A place where peace dwells…..Jamie and I remember



I’ve been re-reading The Fiery Cross and just finished the scene where Jamie comes home to Fraser’s Ridge after the gathering. He is trying to wear down his rambunctious horse when he suddenly comes upon a place he recognizes. He calls it a place of peace. He feels himself and the horse calm and knows he is in a special if not holy place. He then has a sensory memory of his mother. He comments that he owns a few of these memories. They are scenes so real he can even smell them.
I have a few of those too. I’m never sure what triggers them, but they are welcome and precious. I have a memory of rolling around in the grass with several puppies crawling all over me while I giggle uncontrollably. I own a memory of my three month-old daughter lifting her head and smiling at me. I can see and smell an early morning picnic at the lake with my grandmother Hutson. And a memory of my mother…this memory is long and very detailed. It is the night before she died and it is a gift. My time with her that night was a perfect confluence of events. She had spent a month in and out of the hospital. She was there again. My boyfriend, now my husband, was supposed to pick me up when visiting hours were over. He was late. The nurse that shoos never came and her roommate was not in the room. It was meant to be.
I can see the crisp white sheets, the dimmed lights and smell the sweet flowers set around the room. I can hear the sadness in my mother’s voice when she tells me she is tired. With an ironic smirk, she shares about how poor her choices were in men. “I just wanted someone to love me and take care of me”, she whispers as she bows her head. She is only thirty-six, but right now with sunken eyes and sallow skin she seems so much older. Waving the fine-boned hands I inherited, she acknowledges the dozens of flowers and cards that surround her. “I know I have people that love me”, she sighs, “it’s just not the kind of love I wanted”.
I’m only seventeen, but I do understand. I’ve watched her pour her love into men who didn’t receive it and didn’t deserve it. Yeah, I know she’s tired and sick; sick at heart.
So, why, you might be thinking was this a moment of peace? Why would I treasure this memory? I received closure. So many never do. My mother went on to share her hopes and fears for myself and my four siblings. She told me she loved my Dan and hoped we would someday marry. She told me how proud she was of me and how she didn’t worry about me because she knew I could handle whatever happened.
I heard a car horn, I looked out the window and saw my late ride. I turned to my mother and tried to reassure her that all would turn out well. She smiled weakly and kissed me. I never saw her again, but I know that hospital room had become a holy place and that night was a gift. Life had become too hard and God took her home to give her the love she needed. And, he gave me a memory where peace dwells.


13 thoughts on “A place where peace dwells…..Jamie and I remember

  1. Thank you for sharing your place of peace, Beth. You are a gifted writer and express yourself with an open heart. Diana was right. It is a lovely piece, and I will add – it is well written.
    It reminds of the time I spent with my grandmother during her final days. I was living in California when she taken to the hospital. She was 89, and her health was simply failing. Because she lived in Indiana, I wasn’t sure if I would make it home in time to see her. I made the decision to go and told the studio where I was working I needed to take some time off but didn’t know how much. They approved my leave, and I flew home.
    By the time I arrived, the decision had been made to move my grandmother to a hospice. She wanted desperately to go home, but the doctors had advised against it. Understandably, she was terrified of dying alone in a strange environment. Both fortunately and unfortunately, I have a very, very large family, and they all showed up during the day to visit. But my mother and I were the only two who stayed with my grandmother around the clock.
    My mother slept on the spare bed in my grandmother’s room while I sat up beside my grandmother’s bed. The only light source came from the night lights in the hallway outside her door, but each night, with my eyes adjusted to the dark, I would read while my grandmother slept.
    She would wake up periodically each night and smile when she saw me beside her. The nurse and I would turn her together or do whatever else needed to be done, then she would go back to sleep. In the morning while the family visited, I would sleep.
    One afternoon, my grandmother had a story to tell which my mother translated for me. [Although my grandmother could speak English, she had reverted to speaking only Spanish in her final days.] Her story came from a dream about the Virgin Mary who was wearing a long white dress and was walking toward a light. My grandmother saw people hanging from her skirts and knew they were being led into heaven. She chased after the Virgin Mary, not wanting to be left behind, but was unable to reach her before waking up. My grandmother was convinced it wasn’t a dream but a vision. And with that belief, her fear of dying went away. She wanted to go to the place she saw in her vision because it was beautiful and welcoming.
    After she finished telling us the story, she turned to me. She told my mother that I was her angel because every night whenever she woke up, I was always there. I made her feel safe and loved and never asked her for anything. She instructed one of her sons to retrieve a special necklace she wanted to give me. Sadly, as often happens during situations like this, several of the family members had been going to her house and taking what they wanted in fear of someone else getting to my grandmother’s things first.
    Her son brought what was left of her jewelry, and she picked out a different necklace to give me along with her favorite rosary. To this day, I treasure both items but not nearly as much as the way she looked at me when she called me ‘her angel.’

  2. chazak

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful memory of your mom and that moment you tenderly shared. After recently recovering from a long and frightening illness, I am more grateful than ever before for the precious people in my life. This time in my life has been fraught with trouble, yet, it has produced a simple truth. Every day is a gift, our time is not just our own. We are so beautifully interconnected and should always treat one another as if today was our last day. In the busy-ness of life, may we never take our loved ones for granted! We can support one another and understand the others’ hurts and needs. It gives us opportunity to grow.
    Wishing all who read here a happy mother’s day – whether you remember your mom, are a mom, or are like a mom to someone. Prayers for comfort and grace for those who grieve this day.
    Again, thanks Beth for such an open window into your thoughts.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I am moved by some of the comments folks share and your’s was especially moving. Thank you for reading and I hope to hear from you again. God bless you and yours.

  3. celeste

    Thank you for sharing. Although I wasn’t able to be with my mom in those final days I have other “peaceful places” I go to be with her. It is a wonderful gift that I hope to leave for my own kids and grandkids. God bless you.

  4. Lizbeth

    Thank you, Beth, for sharing yet another personal, thoughtfully written piece. I remember that specific scene that you cite which adds to the beauty of the man who is Jamie- his deep spirituality and sensitivity to recognize the holy. To you & your visitors, Happy Mother’s Day, & congratualtions again for your recent recognition/gig. I am glad I can still post on your site because I recently found this blogger tumbldressed.tumblr.com & wondered whether you had read any of her OL episode reviews.

      • Lizbeth

        *Tell me what you think, if you can*. If I had posted that site on the other, I’m afraid they would think it unsupportive of Starz maybe & would have removed it. There are a lot of recaps out there, but this blogger brings up good points in her anaylsis of the episodes; I thought of you.

  5. Martha

    I hope I get to be as lucky as you the day I loose my mother,and be given the gift of such a sweet goodbye.Thank you!

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