I was some years into my spiritual awakening when my mother died. I would have loved to share with her my experiences, I felt she would have perhaps understood, but she was seriously ill and I didn’t want to burden her. She died a long and terrible death from emphysema. She had been a life-long smoker but in all fairness she smoked the lightest of brands and didn’t inhale, it seems that some people are just genetically pre-disposed to developing smoking related diseases than others. For a number of years she managed to cunningly hide her slowly worsening condition, which really came on after her retirement from being a schoolteacher. My father did hard physical work as a foreman of ground-works on the building sites, a career path followed by many Irish immigrants. This meant usually leaving the house by six in the morning, long before my mother would get up. He would bring her a cup of tea in bed then leave, not returning till the evening, usually exhausted. This gave my mother plenty of time to get her laboured breathing under control and clear her increasingly congested chest. By the time my father got home from work she had cooked dinner and had a smile on her face. He had no idea that it would have taken her most of the day to achieve this. Only when my father retired did he discover how advanced her condition was and over the space of a couple of years her condition deteriorated so much that my father became a full-time carer. Despite being in hospital occasionally with severe chest infections, she remained at home for the most part and had a team of nurses assigned to monitor her progress. My parents were of that generation where you didn’t complain. Not wanting to burden my sister and I, they kept the gravity of my mother’s condition hidden. We knew she was sick, just not, how sick. Towards the end of her life she was on oxygen and hunched over with severe scoliosis. Every morning she spent around three hours over a bowl trying to clear phlegm from deep in her lungs. She was sixty-nine but looked ninety-six and despite all this, she was still smoking.
Unlike some cancers, where methods of pain control are very advanced and the suffering of the patient can be reduced considerably, there was really nothing that could be done for my mother’s condition. Her last months were horrific but she could always muster a smile. One morning she sat up, a surprised look came over her face and she died. I was in France and my sister called me to break the news. After the phone call I walked outside with Michèle. Standing in the field was a lone female deer; she was staring straight at us. Michèle said, that’s your mother. A year to the day I had a dream. A deer came to me and sniffed my hand delicately, then we ran together for miles, through fields, across streams, into forests. The next day my sister called to ask how I was feeling. I had completely forgotten it was the anniversary of our mother’s death. After this my mother would come to visit me more in dreams and became a sort of spirit guide to me. I first saw her in an ancient convent; she was young and beautiful and led me up spiral stairs into beautiful gardens. She had taught in convent schools and had been very happy with the nuns.
Shortly before my trip to Peru, my mother came in a very direct and powerful communication. It started as a dream where I found myself in the kitchen of a house, looking out of the window onto a large field. Two black jaguars came into the field signifying that something important was about to happen. Then my mother walked in, we hugged and went through into another larger room full of ancestors and relatives. My mother stood up and addressed us. She said – we are a line of Indian sorcerers dedicated to fighting the evil of the Papacy. I took this to mean the patriarchal imbalance prevalent in the world and the need to restore balance between divine male and divine female energies. After this I went up to talk to her and I became acutely aware at this point that I was talking to someone who had passed on and that this was a rare opportunity to ask some big questions. I asked her, do we come back? She said, yes. Next I asked, will you come back? She replied, yes, I have things to finish. Finally I asked, do we have a choice? She remained silent on this question.