Monday, May 19, 2014

Goodbye Loving Mother...

My aunt died on Mother's Day. I wasn't close to her, and I haven't seen her since my grandmother's funeral in 2002. So, her death hasn't really affected my life too much (I'm not going up to Boston for the funeral Mass this week because my children have a lot going on), but I am thinking about her life and praying for her soul throughout my days.

She had more than her share of suffering in her life. There were beautiful moments and triumphs, for sure; but, the suffering stands out to me. She divorced when her three children were still at home. I know nothing of their marriage, but I heard through the grapevine that it was not a happy home. For reasons that I do not know (and it's really none of my business), her three children chose not to be in her life for many years now. These were years (at least 10 years, but I think more) that were spent in a nursing home suffering from MS and early onset dementia, among other ailments.

My father and my uncle were faithful visitors to the nursing home. But sadly, to their knowledge, no one else came. This makes me sad. I think of Mother Teresa talking about how one of the greatest poverties is to be forgotten. Granted, I did not visit her in the nursing home when I have been home either. I suppose I do have some good excuses, but they do not make me feel better because...

She was a good aunt to me. She chose special thoughtful gifts (which are long gone), such as a name plate for my desk when I got my first teaching job (she was also a teacher in Catholic schools). I also remember a nice pair of earrings. I felt the love behind the gifts (and I am doing my best to teach my children to remember that gifts from family are often picked with love...and feeling the love behind the gift is much more important than the gift itself!).

Anyway, my father was responsible for writing the obituary. I think he did a beautiful job. Even though her children deserted her (perhaps a strong word, but to my knowledge, they chose not to see her), she never stopped asking for them. My father often told her that they sent their love to make her feel better (and perhaps, please God, they were thinking of her and loving her from afar!). The first line of her obituary read that she was the loving mother of three children (one who predeceased her).

I know this woman loved her children (I spent a lot of time with them as a child). Perhaps she was not the mother that she was called to be and meant to be (who is!?), but she loved her children (imperfect love though it might have been!). I am happy that people who read her obituary (and I assume some people will...I actually browse through the obituaries sometimes in the Sunday paper) will know that she was a loving mother.

I hope that my obituary reads this way someday too (maybe that's where this is all coming from...).

My aunt did receive the Sacraments and absolution (and hopefully her suffering has been uniting her to Christ for quite some time!), so I am hopeful that she is enjoying her eternal reward free of all suffering.

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon her. Rest in peace, loving mother.

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