Mothers Going Home
Sometimes things have a way of rolling into one another.
I recently attended the funeral of the 93-year old mother of a friend of mine. She and her husband raised a crew of 10 children: That’s a lot of kids for a tiny gal. I did not know her, but I do know her son and I can only imagine how proud, delighted and grateful she was when my buddy, Joe, turned his life around. For more than 20 years now, the drugs, alcohol, incarcerations and insanity have been totally removed from his life.
The last year was not the best for his mom, however, as she faced an assortment of medical issues. Among the things Joe speaks of being grateful for, being there for his mom in those dying days is way up there. I remember driving my mom home from the shore when I was not working and her telling me she was glad that I could be around a lot in the fading days of her life. Talk about gratitude.
A lot of meat in the preceding paragraphs; now for some of those things rolling around.
Last week was be the 10th anniversary of my mom’s passing. Fr. Horvath, the priest who said the requiem mass for my mom was the same priest who said mass today in the Nativity church that was home base for my dad’s family. Fr. Horvath is a good friend of Joe’s family and it was mostly the doing of Joe’s mom that the local pastor was a part of the family’s world.
My family was not that religious, but my mom was adamant that she be buried at the Resurrection of Our Lord parish where my family was raised and where all 6 of her kids went to school. However, she did not live there when she passed on as her heart condition was too bad for her to navigate the three floors in our old beloved twin on Loretto Ave in Northeast Philadelphia.
The one-floor cape-codder house where we moved her in 2002 was perfect with all the essentials on the one floor. We were not able to honor Mom’s 2nd request that the pastor who’d been there the majority of our time at Resurrection would say the mass. His name was Fr. Kauffman and he was willing and ready, but unfortunately unable to say our requiem mass, as there was a one scheduled at his new parish for the same day as ours. Thus Fr. Horvath said my mom’s funeral mass.
Fr. Horvath spoke to one of my sisters about Mom and read a few of things I’d written about her. As he delivered the mass, you’d have thought Fr. Horvath had known my mother his whole life. Then the coup-de-gras: After the prayers were said, the flowers placed on the coffin and the hugs exchanged, this Polish priest with the fabulous baritone voice, ended the proceedings with the Irish lullaby.
My favorite author, Anthony deMello, speaks about a special symphony that sounds when one person meets another. And so Agnes, greet Florence, Florence meet Agnes. Thanks so much for all the prayers, and masses and rosaries… God knows if we’d have survived without them.
Jim McGovern is a local writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org •