Tuesday, June 13, 2017
It is not time yet
My mother was sound asleep when I visited her in the nursing home. I gently placed her legs on my lap and massaged them. After ten minutes or so, she woke up and asked, "Am I dying?" "Yes," I answered. "O.K., but it is not time yet."
She said, "I'm scared." So I asked, "Why are you scared?" "Well, I won't get to be with you and the rest of my kids." "Sure you will. You'll be more present to us than you are now. Did you know that a person remains alive to God when they leave this world?" "O, that's right, but this is all I know."
"Yes, of course, it is natural to be afraid, but we will remember you and you'll still get to be with us because you'll be alive to us in our memories and in a new way to God. Every time I say mass, you will be part of that in the communion of saints. We are not very separated from each other when someone dies."
"Think of the people you will see. You'll see Dawn Mari again."
"I miss her so much. Every day."
"You'll see Ma and Pa!"
"O, I'd like that."
"You'll see your sister, Betty."
"And she can knock me on the head again."
"Yes. It will be a nice reunion, and before too long, the rest of us will go where you are. We won't be apart for too long, and you can pray for us and know exactly how we are doing."
"O.K. When the time comes, but it is not time yet."
"That's fine. You can go when you want. Would you like communion now?
"Yes, and Carol too."
Carol comes by and says to another one, "This man knows God and is his friend."
So, we prayed, and she asked to be able to go to heaven. So I asked, "Do you know God has forgiven your sins?"
"I guess. I just wanted to do better. I don't have big sins."
"Well, this is about being able to help you in your prayer so you can ask questions to Jesus and to let him answer. He doesn't care about your sins. He wants you to be happy, at peace, and to have no fear."
"I'm afraid of leaving all of you. I think of death when I am alone."
"You can go when you would like. We don't want you to have pain."
"The pain is in letting go of you. I want my kids to be near me."
"And you will be very near to us because you will be alive with God - always."
A woman in a wheelchair came over to wipe away my mother's tears. They just looked at each other with sensitivity and concern.
My mother said about a woman across the room reclining in a chair, "Look at this woman. She keeps smiling at me. She keeps loving me. She is very kind." My mother sat back and gazed at the woman and they both smiled at each other.
After chatting and massaging her legs, she shared ice cream. She had chocolate and I had orange sorbet. Carol had chocolate.
A non-verbal woman in a wheelchair came over to take the rest of Carol's chocolate ice cream. Carol held her hand, caressed it, and said, "You'll be all right, dear."
Then another woman in a wheelchair came over to us and she said, "Do you remember my name?" I asked for her name, and she said, "I thought you would remember. You were my favorite student. I just want to be remembered." Carol said, "She taught all the children in Whitinsville for many years."
Another non-verbal woman came over to my mother and caressed her hand. They just looked at each other and smiled.
I was amazed at all the love that was being passed around by these women. They take care of each other very well and they do not want anyone to suffer alone. In whatever way they are able, they reach out to one another and share their mercy to the one in need. They simply love one another and are exceedingly kind, and each person is able to communicate something through a simple gesture. They give all they have - heart to heart - for the good of others. This is a wonderful community of grace.