Friday, August 1, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Since right after my last post almost 2 months ago, mom had literally looked like she was on death's doorstep, with one foot inside. All 3 of her brothers came, made amends, told her they loved her, and left peacefully. She had more than one set of Last Rites, and maybe a day or so before she was mostly in a coma, she was able to make a confession, receive communion, and make peace with our priest (she wasn't a huge fan). Then, this last weekend, she really started showing more and more signs of impending death. She started doing the "death rattle" pretty hard core on Saturday. Saturday evening before I went to bed, I wasn't sure she would still be alive when I got up on Sunday, so I did everything for her that I would want done for me. I prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet with her, made the sign of the cross on her forehead with some holy water from Lourdes, and put a few grains of blessed salt in her mouth. Basically, I just poured as many graces on her as I could think of at the time. She actually still hung on until just before noon on Monday, when she took her last breath.

Believe it or not, this picture was only taken 2 summers ago. Crazy how time can fly by, and seem to drag on at the same time. The last month and a half or so, mom was totally unable to leave the house, and really couldn't be left by herself for long, so I was unable to leave the house unless someone came over, who was comfortable with all her meds and needs, which was rare. Poor Emma was only slightly less trapped than I was, as she would get to go places with Daddy occasionally.

The viewing and funeral Mass were very nice. Many of mom's friends, and several of mine came to the viewing to pay their respects. She had an old patient of hers come (she was a nurse for over 20 yrs), a couple of old co-workers, of course friends, her internist and nurse, our alarm guy of over 20 yrs, and one of my cousins who came down from Chicago. My rabbi uncle tried his best to come with his wife and 3 of their 7 kids (the others were at camp) from St. Louis, but traffic delayed them so much that they missed it. They just came to our house to visit with us until 11 at night. There was even a Dr that came from the Chinese Clinic that my mom volunteered at that came. Turns out, he actually knew my dad too! His kids took piano lessons from my dad about 40 yrs ago! That was so neat! Not many people knew my dad too. It's been almost 20 yrs since my dad died. Anyway, our group of homeschool friends got this beautiful flower rosary for mom, that hung in her casket. Apparently, there's some way to turn it into an actual rosary, using those roses!

The funeral Mass was just beautiful! Of course, it was sung, in Latin, done by one of our favorite priests ever, Fr. John Hollowell. He, of course, was WONDERFUL! He talked during his homily about how my mom really inspired him by how she really didn't care what consequences came from her search for Truth, and her bravery at admitting after one set of RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) classes, which lasted nearly a year, that she just wasn't ready to become Catholic, but instead, just started the process all over again before coming into the Church just over a year ago. Chocolate Chip, who had been really surprising me with how well she was handling it all, completely fell apart almost as soon as the funeral began. I had a hard time seeing her hurting so much, and I started to tear up a few times myself, especially when they loaded the casket back into the hearse. Mostly, I'm okay, though.

After Mass, Emma's godmother and several of our homeschool friends pitched in and provided a very nice reception downstairs. These last couple days, while exhausting, and emotionally draining, were beautiful reminders that, while our family (in the state) may be very small, and shrinking, our network of friends and people that loves us, is quite large. 💗

After the funeral, Emma went home with her godmother, and Chocolate Chip, Mark, and I went to Buca di Beppo, where we had a nice meal, and Chocolate Chip and Mark shared a "Colossal Brownie Sundae", which was...well...COLOSSAL!!! Because after all, chocolate fixes many, many things.

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