Wednesday, March 12, 2008

When Easter Shall Fall in March

When Easter falls in March, I can’t help but think of Mother. It was Holy Wednesday, when the Bishop’s right hand man, came to visit Mother. As we stood in a circle around her bed, he prayed. We all responded “Amen.” No prayer before or since ever touched my soul as the words that came from Father Ed. When he was through, and before he left, he lifted Mother’s hand and held it between his own. To her, in her unconsciousness, he said, “this night, as we bless the oils in the Cathedral, we will pray for you Pauline.”

That evening as we sat vigil around her, we witnessed her spirit part from her body. We all new it was coming, but that did not stop the grief and sobbing that ensued. In that hour after her death, we came to realize that during the blessing of the oils, Mother had heard her name and knew she was being called home. It gave me comfort to think such a thing was possible.

Not long after her funeral, I found myself standing in a waiting room with my Father. We did not speak to each other, but stood there and waited. Father did not look up, but held his head downcast, arms hanging listless at his side. His grief was palatable. The waiting room was painted white. It was stark with not even a framed photo upon its walls. One lonely bank of chairs lined a wall to the left.

At the far end of the room was a door. The light on the other side of this door was so intense, that its brightness penetrated the cracks between door and frame, and cast small rays of light into the waiting room. There was considerable clamor coming from behind the door. I could hear music and many voices. Father did not seem curious about the door, but I could not take my eyes from it.

As I watched, the door opened slowly. The light became so intense that it caused me to squint and shield my eyes against it. In the center of the doorway stood a figure, silhouetted in black against the brightness of the light behind. The music and voices were louder now with the door open. Despite this, I still could not distinguish what was being said among the people there.

The door closed slowly, and as my eyes adjusted back to the light in the waiting room, there stood Mother! Mother had not stood for over a year due to her stroke, but there she was, standing before me wearing the beautiful royal blue dress we buried her in. Her hair was dark as in her youth, and her face bore a serious expression, the one I remembered so well. She came forward, and took Father’s hand. He seemed not to notice.

“Don’t worry about me” she said. “I’m very happy.” “Good” I said. “I can’t stay,” she said next. “OK” I said. “You will need to help Dad,” where the words she spoke next as she lifted my Father’s hand and placed his in my own. “I will.” I replied. “I have to go now” she said as she turned and headed back toward the door with the brilliant light behind it. It opened slowly, and again, I needed to shield my eyes against the brilliance. The music and voices grew louder, then muffled again as the door closed behind her. She was gone from me again. I shut my eyes tightly so that they may readjust to the light of the room, my hand holding tightly to my Father’s.

When I opened them, it was very dark. I was not standing, but lying down. I sat bold upright. After a moment, I realized I was in my own room, in my own bed. My logic told me I had but a vivid dream. Another part of me knew this was no dream, but a visitation. As I reflected on the encounter with my Mother, it seemed to me that she was not at a mere party, but at a grand reunion, a celebration like none other. I realized she never said goodbye. Maybe she new that I had an invitation to the reunion as well, we all do; only our invitation has not yet arrived.

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