I was with my mom last night as she lay dying of brain cancer. I stroked her brow and kissed her many times. We were alone together in the room around 9 p.m. Only a crack of light from the hallway shined in from the partially closed door. Holding her hand, I told her that it was okay to let go. That God would take care of everything. I read to her from the book of Psalms.
She slipped away at 10 p.m.
Driving home late last night, memories of our journey together flooded me: her teaching me to whistle on kitchen steps one summer when I was 5, showing me how “big boys” tie their sneakers by themselves and lying in bed with her and my younger brother when we were small children and her teaching us our nighttime prayer:
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die, before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
I prayed that prayer with her last night, over 40 years later from when she had first taught it to me.
My mom’s life was marked by extraordinary kindness.
Psalm 85 reads, in part:
I will hear what God proclaims;
The Lord – for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who trust in Him;
glory dwelling in our land.
Kindness and truth shall meet
Justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice look down from heaven.
My mom wasn’t a particularly religious person, but it didn’t matter one damn bit. Her Mass was one was sweetness, her host one of gentleness.
God rest this lady of kindness . . . .