Body Fading, Essence Soaring, by Miriam Blank

KCGuestPostMiriamBlank300x300x72This morning, kneeling beside my mother on the deck, I was gripped by the fleeting treasure of her fragile resilient life.  The process of dying, I believe, is a holy space, just as is birth.

This morning, like every morning, I went over to ask her how her night was. Dad had her out on the deck surrounded by bird song and five flowering baskets from mother’s day.

She sat quietly, a little queen in her corner. I asked her how she slept and she got a mischievous smile. She had a dream, she said, that she was pregnant. She was a little worried that people might think, “Crazy old lady, what is she doing pregnant?”

But in her dream she was happy to be pregnant.  She said, “It was my baby.”

I thought of the days my mother was young. There is a photo of Mom at about 31, holding my oldest brother Nelson while pregnant with her next child.  No one can doubt how full of new life she is, standing quietly holding it all.

Mary Lou Blank, mother of author Miriam, holding her first child and pregnant with her fourth in this photo taken during the Blank family’s missionary years in Mexico. Mary Lou went on to bear six children over nine years.

I told her, “Maybe it is a sign that even in this season of things breaking down, you are full of new life.”

We talked about how she is experiencing great joy, peace and love each day. She said she liked my interpretation of her dream; that it fit. Mom is more expressive of her love for everyone than she has ever been. She seems at relative peace with her losses in this season of endings. “Everyone has to die,” she has said, with a little smile.  She laughs often.  Her body so frail is spilling over with beauty.

I know others might not see it as I do, and I don’t always see it this way either. But I am bending over her being each day and am taking in each moment with new eyes, knowing more than ever that each day with her is a gift. Like parents who can’t stop talking about their little child, and can’t get over the miracle growing in their arms, I can’t get over her growing beauty.

Mary Lou, Lester, and Miriam Blank
Mary Lou and Lester Blank with author Miriam Blank

Others may see her listing to one side of the wheelchair, stuttering over a word, drooling, or looking distantly across the room and wonder at my delight in this season.  I don’t deny the sadness.  It is there, and I take my turn with tears. Her tiny body seems to be shriveling up and disappearing. She is so small now in her recliner; it seems to fold in and hide her away. She sleeps more, eats less, forgets more, and words are harder to say.

But as her body fades and fails, her essence soars. Her spirit flames. She shakes with the fullness of her life and the rich stories of love layered within.  She can’t get over the flowers and the blue sky. To her they are a new wonder every morning. She is full of new life. She is quietly holding it all.

–Miriam Blank, Gap, Pennsylvania, is a professional counselor, spiritual director, and certified life coach.  In the past Miriam worked 15 years as a registered nurse and certified nurse-midwife.

6 thoughts on “Body Fading, Essence Soaring, by Miriam Blank”

  1. Buenos dias Miriam

    This is Maria Janett , from Yuma, AZ. It is so nice to see a picture of you with your parents. We miss you and I wish we can see you again. I am pleased to say I am a grandmother of a 8mo baby girl.

  2. This is such beautiful and tender blog, which speaks to my spirit this morning. Thanks Miriam for honoring your mother, life and God himself with your words. I am glad I came across your blog.

  3. Dear Miriam, I am writing through my tears. What beautiful, comforting thoughts you have written for those of us who so dearly loved your mother. Oh how I wish I could have gotten to see her one more time. I will always remember the young beautiful cousin, who always brought laughter and sunshine with her when we were blessed by her presence back when we were all young. I heard her laughing voice as I read the above words. Thanks again for sharing them with us. I can tell by your post that she and your father raised wonderful children, just as loving caring and sweet as herself. Give her and your father my love. Freda Wert Zehr

  4. So exquisite and evocative; tenderness, love,and life as the author and her Mom greet each day just as it is in those precious moments; so sweet and real. Balm for our wounded souls as we grapple daily with quietly holding it all. Thank you for sharing, Michael.

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