I write this in that space so very many of us have been before. The waiting space. The one between worlds, between veils. It’s imminent, yet all of us are still on a hair’s breadth. Waiting. Wishing it wasn’t so but on our haunches ready to accept the inevitable.
I’ve done death before. I’ve done between veils before. Heck, I’ve even done there and back again! But not as close to home as this. Not when I knew it was coming either.
Tomorrow I do the drive again. My bag is permanently packed now. But this time, I will probably not have a coherent conversation with my stepmother. The hours and hours of contemplative, making-up-for-lost-time, soul enriching chats we have had with each other since her condition became known in November have fuelled me.
On Sunday night, more loose ends were tied in neat bows. I knew, she knew and Dad knew – somewhere in the background there while we were thick as thieves in her office of full, high bookshelves and creative whorls of energy – that the more bows we tied, the more ties to life were cut. I opened the covers of books she pointed out on her bookshelf and told her to write in them. Write to her grandchildren. We only got so far. But it will have to be far enough.
I have taken charge of her beloved Green Oil. I cannot quite believe it is now under my roof. Under my care. The Green Oil is a wondrous potion – many of you probably know of it, know the name or have experienced the healing quality of it (when applied to anything from tinea to mosquito itches) – and her particular original Mother batch is now in my den. The baton has been passed. It is my honour and my duty to pick up where this quite incredible woman left off. She would be so angry at me for writing that. Praise is not her “thing” and she said to me as recently as this past Sunday – when I told her for the longest time I had held her in such high regard – that she was not happy and almost offended by that because she had (what she thought was) painstakingly ensured she was not seen as the creator of this amazing legacy.
Her knowledge of plants is not gone along with her. She has shared it every which way before she has left. Even in the years we were not on speaking terms, no visit into my garden for any length of time – not one – was undertaken without her voice reminding me of long-ago wisdom on how to tend a plant, care for it, learn from it, appreciate it. Where the garden faeries live. Where the wonder and beauty is to be found in the smallest, most seemingly insignificant of weeds. I cannot properly articulate how interesting and life giving her contribution to a vast body of work has been that I (and many others) have been privileged to study. What she has left undone she has passed now to me to study, learn, intuit, interpret and complete. I’m still agape and agog and in awe at how I will possibly do this (and do it anywhere near credit). And I have probably just alienated my remaining readers of this blog by even writing all of this.
But there you have it. Main spiritual task for 2013 has been set. I am going to be learning from the Plant kindgom where my stepmother was up to. I’m ready. I hope she continues to help and guide me. But mostly, I feel I am back in true service after quite a long lull. It’s not that I didn’t already have great purpose before, but this is a renewal of life-giving energy for me that had become depleted by simply “living the daily grind”.
This is the beautiful thing about death. It enlivens the living.