Margaret has done a lot of reading of books on spirituality during what she has called her “final stage of life”, a time of preparation for leaving this world and going to heaven. She would read and re-read a book, highlighting passages in yellow and writing notes in the sidelines.
One of her favorite authors is Henri Nouwen, an author Tim introduced her to. They have shared many discussions over what he had written.
Tim found a book recently by Henri Nouwen that we had not read, and brought it to Jackson. A Letter of Consolation is a series of letters Henri wrote to his father when his mother died. How fitting. It was also written just before Easter.
I read it aloud to her, pausing to share thoughts and memories that pertained to her. Here is a short sampling from the book:
What strikes me most in all that is read and said during these days (Holy Week) is that Jesus of Nazareth did not die for himself, but for us, and that in following him we too are called to make our death a death for others.
It is because of the liberating death of Christ that I dare say to you that mother’s death is not simply an absurd end to a beautiful, altruistic life. Rather, her death is an event that allows her altruism to yield a rich harvest.
We are sitting at Margaret’s bedside. She is no longer eating or drinking or talking. We have told her that God is waiting for her and Holy Week is surely a fitting time for her to go.
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