I am here alone with my mom. The old hymns she loved are playing quietly. Mom is resting quietly covered with one of our homemade quilts. Most of the grandchildren, great and great-great grandchildren have been here this weekend to say their goodbyes. This alone time with mom is a special time for me. I can pray the rosary and she will move her lips to the words. Praying seems to calm her. Alone with her, I can also tell her all the good memories of days gone by we shared. With humility, I can ask for forgiveness for the times I may have disappointed her. It is a time of sacred goodbyes.
Mom is transitioning from this life to her Father. After 96 years of a deep and lasting faith that sustained her in good times and difficult times, she is leaving us. Raising a big family, juggling farm work, housework and raising a family of seven, she deserves to rest. Yet, as I hold her hand and she looks at me, I sense the difficulty letting go. After all, she has been the backbone of our family and I am sure she thinks about what will become of us when she is no longer here to guide us. It is what most mothers probably think about when leaving their children behind.
How blessed am I to witness this most sacred journey as my mom goes from this life to everlasting life. Our family has spent the last days wiping away tears, reminiscing about our childhood and laughing together. Small children toddle around the room, touch mom’s hand and wonder where grandma is going. I know mom can hear us as we talk and I know she is enjoying the stories and action. But now, in the quiet, with her to myself, I am blessed to feel the Divine Presence sitting and remember all she has taught me. She was an example of Benedictine values before I ever became an oblate. Work, prayer, stability, stewardship, humility and hospitality I learned at her knee.
The window is opened just a crack for fresh air, as mom loved to be outdoors, but also in an old tradition of freeing the soul to take flight to Heaven. As she makes this journey, I will do what I can to make her last days a sacred goodbye.
Mary Baier, OblSB
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