My mom has gone to her eternal reward.
I don't know what Heaven is like, but I do believe it exists, and this gives me great comfort.
She raised 6 children, which I find incredible, and I think she has reason to be proud of how we are each doing.
Not so much as our status or station in life, but in how we each try to live our lives.
We owe that in large part to the lessons our parents taught us, through word and action.
She was a devout Catholic, hence the 6 children :) , and her Catholic beliefs were in line with the teachings of the Gospel, which sometimes does and sometimes doesn't conform to what church leaders preach at a particular point in time.
Love one another, who is my brother, if a man has two coats he should share with he who has none, let he who is without sin cast the first stone, blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek, those who hunger or are persecuted for righteousness, the merciful, those who mourn.
She always said never hate another person, hate what they say or do, but never hate them.
At a time when some Catholics still did not accept some Jews, we were taught that the only difference between us and our neighbors, Mr and Mrs Siegel, where the church (synagogue) we attended.
At a time of the civil rights movements, and later, race riots, she taught us the "n word" was never to be spoken, and though we knew no people of color people growing up, we were taught that black, brown, native american, and others, were no different than us.
We were reminded that Irish Catholics have been persecuted at times as well.
This translated into her actions.
She volunteered at the hospital and the church.
She boycotted grapes for the farm workers.
She treated and spoke to all with respect.
She devoted her life to her family.
But boy, did she love to play devil's advocate.
If I would say that if I said the sky was very blue today, she would counter with, Yes, but there seems to be clouds on the horizon.
Even in this, I was taught a lesson. There are always two side to a story, always two opinions, and rarely is one completely right and one completely wrong.
We almost lost her a few weeks ago, and I realized that one day, when I said goodbye at the end of a visit, it would be for the last time, but I would not know which visit that would be.
I think that helped me begin to prepare for what was to come.
At the end of one of these visits, when I told her I was going but would check in with her and her doctors, she responded, OK John, good night, God bless.
That is how she put us to bed as children.
Say your prayers, good night, God Bless.
It brought me back to my youth and the lessons I learned from her, and I started whispering it in her ear as I ended visits from that day on.
She has finished the work she was supposed to do on this earth, she has finished the race, she has kept the faith.
Good night mom, God bless.