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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Describing Death - The Lost Letter.

I was reading my bible tonight and as I flipped the page a letter fell out. At first I didn't recognize it, although it was written in my handwriting and then it hit me.

These were notes that I was taking while sitting next to my Mom as she was dying.

The notes are as follows:

As I sit next to my peaceful mother who is at the tail end of her journey here on earth, I begin to ponder thoughts about what will be next for her.

As I watch her breathing slowing down with long pauses between breaths, her body seems to be preparing for that ultimate rest. I see the life that usually filled and radiated her being, slowly fading away.

A short while ago she was whispering the words "Mary, Mary, Mary."

My mother who had a devotion to the rosary and a special relationship with our Holy Mother, apparently is calling once again for her intercession.

Who will be the first to comfort her upon transitioning from this world to the next?

Will it be one of the saints, Mary, Jesus, God, My father, my sister Kathy who only lived one day of life, My mother's father who died while my mom was still in her mother's womb?

What will heaven be like? Who really knows for sure. I can only think of being in God's presence, to be surrounded by pure love.

So many thoughts go through my mind watching my mother travel toward stillness.

Have I been a good son to her?

Have I loved her enough?

Have I been there for her when she needed me?

Have I truly honored her?

The answer is "Not Enough."

Can you imagine what thoughts must be going through the mind of a person in the later stages of life, in the dying process?

Could they be:

Have I loved enough?

Have I really been a good Christian?

Did I really serve others; the widows, the orphans, the poor, the homeless, the imprisoned?

What about all my failures?

We spend so much of our lives patting ourselves on our backs for all the good we have done. Isn't it ironic that on our death bed we can only think about what we have not done, or our mistakes.

As her body weakens I can imagine a sense of letting go. Letting go of her wants, her desires, her needs, and turning all that she is over to God, to take her away, to be absorbed by Him.

What would it take to do that at an earlier stage in life? To give of oneself entirely to God. Not at the final moments, but in your 20's, 30's, or 40's?

Prior to sickness.

What would it take to let go, to let go of our own desires, our wants, and to be completely absorbed by God?

To allow him to direct us, to guide us, to serve him with all of our heart, mind, and soul.

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