The Passing of a Mother

The following is from my personal blog spiritintransition.blogspot.com.

Thursday 10/1/2015 Death dropped by this day. In the early morning hours my mother died. After a long life, (94+ years) death dropped in, a welcome visitor after years of diminished ability to speak, think or remember. In the days before, my siblings and I took turns at her side; speaking gently, playing music, reading poems and scripture,. ..crying..

The passing of a mother is never easy. There lies the body that brought you forth. There the mouth that said both “I love you” and “Shame on you.” There the arms that held you close, the hands that gently stroked or gave a deserved swat on the rear. Memories flood and at times break the heart- the if onlys and what ifs can choke you.

But there are also the memories that bring sunshine and help us to understand the past with more kindness and with resolve to not only remember but do better. My mother has passed from this life to the next and lives on I believe in the many people she touched through her care and concern, especially the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren whose very selves came directly from her, as she came from those who came before in a never ending eternal life that has no beginning and no end, except of course in the matter of the stars from which we all descend.

It was a hard day in Oregon as students and teacher died at the hands of a gun toting mad man who took the lives of people he barely knew. I read this news a little at a time as it filtered in over my pocket computer that is called a phone. My heart was already open wide with grief at the loss of my mother and the need to hold my children close and then, on the news there was this mother searching for her daughter only later to learn she had died. The unbearable grief of lives too soon ended, of death dropping by unscheduled to take those whose bodies could no longer contain promise and hope as it spilled out where bullets punctured and forced an exit. And still the sheriff of that small town kept his small town view that guns were good and shouldn’t be kept out of the hands of just anyone who wanted a gun that could destroy so much even calling death unscheduled to a place where death would have happily passed by. There is something deeply wrong here.

At last in the afternoon I was able to lay down my head. My mother was gone. There was trauma in the news. My heart was racing as hearts do with grief. I am old enough to know that time will shape the loss of my mother into the understandable, the acknowledged order of things that we expect. 94 years was a very good span of time for a life, but grief is never easy.

At night fall I went out to lock the chicken coop. April, our Plymouth Hen lay quiet just inside the coop. I stooped down to touch her and realized by her rigidity and the faint warmth that death had just recently made another stop that night. I picked her up and placed her body where it could be safely kept until morning when we could bury her. I had no more energy to offer sorrow, but with the discipline of time knew that her body would attract other creatures where none were wanted.

Death again: integrally part of life, yet rarely welcomed when dropping by.

Thank you friends, all for your kind words. The funeral will be Saturday October 10th at 11 am, here at St. Francis.    Peace, Valerie

Contact me at

(vchapman@ stfrancispdx.org) or 503-232-5880

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