Mary Mourned   Leave a comment

On December 10 my mom passed away. Well, actually, that evening she coded and the medical team on the floor swarmed her room and worked on her for…who can say how many minutes. It may as well have been five seconds or five hours. Time meant nothing – and, everything. And then, she died.

During the week my mom was in the hospital there were ups and downs, prayers for miracles. Bad reports, good reports, better reports, setbacks and then the inevitable slide we’d feared. I couldn’t go into the room as they worked on her, but my dad was there. Like Mary, he had to be there for the awful, unbelievable end. But I think that, too, like Mary it was a picture that would imprint itself on his heart, and in his mind. I often thought of Mary during mom’s illness, for a couple of reasons. The first is that mom loved the Blessed Mother so much, and prayed to her whenever she had a very special request – usually to do with the family. I prayed that Mary would hold her hand whenever she got scared in the hospital. We were there with her around the clock, holding her hand – my dad, my brother and me; but we needed that “fourth hand” to hold mom…and, I suppose, to hold us up.

The second thought I had about Mary was that she mourned – really and truly. It’s Christmastime, so the solemn carols and goofy “holiday” songs are playing everywhere. Once in a while the song “Mary, Did You Know?” breaks in from among the 100th airings of Rudolph and Jingle Bell Rock, and begs for reflection. Allow me a moment of theological speculation: I kind of think Mary didn’t know – or, not entirely. The Angel gave her the good news, Mary gave her fiat in (I believe) full faith and trust in God. And that faith remained with her, even when she was told a sword would pierce her heart; when the town hailed her Son, and thought Him completely crazy. She knew God was at work, had something great in mind, and if she didn’t understand just how it would all unfold, it didn’t matter. Mary believed God was faithful so she was, too.

But I think that when Mary stood at the Cross, she mourned. I think she mourned hard. The Pieta is a beautiful and timeless piece of art; but the serene Mother cradling her child, almost offering Him back to God (and to us) is a wonderful spiritual example for us, but probably not a true representation of the moment.

I think Mary was sad, bereft, filled with an unimaginable emptiness at the loss of her only Son, the fulfillment of a Promise – God’s Anointed One. I don’t posit for a moment that she lost faith, that she despaired and gave up on God. Mary mourned because she experienced a profound loss, and her faith in God could not override the depth of that feeling.

So as I sat with my mom in those last days I thought of Mary standing by the Cross, probably wondering what all of this meant, how it would all play out…how this had even happened. Mary mourned, and I mourn. Christ suffered (terribly, horrible, graphically), and my mom suffered – at least a little, when she was aware. I believe with all of my heart that Christ Himself was present with her in that suffering. I prayed that His wounds would absorb hers. And I believe, with great confidence, that Mary was holding my mother’s hand – and that she still is.

Even so, it hurts.


Posted December 17, 2013 by palsa99 in Uncategorized

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