Rest in the Peace of the Lord Ma: My Mother Ellen has Died, After a Life Well Lived
on the Nicene Creed and handing on the deposit if faith. I knew that the best tribute I could give to Ma was to show up, thank them for their love for the Lord and their children and encourage them to do what my mother had done for me. So, I did just that.
Once again, I experienced the grace that comes from living faith inspired by the love I had been so privileged to receive from Ma. I know that love was a participation in God's love. I also know my experience of calm last night was a sort of self protection; the numbness that often accompanies the early stages of a great loss.
I awakened this morning and the other side of that loss hit me. I began what I know will be a deep and profound time of grieving. I have tried to counsel myself with the words I have offered many others as they have lost parents, spouses, children and friends over the years.
I know, as I am so fond of saying to others, that the depth of the grief is a sign of the depth of the love; another face of love. However, that does not take away the pain. It simply gives it the ground within which to be planted. It will take much care from the Lord to give it the growth. I cannot stop crying today.
Ma loved. She loved her husband, the love of her life. How she enjoyed telling the story of how they met in the bakery she worked in. How many times I heard how she would make sure his jelly donuts had extra jelly in them. In an age which has declared war on the kind of gritty, longsuffering, persevering and loyal love which forges lasting marriages, she showed me the great mystery which is at the heart of the Christian faith. For that I will always be grateful.
In the economic poverty of our youth (which we children really never even knew existed until years later) she created an environment which was rich in the only wealth that passes beyond the grave, the wealth of love and hospitality. There was always room in our house for the relatives who lost all. And they were very often there, living right with us.
There was always room at our table for anyone who was hungry. It mattered little what time of day - or night - you arrived at our home, Ma would always ask "can I fix you a plate?" That meant, "let me feed you". She loved to feed everyone.
As someone who has struggled with weight much of my life I spent my earlier years a bit irritated over what I thought was a preoccupation with food in our family because we are poor. Then, I finally awakened to the truth that for Ma, food, well prepared and enjoyed, was just another way of showing love.
In the ups and downs which accompanied a life which many would see as having been very hard, even unbearable, Ma rarely complained. Memories of her forbearance and longsuffering became a beacon of light at many dark chapters in my own life. As I have aged, I have also learned to welcome the teachers, the inevitable pains and struggles of my life. I know that Ma taught me, mostly by example, how to learn their lessons.
Rest in the Peace of the Lord Ma. I miss you deeply. I love you. I will write again.Give my love to Dad. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Mother, ma, death, life, motherly love, Mother of God, Mary, Ellen Fournier, family, marriage, Duval Founier, mourning, loss, grieving, Deacon Keith Fournier
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