Christmas in Chicago 1968

The Last Christmas Before My Mother Died

For my first official post on the subject of death and further disclosure of my personal journey towards healing, I will honor my mother. There’s more to this story, but let’s start at the end.

My mom died from diabetes in April, 1969. I was 31 months old; two years and seven months. I have vivid memories of her being very sick and have always been able to recall the shock of her death. She was throwing up blood and had me run to get a pan from under the sink which she could spit up into. Then she was whisked away to the hospital, never to return. To be honest, she adopted me at birth (from mother #1) and was not my biological mother; not sure if I knew that then, but I had already grown very attached to her when she suddenly disappeared forever.

I stayed home with a babysitter while my mom basically bled to death in the hospital. When I found out she had died, I was sleeping on this orange couch (see photo: though the Christmas decorations were long put away). My dad woke me after returning home from the hospital to tell me that mommy had gone to heaven… and we cried together in the dark, early-morning hours standing in this room, with no lights on, and while it rained outside. I had waited for them both to come home, sleeping on that orange couch, anxious about why it was taking so long into the night! At long last, Dad came home alone, without her. I didn’t understand what he meant by heaven. Where did she go? Who was God?

With no way to process the information, I’ve been mad at God, the Universe, and Everyone ever since. Ultimately, I went mad. And I stayed there, mad. Well, until recently that is.

I don’t remember whether I ever saw her dead body; she was buried in a tomb rather than a grave. I plan to visit her Mausoleum, outside of Chicago, in 2018 or soon after.


I’ve uncovered the grief of her passing at two different times in my life: once when I was about 25, then not again until I was about 45. I know I’ve never gotten over it. The first time I exposed grief from my mom’s death was after having received about 25 deep tissue massages, intensively done over a period of just six weeks during a high-stress part of my life. When the massage therapist asked how I felt that day after the 25th massage was over, I realized for the first time, in as long as I could remember, I had absolutely no physical pain! It was completely gone! I felt blissfully wonderful!

So THIS is what it feels like to have no pain! Wow… blissful! Free of worry and care, free from despair.

But wait, there seems to be something else there, deeper. Why do I still feel pain? Why do I still feel pain, if my body doesn’t hurt?

It does hurt, further down, in my gut, and in my heart.

I started bawling right there in the massage room with my massage therapist, discharging more grief from my mom’s death, still yet to be fully processed. A big cyst of hidden emotional pain was lying there, somewhere behind my heart, devouring the love which comes to me before it could have a chance of flowing through me. It might explain why my broken wrists, broken shoulders, the surgeries and the chronic pain, plus the anxiety that comes with it, when all combined, still does not equal the pain of having lost my mother when I was only 31 months old. This could also explain all my addictions, my overindulgence and general lack of seriousness about life. I learned we all die anyway, at a tender age before most people do.

The pain of my mother’s death… it could be my path towards relief, healing and ultimate salvation. I’ve been running from it my whole life, shouting at others in anger or emotional intensity, especially when I least intended to do so. Why was I so misunderstood? Nobody loved me, and I couldn’t even love myself. The pain was deep. God had taken my mother from me before I had a chance to get to know her. Was that fair? How is a 2-year-old supposed to cope with a broken heart?

For starters… by breaking everyone’s hearts around me, I suppose. By always leaving people with a bad impression rather than no impression at all. By seeming to be annoyed and mad all the time. By holding it all inside my body, where it has manifested as chronic pain and anxiety, and which has me wound up tight most of the time, like a ball of lightning waiting to strike.


Instead of continuing to wonder why everyone always insists there is something wrong with me, and forever be confused why nobody ever understands me, I started to discover what essentially amounts to the truth about the nature of ourselves, our relationship to each other, God and The Multiverse. Over my entire lifetime, and not suddenly, I found myself.

Again very recently, I experienced one of the most wonderful massage therapy sessions ever! It felt as though the therapist uncovered this grief of my mother’s death without trouble and proceded to squeeze me out like a sponge, tears dropping into a copper bowl below the opening for my face. More grief was released from my tissues, and so more of the unscrupulous micro-spams in my muscles of my neck and shoulders released both tension and anxiety along with the emotional pain. Very therapeutic, and right on track for someone with seven-degrees of massage training! Myotherapy, heat-therapy, deep tissue, trigger-point, myofascial release, and relief from deeply-buried trauma! Quite the best massage I’ve ever had.

It has taken me 50 years to figure out personal suffering well enough to have finally learned how to derive satisfaction from, and have gratitude for, all of my Life’s lessons. The immense punishment I have suffered, with high impact emotional pain to my mind before my awareness was even fully online, and many high-impact injuries taken to my body since the first lesson about God and Heaven when I was only 2 years old.

To one degree or another, suffered so have we all.

Today, I have absolute genuine gratitude for all of the pain. Thank you, my pain. Without my suffering, I may have never found my way home. I’m sure you’re somewhere on this road or you wouldn’t be looking around for some hope.

The answers we seek are out there. May you all find peace in your lives whenever or wherever possible.

Les Konley

Parker, Colorado

P.S. I love you, mom #2. I will never forget! The COLOR ORANGE is to REMEMBER YOU BY! Your death has driven my purpose in life. Thank you forever. Oh yeah, we all know you enjoyed the crap outta those Fritos back there in 1968 at the Brookfield Zoo!

P.P.S The story picks up nineteen months later, when I was adopted by loving mother #3 at age 4, a mother whom I consider to be the mother who raised me right and taught me self-discipline. Thanks mom! Love you for everything! That’s right, I’m in the “3 Moms” club. All smiles here! A line of caring women to whom I owe all my respects. Also including my soul-mate wife and beautiful daughter, there are many women in my life whom I’m grateful to, for each day I’m alive.