When I was six months old, my mother thought my tear ducts were clogged. She took me to the doctor to see why I never cried. She was assured that my tear ducts worked fine. I just had no reason to cry. I was loved. I have felt her love my whole life and continue to after her death.
My mom wore a lot of hats. Before I was born, she was a survivor of childhood polio. Hula dancer at three in Honolulu Hawaii during World War ll, accordion player for the original Mickey Mouse Club, dancer, Dallas Texas Beauty Queen, Movie Star, and wife to a handsome SMU baseball player, my dad. Of all her titles, the one she loved the most was Mom.
An accomplished dancer, she always danced to her own rhythm, which seemed to me to be out of step and out of time when I was young, though I later came to realize she was graceful and flexible and ahead of her time – perfectly in time.
Flash forward to April Fool’s Day, 1994. Mom was having surgery. I was waiting in the chapel at the hospital. A large Bible lay open on a small table. I closed it and my eyes. Rested my palm on the dark leather cover; said a silent prayer for guidance to show me what I needed. Took a deep breath. Opened both my eyes and the book opened to Psalm 23. I had a knowing, in the empty room filled with the Great Spirit. I shuddered & thought – this is the passage they always read in the movies when someone dies. I said, please don’t let her die. Then I cried.
A few hours later, we got the news that mom might have a month to live – at the most.
She pushed the thought away and told us if she could survive six husbands and polio, she wasn’t going to die from this. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, known as the silent killer. Doctors offered her no treatments and no hope because it was in stage four and had metastasized. She was determined to get well.
The next three months changed my life. First she gave me the gift of life and through her death she gave me the gift to see that we are all connected. God’s hand and plan is greater than our own. Before she died, I told her about what I’d read in the chapel, on the day she was diagnosed and she said, “that’s my favorite verse and gives me much comfort & strength.”
Through those three months, everything mom wanted or needed seemed to manifest with little effort other than to think of it. None of us had lost a mother before, so we had no idea what to expect taking care of her. Shamans and angels appeared as if on cue and as each new day dawned, everything unfolded in perfect timing, like a ballet.
Spring brings birth and rebirth, and the season is filled with signs – dormant trees budding again, the wind’s familiar song, scents in the air and rainbows. I am alive and my mom’s spirit lives in the shining sun, the glowing moon and the untouchable stars. I think of my mother as a Shooting Star, and whenever I see one I know I am at the right place at the right time.
My mother was born in Shoemaker, California. She passed away just a minute before the Shoemaker Comet crashed into Jupiter. It was the first time science had the ability to witness the effects of a comet colliding with a planet in our solar system. She was excited to witness it, and passed away one minute before the comet struck – at 2:59 a.m. on July 16th, 1994. The comet struck at 3 a.m. I know she stayed with us as long as she could and didn’t miss the moment, as she returned to stardust.
I am still connected to my mother and refer to Corinthians 13 for comfort “and now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Love’s rays never die – like light, they travel to infinity and radiate into the universe. Energy merely transforms.
As I began writing this, Joni Mitchell’s song Woodstock came on the radio – “We are stardust…we are golden….then can I walk beside you…life is for learning…” and as I finished writing this, The Circle Game began to play another message with lyrics that confirmed mom’s presence…
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
It was a long time before I went into a chapel again. It was a weekday, at a school that I stopped by on my way to work. The door was unlocked. I walked in, picked a pew in the small church and sat down. I expected students to come pouring in as part of their day, but no one else came. Settling in, waiting for the priest, I began looking around the little gem of a chapel. Morning light was streaming in the stained glass window to my left, shining colors on my skin. I looked up at the glass and read these words – “I Am With You Always.” Mathew 28:20
I have no doubt this was a message to me from my Mother.
Terri Ewton lives on Kauai and works on feature films, currently the Jungle Cruise. She is a writer, a singer and owns an online art gallery, www.hanaleiartgallery.com.