The funeral home was empty except for the staff who were awaiting our arrival. I walked in alone. It was so quiet that I could hear each step I took towards the viewing room. The chairs and flowers were all arranged in their proper place. I knew it was going to be an open casket. I would have to “approve” my mother’s appearance and make sure it “looked like her.” I could see the coffin in the front of the room. I was so silent I could hear my own heart beat. I stepped forward. As I walked up to the coffin, all of time and space seemed to disappear. The air around me was thick with the presence of my mother. I looked at the body lying there in a soft pink dress. Hands crossed over the waist. Hair and make-up copied almost exactly from a photo we had given to the funeral home. I felt a presence in the room. The air around me was like a ball of unconditional love – embracing me. Making me smile. It was as if I could feel her breathing the life force around me. I could hold no other thought in my mind other than “my mother is free and happy.”
I am sitting on a fold-up chair at the cemetery. The priest is mumbling prayer after prayer. My mother’s best friend and brother are reading poems and song lyrics to the small crowd. My mother’s coffin is waiting to be set into the ground. I look to the tree on my left and there is a small green caterpillar on the nearest leaf. Through the eyes of the caterpillar I see my mother. My mother is in the caterpillar. She’s not just in the caterpillar, she’s in the the bush, the grass, the sky, the air I am breathing. My mother is everywhere.