Sunday, January 21, 2007
I'll Be Gone For A While
I got word this morning that my mother was killed in a car accident. No one else was hurt, and we were very relieved to hear that. We all have our griefs, and if you are suffering from one of your own losses, may I suggest this post by The Anchoress, not to mention this one (scroll down to the end for the definition of sin)?
My mother will be greatly missed by the vulnerable, not to mention her relatives. Last year she became very irked when she started getting piles of the local Catholic church's mail; I laughed pretty hard when I heard that. "Checks and everything," she said indignantly. "So you opened it?" I asked. "I didn't realize at first," she answered. Of course she didn't. She gave to so many Catholic charities and got so much mail from them that she wouldn't have known the difference, and I guess the post office got confused as well. Literally, she had to pick up her mail in a special cart because she got so much she couldn't carry it, and she went to the post office quite often.
The Papal office had started sending her nice notes, and a rather nice crucifix arrived from Pope Benedict. She wasn't Catholic - she was a dedicated old-school Episcopalian - but my mother knew what "One Holy and Apostolic Church" MEANT. When I decided to turn Catholic she dug through her chest of things that all these charities were sending her and came up triumphantly with a nice rosary blessed by Franciscans. I know she was giving large amounts of money to several religious orders who had an overbalance of aging religious, some of them were Catholic and some not. She gave to an incredible number of charities of all types (including multiple veteran's groups, animal rescue and conservation/wildlife reserves), and if someone in the family or in the community was in need, she'd think about it and show up. She really resented it when her local property taxes (she lived up north) were jacked up so high, because it literally did take money from those who desperately needed it. Literally, it did.
It wasn't just money, either. She was always there in a way that few people try to be. She was a kind, generous, intelligent and perceptive woman who tolerated no nonsense and stood for no nonsense. She bought just about nothing for herself and spent a good chunk of her income on others. She lived a life of service. She didn't just give to veterans, she volunteered at the veterans hospital. She visited the sick and the sorrowing. She watched over people.
We have already talked to the hospital, the police and her doctor, and we will handle the funeral just fine. What will be hardest is trying to remember all those she helped and to make sure that we forget no one as we try to pick up her burdens. The number and extent of people she was helping was incredible. Last summer when she was so sick I warned her that at her funeral I was going to take that chest of all the things various charities had sent her in thanks for her donations, dump them all in a bowl, and tell those who attended to pick one and follow through. I think I will do just that.
There is a passage in the Gospels that deeply impressed me (Matthew 25):
 "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.Well, I have no fear that he will tell her to depart from him, because she fulfulled these words, quietly and unannounced, while feeling nothing but worry that she could not do enough. My mother saw people as they are for what they were and cared for them regardless, and if That Which Is will do the same, there is nothing to fear for all us who do not reject the needs of the other.
 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats,
 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
 Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink?
 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee?
 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'
 And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'
I wish you all well while I'm gone.
I am so sorry for your loss. Ugh. Please accept my sincere condolences.
I will pray for you and yours.
Your Cotillion Sister,
Like RG said, another Cotillion sister.
Prayers for you and your family.
I'm so sorry for your loss. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.
I'll bet there's a lot more to tell, too, and I hope you'll share more with us in time.
May God comfort you in your loss.
We've pretty much got everything arranged for this weekend. Very little sleep.
ALL IS WELL
By Henry Scott-Holland
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone,
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, and if you want to, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
let it be spoken without effect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was;
there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind, because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.
All is well.
be well, mama and family.
May God's Blessings comfort you, as well as the memory and example your mother set.
The Pope's car is being auctioned off to raise money for Habitat for Humanity:
The bidding is already more than $200,000! Personally, I think this is a really fun and creative way to raise
money. The auction goes until April 14th if you and your readers want to check it out.
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