.......hugs and prayers for you......lots of love
September 13 at 3:41pm ·
Umar Hassan -My deepest sympathy.
September 13 at 4:03pm ·
Hélène Valentin -I am sorry for you Brenda. All my thoughts go towards you this painful moment. I kiss you friendly.
September 13 at 4:05pm ·
Charanjeet Sehmi -Brenda,AM so sorry to hear about your loss,and am sure I know how you feel.I lost my MUM just three months ago,and am still not the same.It takes time BUT you will always have the best memories of her for your entire life time.We all have to face this...Take care and If I can be of any help.....JUST say so.xxx
September 13 at 4:20pm ·
Stephen James -Dear Brenda, from my own experience of last year losing my partner, and my mother, I know there is nothing I can say that will make it any better. Just know you are in my thoughts and your friends share your grief! Love and light Steve.
September 13 at 4:29pm ·
Jaime Melian -Oh my, so sad to hear of her passing, may she rest in peace.
September 13 at 5:17pm ·
Julia Ray -oh brenda - i am offering you a virtual hug right now ... death is final in this physical form and that is what hurts so bad ... but love transcends time and space and you will always be in touch with your mom through love and your art, i know it.
September 13 at 5:19pm ·
Jo Ammons -my condolences to you and your family
September 13 at 5:27pm ·
Liz Sosne Brenda Clews Patsy Priebe's words were so perfect that I am going to plagiarize them with the hope she does not mind: "oh no! Brenda! it took my breath away to see those words! I hope you at least can feel the love and concern of all of your friends. a big hug!"
September 13 at 5:28pm ·
Wolfsong ThePoet -I am so sorry, Brenda . . . lots of love to you and your family and remember to take care of yourself!
September 13 at 6:57pm ·
Fran Freeman so sorry Brenda
September 13 at 6:57pm ·
Layla Morgan Wilde -Brenda Clews your brief sentence said it all so poignantly. Big hug. You are not alone.
September 13 at 7:07pm ·
Tammy Bird -I am so sorry. May you find moments of peace in your pain. Much love.
September 13 at 7:13pm via mobile ·
Richard Paul Geer -may your relationship grow even deeper, as mine did
September 13 at 7:17pm ·
Austin Cox -I am sorry.
September 13 at 7:22pm ·
Donna Marie Martin -Dearest Brenda...now that i am older, and having had many friends pass on, including my husband of 43 years, I realize that no matter who or what the age,of those we love and are close to, we are never ready to say good by....so I have found that I prefer not to...I prefer to continue conversations and share thoughts in what I call my minds eye...as I believe they are never really gone...you are part of their spirit...and they are part of yours....I have found a certain peace in my not saying goodby....I hope you find the peace you need to comfort your loss...
September 13 at 7:31pm ·
Tanya Phillips-I am so sorry for your loss, Brenda.
September 13 at 7:41pm ·
Alison Pearce -Brenda, my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. My thoughts are with you.
September 13 at 8:53pm ·
Connie Marie · I'm so very sorry
September 13 at 9:54pm via mobile ·
Faizan Fiz -oh :(
September 14 at 12:16am ·
Soumitra Dasgupta -rip take care , mother never die she is with u will b
September 14 at 1:19am ·
Dasha F. Bogdanova -Love and healing prayers to you dear one during this transitional time. I will keep you in my prayers and heart.
September 14 at 2:04am ·
Bent Lorentzen -http://youtu.be/OWHhx_svpBg
Mama - Celine Dion
September 14 at 3:31am ·
Daisylis Officiel -My heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.. RIP
September 14 at 4:03am ·
Nataliya Vidonia Fedoseev -i can't imagine how difficult this is for you and your family, i was both devastated and relieved when my father's suffering was ended in 1999 from a terminal illness. if it helps any, i still hear him making wise cracks and offering guidance from time to time in my mind, like part of what made him unique stayed behind imbedded in my consciousness like a seed thought. i hope you find consolation in the good memories and can feel the continued connection of souls long after the physical ties have faded. i'm going to dedicate my meditations to you and your mom for as long as it feels needed.
September 14 at 6:26am ·
Pierre-Marie Cœdès -Oh my dear Brenda, was is not expected somehow, since your Brother's post. I hope the passage went smoothly. Now she's at peace in the love light of God. I suppose her life has been a great adventure from what I read of yours, many moments to remember. I know the physical separation is what hurts more, and regarding my own mother who has been with me ever since she left, helping me in beautiful ways, knowing she he's happy, still walking on the beautiful path, making new experiences, it's her physical presence I miss the most. All my love to you and you family Brenda, my thoughts are with you.
