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The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power …
To tell just when the hands will stop at late or early hour.
No truer words have ever been written! In Mom’s case, her clock stopped exactly 25 days after Christmas 2019 at 11:13 AM, a Sunday. Fittingly, it was her favorite day of the week. Church first, and then she could kick back and relax, although how she managed to do that with six children running around is beyond my understanding, but she did.
We all attended Catholic schools and our family’s friends were from a social media group called "Church." Holidays celebrated the religious aspects and traditions were of paramount importance. We had so many, but nothing compared to our traditions leading up to Easter! It was the main event every year for Mom.
She loved everything about Lent. Shrove Tuesday, (Paczki Day to us), Ash Wednesday, Lenten sacrifices, the Triduum celebrations, Holy Saturday’s Blessing of the Święconka basket … she made it special. She instilled in all her children a love of the old ways, using traditions handed down from her family to light the way towards Easter morning.
And this year she was not here.
I entered my church on Ash Wednesday and recalled all the times we received ashes together. I remembered how she used to say "And now it begins, another year of trying to do better" and her hope for a "great Lent." I found myself actually looking forward to baking her hot cross buns, planning meatless menus for Wednesdays and Fridays, the Stations of the Cross every Friday evening, Tuesday night Bible studies.
And then the coronavirus took more away. Not only was Mom gone but Masses were suspended, our Sacraments were discontinued, the community of faith I loved was dispersed. My children and grandchildren refused to come over for fear of spreading it to one of us. My life, like so many others, was reduced to one place – home.
But Mom taught me well. Making homemade kielbasa, pierogi, and other foods for Easter brought her into my kitchen. I dug out her prayer book and found the Stations of the Cross, discovering new prayers and using her Rosary to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. My priest even agreed to bless our food basket so Easter’s breakfast could be the same as always.
As mothers, we teach! Years later the lessons we teach will help our children look beyond what is lost … and what one can gain in every one of life’s events. We show by example the importance of living based on God’s plan, His timetable.
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The path towards Easter this year was different, very different for us all. The poem above exhorts:
To lose one's wealth is sad indeed, to lose one’s health is more.
To lose one’s soul is such a loss, that no one can restore. (Robert H. Smith)
Mom, knowingly or unknowingly, carved out a path whereby my soul could find great joy on this strange Easter. Stay the course. Continually pray and give thanks for one’s blessings. When you stumble, ask for forgiveness, and continue on. Remembering her love for Lent helped me find peace in my grief, her traditions eased the pain of loss, her faith in God’s mercy strengthened mine.
I woke up Easter morning knowing without a doubt she is exactly where she always wanted to be, what she prayed for every day … she is with our God. Thanks, Mom.
Copyright 2020 Carol S. Bannon
About the Author
Carol Sbordon Bannon is a full-time writer with a degree in elementary education from Worcester State University. She is a substitute teacher and has been a catechist for over thirty years. In addition to A Handshake From Heaven, she is also the coauthor of Our Family's Christmas Elf. She is happily married and currently resides in Concord Township, Ohio. Visit Carol at CSBannon.Wordpress.com.