Mom is fading and one of the hard things about living across the country is not being able to “time” when the “right” time is to come home. At any given moment the report from home can be Mom’s dying, Mom’s resurrected; Mom’s not eating, Mom’s eating again; they’re transferring Mom to hospice, hospice can be six months. But when I heard last Monday morning that they were transferring Mom to hospice, and that she wasn’t eating or drinking, I raced back to New Hampshire one more time.

She was dressed and sitting up and we took her out to lunch, a laborious affair (I mean for her) at which she ate a single bite of roll and then fell silent–a kind of Last Supper as we probably won’t take her out again while I’m here, or possibly ever.

I’m thinking that the angels are preparing a place for her. I picture them flying and twittering and bustling about, shaking out fresh sheets, plumping the pillows, smoothing down the bedspread.

“She likes the windows thrown open wide!” I want to tell them. “She likes a brisk breeze. She likes things spare”…

But I guess they’d know that.

LAMB OF GOD, c. 1635-1640

14 Replies to “EVENTIDE”

  1. Dear Heather,

    the first three words combined with the three photos of your Mom are a moving juxtaposition of pain and beauty, present and promise — at least that is how I see it.

    also, the (I imagine unintentional) compression of her figure caused by the three photos speaks of a life, compressing, coming to its earthly close but waiting in the hope of Christ to do the opposite of implode.

    My heart, well our hearts, MB, my Mom (where we are visiting) go out to you.

    A priest friend of ours, returned from his appointment in Mexico to be with his aged mother just a number of months ago as she in the very place your mom is now. For a few hours he posted photo he took just moments after her spirit left. It is one of the most beautiful photos I have seen. It was a gentle, honouring tribute. His siblings felt it intrusive and asked it be removed. He honoured their request. I felt fortunate to have seen it. Those moments immediately after the soul leaves but still seems very much present are profound. I remember personally from when our son Joel died, July 09 1987.

  2. Thinking of you Heather, and all the Kings, and lovely dear Janet. It's been a long and winding road, hasn't it. xx

  3. Hugs and prayers, Heather.

  4. Praying for your mom, and for you & your family.

  5. Dear Heather—I just don't know what to say—my Dad left us last July, only days before my 60th birthday…Loves, prayers and peace.


  6. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your mum, Heather.

    Dementia and Alzheimers, the ultimate form of surrender, like the Lamb of God.


  7. I just finished your book Shirt of Flame. You write so beautifully and so deeply. Thank you. My own mom passed away 9 years ago. It was terrible watching her die but she died a holy death at peace with the world and God. May your mother have such a passing and may God grant you strength and comfort during these hard hard days.

  8. What you are doing now is the ultimate of "being present"…..a gift of God.

  9. Prayers for you, your Mom and family.

  10. Anonymous says: Reply

    Lean on Jesus.

    I miss my Mom every day.

    Write to me if you want.

  11. Having sat with my mother as she made her long journey out of this life I know the pain and priviledge it is for you to accompany your mother as far as you are able.

    There is both heartbreak and joy in that moment, which is not necessarily the moment of death, when we realise they have irrevocably outstripped us,turned away, and gone ahead of us.

    God Bless you with strength in your vigil of prayer, and your mother with peace in her journey.

  12. Been away and just wanted to add my thoughts and prayers to those of your other on-line friends.
    I was at a funeral last weekend, my mother-in-law's. I learn of new ways to view death through the comments others have left.

    Last saturday at the funeral, I plucked up the courage to LOOK at the body, as others do. I always felt it an intrusion, disrespectful and somehow taking advantage of the dead person; to stare at her when she is at her weakest and cannot stare back at me. I said this to my husband and he said, No, the person we look at is not the weakest but the strongest. Nothing that disturbs us can disturb her, and that makes her stronger than we. It is quite a thought that when we leave the body all the frets and worries we pin our lives on just dissolve and lose all meaning for us. Your mother is beautiful, as others have said. Bless you Heather, I am sure that being with someone so close to "leaving" is full of meaning for you and your brothers and sisters.

  13. Last Sunday I saw my favorite priest. He had just returned from California to Chicago. He was there to be with his 85 year old Mom. He told us (his prayer team) that her skin is transparent white, she is not eating and has no recognition of who he is. We were asked to pray that she be allowed to go home and "jump into the arms of Jesus". I was touched and encouraged by the phrase. Prayers to you Heather and your Mom. If you ask people to pray for your Mom, don't forget to ask them for yourself also. Blessings.

  14. Heather

    My thoughts and prayers will also be with you and your mom tonight before I retire.


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