letting go

There’s this notion in Buddhism about impermanence: nothing can last forever. I think that’s not only true but necessary to accept, whether or not you’re a fan of Buddhism.

I write this entry as a rambunctious puppy named Coconut (or Coco-nutso) currently lays sound asleep across my lap, preventing me from sitting upright without squishing her a little. She’s snoring-snorting every now and then. When she sleeps, she’s heaven. Silent, peaceful, at ease. But at some point, she wakes.

She requires constant attention, and if she doesn’t get it, she barks until you give in. Her favorite toys are those that are loud. Extremely loud. Or toys that don’t belong to her at all. Playthings like my underwear, tissues and other assorted paper goods, the vegetable plants that are beginning to flower, and so many other seemingly safe objects. Anything at her short puppy-height stature is irrevocably hers and at her disposal.

She’s ruined plenty of things. My husband’s leather wallet that probably tasted like a bacon-flavored treat which now has a corner of bite marks. Our rugs, which she believes to be pee pads since they’re softer on her derriere. Mail which we never read and never will be able to again.

And as a former perfectionist who took immaculate care of every item in my possession, I can say truthfully and happily, it’s all okay and I accept it.

None of these things would last forever. They came from something that was impermanent and became something else that was impermanent. The cattle that became the leather, the cotton that became the rug, the tree that became the mail… And when they’re recycled, reclaimed, or reused by the earth, they’ll be something else again.

The things Coconut has destroyed are minimal, but they serve as a metaphor for something a teeny bit more important but no less impermanent.


my mom with coconut, or coconut with her nana, both happy

My mom is dying. She has Stage IV glioblastoma that resides in the right hemisphere of her brain and over half of her brainstem. She has lost her ability to move, speak, hear, feel, and live without multiple people assisting her at all times. She has hospice to make her transition as comfortable as possible.

And now I realize something: they call it a transition for a reason. She will not just cease to exist. She will become something else, in something else, in body, and in mind. Her heart is a big part of mine, and if I am so lucky to have a family one day, her heart will become a part of theirs too. One day, her body will be a part of the earth and become something new. A flower on a farm in Pennsylvania, a mourning dove by our bird feeder, and a piece of coral on a beach in Bora Bora, perhaps.

She is not mine to keep. She is not even hers to keep. To think that any of us could prevent her from transitioning would just be selfish. The truth is that all of us are dying a little bit everyday, not just her. I know I’ll transition one day and I hope more than anything I come back on a shore in Bora Bora with her.


11 thoughts on “letting go

  1. pradamary

    Victoria your insight is profound. Your mother lives in you, you came from her body, you carry her cells, your children will also be part of her. Her amazing parenting skills are what make you the person you are today. Bright, funny, generous, loving and caring and oh so much more. You are like the arrow sprung from her bow, as Kahlil Gibran speaks of children. Her body will transition out of this world but her energy will always live. You will see signs of her, she will come to you in dreams, you will see her in a feather or a bird that lights upon your window sill. You are the living embodiement of her hearts desire. She will be with you always, and someday when your body transitions to energy only, your energy will find her, I expect she will be waiting for you. You have been the best caregiver and daughter that anyone can have. You gave her the chance to dance on Broadway, have breakfast at Tiffany’s, to see the Grand Canyon, to dine out in a beautiful cocktail dress you know she would not have purchased for herself. Your selflessness is a beautiful thing in a world filled with people who are self consumed and hurtful. Remain your beautiful self and go forward with your young life, in your new marriage and with your little Coconut and live your dreams, be 100% you, and that will be the best gift you can give her. Love you much ❤ Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pradamary

    On Death
    Kahlil Gibran

    You would know the secret of death.
    But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
    The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
    If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
    For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

    In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
    And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
    Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
    Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
    Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
    Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

    For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
    And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

    Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
    And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
    And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dottie Applei

    There are no words adequate enough to express how I feel after reading this. My heart and soul seems to be over -flowing with a feeling of intense love and peace. I feel like my spirit has connected on a higher level. I feel in sync with Peggy, as if I am wrapping my arms around her. As for me, I will see her in every rainbow……where troubles melt like lemon drops.
    God Bless you…hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alice Hattenbrun

    God Bless – Peggy said that to me so many times over all our years of knowing each other, Now I give you a God Bless my dear friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cristina

    tori this is absolutely the most beautifully written piece I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Your mom inspired the lives of many and will always continue to do so. One of the sweetest woman I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She spoke kind words about you all of the time at BP. Continue to stay strong through this tough time and always know you have the support of so many people.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Krystal Rivera

    Tori. That was beautiful. I had you mom as a gym teacher but she was always more than that to me.. She was a friend.. Your mother is a beautiful person inside and out and she is lucky to have someone that understands what’s going on and can support her. I’m sure she appreciates that more than you know. Tell your mom Krystal Campbell Said hi and I’m thinking of her.. Also, tell her to say hi to Mitchell for me ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nina Heyd

    I don’t remember Peggy, but obviously a wonderful person. I need to tell you reading the material brought me to tears of joy thinking about my mom. You’ll always miss her, but I know from experience, she will contact you. You will know it immediately. I received contact from both my mother and father shortly after they passed. Only once, but that was enough to let me know they were ok. Things, views, loves, work, everything is guaranteed to change.
    Nina (Teixeira) Heyd

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bill P

    Tori : I went to school with your mom and to think she would leave this earth this way is unthinkable. Class of 1971 was a fun class and Peggy made is a far better class by her being there. She never had a bad word to say about anyone . I am not only loosing a classmate ,but also a friend . You make sure the last words you say to your mom is I LOVE YOU and thanks for all you’ve done God Bless you

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Adele Collard

    Let us leave this earth before our children, that is all we ask. If we can leave behind warm memories, stories to make someone smile, a certain song or maybe the scent of something that will bring back happy thoughts, this is our gift to our children. When we leave, let our children know they were loved beyond words, we will carry any pain, any worry, if it makes their life easier. Your Mom will leave you with all of this and more, she is your strength and you are hers.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: the sky on the fourth of july | you know it meant something

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