My mother made her final transition last night. After I told her, my friend Shiloh said, "When the mother passes, the fabric of the universe is shifted and moves into a new shape." Today begins the first day of that new shape for those of us who can hardly begin to imagine the world without Trish Rankin in it. We are all weary but filled with broken-hearted love and gratitude. Last night, my sister, my mother's two sisters and I held my beloved mother precariously in our adoring arms through the harrowing end. My daughter was on the phone with us when she breathed her last agonizing breath.
I’ve been journaling daily about the journey of helping my mother through the rebirth we call death. Although these moments are intensely intimate and personal, I am sharing them publicly (with the permission of my mother, who before she stopped communicating clearly, told me “If it helps others, use anything about my story, my illness, and my death in your blog, in your books. If I’m going to leave this planet, at least let my life and my death live on through the hearts of those who might learn from it.”). Mom even said, “Maybe I’m dying so you can learn how to help others fall sick and die with trust in God.” The other day, she said, “I have a synapse to God. You have a synapse to me. We can bring others along with us.”
I am in Ohio right now, midwifing my beloved mother through the rebirth we call death. I already lost my precious father almost 12 years ago, two weeks after my daughter Siena was born. His was a beautiful, sacred death. The moment he breathed his last breath, my mother, who was married to him for 40 years, threw her body on top of him and cried, “David, I love the way you died.” Now, I am preparing to let go of the woman I never thought I could live without.
In Part One of this series, we talked about the Narcissus/Echo myth and how to identify whether you or someone you’re in relationship with behaves with a lot of traits characteristic of the narcissist. Today, we’ll focus on how to identify whether you have a tendency to fall into the empath/Echo/codependence pattern, which hooks into the narcissist pattern like lock and key. If you feel confused because you identify with both the narcissist and the empath, join the club! Most people who fit one of these patterns fit both. In some relationships, you may play the narcissist, while in others, you play the codependent. Most people have a preference for one pattern over the other, but some flip-flop between them equally. Really, they are two sides of the same painful coin. But don’t despair! This is a curable pattern, and there’s so much love, joy, intimacy, and freedom on the other side of this pattern interrupt.