Today it is one month since my mother died: 5th November 2015. Here in the UK this is Bonfire night, Fireworks’ Night or Guy Fawkes’ Night. It’s a British tradition dating back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Catholic conspirator Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I. Maybe she decided she wanted fireworks and partying to accompany her departure. I saw her a couple of days before and felt she was leaving. My children and I held her gently as she only wanted the lightest of touch. We could feel her physical presence lessening.
I was teaching in Paris and the day afterwards one of my students came up to me and said she saw my energy like a small child, surrounded by a white light, which she felt was my mother. This white light she saw as connected to the Cosmic Mother energy. I had said nothing to my group: as I didn’t want them to feel they had to care for me. Naturally I told her of my mother’s passing.
It didn’t surprise me as I felt my mother’s presence more strongly in those days than in the days before she physically left. I felt protected by her light and connected to a greater source. I had a similar experience when my dad died 9 years ago. I still feel his presence supporting me. This is an aspect of the Jing: our ancestral connection, which never ends, even if the soul has left the physical body. I feel also that the Jing is connected to our greater mother, not simply the earth, but the whole universe. I am still digesting what it means to no longer have my mother’s physical body in this world. There is an absence, a longing, but also a new type of presence.
I was back in Paris last week, teaching about the Extraordinary Vessels. These are the vessels which circulate and maintain the Jing in our body.
I would like to share a poem which I read at my mother’s funeral which I feel expresses some of this. I read it at my dad’s funeral but added a verse this time for my mum: to express the twin pillars of her life: her music and her faith. The first stanza is by Mary Elizabeth Frye written in 1932. I also chose this poem because the last time I took my mum out, was in a wheelchair, provided by the nursing home she had just moved into in Bristol, Aabletone, which I chose partly because of its location right next to the Botanical Gardens in Bristol. It was a beautiful autumn day and my daughter and I wheeled her round. There is a beautiful Chinese herb garden
Now I can see that she was taking her leave of the world, saying goodbye to the beautiful flowers, trees and plants. Yet she is still there within them.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night
(Mary Elizabeth Frye, 1932)
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there I do not sleep
I am the melody of cello strings
I am the love inside the hymns
I am the healing hands that care
I am the memories you all share
When you pause in the evening’s light
I am the softness of your sight
Of a world where my daughters live
I am the joy you each can give
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there I did not die
(Suzanne Yates, 2015)