Wednesday, April 28, 2021

May her memory be a blessing

 A year ago today, at about this time, the phone rang. It was a woman calling my house from the hospital. "I don't have any information," she said quickly. "I'm one of the chaplains."

I immediately began to cry. "Thank you," I said.  I sat down on my unmade bed.

"I'm glad I called," she said. "I saw that your mother was having comfort measures only, and I thought a ringing phone in the hospital room might be an annoyance." 

I told her I had finally, after more than a month, been allowed to see my mother the previous day. For 15 minutes.The chaplain assured me that my mother had received The Last Rites, over the phone, and that the pope had said that would count. Or was it the bishop? I don't remember. 

A man had called earlier from the hospital asking if she would like The Last Rites, and I had said she would, and I had told my mother over the phone that she would receive them. "Good," she said. "I don't want to be thrown our of heaven too."

On the phone now with this chaplain, I cried my eyes out. I barely said a word, and she prayed with me as I sobbed. The Hail Mary, maybe? The Lord's Prayer? It's all a blur. I didn't absorb her name, but I will always be so grateful to her.

Not long after, the doctor called me to tell me my mother had died. I thanked her for getting me in to see my mother, and then asked what would happen now. She said I should call the funeral home. My cousin, thankfully, is a funeral director. I called him and he took care of the small burial ceremony that was allowed in the midst of the pandemic.

A year today. Time doesn't make sense the way it used do, now that my mother had to die alone. A month, or a week, or ten years: all would seem just as accurate. 

When she first died, some friends wrote to me: "May her memory be a blessing." It's such a nice thought. Someday, I suppose, it could be true. I see that her life was a blessing. 


  1. I am terribly sorry for your loss and all of its reverberations.

  2. So sorry, Christine. What a beautiful photo of her. Thinking of you.

  3. Ah. Christina. Time can't heal all wounds. But, I guess, we learn to live with them. This year has been so terrible, particularly for those, like you, who lost dear ones and weren't able to be with them or mourn for them in the warm company of those who love you. I can't even fathom what that feels like. You may indeed always remember this with visceral pain. But maybe that pain will remind you just how much you loved and still love your mom and how very much she still lives within you. Love ya. xo