I’ve begun again the tradition of reading Psalms and praying the Prayer for the Departed for my mother, which I will continue for forty days. Father Stephen Freeman has an excellent article about this practice on his blog, Glory To God For All Things:
I especially like this part:
But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be an affliction, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace. For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality. Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself; like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them. In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble. (Wisdom 3:1-7)
Last October I had the blessing of praying these prayers for my dear friend Sissy Yerger. When I saw her husband, Father Paul Yerger, and her daughter Wisdom at Mom’s funeral, we talked about how Sissy, who had dementia and visited my mother in the nursing home as she declined with Alzheimer’s, expressed a fear of having to endure a similar fate, and how gracious God was to grant her a quick death. But as a Christian, I try to believe that God loves each of us and to accept the path we have been given to walk.
I am comforted by reflecting on the love so many people showed by coming and sharing flowers and music and hugs and memories. May her memory be eternal.
My mother’s cousin from Meridian, Mississippi, where Mother grew up, Mae Jaqua Garrett, handed me an envelope at the funeral. She had found the wedding announcement and invitation to my parents’ wedding from 1948. What a treasure!