small pieces of joy

pieces of joy in each day

called Home

on April 4, 2017


I feel compelled to write today, but I’m just not sure of the words.

A year ago today my sweet, loving, fierce, mother-in-law was called Home.

We held vigil for her in the hospital for almost four days.  Family was in and out throughout the weekend, family and friends brought food and comfort, people even slept in the room with her overnight.

She was never alone.

It is heartbreaking to think back to that time of vigil. Of simply waiting for the inevitable. It was so similar to the last days with Dad that it shakes me to my core even now. I watched my son say goodbye to his Mema for the last time, just as casual and sweet as any time before…yet knowing this was the last time on earth he would get to say that. I hold on to the last words she said to my husband and I as we said our goodbye and shared the name of the baby who would be born just a month later. I watched my husband have to let go of the woman who shaped the man his is today, the woman who loved him more than any other woman…and I couldn’t fix it.

Today I was reminded to also look at the flipside of that day. To look beyond the tears and pain that have settled in this past year and to look for things to be thankful for.

I talked with a priest today, the one who was with us the night before Dad passed away. That night he talked of a holy death, one that prepares our loved one for a life with Jesus. At first those words didn’t make any sense to me as I was in the throes of anticipating the death of my dad! But after the experience we gave my dad with prayer and song the whole night, I felt we really did just lift him up to be received by the Lord.

Looking back at the night of my mother-in-law’s passing, I have a similar feeling of peace and comfort knowing we gave her the best sending forth we could. The day before she died was Divine Mercy Sunday and we prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy multiple times that day, which is a powerful prayer in the time of death. We learned this after praying it for my dad the night he died. The day she passed away was the feast of the Annunciation, which is the day Mary received news she was to give birth to Jesus. How fitting, since my mother-in-law’s patron saint was Mary, and she said all she wanted to do in life was to be a mother. (And again how perfect we were going to name our daughter Maria.) We also sang a beautiful prayer called the Salve Regina–another one so close to my heart because of Dad.

After she passed away we were able to pray together as a family and offer our pain and hope for the future as well as another chance to pray for her soul to reach Heaven.

Holy death. Words that don’t seem to fit together, but in some strange way they really do.

So today, thanks to Fr. Vince, I’m praying in thanksgiving for her holy death. For the time I had with my mother-in-law and the time she had with her grandchild. For the love she poured out on me and my children, and for the family she created that I am so lucky to be a part of.

Please, friends, pray for my husband, his three sisters, our brother-in-law, and my father-in-law that this next year may continue to be healing and hopeful for the family.

Thanks again for reading and letting me share my heart with you.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen.

2 responses to “called Home

  1. Kathy says:

    Kari, how poignantly written as always. Beautiful words, as I received news about Jessica’s Dad’s passing. I was her Confirmation Sponsor when she was 14. She will have a difficult road, as you well know. Her dad suffered a long time. They have had Hospice this past week. Jess is younger than you & Beth. Also, please know that when Nancy called me, I immediately prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, as I am sure many others did, too! May Our Heavenly Father continue to bless you with your lyrical musings.


  2. Lisa says:

    Thank you always for your words and wisdom…you help me see value in the family God has given me even when times or circumstances seem hard to find the good.. How i pray that at the days God calls me home i will have faithful friends and family praying hard for my salvation.


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