Ode To My Mother


She was the only mother I knew for the first 21 years of my life.  And if you ask me, “who is your real mother?” then I will tell you, it is her.

Her name is Beverly Marie Gaudette.  She was born on October 19th, 1948. She died on December 16th, 2013.

From the time of my childhood, all the way up through my college years, she was my best friend, my inspiration, my biggest fan, and the love of my life.

When I was little, I remember writing her long love letters about how I felt that we were One, stuck together like glue – that somehow I was her and she was me.  In retrospect, it was pretty advanced and heavy stuff for a six year old to be contemplating.  But she was really my whole world.  I told her all of my secrets, she was there for me through all of my dramas and adolescent tears.  We shared in the warmest love, the deepest belly laughter, and a bond of trust that was priceless to me.

It was a sharp thorn in my heart that she suffered so much from horrible and often debilitating bouts of severe anxiety and depression, a mental illness that was her adult way of trying to process the sexual abuse she experienced from a half brother when she was 8 years old.  A mental illness that haunted her life – our lives – and sent her down a dark road of endless psychotherapy, heavy medications and even two separate rounds of electroshock therapy.  A mental illness that I believe led her to her untimely death.

So, her pain was my pain.  I did EVERYTHING to try to make her happy.  I danced, I sang, I performed shows on my own personal stage which was my living room floor.  I would drag my little sister out of bed early on Saturday mornings and dress her up with all the random over-sized hats and scarves and mittens that I could find in our front closet.  Then, I would wake up my parents and pour my passion into yet another award-winning performance. Although my  sister, Renee, was miserable, it was all worth it to make my mother laugh 🙂

One time when I was in high school, I was working on attempt number 1,999 to try to make her quit smoking.  I desperately wanted her to be healthy.  So, while she was sitting at the kitchen table puffing away, I said “Ok, if you smoke then I’m gonna smoke!”  I picked up her pack of Merit 100’s, lit up and took a drag.  Since I was familiar with smoking something a little more green, but never cigarettes , I literally took a long drag and held it into my lungs. In an instant I burst into a fit of coughing and was rolling around the kitchen floor choking and gagging and gasping for air.  All the while my mother was standing over me saying, “Why are you smoking it like it’s a joint, huh?  How do you know how to smoke it like that?” Which of course caused my coughing to turn into a kind of “caught red-handed laughter” and the two of us laughed hysterically like giggling puddles on the kitchen floor for a long time.  Just another moment of hilarity for us.  Failure-to-get-my-mother-to-quit-smoking number 1,999 for me.

Despite all of the good times and great times, bad times and ugly times that we had together on this journey, perhaps the most amazing memory of all, was the memory of the moment that my mother left this world.

I know that might sound morbid or even crazy to say, but it’s really true.  Maybe it is because I have been so diligently dedicated to my spiritual path for the last 15 years and have developed sensitivities to feeling the soul and the spirit, but the moment that I feared my entire life – the moment of my mother’s death – was actually quite extraordinary.

We were all there that day – my father, my sister, my aunt and my cousin.  We had been pretty much by her side for the last 10 days, since we knew it was the end for her.  Three and a half years prior to this day, my mother suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and ‘incurred multiple infarctions’.  Although she survived, she was left with severe brain damage.  A top neurologist at the Beth Israel Hospital explained to us that her brain was damaged in ten different places and although she did not have a diagnosis of dementia, her brain looked like a person with advanced dementia.  She was 61 years old.  For the next three  and a half years she pretty much just lived in a bed, slowly withering away.   Her communication skills declined continuously – there was little to no talking.  She took in food through a tube that had been surgically placed into her stomach during the time of her initial emergency brain surgeries. There was absolutely no quality of life, and watching her have to live like this was torturing the hearts of those who loved her.

I was sitting in a chair by her bed the moment she took her last breath.   I felt a strong and bright energy all around me and suddenly I felt my mother’s spirit escape from her broken body.  That spirit was big and bright and joyous and it was literally doing somersaults around the room, celebrating its freedom.  That is what I truly felt.   And although Renee cried out in grief and ran out of the room, and my other family members were moving about, embracing one another, I just sat clutching the center of my chest, which was reeling with feelings. Tears that were mixed with sadness and gratitude, joy and awe, streamed down my cheeks.  I realized at that moment that my mother’s illness and the unfortunate events of her life were not to be pitied.  Of course, from one perspective it could look that way. However, what I saw then was that my mother was not a small, pitiful person at all.  In fact, she was a great spirit who had just come to this life to experience something that she needed to experience, and actually wanted to experience.  It’s hard to describe and impossible to put into words properly, but that’s what I felt.  I felt her true spirit – beyond the brain damaged woman who she had been for years, beyond the sickness and the suffering – a spirit that was filled with love and a kind of bronze, warm, sandy light. Suddenly I remembered that this was the light that I always saw in her hazel eyes.  It was the light of her smile that filled up a room. This was, and had always been, her spirit shining through, I just never knew it until that moment.

