We were afraid of her when first we heard of my Mothers cancer. We repulsed by the thought of her intrusion into our lives. We had no room for her. She was not wanted, she was come too soon, she was a monster a demon an entity that every member of our family intended to fight off with ever ounce of strength we could muster.
We wept, we prayed, we vowed faithfulness to be rightous people. We gave to the poor, we helped the elderly in our neighborhoods, we started attending our various churches and that included three religions. Those of us who followed the Native American religion chanted and consulted a Medicine Man, we had special prayers said by the Trappist Monks at the local Monastery said. We had Mormon family members call our Mothers name into the Salt Lake Temple prayer roll. We had Jewish family member praying in the Synagogue in New York. Surely with all the prayers all the cancer specialists, the Angel of Death would not find her hidden in the remote mountains of central Utah.
The cancer specialists pronounced her cancer free in March of 08. See, it worked. The dreaded monster, who was given such an awful name, Angel, who would ever call such an entity an Angel? Anyway the monster called Angel of Death would not take our beloved Mother away. Her half sister in New York claimed it was the Jewish prayers, her half sister and three daughters in northern Utah claimed it was the Mormon prayers, her son and two other daughters claimed it was the Catholic prayers and Trappist Monks, I and my brother knew it was the Mohawk Medicine man, she knew it was because it wasn't her time to go. We were positive the C word would not enter our Mothers life again, her life would be like her Grandfathers' life 110 years of story telling and living life for her Grandchildrens children.
May came with blossoms and blue birds as blue as turquoise necklaces at the Sundances. Mothers day was wonderful our Mothers hair was growing back and it was a beautiful snowy white with a shine that caught the sun like the blue in her black hair used to catch the sun. Monday after was a doctor visit and all was well. That Friday Momma started to cough. She called the doctor and he had her come in. Nothing showed on the x-ray. She continued to cough.
June she coughed, worse and worse. Daddy called the cancer doctor. They went to see him and he did a "work up" her lungs were cloudy. By August Momma had lung cancer.
The prayers started again. Everyone everywhere, her halfsisters, her children, the Trappist Monks, The Synagogue in New York, The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, The Medicine Man, everyone prayed. Momma coughed. She took chemo again. She got weaker and weaker. She was sicker this time. She couldn't hold her head up. She got so she could'nt talk. She could only whisper. I took care of her up in the mountains she loved so much. Soon she could'nt live in the mountains anymore, she had to be near her doctor.
It was November 9th. I started to feel different about the Angel of Death. I even thought I felt her walking the streets of our little village in the mountains as I packed Momma's clothes to go up north. I looked out the bedroom window into the street and thought I could really feel the Angel of Death walking the streets of our village. "Who do you come for this night? Angel of Death? Is it my little Mohawk Mother? I hated you and swore I'd do everything in my power to keep you away. But now, now I welcome you with open arms. You are a welcome guest. My Momma hurts so bad and her life is not a life any more. There are ants walking on my side walk with a better quality of life than my Momma's life. I beg of you, forgive me for my lack of hospitality before, please, come and I will welcome you with open arms. I will make you a most beloved guest in the home of my Father and Mother. Please Angel of Death, do stop here."
My Father came into the bedroom and asked me who I was talking to. I told him I was tired, (which was true, I was emotionally exhausted) and talking to myself. He said, "well don't do that it scared me I thought I heard Angels and we don't need Angels hanging around with your Mother having one foot beyond the veil and the other on a banana peel."
That night it just so happens that a two year old in the next small town over died in her sleep from pneumonia. So the Angel of Death was not there for my Momma but for someones little one.
We drove up north and Momma and Daddy stayed with my two sisters who live close to the Cancer Center and Momma's doctor. Momma got her last chemo treatment around the 11th of November. She went back to the mountains to die the day after Thanksgiving. She asked her half sisters and all her friends and children to pray that she would be able to die soon, and that she would die a good and peaceful death.
I wasn't in the mountains when Momma died. I just remember praying that God would have compassion and send the Angel of Death to embrace my dear little Mohawk Momma in her arms and end her suffering. My sister who was there said that when Momma went she went in peace and in her sleep.
I no longer look upon the Angel of Death as a monster. I see her as a loving and beautiful Angel who brings peace and love to those who suffer. It is we who are left without the presence of the one we love who suffers not the one who is taken into the arms of the Angel of Death. She is an entity of Light and Peace, she ends the deepest pain, both emotional, spiritual and physical, she embraces and holds to her bosom those who have suffered the suffering of death its self and brings their spirit comfort.
I find comfort in knowing that when she came for my little Mohawk Mother, my Momma's suffering and gasping for air was over, her pain ended, her sorrow at leaving loved ones was eased and she was comforted in the arms of an Angel. The Sweet Comforting Angel of Death.371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99c