“We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.” ~ Jeremy Irons
Today is one of those time machine kinds of days that I do not like. I always think that I am doing so well until this day comes around and I find myself right at the beginning all over again. Today, twenty-nine years ago, was the day that my mother died from ALS, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease.
ALS is a horrible disease that robs a person of all mobility and traps their mind in a dead body. My mother was “lucky” in that the type of ALS she had was a fast-advancing one that attacked her diaphragm early on. She quickly lost the ability to breathe and, not wanting to be put on a ventilator of any kind, passed away after a couple years post-diagnosis.
Children always think that their parents are powerful and immortal. We don’t like to think of them as becoming frail or dying. But that is the case with life. We are all born for one inevitable destination: death.
As my mother taught me many things as I was growing up, I reflected, after her death, about the final thing that she taught me and that was how to approach death, accept death, and even welcome death. When she was first diagnosed, she was angry and frightened. But, she quickly came to the conclusion that she had no control over the matter and that she needed to be ready for her end.
My mother was always a deeply religious person but as she suffered her final two years, she became even more so. She was not angry at God. Instead, she prayed to God for the strength that she would need and, toward the very end, begged God to let her die so that she could be at peace. In the middle of the night/early morning of May 12, 1994, she found that peace.
Since then, each year, I remember her death and hope for the day when I will see her again. I ask for the grace to accept things that happen in my life as graciously as she did and I pray for all who suffer from ALS as she did.
Time machines are not always good to us. However, I guess they are good for us because they make us think about what is important and what we truly value. Be at peace, Mom.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for your beloved dead, that they may know the resurrection won for them by Christ.