My mom lived to the ripe old age of 96 and 10/12ths.
Speaking of inner critics as we have been in recent blog posts, like everyone else, Mom had one. As opposed to mine which makes me responsible for “everything” and “not enough,” my mom’s made others responsible for “everything” and “not enough.”
Often her inner critic – outer critic, in her case – got in the way of our relationship. There were times that I limited my contact with her to protect myself emotionally.
What was so beautiful for me was over the last couple of years, as her mind started to slip a bit – a word here and another there – I witnessed the critical, self-protective part of her step aside to let her inner innocence and radiance glow right through her skin.
Several weeks ago after her fall and hip fracture, while she was at the skilled nursing facility, she’d lost more of her cognitive abilities. Our conversations got shorter and right to the point. Mostly she’d repeat these 3 phrases, “I love you.” “I miss you.” “I want to go home.”
A few weeks back, in a solemn and lucid moment, she told my brother that she didn’t want to die in the nursing home. Once she returned home two weeks ago, her decline was rapid. And she became even more open and loving.
While she could speak, most of what she said to me was “I love you.” She would pucker up her little lips with kisses for me. I felt her delight in me – something I’ve longed for from her for all of my life.
Hospice had taught us that hearing was the last sense to go. As her time grew shorter, I took advantage of that and whispered in her ear, “Thank you for loving me, Mom. I love you too.” A mutual healing.
On Saturday morning she was surrounded by her whole family – my brother, his wife, me, all 6 of her grandkids and our family dog, who she loved dearly. As we sang her a love song, her breathing changed and eventually she took her last breath so peacefully.
It was an amazing experience to see her critical, self-protective voice drop away and to see what was left was pure love – her essential nature.
So it goes. We are born pure love. Along the way, we feel hurt by our parents and the world. We protect those hurts. Then over time we find our way back to our essential loving nature and being our true selves.
If you’d like to practice opening more and more to your true self, I invite you to join us on May 18th for my Making Peace with Your Inner Critic workshop.
We’d love to have you join us!