Little separates us from death, I learned on that mournful summer day of unbearable loss. With an oxygen tank by her side, in my parents’ bedroom, she passed to the other side 47-years ago in a nanosecond, a vanishing demarcation point of no return. Just seconds before her real passage, she suddenly was unconscious, then abruptly awake again, crying out, “I thought I was dying.” And then she left us forever, her enchanting, luminous face and glittering gold eyes lifeless.
At the funeral home, Father forced me to kiss Mother’s corpse. “Kiss her goodbye,” he commanded with the absolute authority of a king or a 3-star general. Still in shock, a young man and orphan, I bent down over the wooden coffin and kissed her cold forehead. She wasn’t there nor was I.
What I kissed was not Mother. Her spirit-her contagious, joyous, divine soul-had already left the shell I gazed at. And what I touched and tasted was not Mother but the chilling abyss of nothingness to which we all return. Yet clinging to that dark, barren memory, I often return to that soulless wasteland on a summer night, when even a cool breeze launches me into a chilling and desperately lonely place where I search for Mother once again.