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March 29, 2018

On this day, 18 years ago

18 years ago on March 29, I was on my way from Wildwood to the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, MI. My mom was in the hospital, fighting a setback with lung cancer, but I had spoken with her the previous night and she sounded okay, said she was getting better and would soon be home. I told her I would come see her, forget the conference, and she said to come see her when she got out of the hospital.
Before I left home, I said to Greg, "check in with Dad and see how Mom is doing." I was about 45 minutes from home when he called. "Turn around," he said. "You need to get to Vegas." He arranged a last minute flight for me and as soon as I got home, took me to the airport where I caught the plane.
Mom was in a coma by then. She came to briefly later that evening while I was alone with her, reading to her from my newly published book (her favorite of mine, she had told me when it came out a few weeks before): What About Heaven? We had a few moments together and I reassured her it was okay to let go, God had a place ready for her. She had been agitated, but settled back into the coma. My sister, brother, Dad, and I all sat vigil around her bed that night.
She did go home the next morning, around 5:40 a.m.
On this Maundy Thursday, I will remember how our family gathered to face her death. I will remember how Jesus gathered with his closest friends to prepare to face his death. I will rise at 5:30 in the morning tomorrow and light the yahrzeit candle that my friend, Ruth Woodruff introduced to me. I will pray and remember that this year, the anniversary of my mother's death falls on the day Jesus died. And then I will celebrate the dawning light of Easter morning, and the empty tomb, and the promise of new life, and deep gratitude for all the people I love and who have loved me through the years, including all my family who will be with us for Easter.
Be grateful for each day. Live boldly. Because life is short and we have but little time to gladded the hearts of those who travel with us. So let us be swift to love, and make haste to be kind (Henri Amiel).

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