Photo Credit: Sally Calligan
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.