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Part 5 - The Moment of Death

It's known that the experience of going through the passage of physical death is often an intensely private moment for folks, many of us going to great lengths to be alone when the final moment of separation comes.

My own very private Capricorn mother picked a time to begin her final journey to the Beyond when neither of her two children would be in the room. Yet, in spite of my being 1,000 miles away, Mom still managed in her own unique way to say her final good-byes.

The Legend of the Busy Bee Cafe
Most of us have those legendary (and dreaded) family stories that our mothers have repeatedly told (and expanded upon) throughout the years.

My mother’s favorite story to tell me (and anyone else within ear's reach) had to do with the events leading up to my being born. Personally, I think she would be thrilled that I am now about to share one of her favorite stories with you.

Having traveled in from the nearby countryside on a Friday morning, my extremely pregnant mother had checked herself into the local downtown hotel in order to be closer to the hospital for my grand entrance onto the planet. (In those days I think it may have been the only hotel in the small US southwestern town.)

All day long on that Friday, Mom had been craving of plate of Mexican food. So right around suppertime, with my having failed to arrive, she finally gave in and decided to make the uncomfortable trek across Main Street in order to visit the Busy Bee Cafe and satisfy her cravings.

Upon Mom's arrival at the Busy Bee Cafe, she immediately ordered a large hot plate of enchiladas. It seems that her long and labored journey across the street had had the effect of stirring me up, and I was now beginning to make my presence known.

But Mom was now on a mission, and she could not (would not) be deterred. The waitress soon (but not soon enough) brought Mom her oven-hot plate of food. Unfortunately, before Mom could dig into her long-awaited meal, I suddenly made it crystal clear to her (and everyone else in the small cafe) that I was now on my way and that I was not willing to wait for her to finish the meal.

Although there was much more to the story... when wrapping it up, Mom would then invariably tell me that the attending nurse commented I was the most beautiful baby that she had ever seen. Then Mom would tell me that no matter how old I got - I would always be her baby boy.

As much as the ending of this story used to embarrass me while growing up, I realize now that I'd give a million bucks to hear her tell me the story just one more time.

The Call On Friday June 6, 2003
A little after 3 p.m. on Friday my cell phone began ringing. It instinctively triggered a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. You see... I’d set my cell phone to ring in a distinctive way whenever my mother’s home phone was calling - and I knew she'd not been able to use her phone for the last couple of weeks.

It was my sister. Mom's hospice workers had explained to her that Mom was now in the final stages of dying, and that I needed to come home as soon as possible. Unfortunately, my sister and I both knew that flying home ASAP meant not being able to leave until early the next morning and then not arriving until late that night.

Rushing home in a panic, such as never experienced, I made my flight reservations online. Then - realizing that there was very little that I could do until the next morning - I headed out for Lebanon Road. My hastily made plans were to buy some clean socks (Mom would want me to have clean socks), get some cash from the bank, and then finally grab a burger on the way home. I wasn't hungry, but knew that I needed to eat something.

At some point, I noticed it had starting raining and then storming. I glumly thought that this was the absolute perfect weather for receiving my dismal news.

First stop was at a department store in the local strip mall for the clean socks. Oddly enough, in spite of what had turned into a torrential downpour, there was one, lone empty space seemingly waiting just for me in the vast parking lot directly in front of the store. Thanking the universe for what seemed at the time to be a very small favor, I headed into the store. After buying the clean socks, I crawled back into my pickup truck and then continued on down Lebanon Road headed for my bank.

Permission To Die
Sneaking a quick look at my watch, it was just after 5:30 p.m. Traffic on Lebanon Road had been getting progressively crazier and more chaotic as Friday rush hour in Nashville had gone into full swing at the height of a massive thunderstorm. My bank was now just two short blocks away - but with adrenaline still pumping through my body, I nervously began thinking the very last thing I needed was to be involved in a rush hour fender bender.

Glancing to my right, for some odd reason Mom’s story about the Busy Bee Cafe popped into my mind, and I simultaneously noticed that I was about five seconds away from one of my favorite Mexican food restaurants in Nashville.

Remembering Hospice advises that it's often important to give a dying loved one "permission" to die - that you'll miss them, but you'll be okay - I spoke aloud: "Mom, all those years ago you meant to honor my entry onto the planet with an oven-hot plate of Mexican food, so now I honor your departure from the planet in the same way."

Still not hungry and abandoning my plans of grabbing a burger - I pulled my pickup truck out of the rush hour madness. Then, breathing a huge sigh of relief, I eased my way into the restaurant's small parking lot. Sitting down at the booth and ordering my meal of oven-hot Mexican food, I somehow forced myself to calm down just a little. I then made the honest attempt to eat my meal in some leisure.

Upon finishing my meal, I went up to the counter in order to pay. While standing impatiently at the counter, my cell phone once again began to ring with that distinctive, foreboding ring. It was my sister. Mom was gone.

Full Circle
It seems that our Capricorn mother had patiently waited until my sister had momentarily left her bedside for a ten minute break. I later learned that Mom, in the presence of her devoted hospice nurse, had died at 5:35 p.m. C.D.T.

Yes... it was at the exact same moment I had given her "permission" to die.

Based on what astrologer's call a death chart, at the day and moment of physical death Mom had seemingly come full circle in her life. As in her birth chart... the Sun was in very close opposition to Pluto, Jupiter was in exact opposition to Neptune, and the Moon was in close aspect to Uranus.

Unlike her birth chart, in her death chart the Sun had just moments before entered into the 8th house of death (and resurrection). It was also a fleeting moment when the quickly moving Ascendant in New Mexico was touching my birth chart Saturn in Scorpio. Saturn - the stern god of fear, limitations, and karma - was also the ruler of my mother's Capricorn Sun and Moon. Old man Saturn seemed to be confirming one final time that it was indeed a time of letting go and a release of karma that existed between my mother and myself.

Granted... it may all seem like a far stretch to you… but I know without a doubt that Mom was sitting there in my booth watching me eat my meal, saying her good-byes, and wishing she could have just a small bite.

"Heraclitus, you know, says that everything moves on and that nothing is at rest; and, comparing existing things to the flow of a river, he says that you could not step into the same river twice." Plato (Cratylus 402A)

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