At Home with the Lord

Flowers at my mother's grave 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

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