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A Death, a Hallway, and a Solstice

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

Today is June 21st, 2023, it's the summer solstice here in the northern hemisphere. 32 years ago, my 42-year-old adopted mother died in a nursing home that overlooked a church. Today, I mourn her again or still. Somewhere else, a couple may be celebrating their wedding anniversary unaware I was ever a witness to both their ritual of love and my own mother's death, only separated by brick, sheet rock, and glass.

I sat next to my mother's bed as she died, listening as her breathing continued to worsen. Overcome by the despair and fear submerging me until I too, struggled to breathe. After she took her last breath, I walked down the hallway to look through the window at the end. I was looking down on the church next door. It was hosting a wedding on that particular brilliant summer solstice. The sun's power was strong enough to touch me through that pane of glass and it dissipated the emotions I had carried with me from that room. Feeling the sun, and seeing that wedding, I dared to wonder and hope.

It was a portal, that hallway. Not as dark as my mother's room, not as bright as the sun's rays through the window. One end was death. The other end was potential.

The window proved my life would go on, despite what was happening at the other end. I understood at 13, there were so many first I had yet to experience. And I did.

2 years later I started my first job.

3 years later I passed my driver's license test.

4 years later I graduated high school.

7 years later I started my first 'real job'.

11 years later I met my biological mother.

11 years later I had a daughter of my own.

15 years later I was married.

16 years later I gave birth to a son.

21 years later I graduated college.

26 years later I buried my adopted father.

27 years later I met my biological father.

I am now 3 years older than she was when she died and I have walked down many corridors and looked out many casements. And even today, I am walking in that place of confusion, somewhere between losing and expecting. Just waiting to reach the next view and feel the solstice sun illuminate what was and let me feel what could be.


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