|Her son's farewell.|
May She Rest in Peace
September 12, 2006
By Don Kleczynski
Just 12 short days have now passed since August 31 when we first learned Mom (Sophie) had cancer and during which time she was called from this earth to rejoice in Heaven, to be with our Lord and to re-unite with Dad, son Mickey, and the family gone before.
We only had six days warning that Mom would be leaving us some time in the future. Who is to believe cancer would take anyone so fast! Had Mom known for a long time or did that surprise her as it surprised us? She seemed to be getting along so well inspite of a few minor health problems and then suddenly she is here, then suddenly she is gone. Gone from our midst Ö. never to be seen again, never to be talked with again, never to be hugged by again. Today is the twelfth day, a day after we laid Mom to rest in that graveyard beside Dad. We tell ourselves how happy we are that
Mom passed away so fast, so as to relieve her of the terrible and long term pain that so many cancer patients have endured during their final days.
Having witnessed our Dadís suffering from lung cancer, we all hoped and prayed that Mom wouldnít have to go through that herself. Six days go by so quickly that one has little time to think, to comprehend. We havenít had time to cry.
We hadnít had time to tell her how much we loved her, how much she has helped us to a better life. Now we can only rejoice for her, with her, and we will continue that forever. May she continue to remember her children, her grandchildren, all of the relatives and future generations that she has been, and will be a part of!! May her strength, her courage, her will power, her honesty her integrity, carry through the ages, such as she deserves. Her character, through example of living, has been a great influence to all lives she touched. A small example of that has been shown us a thousand fold, by the email responses of the love, admiration, and wonderful memories each of the relatives have shared, and of their sadness in having lost such a wonderful person from this world! May each of us be so Blessed!!
How strange life is and how strange circumstances we think we control, are not controlled by us at all!! Momís brother Joe and his wife Maryís children near Aberdeen, WA; Maryann, Rosemarie, Joey, and Francie all came together on Aug 25th to visit Mom. Why? How come? Why this date? Joan and I were in Colorado and tempted to stay over the Labor Day weekend but something pulling us home by the 31st. Staying over, we would not be home until Sept 7 and too late to have seen Mom. Being home on the 31st, we saw her on Sept 1 and had a really good visit. Our daughter in Colorado, for an equally strange reason, called my Mom on Sept 1st or 2nd and had a real good visit for one and a half hours. Our daughter Diane in Oregon City rarely calls but during this time she too calls my Mom. None knew ahead of others calls or our visiting. How fortunate we all were. Other peculiar happenings during those days undoubtedly happened we arenít aware of.
By Sunday September 3, Mom is failing faster than anyone could guess. She needed to leave Mass early because of pain. The rest of Sunday and then on Monday and Tuesday Mom hardly talking at all, needing help to eat, help to move. Late Tuesday afternoon Mom collapsed in her walker, ambulance summoned. Marilyn calls from the hospital about 9:00 pm. that Mom failing really fast. Diagnosed as ruptured intestine and only hours or a couple days remain for her. She died at 5:39 am. Wednesday morning September 6, 2006, just six days after we learn she has cancer, 2 Ĺ days after she started failing!!
The Rosary was recited at the funeral home Sunday evening September 10th, led by the parish priest. The five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary were prayed with each explained in detail. Mom wanted a closed casket and those wishes granted a half hour before the Rosary, and then not to be opened again. Joan and I had visited her in the hospital an hour after she had passed away. Those memories of seeing her so peaceful, and yet so life-like as if sleeping, were the remembrances we wished, and will cherish. Many, many relatives from out-of-state were there, many of her local friends, and nearly all relatives living in the area joined this remembrance in prayer to Mom. So many people, so many seldom seen, so many to visit and update with. The funeral home finally turning off the inside lights so we moved to the outside. The outside lights beginning to shut off, hinting further for us all to Ö. Go home!
Monday morning arrived with a spotless sky, the weather comfortable, and the sun aglow, awaiting the glory to unfold this day. The funeral Mass was scheduled at 11:00 am. at St. Lukeís Catholic Church in Woodburn where Mom has been a parishioner since moving from the farm with Dad in 1976. Grandsons served with dignity as casket bearers, while many friends, a host of relatives, all joining Momís children in gracious celebration to her life amongst us.
Mom wanted the old traditional, simple Mass without an eulogy, without a lot of singing, with only organ music and not a piano. The priest could give a sermon relating to the goodness of life, the goodness of the Lord. ďDwell not on me, grieve not for me, your life goes on. My rewards are before me!!Ē would be Momís wishes for us.
As we all gathered at the Church well ahead of the Mass in preparation of this final good-bye, we each greeted one another with the sadness this day brings to us. The casket is brought up the steep steps of the Church by the grandson casket bearers. The family arranges for the procession to the altar, the white linen is placed over the casket, we all proceed on this final trip with Mom. Vince and Darlene are so arranged so they are at the center aisle end of the front pew. Upon arrival at the pew, Vince picks up one of Momís quilts so placed, and put it over the lower end of the casket. The funeral director still there, figured this beautiful quilt more gracious than the cloth they provided so helped Vince unfurl the quilt to cover the entirety. How gracious and meaningful to have Mom lovingly covered by this richly, this magnificent, this most beautiful article that she herself created. The design of the quilt so intricate, surely requiring thousand of individually hand-sewn stitches. Little would she suspect that this particular work of art to be her shroud!
A long procession of cars snaked through the outskirts of town, slowly down the road to the cemetery, and then wound amongst the graves of those preceding, until finding the site alongside Dadís, near Mickeyís, near Dadís folks, near my wife Joanís folkís, resting spots. A Blessing of the gravesite and a brief ceremony of commemorating ďdust to dustď. We retreat to the Church Hall for a luncheon given by the ladies of the Church. Predicted about 125 people to eat but Joan and I are ahead of 20 people and the dishes of food are nearly empty. Looking around the crowd in the Hall, I see very few that are not relatives! We have about two hours to eat, to visit with as many as possible. Many of whom we chance to see only at weddings and at funerals. At our ages, the wedding numbers are becoming overshadowed by funerals. Only a few short years yet before the next generation will be altering those numbers Ö. and life and lives begin anew!!
And so we end this chapter of Momís life on earth. Ending it in sadness of having lost her presence, but rejoice that she to surely be with our Lord in Heaven. What an impact she had on so many lives while quietly going about her work, quietly going about Godís work.
We are all going to miss you, Mom.