A cardinal scavenges the empty bird feeder sitting outside my parents apartment, and I feel the emptiness of the place without my mother’s presence. I hear myself say “this is what it’s going to feel like once she’s gone” as a wave of grief embraces me.

I fill the bird feeders in honor of Mom. A week ago I made a SoulCollage card to honor her for Mother’s Day. It’s been less than twelve hours since I watched mom stroke out in front of me, leave and then come back to life.

That Sunday morning at breakfast a text arrived from my sister “I’m taking Mom to the hospital.” Mom developed an appendicitis, and well they couldn’t put her under general anesthesia because of the COPD/emphysema. They did a spinal tap and sedation not knowing if it would work. I drove up from Florida to South Carolina to be with Mom and Kelly. Each time I get the call or make the journey I can’t help but wonder is this it?

What I heard is “stroke” from my Helping Spirits. My shaman self packed a small rattle and quartz crystal, some black clothes just in case. It was very weird. A decade ago Mom challenged my shamanic path and recovery, as time went by she shifted and in recent months when her hip was bothering her and she could not sleep, she asked for some long distance healing sessions. I was touched and honored.

From the first healing session the hip didn’t improve, but her breathing did. She was thrilled. The second session the Helping Spirits said a soul retrieval was offered, and well I wasn’t sure what happened in the healing experience for mom.

When I arrived at the hospital Mom’s sitting up in the ICU smiling. Everything was great, her color was good, she was going home the next day. I thought okay my Helping Spirits were way off on this. Kelly and I left to have dinner, then I headed back to the hospital sit vigil during the night.

In the process they moved Mom out of ICU to a regular room, and when I walked in her whole energy had shifted into panic. Mom’s color was off..her heart rate was elevated. Her first words were “Oh you’re here!! They left me here unattended for an hour, no phone, no nothing. I’ve been calling out for you [energetically].”

Her night nurse arrived and apologized [it was a shift change]; we got her settled in. Mom and I chatted…I asked “how’s the hospital bed with your sore hip?” She smiled “my hip doesn’t bother me anymore since you cured me.” Now I have tried to explain “it’s not me” so many times. I was grateful that the Helping Spirits stepped in to weave a miracle for my skeptic mom. LOL.

As the evening progressed Mom started sharing..Oh I feel dizzy, I feel hot, then cold, oh my stomach is queasy, my head hurts…from my dad’s stroke in 1985 I know the signs. At the same time I am hearing “here it comes” then in front of me I watch mom lose consciousness and leave while the stroke occurred.

I run to tell the nurse and immediately there is a code team around her bed. I stand in the hallway calmly watching and praying. It’s an allergic reaction to a drug, they gave her some Benadryl, yet it has all the hallmarks of a mini stroke. She can’t talk or focus. Mom comes out of it four hours later. She doesn’t remember a thing. It’s a TIA.

When the Med team leave the room I went to rattle…then I remembered Craig. Craig’s a shamanic practitioner and friend who shared his heart-felt journey of his mothers death from COPD. One person commented at the time, it’s okay to be the child and not the shaman.

I gave myself permission to be the daughter and not a shamanic practitioner. I surrendered. I put my rattle down, let go and accepted things the way they were…no matter the consequences. Mom recovered, and came home 48 hours later. Her body a bit more frail, her short term memory a bit more tattered, and she now uses a walker when needed…but for today she’s still with us.

We are, my sisters and I, watching my mother’s body shut down but her spirit is strong. For us COPD is long fifteen year plus journey, a slow painful death in measured ways… of stops and goes. I don’t wish this experience for anyone.

I came home to South Florida raw and full of feelings after witnessing so much, so many miracles. I listened to heart music and grieved. I painted. I created. Walked in Nature. The rains returned just in time to end our severe drought. A metaphor. More lessons about being a daughter, a human-walking the shamanic path, accepting the power of knowing, not knowing and letting it all go.