So much happens in the period of ninety days: facial features of a baby develop in a mother’s womb, a leisurely summer season passes in joyful enjoyment, an overseas study abroad program is happily experienced by college students and health benefits finally kick in at a new job. Sitting quietly in the chapel this afternoon I realized something else that happens in the period of 90 days – the culmination of extreme sorrow in the very depths of one’s heart at the loss of a beloved soul who has passed from this earth.
It has been 90 days since my beautiful mother went home to God on a warm Cape Cod afternoon. Thinking back to that day I can hardly remember it – my family gathered around her in prayer willing the sound of her breath for just a moment longer. In the end, we knew our good God was calling her home and somehow we found the courage to surrender our will and offer her beautiful soul to Him, the One who made her and was calling her back to paradise. Since that moment there has been a void – the loss of our anchor – in all of our lives.
As a family, Mom taught us to rely on God for everything. So it is with this in mind that I write tonight’s blog post. I must honor her request and her faith and try to go on without her. While I can’t see her physically anymore, I have no doubt that she is still with me and our entire family. Just the other night my son Andrew and I were talking about her during his homework time. As I was giving him some “Nona” advice, the lights in our home flickered. He looked at me and said “Nona is listening.” On the way to school yesterday, amidst the dusk of early morning quiet, Andrew pointed to the rising sun through the trees and said “Look mom – that sunrise reminds me of Nona – she is here with us.”
I am so grateful to my exceptional Mom for instilling a great sense of faith in me and my siblings and also in her grandchildren. This gift is one that will stay with all of us for a lifetime. When Emma was driving into Boston to park for her first Christmas Celtic Sojourn dress rehearsal this week, she was nervous. Despite the GPS, directions and well laid plans, she still felt anxious. She later told me that she had no need to be because Nona was with her. When she got to the garage a well dressed gentleman helped her park and directed her to the exit. “I felt like Nona put him in my path.” she said.
There are so many beautiful examples of Mom’s presence in our lives lately. Of course as human beings we always want more – and in this instance – we want her. But I am confident that she continues to reveal herself to us. Just this week my Dad had an amazing experience. His good friend from church went to Hospice and the family requested that he visit. When he walked into the same facility where Mom was and asked for the room, the nurse directed him to #2 – Mom’s room. Dad could not believe it – but his dear friend would also go home to God from room #2. My sister and I told him that was actually a beautiful gift and probably Mom’s doing. She was waiting with open arms to welcome Charlie home to heaven from room #2.
Mom would have loved this quote from St. Josemaria “All things are possible for him who believes.” These words are Christ’s. How is that you don’t say to him with the apostles “increase my faith!” Over the next 90 days I think I will ask God (and Mom) to increase my faith just a little. These first 90 days have been so hard for all of us without her but I know deep down that she is still here. Perhaps if I ask her for a little more of her faith, it won’t be so tough in the days to come… Afterall – she is here.