March 21st I went up to the countryside above El Escorial again, to somehow connect with my mother. It was her birthday, a day which leaves me unsettled in the weeks running up to it every year, as she died 9 years ago. And there’s something about her birthday that is so powerful, sitting right there at the start of spring. I get blocked about it, get a little bit grumpy sometimes, short-tempered. All because of a date!
This year I wanted to undo some of all that, release it, so I went up to my favourite place, thinking of doing something ceremonial, but no idea what at all.
The skies were amazing. They got me thinking about God…
“Do I believe in God?” I wondered. Absolutely in terms of the power that created all this beauty and wonder, but as a person, the old white-bearded man, no. More the force, the presence, the ‘is-ness’. So what do people connect with, I wondered, when they feel overwhelmed by the presence of ‘God the entity’? And the answer came as a powerful feeling in my chest which I could name as Compassion, Love.
I walked up into the oak woods, still bare, hard buds waiting to explode into leaf in the coming weeks, and there I found my mother! Narcisus, daffodils, one of her favourite spring flowers.
And I stood there, surrounded by these delicate flowers, and I looked out into the trees and I just talked to her for 20 minutes, out-loud, quietly. I told her how I felt about her, how I loved her, missed her, how much I was grateful for. About the fears her death had brought up in me. About my life now, what I was up to, about her grandchildren. I couldn’t have dreamed of a more direct communication. Blocks and tightness and all the stress around that day slipped away, out into the woods.
Up above the clouds tumbled and rolled, and I thought for a moment I could see her face up there staring off into the distance, then it dissolved away again.
I’ve got to talk to her more, I thought. Not just wait a whole year storing it all up, keeping it all at arms length, waiting for this huge pressure to build around March 21st. Perhaps I’ll make the 21st of every month ‘talk to mum’ day, give her an update, keep in touch. Then she won’t be so far away.
With love from Madrid, dear mum,