Last Words


Photo Credit:  Sally Calligan

Dear Readers,

Thank you all so much for your patience with me and my “grief journey”.  Even after 40 days, it is not over.   Perhaps I just have a better appreciation of what one really entails.  Lent officially ends on Maundy Thursday but I am ending this sojourn after 40 days in the wilderness.  I prayed, at the beginning and every day, for it to be a Spirit filled 40 days.  Here I will confess that sometimes I truly had no idea who was writing the words or where the idea came from.  Sometimes I just posted a picture because that was all I could do. Grief can make one positively paralytic, as my house attests.  So again, thank you for reading and bearing with me.  I have taken most of you along on a trip you were not intending to take.

Today when I sat down in the church pew for Palm Sunday, I had the perspicacity to ask my mother (something I rarely do) to send me a little sign that she was with me, Thing 3, and my dad in church.  Thirty seconds later, the organist played the most beautiful instrumental rendition of Jesus Loves Me, one of the two hymns my mother requested at her funeral.  Ah, confirmation.  Thank you, Jesus.  I love you too.

Recently, Rick Warren had a podcast series called the The Seven Greatest Words of Love.  I usually binge listen to Rick while I clean the house or drive in the car.  During several of the above noted  podcasts, he spoke about a classic children’s night time prayer and Jesus’s dying last words.  In the last 3 months I had thought about the 18th Century bedtime prayer I myself said as a child every night.  Here it is:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

A less troubling version for kids is:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
Watch and guard me through the night,
and wake me with the morning light.

One of my favorite bedtime prayers  is found in the Book of Common Prayer (p. 134):

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.  Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothes the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake.  Amen.

I confess, however, that I did not give any thought to my own mother’s last words until Rick Warren was talking about Jesus’.  And that has given me tremendous pause for thought.  What were my mother’s last words?  I am going with, “Good night, darling. It’s been a marvelous day.”   My father might be able to remember.  What were Sally’s last thoughts?  I am sure she said a prayer of thanksgiving; maybe she also wondered if she’d taken her medicine, if there was yogurt to eat for breakfast in the morning, where did she put her damn reading glasses???

Because my mother Sally died in her sleep, her family members are left with a few mysteries.  Some of these, friends and family have cleared up.  There is no explanation for where she put somethings in her kitchen.  Still.  One thing I am certain of:  angels were encamping around her sleeping form, twelve legions of them if need be.

It is finished.  My mother committed her own spirit to the Lord and I know she was well  received.  Amen and Happy Easter!  REJOICE.



Filed under Family, Life

9 responses to “Last Words

  1. Gosch, Sandra

    Thank you for every entry!!💕🙏🏻

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Flaky Friend

    Happy Easter to you dear friend. XOXO

  3. raftbuddy

    40 days are not enough, this journey will be life long. Thanks for sharing the first 40 with us. You made me laugh and cry. Love to you and the entire Radish crew.

  4. La Lopez

    Your grief journey ends as mine is about to begin. We had to all call my mom Saturday night to say goodbye. She had surgery early last week and is not recovering. A former pastor who is one of my sister’s dearest friends suggested we all said goodbye before our mom/grandma is too unresponsive.

    The Lopezes called in from Bangkok, New York City and Bonn. Christopher was able to visit. What to say? It was a blessing that we didn’t have time to think about. We just told her we loved her so much and wanted her to be comfortable and in peace. My sister held the phone up to her ear, and reported back a blink or nod or tear.

    The only one she responded to was Carlos! Not even a blood relative! But then neither am I since I am adopted. Does it matter? Nah. It was kind of funny since he always got along with her better than I ever did. She said “I love you too.” I am pretty she meant all of us, like “Uds” not “tu”.

    So now we wait. The kind of long but also short goodbye. My sister signed a hospice care form yesterday. Our mom is still on morphine for her comfort. Christopher reported back that it is just a matter of days.

    I know I can’t write a grief journal like you did, MK. I am working 18 hr days and still unpacking the house. But really, despite being a professional writer for much of my career, I could never in a million years write anything as beautiful as you have written over these past 40 days. My sister has asked me to write an obit and biography for the church bulletin. What to say? I will take a cue from you, and wait for divine inspiration.


  5. Nittany Kitten

    Thank you, MK, for sharing your journey with us. Your words made me laugh, cry and ponder my own conflicted relationship with my mom. More on that later…

    It was 7 years ago since I sat at your Easter table! I’m so grateful for the strings God pulled to make that happen…wishing you, Mr Wonderful and all the Things, and Mike a Blessed Easter! ❤

  6. I loved this series MK. Happy Easter!

  7. MCVwasHere

    “And again I say REJOICE”.❤

  8. Pingback: Chastised | Memoirs of an Expat Princess

  9. moodringmama

    Thank you – your posts have been a gift to me.

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