Monday, July 21, 2008

Back Online Again

Hello Everyone,
It is nearly three weeks since I returned from Perth but I have been unable to sit and write. I thought about lots of things to write about and often sat down at the computer but never had the emotional energy to see it in print! It gave me a lot to think about - I wondered if death is something that diminishes our feelings for a while. I felt diminished.
I love the John Donne meditation that goes

"...No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee..."
Keeping the vigil...

We buried Mumma (Bill's Mum) on Monday 23rd June. She had a peaceful death and it all happened as she wished. During the last few years of her time in our home Mumma lost a lot of friends and relatives through death and we oftened talked about death and dying. I asked her once what she thought would be a "happy death" and she said she wanted to die in her bed, in no pain and with her family around her and her rosary in her hands. The last few days she was able to experience all of this. While it was a very sad occassion to lose such an important person in our family it gave us all time to be together and to remember and celebrate a life that was such an example of fortitude, courage and faith to us all.

Tom, Brianna and Grace spending time with their Great Grandma

Mumma gave us something precious in her last hours - the chance to have some wonderful time with our children and grandchildren, in her company, and with no distractions. I remember wonderful conversations sitting around her bed and a lovely farewell ceremony organised by Carmel. It was surprising how well the grandchildren and great grandchildren responded to this ceremony and it provided a wonderful pathway to discuss death and dying with the very young.

Francis, Tom and Grace, Claire and Billy, and Ally and Dante all joined us at Monica's home where we all managed to fit in and have some wonderful family time. Steve was master of transport and we never wanted for a vehicle. We took it in turns to sit with Mumma and had lots of opportunities for quiet meals with our children. We also had some wonderful meals at home , Francis and Monica did a great job with one memorable meal that featured yorkshire pudding and the young ones contributed with menu's, table setting and washing up! It was a very special time and I think we were all blest..

A family meal a family home!

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