In all of my 25th Anniversary of Ordination celebrations I only wish my mother was still here to celebrate with me. Both my parents died young by today’s standards. My father was 69 when he died of lung cancer and Mom was 71 when she died of a heart attack. There was a great difference in how I experienced the death of each of them. My father was in poor health for a number of years before he died. He had emphysema and was almost blind and became very frail. When he died, though only 69, his death seemed to be (and was) a release from his sufferings.
My Mom on the other hand always looked and acted younger than she was. Here is a picture of her at around 69:
The joke was that when she and I were out somewhere and I wasn’t in my uniform, people thought she was my wife or sister!
She was slowed down considerably for about 10 months in her 71st year by a racing heart. She didn’t respond to any of the conventual treatments and finally had a very safe operation, an ablation, to correct her condition. It did correct it, but she died the next day, unexpectedly. So it feels like Mom should have had longer to live, especially given her youthful disposition.
Immediately after my mother died, the title of a song kept coming to mind: “Forever Young.” Yes, I thought, she is now forever young, as we shall all be in the Kingdom of God. I always wanted my Mom to be safe and feel loved, especially after my father died and I was helping support her. So even though I miss her presence in this life, I know–by our Faith–that she is infinitely more safe and loved than I could ever guarantee. And I know she is a part of my celebrations, from the advantage of being in God’s presence who is present to us everywhere.
How wonderful it is to think of the Communion of Saints and that we shall live forever in the Resurrection if we are faithful in this life!