It was on a Holy Monday, just one year ago, that Mom entered into eternal life. I can recall everything from that day and the day before (Palm Sunday) just like it was now. It's amazing how some things stick with you.
I especially remember the wonderful nursing assistant who, seeing that Mom was in distress, asked my sister and I if we might step out for a few minutes so that she could put some lotion on Mom. (I found out later that this angel was actually assigned to a different ward that night but came and did this on her break because who had really clicked with Mom and wanted to make her comfortable). When my sister and I returned to the room later on, the nursing assistant told us she had given Mom a sponge bath and rubbed her down with lotion. It was obvious too that she had combed her hair and put a dressing gown around her. I'll always be grateful to this lovely lady who prepared Mom's earthly body for what turned out to be its final hour. I really think it helped put Mom at ease, knowing that she was "presentable."
Oh and I have memories of the night before when Mom was anointed with holy oil and prayers were said for her. She leaned over to the priest afterward and said "you're going to preach at my funeral, right?" It amazed me at the time that Mom seemed to suddenly be full of energy and she went on to tell the priest that Abide With Me was her favorite hymn. We would sing it at her service a few weeks later.
My aunt died in Holy Week two years ago and then Mom died in Holy Week last year. It might make this week especially hard to deal with. I'm going to use the time though to center on the good things - the positive things - the things that make a difference. I had such a wonderful mother and I am grateful to her for all she did for me. I'm grateful too that she is at peace and that I have so many warm memories to carry with me, not just on Holy Monday, but always. Thanks be to God.