I have been wanting to write about this for months now. The spiritual connection I had with my mom on my diagnosis day, or more specifically, my last full day in the hospital. I wrote previously how it was such a draining day, awaiting the diagnosis for so long, and then not really being provided with a specific answer at the time.
After supper I just wanted to go to sleep. But there were things calling to me that I couldn’t leave unanswered. Early in my time at the hospital, I had seen signs for the Aboriginal Gathering Place. And it turned out to be on the floor I was on. Once I was walking again and going out for my strolls, I would pass it, next to the chapel. There was a schedule posted with times for ceremonies throughout the week. And I kept telling myself that I would go. And then I would find myself in bed each night, realizing that I never went.
So on my last night in the hospital, I knew I had to go. I didn’t want the potential regret of not going. I loaded up my walker and started on the journey out of my ward and down the halls to the gathering room. A long time ago, my kindred spirit Trisha, told me how when you are walking or driving under a lamppost and the light goes out, it means that there is an angel with you, as their light is so bright that it turns off the lamppost. The hallway was already a bit darkened, because it was late and the sun had gone down, so the open atrium was not bringing through any sun. I took each step deliberately, feeling that I really needed to connect with the floor with each movement. The door to the Aboriginal Gathering Place was unremarkable. It was a heavy, white door, like any other hospital door, with no exterior indication of the power that was contained on just the other side of it. As I reached the door and started to turn my walker towards it, the overhead light
I stopped. Caught my breath. Looked up and said, “Hi mom. Thanks for joining me.”
I opened the heavy metal door and entered the sacred place. Soft, leather brown couches were placed around wooden coffee tables, with amazing artwork on each wall. I sat on one of the couches and just took it all in. And then I played two Buffy Sainte-Marie songs. The same songs I played for my mom when she was taking her last breaths. And I stood and danced, as only one can dance who needs to use a walker still and has reduced lung capacity. But what I loved is that even being limited physically, I felt no hinderance taking my small steps to the drums. I felt I really was dancing to the drums as a whole person. With no limitations.
I spoke to my mom quite a bit out loud. Something I don’t normally do, nor could I remember the the last time I had. I just took my time in that room. The air felt different. Heavier. Like a warm blanket was wrapped around me.
And once I felt that I had spent enough time in that room, I loaded up my walker again, took one last look around the room, said my goodbyes, and slowly made my way back to my hospital bed.
Now that I think back on that day, I can’t remember noticing if the light was still out when I left the Aboriginal Gathering Place or not…