What a ride this week has been, so much has happened and yet it’s as if time has suspended too. Our family is deeply touched and thankful for the community of love we are surrounded and supported by. Thank you for sharing in our grief, thank you for helping us with the logistics of planning a funeral, thank you for all the kind words, thank you for the loads of prayers for mom and for us – for giving her a beautiful send-off from her earthly life. We truly can’t imagine how we would have done all of this without you. Thank you for being and continuing to be a part of our lives as we make small steps forward and begin adjusting to life without mom physically by our side.
I was asked at the reception if I would post the words I shared about mom prior to mass. And so I share these words with you, as I reflect on the faith-filled and inspirational woman, my mama, who even in the midst of her suffering gifted us with so much!
Here we go:
This is a Mass of Christian burial. This means there won’t be any eulogies during the service, however there will be a reception immediately following mass where we can share about mom’s life. As mom’s body will be cremated, the burial of ashes will be at a later date. Father Scott said we could do a eulogy immediately prior to mass, but warned it could be difficult for us to stay composed. Well, none of us could promise that, and so I just want to share a few thoughts before we start mass.
As many of you know mom endured a lot of suffering throughout her illness over the last 7 months. Mom being who she is did not announce her suffering to the world but I can tell you that right from the time of diagnosis, mom no longer knew a life without pain and in the last couple of months especially, the pain was immense and very difficult for those of us who love her to witness, often helplessly.
I can say with certainty that it was mom’s faith, her belief in a loving, generous God who has a perfect plan for her life (and death), which was the source of inner strength she needed to endure this journey. I also know that mom considered St Clare’s parish her home.
Mom’s illness did not define her; she did not fall apart because of it. Rather, mom delved deeper into her faith and utter dependence on God. Right from the start, Mom made a conscious effort to make this illness a meaningful, faith-filled experience not just for her, but for those around her, and by God’s grace she succeeded as the rest of us watched in awe.
Back in March when we were driving from one of the specialist’s appointments, mom turned to me and asked how I am feeling about everything. Since I was driving, I couldn’t fully allow the emotion to take over but with tears in my eyes I told her how heartbroken I was and how difficult it was to hear the various specialists explain what awaits us with this disease. I had a hard time accepting the suffering that awaited her. Mom was emotional too, and I know that the information we had heard was difficult to accept and absorb for her as well, but with tears in her eyes she told me very calmly and clearly that she is prepared to accept this suffering, if this is part of God’s plan for her life. She said that she would endure it, and offer it up for the faith of our family. And as I look around and see this community – the MP group, CWL, the Cursilliastas and entire faith family around, I am confident she was thinking about you all when she said that. Faith was mom’s anchor and in the midst of her own suffering, she prayed for all of us to grow and become more rooted in our own faith. She was mom; she wanted the best for her family.
Mom also found gifts in her illness and suffering.
She told me numerous times that if she hadn’t become ill, she would have never fathomed that she was so loved, not just by her family, but by the friends and community around us. She was so grateful for the time this illness gave all of us to spend together. She often reflected that she had no idea she was so loved by us or by God. She thanked God often for the love that he continuously showered her with through the people around her. She also thanked him, for all the good that could and would come out of this painful situation. For her, this was a conscious and daily exercise of surrendering her plans and hopes to Jesus and His plans for our lives. We often needed to remind each other that while we do whatever is within our control to get her healthy, God is ultimately in control. He knows what He is doing. And that we trust in Him even if we don’t like it. As much as mom fought to live, she also fully surrendered to the suffering which came along with this journey.
Another gift was the gift of faith. This illness drew mom and us deeper into our own faith either through conversations we shared or as she became more dependent on us to read to her or pray with her. I think can speak for several of us that these times of prayer were special time spent and connection with mom as well as an opportunity for us to be more rooted in our own beliefs. Mom clung to her faith, and through her witness, was teaching us to cling on to our faith too. Yes, throughout her illness we always hoped and prayed for a miracle, although we were fully aware that our idea of miracle may not be God’s idea of miracle. And although we didn’t get the miracle of her physical healing, our family believes that God is working out His own miracles in all of this, even if they remain a mystery to us for now. As mom would put it: Life is Beautiful – full of mysteries and surprises.
Just recently as we both lay in the darkness of her hospital room, I told her that I wonder what kind of conversations she has with God these days especially as she is experiencing an awful lot of pain. She didn’t hesitate in her response. She simply said, I tell Him that I don’t understand it but that I don’t blame Him. When I told her that sometimes I don’t even know what to pray for anymore, she again put it very simply. Kat, ask him to provide for my every need, not for my every want.
Mom’s constant unwavering faith throughout her life and especially over the last 7 months amidst her suffering has been very inspiring, not just for me but I know for many of you. Her journey has been both meaningful and faith-filled and it has been a privilege for us to walk with her. God has indeed been faithful to her, never for a second abandoning her and even in her suffering providing for her every need especially through the grace of faith.
Today we want to thank you friends, family, Mothers Prayers, CWL, Cursilliastas and all of St Clare’s and Sts Cyril and Methodius faith communities for your love and unceasing prayers. Thank you also for sharing in our grief. My hope is that we are all encouraged today by mom’s unwavering faith and also that she is suffering no more since our loving and faithful Father has healed her in His own perfect way by calling her home.