September 14 at 7:13am ·
Brenda Clews -When a loved one first passes away, there is a feeling of peace, the pain and suffering are gone, and my mother's death was the most peaceful I've seen, she was ready, and a sense of unreality, like they haven't really gone. As the cycles of grief begin their descent through the months ahead, there are painful moments of recognition that the loved one is gone, truly gone, and comforting moments when you still feel them close. Death is a beautiful mystery. She has returned to the Ground of Being. The last time I saw her alive, on Monday, she absolutely glowed, for an hour or so, her skin luminous, her eyes with such depth, she looked very beautiful. I carry this precious image in my heart.
Yesterday, the nursing home allowed us to keep her there for 7 hours after her passing. Family members congregated around her bed. We each mourned and cried and some of us kissed her and we sat talking in the room. This is unusual in our high tech world where death is covered immediately. I am grateful for these hours in ways I cannot yet articulate.
It will be a very simple funeral, a cremation, with only immediate family early next week.
I have become mother-less, but at this moment, it feels as if the whole universe has become my mother.
Many, many thanks to you all, your words of condolence and understanding and love and sweetness are incredible and so beautiful.
Much love, Brenda xo
September 14 at 10:41am via mobile ·
Bill Sprague -I'm so sorry to hear that, Brenda. My mother passed in 1995, so my warmest thoughts, deepest prayers of comfort and my most consoling hug go out to you.
September 14 at 10:41am ·
Barry Gross -Sorry for your loss- always B
September 14 at 10:54am ·
Max Springer -condolences dear one, be strong
September 14 at 11:28am ·
Barbara Adach -(((((Brenda))))) <3 p="p"> 3>
September 14 at 4:55pm ·
Mary Cornelius -I'm sorry ..
September 14 at 5:21pm via mobile ·
Rod Noble -So sorry Brenda!
September 14 at 9:05pm ·
Barbara H. Horter - I am so sorry for the loss of your mother...that special bond between mother and daughter carried in our hearts will sustain you through time as your grief takes its own steps to the day when all the hurt and sadness of your loss will metomorphosis as the butterfly and lift you with each lovely memory. The missing NEVER goes away but the pain subsides and is replaced with visions repainted with new color. My heart goes out to you Brenda may your creativity soar with pictures and words about your mother....
September 14 at 10:14pm ·
Mano Antarang -so sorry.may god comfort u dear.
September 15 at 3:27am ·
Huzaifa Pandit -oh My condolences and sympathies Brenda. May the Lord give you strength and patience to bear the shock.
September 15 at 8:32am ·
Beryl Singleton Bissell -I'm so dreadfully sorry Brenda!
September 15 at 2:36pm ·
Brenda Clews -Thank you so much, each and every comment, condolence gives me comfort, hope, encouragement. Love you all.
September 15 at 3:29pm ·
Santu Brahma -Dear Friend My condolences to you and your family....
September 15 at 3:35pm ·
Vivek Patel Your writing of your experience is so deep and moving.
You are a true daughter of the universe!
You are a beautiful and profound soul!
September 15 at 3:38pm ·
Arnold Srecords · Je suis avec vous dans ce moment si douloureux...My condolences. Arnold
September 15 at 3:47pm ·
James Strickland Art -Im sorry. My sympathies for you and your family.
September 15 at 3:49pm ·
Soumitra Dasgupta -so sorry , RIP
September 15 at 3:50pm ·
Penny Ann Thompson -Oh my gosh.....so sorry to hear this and just kind of takes a person's breath away when you read it..........my prayers and thoughts are with all of you....and sending hugs as well.
September 15 at 4:17pm ·
Erica Ross -I am with you, Brenda. May you feel held in the Great Bliss Queen Mother you know and love. She, and your community, will hold you as you transition, and breathe, and feel, and be. May we help be the ground beneath your feet, and comfort in your heart.
September 15 at 5:53pm ·
Erica Ross -Sorry for your loss.
September 15 at 5:53pm ·
Elsie Duggan -So very sorry Brenda, Prayers for you, love, Elsie
September 15 at 6:43pm ·
Thomas Curl -I'm so sorry to hear this, Brenda. Know that all my love is being channeled your way as you go through this difficult time.
September 15 at 9:48pm ·
Darlene Gisele Lambert · Deepest Sympathies
September 16 at 4:23am ·
Stirling Davenport -Sending you big sisterly hug and soothing prayers for your big heart.
September 16 at 2:57pm ·
Laura Rock -OMG! I just saw this! "In box"
September 17 at 7:47pm ·