It’s past bedtime, but I have just been sending out some emails about the death of a friend’s mom.
The friendship goes back over thirty years and is rooted in the parish I belonged to from 1983-2005. My friend was the music and liturgy director and I volunteered extensively in those ministries. She is godmother to my younger daughter.
Her mom has been struggling for years with Alzheimer’s, a disease that is unfortunately all too familiar. My grandfather, two aunts, and an uncle all had Alzheimer’s, so I know some of the possibilities and complications of the disease, although one of the features of it is its unpredictability. Still, my friend and her family knew that her mom’s death was imminent and were able to gather for these last few days to be with her and each other, which I’m sure gave them strength and comfort.
The funeral will be at the church where my friend currently serves and where my daughter has been singing in the choir. My friend will be playing the organ and directing the music for the funeral. My daughter will be singing with the combined choirs and I will be writing the prayer petitions that end the liturgy of the word.
When someone has been suffering for so long, it is hard to say that you are sorry to hear of their death. While I am sorry for the family to lose a wife, mother, grandmother, and aunt, in truth, they have been losing her little by little for years. What is comforting is that, in our tradition, we believe that she is in now experiencing eternal peace and joy in heaven, freed from all suffering and illness.
Millie, as the choir will sing at the funeral, “may the angels lead you into paradise.”