My mother is the greatest muse of my life.  Even now, as I sit down to write this blog, I find myself beginning by wanting to write about my mother.  I share here 3 poems for my beautiful mother.  I miss you mum!  I love you. Thank you for everything ~

Poem #1  Written in 1998 while I was away at school, studying at the University of Iowa

Angel-Heart Queen

There is a woman I know
whose heart is filled with angels.
Infinite numbers.
They sing when she speaks
And when she smiles
they fly out into the world.
Tiny white-winged angels of love
Encircle me
I have known this woman
my whole life
and longer (I sometimes feel).
Perhaps I was her mother in another world
And she mine, before that
And she mine, now.
The circle is endless.
She is the angel-heart queen of my world.
If she could know
that sometimes
when I sleep
when I walk
when I breathe
I cry.
Tiny white-winged angels of love multiply
across distances
And enter me.
They flow through me,
Every cell of my body
Every capillary of my soul
And exit me,
through tears.
Perhaps they fly back to her
and whisper my love
Holy is the angel-heart queen.
And my love, too.
(I miss you)

Poem #2 Written in September, 2000. After beginning my healing path with Dahn Yoga, I had many deep healing experiences purifying the painful childhood memories of my mother’s mental illness.  This particular one happened during meditation.


She wants to burn her mother’s bed.

Bed of sickness and sorrow
Bed of fearful nervous heart
Bed of poor me why God why? Help me please O God I can’t take another day.
Bed of no will
Bed of hopelessness
Bed of Soul dying

She wants to burn her mother’s bed.

Then. She changes. Her mind.

There is stillness all around them she imagines in the quiet hours of 4am new day. Now, there is a yellow rose in her heart and she sends a rainbow message to her mother’s yellow rose.

“Come out come out wherever you are!” she whispers. And waits.

And they become surrounded by capsules of white light.

And there is a rainbow bridge connecting them.

And she asks that the capsule become an ocean of light to cleanse her mother’s body.  Out! Out! with the dirty seaweed sadness in rippling waves. Residue, like thick mud, builds up and oozes from her mothers fingertips and toes and daughter cleans it up with tears of gratitude in her eyes. THIS IS HEALING.

The message comes clear like a song she suddenly remembers: Love and Heal.  Love and Heal.  This is all she wants to do. The apple tree in her yard tells her that there is fruit in her heart and her mother is her student and her mother is her teacher.

And the whole world is waiting.

Sunlight shines through branches and she knows that this is Life. Simple.  So she changed her mind, one day. This is the story of a girl who changed her mind. One day.

Bed of hope and healing
Bed of restoration
Bed of noonday nap time sunshine seeping through and laughter like butterflies all around us.

Poem #3 Written less than a year before my mother passed away, when she was just withering away in that body, in that nursing home, day by day. I wanted her to move on to a better, more peaceful and more beautiful existence that I felt she deserved.

You Did It

My Mother
My Angel Heart Queen
You taught me how to love.  You taught me how to laugh.  You saved my life.
You did it

You did it
My Mother
My Angel Heart Queen
You embraced 2 abandoned little girls.  You made them feel like the most adored and special little people on planet Earth.
You did the most important thing that any one human could do.
You completed your work.
You did an amazing job.
You did it.

You did it
My Mother
My Angel Heart Queen
You suffered enough.
You endured endless hurt and pain.  The darkest suffering — you persevered again and again.  In the name of Love.
You did it.

You did it
My Mother
My Angel Heart Queen
You suffered enough
You payed back your debts
You cleaned up your karma
You did it.

You did it.
My Mother
My Angel Heart Queen
You’re done. You’re finished. You don’t have to suffer anymore. No more.
Do you hear me?
Please hear me.
Don’t you trust me?
Please trust me.

I promise you….

There is more Joy than this, waiting for you.

There is more Light than this, waiting for you.

There is more Peace than this, waiting for you.

It’s your time now.
Time to be free.
Time for peace…finally.

Our Mother. Our Angel Heart Queen.  Our Savior, Our Hero, Our Friend.
You will live on forever in our hearts.
And we will meet again soon.
In a happier place than this.

We want to see you smile again.
So go.
You’re done.
You did it.
You’re free.

Our Angel Heart Queen.
It’s time to go back to Heaven.
I will sing for you
And you can fly ~

6 Thoughts.

  1. I like you. I had a near death experience three months after my father died. I had no memory of my life, but there was my father in front of me. Only I didn’t know him as my father, I knew him before, and before and before. a long history of knowing. and my only feeling was, I am home. The joy was so powerful that I cannot speak of it without bawling. And he turned me around and said, “you have to go back.” Go back where? I had no memory just the now. He turns me back around (we were standing in a river from the moment I arrived) He said, you have to help your brother Ben. at the moment he said my brother’s name, I immediately remembered my life on earth. The next day I flew to Colorado. Told my mother about the dream. And when Ben went off to work I searched his entire room. Top to bottom. I was doing what my father asked. My mother told me that Ben had been acting paranoid and watching out the windows when he was home. And that one day this huge scary man came to their door asking for Ben. I will not go into details. But my brother with all our help is now well and since that day I have been asking the universe, “What else do I need to do? in order to get back home.” I love your blog.

  2. Dear Danielle,

    I wish to send you and Renee lots of warm love en sparkling life energy on this day with double meaning.
    (Read Renee’s post on facebook and then started to re-read your blog).
    I truly believe she’s up there, a strong, shiny and loving spirit. She will always be there, watching both of you.
    Love Yvonne

  3. I sat with my mother when she took her last breath too. It was peaceful and quiet. And I was glad she wasn’t suffering anymore. I’m glad your mother isn’t suffering anymore either. My heart goes with you on this day.

    • I too am very glad that she isn’t suffering anymore Kathy. Thank you so much for sending your heart. I am truly touched by all of your messages regarding my mother on this day. It means a lot. I am sending my heart back out to all of you.

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