Tomorrow, November 7th, will be the 5th anniversary of my Mom’s death.
Today in 2005 was her last full day alive on Earth. I sensed it would be as she lay in her hospital bed not responsive to eating or drinking anything. Her energy levels just seemed markedly lower than in previous days. The day before, November 5th, she seemed brighter and more vital, relatively speaking. There was a family reunion in her hospital room as my siblings, her grandchildren and in-laws, some whom she hadn’t seen in many years gathered about.
Once the family reconnection was over, it looked as though she was comfortable with all that. She saw her people.
There was a storm in town that night, and a major power outage in the area, so I spent the night in her hospital room as the old house of hers was darkened. There was little point in staying there and the hospital had generator power, so…
If I recall correctly, she drifted in and out of sleep all night long. She was not communicative anyway.
About 6:25 AM the nurses arrived for her morning vitals and such, and I saw outside that power was restored to the town so I decided to go back to the house to wash up and have breakfast.
At 6:28 AM I leaned over her bed and told her that, along with the news that I’ll be back in an an hour or so.
And then I said “I love you, Mom.”
She softly, barely a whisper, replied, “I love you, too.”
I turned and left and went down the hallway to the elevator the the ground floor. After I exited the hallway and started to make my way to the parking lot I heard the hospital doors burst open and the voice of a nurse cry out, “Sir!?!?” I turned around and she was beckoning me to return.
In just the couple of minutes since my departure she had died.
I have the feeling that my Dad, who had died in 1995 was waiting to greet her as she went home and wanted her to himself as he escorted her to Jesus. (The fact that nurses were present is irrelevant, they were there for their job. I am family and there would be a symbolic notion for Dad wanting me elsewhere. I had been her caregiver and now he was taking over.)
So. My Mom died.
(Disclaimer: I do not mean to “canonize” my Mom. I understand that she might have spent some time in Purgatory. But due to the possibility that time flows differently in the afterlife, and we are discussing a dimension that is eternal, who knows what exactly transpired subjectively for my Mom just at 6:30 AM on November 7, 2005.
I write this disclaimer due to the common practice at funerals, Catholic and others, of automatically assuming that the deceased wind up in Heaven right away. Purgatory or ***GASP*** Hell is never discussed. Admittedly I am not open to the idea she is condemned, as she devoted her life to serving the Lord and her family.
Subjectively to her she may have spent some time in Purgatory, maybe objectively to us, if we were able to observe, hardly any time at all. Such may be the ways of eternity.
Part 2 will be later today.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"