Love Beyond The Veil
Dry-eyed during the immediacy of my mother’s passing, tears flowed freely as I read copious near-death experience stories.
One early Tuesday morning without warning, my mother left us. She did not say good-bye. We had no idea she was leaving, no inkling, no premonition. I don’t think she did either — at least not consciously.
Her departure was so utterly profound in large part because it was so unexpected; the loud clamorous war my parents were fighting post-divorce suddenly ceased, the ensuing silence nonsensical, uncanny, awful, my life forever split in two. Before: chaotic, tumultuous, funny, but at least she and I were together, riding life’s vicissitudes. After: Inalienable, potentially insurmountable. If this life could wrest from me the person I thought I could not live without, it’s not a question of how do I keep going, but why bother trying?
In the throes of her untimely passing of an asthma attack (she was 48 years old, I was 20), I wondered if love only lives on in our hearts with the remembrance of those who have died, or can we access that love other ways? Do I carry her in my genes, perhaps, forever thankful in the aftermath of her loss that I look like her, because at least I have that — her visage remembered in mine. In the ensuing years following her death, I began to question: Could it be possible my mother continues to exist in some capacity — albeit not physically here with us? Could her palpable love be an invisible participant still in my life after her passing? Or did she completely disappear, vanish into thin air as we all will when our time comes?
In the first years that followed her death I engaged a fair amount in getting-drunk-and-crying-about-your-mother, as an ex-boyfriend aptly described it. This strategy for soothing my pain met with limited success. To further assuage my sense of abandonment and alienation, I increasingly found myself drawn to books about near-death experiences (NDEs). I yearned to know if she was simply gone, never to be seen or heard or felt again?
I found tremendous solace in reading about others’ brushes with death and their accounts of what happened when the dying process began, only to be drawn back into their lives. Regardless of any metaphysical beliefs, it seemed as those who experienced an NDE were more at peace, and had a deeper understanding of what was truly important in life. Messages they received while “dead” were often profound, loving and wise. Dry-eyed during the immediacy of my mother’s passing, tears flowed freely as I read copious NDE stories.
As a participant in prevailing Western beliefs, it felt beyond the realm of possibility to me that our loved ones communicate with us after they have died. Yet many people have experienced signs that their loved ones are still with them, even if not physically present. But is that just wishful thinking on their part, something they can cling to so as not to accept the finality of the loss of a loved one? Do signs account for proof? Can they be replicated at will in a laboratory in a double-blind study? Probably not, yet those signs eventually became part of my lived experience.
My mother’s name was Sydney, which is not an overwhelmingly common name. The day I went into labor with my first child, I met a man named Sydney. On the day I went into labor with my second child, I was looking to send an item to a charity, and the person I was to send it to was named Sidney. On the day I was having a miscarriage, I passed by a man wearing a T-shirt that read Sydney. Could this really be a coincidence? So many coincidences can’t possibly be random; the chances are too insane.
I feel more aligned within as I’ve opened to the possibility that this reality is not all there is. I just wonder why the mainstream seems so intent on denying the existence of contact with another reality beyond what we can document through our five senses, despite significant evidence to the contrary. I am grateful to my mother for providing me with the evidence there is some form of existence beyond this life.
January 16, 2023, marked the 27th anniversary of my mother’s passing. Driving alone on Route 80 in New Jersey on my way to pick up my children from a weekend with my sister, I thought about how much I loved them. Mere words could never hope to come close to describing the fierce love that lies underneath the everyday annoyances, frustrations, even the rote mouthing of the words “I love you.” The power of the love I have for them lies assuredly underneath; it rests at the core my being, present in every cell in my body, promising to break me open should they leave this world before I do. If I love my children to this extent, didn’t my mother love me similarly? Did that love just disappear into the ether, into the nothingness, into the past, into non-existence when she died?
Something that powerful doesn’t just go away I told myself, my heart palpitating, tears streaming down my face in the car that January day. Her love still exists; I feel it in my ravaged heart even if I can’t perceive it clearly with my five physical senses.
In a recent dream I was filling my mother in on some important goings-on in my current life. At one point I tell her that I am sorry I didn’t tell her earlier about a particular drama, and I said to her in the dream, “But I thought you were dead.” To which she sort of chuckled and said she had way more idea as to what was going on in my daily life than I thought. She said she was watching out for me, and even guiding me when she could. I took that dream into my heart and live accordingly: she is present, even if physically absent. While it doesn’t erase the pain of losing her, it eases it some. And answers my original question.
A social worker by training, Sacha Moore lives in Brooklyn with her two kids, two cats, a rabbit, a hamster and over 50 plants. Email email@example.com.