My mom died on April 12th. We'd had over a year to prepare, as she'd been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia just after Thanksgiving in 2010. As a final indignity, we will not be able to bury her until April 30th. This could also be looked upon as a measure of her importance, as we have striven to coordinate church services, with availability in the military cemetery where she and my dad are entitled to be buried. One might even compare our trials to arranging for the burial of a great dignitary. No three days of mourning and then rest in peace, here. In truth, it is just another case of hurry up and wait on the government. The mortuary sent the wrong paperwork to Army Records. When we finally got a date from the cemetery, the church was booked. The next available date at the church was the day of my oldest son's confirmation. So we took the following two days for the Rosary and Funeral. The day of the funeral, Friday, which is also my youngest son's birthday, was not available at the cemetery, so we will have to wait out the weekend until Monday to bury mom. This has made for absolute chaos.
My daughter-in-law was baptized and confirmed at the Easter vigil on the 7th. Her husband is receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation next Wednesday. Mom's Rosary and Funeral are the following two days. My youngest son's birthday, the same day as the funeral. Mom's interment the following Monday. In trying to make sense of all this, we could easily choose to let mom's death overshadow all the joyful celebrations which have surrounded it this month. I think mom would want it otherwise. She gave us plenty of time to prepare. I have grieved much over the past year. Now her suffering is done.
As I meditated upon the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary the other day, I was struck by how Jesus, after his night of Agony in the Garden, went willingly to His death. I was indeed questioning "what if this is it"? I think He knew we needed assurance that "this" is NOT "it". That He has truly gone to prepare a place for us, so that we may live this life fearlessly and fully. That we will, indeed, rise with Him to enjoy eternal life. Mom is already there.
Our celebrations this month, are an answer to years of fierce and determined prayer by her. I think she would want us to celebrate and not let the agony and frustration of the burial preparations get us down.
I love you, Mom. You are always in my heart.