Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Mother's Work is Never Done

I will tell you this right now.....I don't go to church every Sunday.  I was brought up a Catholic, raised in the faith, attended and loved, a Catholic girl's high school and received all but the last of the sacraments.  But, I don't always make it to my house of worship and I'll admit, I do feel the guilt of omission on those Sundays.

Having said that, let me say that I am a deeply spiritual person, a true believer, a woman of great faith and devotion.  I "pray" a lot and make intentions for people who I know need Divine intervention.  I tell the truth when I say "I will keep you in my prayers".  If I don't intend to pray for you, I simply will not utter those words.

Last year, a friend died suddenly.  She was a person who we knew had a big heart, always helping people, unselfish and giving of herself.  It was her heart that failed her, literally, and everyone was shocked and saddened when they heard the news.  She had but one son, a grown man with a family of his own.  While Judy was a faithful Catholic, her son took another path and became a minister in "The Church of Whatever" as did his wife.  So, when it was time to say goodbye, there were two funerals.  The first, a traditional Catholic Mass of the Dead, the other on the next day, a Celebration of Life.  We were unable to attend the Mass so we attended the Celebration along with a host of others who came to honor Judy and offer condolences to her family.  There were music, drums, singers and songs that were so uplifting I thought very soon we'd  be dancing in the aisles.  After several eulogies, her Son the Minister took his turn.  He said lots of sweet things, all of them true, about his mother but the thing that stuck in my mind was his reference to her death as his "blessing".

Judy's son had things in mind when he counted his mother's death as a "blessing" I'm sure.  Perhaps he explained them to all of us in attendance but my mind wandered as it often does in a church and all I kept was the idea of the death of a loved one possibly being a blessing and it wasn't until months later, when I lost my own mother, that I truly realized what was meant.  I'm not using a dictionary here....I'm just stating what I think of as a "blessing".....an "opportunity" a "gift" something "special".

My own mother's illness and death.  Excruciatingly difficult to live through.  Watching, listening, praying.  Not in vain, no not by any stretch of the imagination. For the loss of my mom, as devastating as it was, did bring with it blessings.  Opportunities to see faith in action, to reflect on our lives together, to hold on to the promise that she would always be there for me, always my Mother.  I have been blessed by her passing.  While my heart still breaks and I still cry so easily, I have times when I connect with people in ways that are different from those before her death
I realize so much better now that time is very precious and that life is short and that to love and be loved is an amazing part of that life.  I understand now, more than ever, the importance of living each day and finding joy in every moment with a loved one and I now understand so much better "a mother's love".  I know my own mother's love is still very much alive.  She's still watching over me, guiding me. I feel it in simple and unsophisticated ways.  She's busy, in her new home, wherever Heaven is.  I know it.

I was slated to begin my journey to Italy tomorrow, one day after what was to be the most horrific storm that has ever hit this part of the country.  Had I gone to the airport tomorrow, alone with my month's worth of baggage to deal with, I would have faced long lines, perhaps a delay that would have caused me to miss my connection in New York. I might very well have become stranded at JFK, alone and tired.  Not a good way to start a journey.  I know I am correct when I see my mother's hand in my decision to change my flight, days before the storm was to come, hours ahead of the hundreds of others who would decide same.  An effortless exercise, a few moments on the phone, and all was done.  I think I'll be fine, blessed perhaps.

A mother's work.....it's never done.

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