My mother died last Wednesday, the 19th; we buried her ashes on Saturday. So I’m digressing from Father Michael for today. This is a picture of my mother’s grave topped by the flower arrangement from her funeral Mass. I had thought the arrangement would stay in the church to be enjoyed there, but there it was when we visited the grave later in the day. Such beautiful flowers!
So my mother’s earthly journey ended -two days short of her eighty-seventh birthday . She’d spent each day since July 23 in the hospital or in a rehab facility. She never got the chance to come home, even temporarily. Her condition seemed to improve at first,and I thought she just might have turned things around in her first visit to rehab. But then complications arose- she had breathing trouble, with severe coughing and needed oxygen all the time.Then there was anemia and a trip back to the hospital for transfusions. My mother could barely swallow,would start choking, so she then had a feeding tube inserted. She didn’t want to leave this life and refused until last week to even consider a ‘do not resuscitate’ directive .It took a while for her to comprehend that she was going downhill. She too, stayed hopeful about returning to health, but then eventually saw the reality. My mother remained alert and ‘with it’ till the end. A week ago Monday, I relayed the excitement of shopping for a wedding dress with my future daughter-in-law. My mother was happily looking forward to the wedding.
The hospital records show my mother’s vital signs were normal at 6am Wednesday. But by 7am, nursing staff saw my mother wasn’t breathing. She had died peacefully in her sleep.
We had the Mass at a parish that was close to the cemetery and near the northwest Chicago homes of most family. The priest gave a nice, personalized homily. What was especially meaningful to hear about and imagine was the reunion of my mother and the rest of her family. She’d be with my dad, her parents,all her siblings. But the priest focused on my mother seeing, meeting again, my sister, Karen, who died after living only six days. I was about four when Karen died and remember seeing my parents’ grief at the loss of their newborn. All the more joyous-that family reunion in heaven! God is so good.
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5 :6–8