My friend, Mitch, and I went to the same high school, Rice High School in Harlem, NY. When I left for the ashram after high school, I lost contact, like many of my friends. About 15 years ago or so, one of our best friends died, I saw Mitch at the funeral and we picked up our relationship exactly where we left off. A couple of years later, he began to build his dream house…a log cabin in Woodstock NY. I came up several times to help him and, after it was finished, I used to go up more often.
At that time, I had a routine practice of morning meditation and prayer. About eight years ago, I went up to the cabin one weekend. I was sitting out on the porch wrapped in a blanket meditating. It was a cool spring morning and the sun was shining, but it wasn’t warm enough…yet.
I brought myself to that part of my meditation in which I was experiencing the silence. Then, as if it was downloaded into me, I experienced a memory; a vision as if it was happening right then and there. The odd thing is that prior to this happening, I have absolutely no recollection of this incident. Unfortunately, most of the memories from my childhood are painful ones. But I know it was a real incident…that it happened. I know it in my soul.
The flash of memory was when I was about 18 months old, and my Dad was swinging me over the little breakers at Rockaway Beach in Queens, NY. Each one of my tiny hands was tightly holding on to one of his big index fingers, and he was swinging me over the little waves. I heard the seagulls in the backgrounds and the waves were gently crashing. I could even feel the wet breeze with each wave breaking underneath me as my Dad swung me out of the reach of each wave that broke beneath me.
Then, as one wave was breaking, he didn’t pick me up in time and it broke right on my chest and face. I was surprised and wet! I could taste the salt water, and I looked up to my Dad and I saw him smiling. It was such a wide grin, I could see all his teeth, and his unshaven face, his big green eyes, and I too laughed, at first I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, but seeing my Dad’s reaction encouraged my reaction.
“Bill, bring Michael up here” I heard my mother’s voice say from somewhere up the beach. And Dad picked me up in his huge arms, rubbing his unshaven face into my chest he took me back to Mom.
Dad brought me up to the white bed sheet that Mom was on, which they used as a blanket. It had all the bags and towels spread all around it. Mom then dried me off and took out the Coppertone lotion and slathered it on me. It was such a loving act. I felt she was protecting me, and she wanted to get every spot on my body covered in this lotion. I just looked at her as she diligently applied this white lotion all over my body.
I came out of my meditation about that time. It was such a wonderful memory to have of my Mom and Dad. I couldn’t wait for Debbie (my late fiancée) to wake up so I could share it with her. She then reminded me that it was Mother’s Day. I began to cry. It was a good cry, not a sad one. At that point, I had been working so hard for years on healing my relationship with my parents and then to receive this gift; I was overwhelmed with joy.
I hadn’t thought of my mother or father on the days that honor our mothers and fathers for over 25 years, and if I did think of them at all, it was negative things I remembered.
That memory was truly a gift. Debbie said it was a gift from my angels, which I believe, but I also know it was a gift from all of those I was able to completely forgive: Mom, Dad and God.
For this Mother’s Day, I honor my Mother by sharing with you her gift to me.
Peace and love,