The Death Of A Mother

AnnieBurnside3 2One of my dearest girlfriends received the call not too long ago that most of us dread—her beloved mother was literally on her deathbed.

After battling stomach cancer for almost two years, the time of her transition was very near. The morphine drip to ease the pain was imminent.

Within hours, my friend was on a plane headed south and watching the sunrise all the while knowing that she had been called to nurture and assist her most animated mama who loved walks on the beach, her dog and her sexy black leather pants in her death experience.

In less than twenty-four hours, her mom transitioned through the ever so thin sacred veil and into the larger perspective that physical death allows.

They had time to laugh and to cry amidst nurses in and out. Many friends and family members stopped in for their moving good-byes, as well.

And there my beautiful friend stood, the witness and keeper of her mother’s death experience.

The magnificence and glory of it all was not lost in the sadness of losing the woman who gave her birth. Of course, she felt the sadness, but she simultaneously felt the incredible beauty and profound joy in all of it, too.

I am honored to have been in touch with my friend throughout her vigil with her mom, and I was so moved by her willingness to remain present, wide-awake, and available to her mother. She did not shy away from the authentic soul to soul moments that her beloved mother deserved.

My friend spoke openly to her mom about her life, about her death, about her feelings. She thanked her mom for ALL of it—the ups and the downs.

She told her mom that this was not the end, but rather the beginning of a new relationship in which they could always share through feelings and signs.

My friend let her know that she would be ready, willing and able to continue an ongoing relationship with her at all times.

She invited her mother to remain a felt part of her life.

My friend called me more than halfway through the day to tell me that she had never felt such compassion for her mother or another human being—that this compassion and love for her exactly as she was—overwhelmed her.

Everything else—the judgments, the resentments, the labels—had simply fallen away.

It was now just two souls without masks facing one another in truth.

Her mother was so grateful to be fully seen and assisted in her death experience. She didn’t have to take care of anyone else’s fears while she faced the greatest and most glorious moment of her life.

In the end, my friend had said that she simply wanted to lie next to her dear mother, hold her and feel gratitude for their shared time on each of their infinite and eternal journeys.

In the last few moments, that is exactly what she did.

After openly acknowledging her mom’s death experience by asking her mom what she was experiencing, who she was seeing and inviting her to release from the body whenever she felt ready, my friend finally told her mom that she desired to rest beside her. She laid down right next to her and simply felt her presence and held her hand.

Within a few moments, her mother felt free to move onward and upward, and she made her transition.

I share this because I am so very proud of my friend.

She did not shy away from the death experience because of her own fear of death. She showed up for her mother and lovingly and openly and even joyously gave her mother permission to fully experience and share her transition.

This can be a new model for all of us. Yes, let’s soul nurture one another in life, but just as importantly in death. (Tweet-worthy!)

The death experience is 100% guaranteed for all of us. There are no exceptions on this one.

Can we become a culture that is more accepting and open and unafraid of death?

I spoke to my friend the morning after when she was back at her mom’s house and laying in her mom’s bed. She both wept and laughed saying that it was the most amazing and beautiful experience of her entire life.

We all feel tremendous joy when we usher a newborn babe into this world, but to usher a beautiful soul out of the physical body and home?

Well, as my friend discovered… What a true honor!

Warmth and Love,


A modern bridge between the mainstream and the mystical, Annie Burnside, M.Ed. is a soul nurturer, award-winning author, and teacher specializing in parenting, conscious relationships, authentic living and spiritual development. Her book Soul to Soul Parenting won the 2011 Nautilus Silver Book Award. Connect with Annie on Facebook and engage with her on Twitter.

  • Val

    That was beautiful. I may be going through this with my parents soon, as they are elderly and needing more care. What a loving example your friend is for us. Thank you for sharing.

    • Annie Burnside

      Thank you, Val! And I am sure that you will be a wonderful soul nurturer to your parents when their time to transition arrives. Much Love, Annie

  • David H. Breaux

    Hello Annie,

    Thank you for sharing your friend’s experience. Thank you for the positive energy of your words. I find that your blogs always bring expansive energy to others and are pleasant to read.

    Although death may be an opposite of birth, life is without opposites and our connection to our mothers (and everyone for that matter) at different levels remains a part of that infinite life/love. We are always connected to those that pass.

    I experienced an event after my mother’s passing. For two days I asked her for a sign to let me know everything was alright. After two sleepless nights, on the third night I fell into a place in between just falling asleep and the sleep state. She came down and took me by the hand, guiding me upward to a bright, cloudy space. I could see faint images of those around me as they moved to and fro. I remember there being little white and orange balls of light floating all around us. There, she introduced me to her mother and brother who had also passed and a few others present who I didn’t know. Without words, she looked at me in reassurance that all is well and I felt it. She took me by the hand again and led me back down to the the sofa where I was sleeping. I opened my eyes, at the time unsure of what just happened. I then closed my eyes and fell asleep for the first time in a few days.

    In life, there is no death.

    With compassion,
    David H. Breaux

    • Annie Burnside

      Thank you, David! You are such a gem in this world. I hope you know how much others receive from reading your shares. The experience with your mother moved me greatly. Warmth and Love today and always, Annie

  • Yes, indeed! I experienced something similar when I was attending my mother’s passing in 2004 and saw how her body somehow were restored to that of purity in her face once it became final that she was going to leave this earthly life. And yes, in that moment, nothing else matters but presence, love and spirit, very much like the miracle of birth. Grief comes afterwards (and in preparation of) of course but we should really reclaim this natural process and the time it needs in society rather than leave it to only hospitals and then assume people to be depressed when they really have a natural very healthy mourning period. God bless!

    • Annie Burnside

      A natural process it is and twofold in many ways—sad from a human perspective AND beautiful from a soul perspective. Let’s seek to blend and honor the two. Thank you for sharing your insight and experience, Alexandra. It is much appreciated! Love, Annie

  • Mike Vecchio

    This article is powerful reminder about choices… and about compassion. For me, It shows, in the end, it is all good. It’s about love, being real, being true to yourself and the freedom to choose. Great piece, Annie! Hugs to you!!

    • Annie

      Thank you, Mike, and I completely agree with your take on it. My intention exactly:)