My elderly mother is preoccupied with thoughts about dying, and I sense that she is preparing us all, as gently as she can, for what is inevitable at a time known to God, and that is, that she will die.
She muses philosophically about whether she will be the first to go, or whether it will be my father, who stoically sits and listens without any contradiction to her musings.
It all sounds a bit depressing, but the truth is closer to a quite amusing commentary on her hopes and fears over the matter.
Her hope is for a place in heaven because she has a very strong faith and a firm belief in Christ’s promise “there are many rooms in my fathers house”
Last week she attended a funeral for a close family friend and as I was unable to attend myself due to personal commitments I called her by phone to see how it had gone.
My mother said it had been beautiful and that she had loved the Mass and the tributes and seeing old friends that had gathered to pay their respects.
My mother then tells me, with some surprise in her voice, that the casket for her friend was made of an Eco-friendly cardboard and not the traditional wooden coffin that she had expected.
Her musings soon switch to her own plans – I don’t think that I will have a cardboard casket – I might fall through the bottom of it due to my weight – I laugh out loud at her assertion of such a foolish notion.
She then says that in any case she is being buried, unlike her friend who has been cremated, and that she wants to be “intact” when my father joins her in the grave – she says, “he might not recognise me otherwise” – I again laugh out-loud at her ridiculous anxieties.
In my journey to be present, I worry about losing my parents, but I accept that this is a fact of natural law which I have to accept and overcome when the time comes.
My mother in her funny references to her casket, leaves me with a feeling that she is quietly preparing me, and in doing so, she is telling me that it is going to be alright.
What a gift she has given me through her loving care as a mother of faith in preparing me for life and also for death.
My next blog will be: Falling Over