Thursday, December 25, 2008

An Every Day Saint -- My Mom

Not usually do I speak of my life or my opinion, for that matter. But, as I spend Christmas this year for the first time in my 58 years without my mom, I want to speak of every day saint.

Dementia she had and I quit working, brought my parents into my home so that I could take care of them both full time. Mom could not take care of herself safely at all and dad's nerves were horrible worrying about what would happen to mom if he died suddenly...he was living in constant fear that she would go outside, wander, and be lost forever. So, as their sole care provider for now 3-1/2 years, I see clearly how special both of them are. But, this is about mom.

My dad is still living and is 89. He and mom saw their 67th anniversary a month before she passed on. His memory fails him nowadays so he actually doesn't realize that she has been gone only a short 11 months. He thinks it has been 9 years or so. This must be one of God's gifts that he can have peace and joy this Christmas instead of suffering the loss of his wife of 67 years and his best friend.

But I remember. I remember for both of us, dad and I. There is a feeling of sadness yet joy. The joy comes in my heart from knowing very very well that mom is in heaven. I have no doubts. No need to explain how I know that...but I do.

Mom. She pondered everything in her heart. She truly did. No matter what ever may have been wrong, she never gave a hint that anything was wrong. As I look back at all the years that I knew her, I see very clearly that she had that special something that reminds me so much of our Blessed Mother in the way of pondering all things in her heart.

Even as my mother was passing away for a straight 6 days, dad and I always in the same room here at the house, not a word of pain, not a flinch of pain, not a word to say, not one complaint of any kind. But I know she was aware. She was passing with the same graceful way she had lived. The only way I knew that she was aware was when I asked her if she wanted to see her great grandson, then 2-1/2 years old. They had been the best of friends every day. She almost sat straight up and nodded yes emphatically.

Hospice tried to tell my mom the first day that it was ok to go. Literally, I physically stood between the hospice nurse and my mom so that my mom would not hear her words. I'm sure the hospice nurse thought I was wrong. But I know my mom. She may ponder things in her heart but NO one would tell her when it was time to go and when it wasn't.

The hospice nurse didn't come back for the next 5 days. She knew, however, that mom was in her final days but because mom wasn't passing as quickly as hospice thought she should, no doubt even the hospice nurse thought they had made a wrong decision about when mom's life would/should end.

However, I knew mom was going and I knew that my mom's decision to hang on was definitely between her and God. Ok. But after awhile, I was also starting to lose my mind wondering what mom was waiting for. I started to feel guilt that maybe I had made a wrong decision.

My daughter went to the hospital on January 20th to have her second child...we knew it was to be a girl. I received a phone call at 8:30 pm that Mariah Grace had been born. I whispered into my mom's ear that her great grand daughter was born, healthy, and her name is Mariah. My mother's breathing changed immediately. I knew she had heard me. No doubt about that.

At 10:30 pm dad went to bed. I watched the Mass on EWTN at 11:00 pm. Right after, I sat with a bust of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet with all my heart and soul for my mom. At 12:10 am, January 21, my mother took her last breath on the "amen" of the Chaplet.

My daughter, Christine, gave birth to Mariah. My mother, Mary, left this world to the Face of Jesus 3-1/2 hours later. My dad, Christ (his nickname for Christopher), remained asleep until morning. Of course it would seem that he should have been awake or that I should have got him up. But no. Dad and his confusion would not have faired well...better to let him sleep til morn.

So, this Christmas I really miss my mom. But, I can also feel joy in knowing that her joy is now more than I can imagine. And, I know my mom...she's here alright if there is any way she could make that arrangement with Jesus.

We love you, grandma.

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