Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Thanks mom for these days! "I will give you rest... for I am meek and humble of heart." Matthew 11

Nancy's face tells the entire story of all the wonderful times she has shared with her grandmother over her lifetime.  She had two wonderful mornings to sit with her these last few days!  How she came to all her events, and even traveled to France to watch Hallel take her first vows with The Community of the Lamb!  For Nancy the three years that she lived in Marshall and taught English and coached Speech at the high school she had graduated from... she had a date every Monday night to go to mass with her grandma Ann and then they would share supper and visit and talk in her home for hours.  This final "goodbye, Grandma, I love you." before she and her family left for home in Kansas City was the hardest thing for me to witness in all this.  I am weeping copiously as I write this as I did standing there yesterday.
I know that little Josephine will hear wonderful stories from her mom about her beloved grandma Ann... the hard working farmwife, who loved each one of her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren with ever growing love!  Not diminished or stretched ever more thin, but expanding and embracing all with unconditional LOVE!  She continues to teach us all about not giving up no matter what! 
I am very grateful for the days she has given us to be with her and minister to her and to share close family time and prayer time and saying goodbye time!  For me the ability to share Hospice with family as we "keep her comfortable and tend to her every need from spiritual, mental, physical."  And all the stream of those that come to sit and hold her hand, and give her a tearful kiss, and say their good byes to a great lady of Faith/Family/Farm!

Much in the readings for today were special in light of this deep fairly lengthy time she is giving us to help her on her way to heaven...  From Isaiah 40 this morning - They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar with eagle's wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.  Yes, mom is not going to gain strength in the earthly sense, but she is soon to walk through to the other side where she will leave behind the frustrations of the last couple years in her inability to do much for herself.  Very hard and humbling in the most basic sense, which rings in the Gospel today - "for I am meek and humble of heart."  Matthew 11
Mom always loved to be in the sun!  And Josie is a sweet little happy wonderful LIGHT in our world.  As Nancy wrote on her Christmas card this year - "The highlight of our 2016 was the little ball of sunshine, Josephine Francis (Josie).  She was born in Kansas City on May 10th and has been a source of constant joy."
From Nancy's card this year!  Pat and I gave her the onesie to celebrate her parents welcoming new life - open to LIFE and raising LIGHTS!
Two of her daughters ministering to her with so much love and care.  It has been my delight to teach the basic cares of comfort for someone at home and cared for by family.  To share in that with her family, and to see the comfort they receive to see their mother peacefully sleeping deeper and deeper.  "She will just sleep more and more deeply and it will be a peaceful leaving of this world behind and entering into heaven."  It seems that she is waiting for more to come and give her their goodbyes and prayers and love.  She has so many that have felt her love and care over their lifetimes. All that reach out for her hand and tell her to go to heaven with dad, Don, her siblings and parents... many she will open her eyes a bit and say their name or "I love you." 

 These days are slow yet a gift for us to have special time sitting around her bed with rosary or conversation.  Pat awoke this morning speaking about how wonderful his time has been with his amazing mother.  Most precious were their many visits in the kitchen at the farm after chores, or as they traveled together to family events and "prayed the rosary and visited about life." "I love to visit and so does she!"
Waiting for mom to come back with a jammie, and grandma in charge.  She is certainly a sweet heart!

Jesus, we know that you are with us through our life journeys from conception to natural death!  The Gospel today is a Truth that we hold ever in our hearts, minds and souls most especially when we face the Cross we are asked to carry/drag and follow after you.  "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."  Jesus said to the crowds and to you and me!  Looking at the 97 years long life of Grandma Ann.. this is lived out and after this long hard time facing the end of her life and knowing not when it would come... in a way longing for the helpless state she found herself with all the exhaustion that would make her life seem pointless to come to an end, yet on the other hand embracing each occasion she could attend or new life she could welcome or grandchild she could reach out to and hold hands or even pull onto her lap!  She loves to hold onto hands of those that come and not let go!  There is mixed emotions for all that are looking at leaving this world, yet we can have the powerful words of Christ to us that give us hope and peace!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
In France for Susan's/Hallel's vows in 2011 washing dishes the humble way.  Hallel called and spoke to her from Rome a couple days ago..."Grandma, don't be afraid.  Run into the arms of Jesus!"  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Humble is hard but what we are asked to embrace!
St Ambrose today!  John, Pat and I were tickled to read about him in morning prayer today...
An eloquent preacher, he was especially noted for his homilies on virginity.  So convincing were his discourses that some mothers refrained from sending their daughters to his Sunday Mass, for fear of losing them to The Church.
"Mom, you would have sent your daughters to every mass he preached!"  Yes, I do think that religious life is a fabulous option and I did want all my girls to have it as a consideration as they asked the Lord his plan for them.  That goes for John, too!

ALL LIFE is a gift from conception to natural death.  Many ask me how I can work with death..."It is a part of LIFE, and we will all face death so why not help them to have the most peaceful death possible?"
Danielle Rose - Pursue me
Danielle Rose - The saint that is just me
Danielle Rose - True LOVE - Susan played this over and over before she left for France.  I listen to it and weep at the beauty of the Cross over the 8 years since she left.

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