Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Last Moments With Mom

It is difficult to know how to take care of an aging parent. After years of taking care of their children, some parents find it hard to let their children take care of them. If they are near death, we feel a great silence falling and sense their uneasiness about what is going to happen. These moments before, during, and after death are sacred moments. They come and are gone.

Beth, a long-time friend who provided invaluable listening after my wife died, attended to her mother in her last days. Beth wrote the following in an email. I was moved by how gently she loved her mother and the attention she is paying to her own grief.

She has graciously allowed me to share those words with you.

            *

“It has been one month and four days since Mom died. I was oddly sheltered by profound gratitude for the gift of my mother’s 90 years … her love, her grace, her grateful heart in her living and her dying. I was also thankful to accompany mom on the long homebound journey. It was a privilege to care for her. Not one regret.  

This past weekend, I transitioned from the most recent memory of mom’s discomfort and dying … and now I am beginning to remember her living and not just her dying. And so the tears begin remembering the living Mom. I was relieved that Mom peacefully died with us seven kids around her. 

I was consoled helping give Mom her last bath before she was taken to the funeral home. It was so nice to turn her and wash her without pain. She never complained while she was living, but it was easy to tell that she hurt when we moved her. During her last bath (in bed), I turned her and her arm dropped down … and it was a moment of thanksgiving. Her body was so relaxed and no more pain. I just hugged her lifeless body and said, "I’m so glad you don’t hurt, Mom.”

All the gratitude in my heart has transitioned to raw grief out of nowhere … a faucet of tears has been turned on … grief is joining gratitude … it goes hand in hand … the gift of love … the gift of life … the pain of loss and God’s grace woven in it all.


Grief is mysteriously unpredictable.”

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