Sunday, July 17, 2011


A sometime religious feel on this day. A Catholic lay minister comes to give communion to my mother and myself.  Her mouth is too dry to take the wafer, so we say an Our Father and a Hail Mary "with" her and I receive communion. (It's been a long time for me.  I forget how dry the host is in my mouth, and how I wait for it to melt before I swallow...) 

Corfu early morning sunlight on the acacia tree

I used to do this Eucharistic ministry job for years when the boys were young.  I went to the hospitals and nursing homes on Sundays after Mass and sometimes dragged the boys along.  I know they would rather have been playing outside or watching TV or doing just about anything else.

(Me too, honestly, but, then, during those years anyway- for me- it was a "God thing".)

My kids went to Catholic school and we all went to church on Sundays for years. There was an order in our lives, a community around us for support, that was reassuring and neighborly. 

I hadn't really made the connection, but we rejoined and started participating in the whole church thing shortly after my mother remarried and moved from Michigan to New Mexico. 

I know that, for a while, even though I was 26, with a family of children and husband, I felt selfishly abandoned. (It had just been the "two of us" since I was 9!)

The Church became a larger presence in my life after my father died.  My mother had promised him she would raise me Catholic, and so the year after he died she put me in Marywood, a Catholic boarding school, as a weekly boarder I stayed in the dormitory with about 30 other girls. (I went home on the weekends, as my mother lived only about 20 minutes from the school) The Dominican nuns who ran the school gave me kindness, order and community after the loss of my dad (and of course, my mother as well, to the working world)


My mother wakes up at 6 this morning drenched with what I presume is a malfunction of the catheter.  Instead I am told that it could be her urine is starting to concentrate, another stage of body changes prefiguring her coming closer to the end.  Sometimes this concentration causes internal spasms and then malfunctions of the catheter. On the other hand, it could have slipped in the night and all could be back to normal and she could continue on like this "for a while".

She gets an early bath and change of everything and then she calmly rolls over, on her favorite side to sleep deeply. The hospice nurse comes by to see how I'm doing and tell me that my mother's hands and feet are getting colder. (I think to myself, that my mother's hands and feet are ALWAYS cold. So are mine for that matter, as T tells me with great regularity!)

She says it with a serious look to tell me that the end is coming sooner rather than later.

The Eucharistic minister comes and goes in my mother's world with nary a flicker of her eyelid.
We are still in the land of the unknown, suspended in time and space, waiting, waiting,

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