I guess sometimes when they leave, they are really gone.

My mother left her body four years ago today. That is 1460 days. Not one of those days has passed that I have not thought of and felt her absence.

When my mother left, she was gone.

I have experienced the deaths of many significant people in my lifetime. It began at a young age and has been a constancy that I have learned to live with. I have become increasingly friendly with grief as a result of these many losses. I have also become increasingly comfortable with the ongoing vibrational relationship with those who have moved on. I cherish the ongoing “visitations” with people who are no longer on this plane of experience. Those visitations are not replacements for the much-preferred physical encounters. The “in-spirit” encounters are lovely, but they do little to soften the longing to hear the voice and touch the hands of those I have shared incarnation with.

There have been no visitations or encounters with my mother.

I spent a week with her in an Ohio ICU where she was cognizant but, on a ventilator, so unable to speak. I needed to return to my work here in Florida so was not present when she transitioned a week later. I energetically felt her transition these many miles away, and that was the last I felt of her presence.

Since she left she has really been gone.

And so, the void that was left by her passing has truly been a void. No wafts of her energy. No cardinal birds that signaled her attending. No feelings of her at any time or in any way.

She was a unique and complicated woman. I guess it should not surprise me that the wake of her passing is equally unique and for me complicated.

I sought my entire life to get her attention. Most especially her approving and affirmative attention.

There were glimpses.

Brief, fleeting glimpses.

And now I guess in some ways I am spending her death still seeking her attention. Even if it is from an entirely different realm.

Four years. 208 weeks. 1460 days.

Life has moved on as it always does. Much has occurred. I have been fully engaged in my living, loving, and serving.

There is a subtle and ever-present void that I still somehow expect to be filled. A void that I still hope will be filled. Not as a replacement. Not as a 24-7 reality. Just a moment. A waft. A glimpse, a sense, a nudge.

Wherever she is she is not with me.

And so, well meaning people assure me she is always with me.

Actually, she is not.

Oh, she is with me in countless memories. She is increasingly with me as I look into the mirror. She is mimicked for me in the way I do so many things. Her tone is heard in the way I say certain phrases. Her emotional character is often felt in my own inner atmosphere. So, in those ways she is here.

It is not the same.

Some readers may get that, and certainly some will not. It doesn’t matter. This is my feeble attempt to put into words what is clearly ineffable and wordless.

Maybe I am somehow hoping the words will fill the aching void.

In many ways my mother and I were enmeshed. No matter how many miles separated us I could always tap in and feel what she was feeling. In later years I grew beyond the need to make things better for her when she was troubled. I never really could achieve that, and I suffered as a result of trying. So, when she passed on my intense grief was also met by an inexplicable freedom.

For the first time I was an independent energy system having an independent experience of me.

And maybe that is why she has left me on my own.

I guess sometimes when they leave, they are really gone.

And perhaps that is her final gift to me.

There was always a level at which I felt I was meant to mother her as much as she was meant to give birth to me. I continue to grow more accepting and peaceful with that. I will perhaps always live with a subtle longing to feel her approving attention. To feel something more than a void. To feel she somehow chose to linger with me.

For now, she is gone. Really gone.

And for now, I am here. Really here. Holding all of this in my heart.

Whether she is here or not, I will always be my mother’s son.

And in that way, and for now only in that way, she will always be with me.