Last weekend my sister came to visit and we had a private memorial for our mother at our local botanical garden, under the cherry trees – still tightly budded – in the Japanese garden our mother loved. I decided it was time to write down the experience of our mother’s month-long journey unto death. I wanted to share it with my sister to make sure I got it right and that I hadn’t imagined the awesome power of whatever it was going on.
At the nursing home’s December memorial for the residents who had passed away in the last six months, the visiting pastor told us to remember that the follow-up to Christmas and Jesus’s birth is Easter and Jesus’s death and resurrection. That resurrection tells us there is life after death. Believe it or not. And believe it or not, plenty of us Christians find ourselves wondering at times (or a lot of times) if that’s really true, at least for us mortals.
My sister and I were honored to be present watching over many days the gradual withdrawal of life from the human body and its final transformation into a presence we felt fill the corners and empty spaces of the room and then leave like a mist dissipating in the morning sun. At the end, we stood silent, stunned, wondering if two people could imagine the same bizarre, mysterious thing if neither spoke of it. I wanted to write down the experience, to remember it, to save it, to savor it, to find comfort in it, but I wasn’t ready until four months later.
When we write down our stories, how many think to write about their spiritual experiences. How many are brave enough to write them! Many times I’ve heard people talk about these kinds of moments, usually when they think they are safe with others who might believe. Easter is the annual reminder that there is something big and powerful and wonderful out there waiting for us. If you’ve felt it, will you share your story?