Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It is O.K. Let go

The hospice nurse called us this morning to let us know that my mother has hours left on this earth because she has been unresponsive and has not been hydrating. Her breathing is slow and her body is giving out. That is clear. We spent time with her all day to hold vigil.

I arrived to meet the social worker and the Sister of Mercy, who had been attending to my mother's needs. They were very kind and they showed concern for our family and our mother. They have done well in comforting my mother.

I told my mother that it is very fine for her to let go and to transition into the next world, where there would be no weeping and no tears. It is a place where fear no longer exists and God's mercy takes care of every concern of hers. God would see to it that she would go gently into the next world and she would have the freedom that she always wanted. So many arms would be there to welcome her and to embrace her warmly and the only tears she would have would be the ones she shed when she realized how beloved she was and is to very many people. She would be reunited and restored to her most loving relationships and that God would offer her the type of perfect love that we seek on earth, but is only achieved in the life to come.

I said the usual goodbyes that I have uttered so often, but it always seems like they are fresh word: I love you. I'm sorry for the ways I hurt you and I ask for your forgiveness. You also are forgiven and our relationship is completely reconciled through God's mercy. And thank you. Thank you for being my mother, my sister in the faith, a daughter of God, a friend as well. 

Months ago, she talked about the train conductor coming to take her for a trip on the train. I told her that Christ is the conductor and he paid for her ticket and he knows where he is taking her. He will never let her slip from her grasp and he will never let go of her hand. He is excited because he wants to show her to the people he has gathered in heaven. The train is moving into the light and the darkness has passed. 

Just then, Sr. Pat stood closer and we were bemused because on the music channel, "Climb Every Mountain" played in the background. One more hill to go, Mom, and then you'll arrive in the place reserved for you.

My family started to arrive and we began lots of different conversations. We played songs for her. We sang. We told stories. We held her hand. Hours passed.

I excused myself so I could attend the wake of a colleague's brother in Newport, Rhode Island. It was a long ride but we just show up for one another. I returned back to the nursing home three hours later and more family members arrived.

I must look like quite a sight. I'm applying chemotherapy lotion for precancerous skin blemishes that many Northern Europeans get. My face is blotchy and tight and my face, head, neck, and arms are on fire. It is painful to shave, and it is worse if I do not shave. This too shall pass. 

As most of the family gathered, we prayed the church's commendation for the dying. My brother said he would return, but as we were not sure when, we went ahead with service. Everyone enjoyed the fragrant oil that I picked up in Jerusalem. Even the nurse joined us in prayer, and even the young ones participating in the prayer of saying goodbye.

After an exhausting day, we retired late at night with the assurance that the nursing staff would keep us posted throughout the night watch. 

Rest well, dear woman. You are free to go. 

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