Mom was emptied of so many abilities, but she faced those losses, not by a daring choice of fortitude, but by an abiding endurance of what she suffered.   There were only a handful of times when she showed frustration, but each of those times she quickly rebounded and became her happy self  once more.   And even as her awake times became fewer and shorter and 18 or more hours were spent in bed, she maintained that ability to smile and to laugh.  Her body and mind were weakened, but her soul was stronger than ever.   Even in the last week of  her life, when she had to be in some pain, she looked up from her bed and gave me the biggest smile with her beautiful blue eyes beaming.   Maybe most telling of Mom's inner strangth is that about seven hours before she died, we helped her up and out of the bed.   She was bearing weight and was able to sit up straight in her chair.  Breaths were coming hard at that time, but she was an amazing example to the end.

Mom's coffin has our family tree from Dad and Mom to Zoe and Patrick engraved on its lid.  There is a real sense in which a part of each of us is going into the grave with Mom.   But we shall mourn, as St. Paul advises, not like those who live without knowing the hope of the Resurrection.  These two little benches that the coffin rests upon are our version of a catafalque.   Inscribed on the benches are the names of Miles and Malo, Mom's two older brothers who died in infancy.   Mom had said to us on more than one occasion that tshe thought that when she entered heaven, it would be her "little brothers"who would greet her.  Whenever it is that Mom enters heaven, I am sure that the welcoming party of those two little boys will something to behold.

We're rolling into the station now.

Tomorrow we lay to rest Mom's body — that body that God saw fit to be the first home of eight tiny bodies and eight immortal souls.  With the nine months each of us spent within Mom, it makes an even six years that she was with child.  We, her children, have been blessed to begin our lives where we did:  right within Mom.  We, her children, have been blessed to be able to call her mother — a vocation she had for 70+ years.  We, her children, are blessed to be able this day to commend her soul to God.   And we pray that we, her children and her granchildren and her great-grandchildren will live the Faith as she taught us to live it, and will one day be able to be with her in heaven to sing the enternal praise of the loving God Who has made us a family.  

That Fort Collins newspaper called Mom a Christmas gift brought by an angel to her grieving family.  We are now a grieving family, but that grief will be relieved, not by Mom coming to us, but by us living a life such that we will go to be with Mom in the Eternal Light of our Creator and Redeemer.   

A Christmas gift to her parents, it is just right that Mom died at 12:25 on the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary and that on her coffin are the words from "Silent Night".  And so we say to our mother:  Sleep in heavenly peace, Mom.  Sleep in heavenly peace.

Jezu, ufam Tobie.