I sit and meditate, observing every breath. It comes in, goes out … then a pause. Will it come in again …? I know it can stop any moment now. Or it can continue … for how long? Maybe days? All I know is that I will be here, observing the breath, as long as it does.
The breath remains constant. The sound of the deep breath and the soft beeping of the morphine-pump are the only sounds in the room. I try to sleep, but am aware of every change, every sound out of the ordinairy. Claire comes in every few hours. It wakes me up. She does not mean to, she just needs to check. She asks if I’m okay, if there is anything she can do for me.
When morning comes she brings me a cup of tea. Then she goes home. Soon the noice in the hallway starts again. People talking, walking around. A kind lady comes in to offer me breakfast.
I read up on the articles that had been left for too long. I meditate. I wait.
I chant the Metta Sutta for my mother. The nurses tell me she can still hear it. I do a guided Metta meditation with her. Somehow I feel peaceful and calm, tranquil and happy. There is a beauty in it that I cannot describe. … And another part feels guilty about that.
And so my days continue, just watching the breath. My mother’s breath … until the end.
Sadhu Ayya, I understand from the above your mother is not well, right?
Thanks for sharing these words, I can almost feel them as if I was there (I was once in a similar situation with my now-gone grandfather).
I am confident the Triple Gem will serve as a safe refuge for reflection, growth and insight in this tough moment.
Please don’t forget to inspire in you and in her a recollection of all the good I am sure you have been cause, part of.
May your mother have a peaceful and easy death, and a happy re-birth. I’m sure your own peaceful mind state, and the serenity you feel will make her passing so much easier. It is a great gift you are imparting.
May you, Ayya, gain the fruits of the path, in that grief, sadness and remorse are absent in you. Your actions for your mother at this time are a great source of Sila, that I believe will be of great comfort and joy for you in the future.
with much metta and karuna for you and your mother
Sadhu Ayya, may your mother make a peaceful death.
Towards the end every breath counts, I remember this with my grandmother and then with my mother. Your beautiful writing takes me back. Finally I woke up in my sleep bag, on the floor under her bed, and knew that she wasn’t there any longer without even opening my eyes. It took the nurses several minutes of peering and prodding to know the same truth.
I’m so glad that you can be with your mother at this precious time.
These are precious moments, sacred moments. No reason to feel guilty if you sense it in this way.
I remember a similar situation with my grandfather. He died at home, not in a hospital. Many family members were around alternately, I spent a lot of time there. Then I felt that the end was very close, and his youngest son who was already quite helpless at the time wasn’t there yet. So I jumped in my car and drove 2 or 2.5 hours to pick him up together with his wife, and again the same time back. Hoping it wasn’t too late; and it wasn’t.
When we arrived it took only a short while until my grandfather’s very last breath. I knew immediately that this was the last one. My grandmother who was holding his hand took a little longer to realize.
I remember there was a peace and a beauty around this scenery I would in fact describe as “sacred”. It is a precious gift if you are able to experience this together with your mom; you are helping her to make this happen!
Maybe these moments are the mindfulness that you have so well trained for. Instead of lamentation, you are with your Mom in this perfect and mindful way.
I remember from some years ago walking in Pioneertown with you, and your warm and Metta filled thoughts of your parents at that time. I’m so glad you are with her. With Metta.
Venerable Ananda who was a Sotapanna cried when the Buddha was about to pass away. The Buddha had to console Venerable Ananda saying that all formations are impermanent, unsatisfactory and not self.
Imagine yourself in that situation and reflect on those wise words of the Buddha.
May such reflection be a spring board for you to courageously face the reality and to advance on the spiritual path.
It is my wish to breathe my last breath with someone as compassionate as you supporting me with metta.
Dear Ayya V, We shared merits with your mother after our (US bhikkhunis) conference call this morning. We chanted together the sharing of merits Imina puñña kamena…
All blessings to you and your mother at this extraordinary - awful amazing beautiful -time.
@Vimala it seems crazy to me that I haven’t been on here for weeks and the first post I see is yours. Exactly 2 years ago today, I sat with my dad after the hospice nurse woke me up to tell me that it was time. After watching the time between his breaths grow longer and longer, I had my head on his chest and I heard, saw and felt the last breath leave is body. I’m so sorry about your mom. Looking back I see that moment as the most awful yet at the same time beautiful and sacred thing I ever experienced. I was so sad and angry that it was happening but I was so privileged to be there to witness it and be there for him. I know exactly how you feel, and make sure you give yourself lots of metta as well.
Thank you all so much for your heartfelt words and sharing your own experiences. At the moment words fail me to express my gratitude to all of you.
Venerable Sudhamma, very grateful to you and the other US Bhikkhunis. Please pass on my gratitude to all of them.
Dear Ayya Vimala,
thank you for sharing these very private moments with us…I have been fortunate enough enough to share this experience with both my parents in the last few years… so sad …yet so beautiful…so terrible yet so peaceful… so difficult to bear and yet so calming…we seem to be closer to our true nature in these moments of transition.
Dear Ayya Vimala,
Just letting you know that a stream of metta and Karuna is being directed towards you and your mother.
I apologize for not writing here earlier.
My mother passed away at 00.30am on Sunday 1st September. I woke up a few minutes before she died and sat with her and chanted the Metta Sutta.
That same afternoon they brought her home. I sat with her every day to meditate, which felt very peaceful and beautiful. The funeral was Friday morning with just a small circle of immediate family, very informal, no service, which was very nice. Everything was very simple and tranquil.
Thank you all for your metta and karuna for my mother in the last few weeks!
Dear Ayya Vimala,
I’ve been thinking of you as we reached the anniversary of your mother’s passing. (Since you’d posted this mid-month I had the idea this is when she passed, so waited to say something, only now realizing the anniversary was 2 weeks ago.) How are you doing?
May your mother be safe, well, happy and peaceful, everywhere she may go! May her introduction to the Dhamma - through her connection with you in this life - help her find the Dhamma and practice well in every life, always well-cared for and loved, until she attains Nibbana.
Dear Ayya Sudhamma,
Thank you so much for your kindness and care!
I am well and did a death-contemplation on the day of my mother’s passing 2 weeks ago, with my mother’s ashes by my side.
We made a recording which will be uploaded here once it is edited.
With much metta
PS. @nbezzala: when you are done with uploading the video, could you please post the link here? Thanks!