I have proof my mother’s love will never end, even after her passing to the other side—or as I would say, to heaven. At 5 a.m. on Thursday, August 4, 2005, my brother called and said, “Mom is not waking up. Hospice believes she is in a coma. She could wake up in a few hours or she may not wake up at all. I wanted to let you know.”
I’d just spoken to her by phone the previous night. “I love you,” I told her. “I’ll see you on Friday.”
“I love you too,” she answered. “Here, I am giving the phone to your sister. You two can talk now.” I had no way of knowing this would be the last time I would hear her voice. My mother was a smart, strong, and loving Irish woman, born and raised in the Bronx (where she lived most of her life) by a single mother and her large extended family. She and my dad were married for more than 50 years and had several children. She was our mother bear, and the love she had for her children and grandchildren was immense.
Thoughts sparked through my mind like lightening: Should I drive the three hours from Chicago to Wisconsin to see her now? Will she wake up? What should I do? I decided to wait, so I called my brother back three hours later, at 8 a.m., letting him know I wouldn’t be making the drive until that evening. Instead, I went to work, but less than three hours later, my brother called back to tell me our mother had passed.
I got hysterical. My coworkers helped me to the elevator so I could meet my husband, who was waiting in the car. We drove to Wisconsin for the funeral and buried Mom on Monday. As the week wore on, resentment, grief, anger, and shame set in, and I berated myself for my decision to wait. I hung on to the negative emotions for years, often crying and sometimes even sobbing, asking her for forgiveness.
This all changed after an awakening I had in 2010, five years after my mother’s passing. Dealing with my own “dis-ease,” I became deeply aligned with God. While praying and walking the labyrinth at St. James Evangelist Church off Michigan Avenue in Chicago, I heard a voice whispering in my ear, saying:
Eileen, my dear flower child, I have always forgiven you! It was my time to pass. I am out of pain, and I am in peace. It was not me you needed forgiveness from. I am your mother, and a mother’s love is constant, never-ending, always present on earth and in heaven, just like God’s love for you. My dear Eileen, it is yourself you need to forgive. Release the hurt. Engulf yourself with compassion. God and I needed for you to not be there when I passed—and the reason is not yours to know now. Back 26 years ago, when you were only 17, you were there for me when I needed you the most, when I needed your life energy as I lay critically injured at the scene of that horrific car accident. You were my life-love energy at that important moment, when you shared your light and love with me and I survived. Now be your own life-love energy. Live your life in love and in compassion for all, for we are all connected and the Law of Love is the Law for All.
Now be your own life-love energy. Live your life in love and in compassion for all, for we are all connected and the Law of Love is the Law for All.
What a message! It was almost overwhelming to absorb all of this wisdom, love, guidance, and compassion at once. I immediately felt a rush come over me, and I fell to my knees in gratitude. My mother never had an issue with my decision. I was the one who had all the issues, and now I needed to walk through the steps to forgive.
Walks on the labyrinth led to a path of initiation and an opening. Like the ancient and mysterious circular path of a labyrinth curving back upon itself, my personal journey has never followed a straight line. It winds inward toward my essence and toward healing. I was so changed by the experience of walking the labyrinth that I built a smaller one on my sister’s farm in Middleton, Wisconsin, to share with the public.
This became an occasion of gratitude—a realization from all that was lost, something of great value was found. On our journey on this beautiful blue planet Earth, learning how to forgive is essential, and forgiving ourselves is usually the hardest of all the acts of forgiveness. Yet if you can’t forgive yourself, how can you truly forgive others or ask for forgiveness from others? When you have truly learned to forgive yourself for whatever you perceive as your past mistakes, people will feel it. They’ll see your energy and light. They will know something changed.
As I heard my mother’s message, it was clear to me she knew and understood the highest form of love, and through what she shared, she was guiding me to this love—the love of God’s light within each of us.