Sunday, October 21, 2007

Life and Death

That's my mom's name on the stone. Agnes Julia Meehan Scobey. My brother, Mark, named his first two daughters after her. They are both happy, kind, hard working women with an easy laugh and gentle disposition. Their grandma would be so proud of her namesakes. She was loving and generous and everything a mom should be but she died before I could express my appreciation for all the intangibles she left to me. She died forty one years ago, on the 19th of October in 1966. On that day she also gave me one of the greatest gifts anyone could receive. She showed me that there is life after death and that it is beautiful to behold. Mother, (that's what Mark and Paul and I called her, surprised us in March that year by being admitted to the hospital with none of us knowing that anything was wrong. I was twenty four and working as a County social worker and living at home with mother. Paul was 26, not yet married, Dad worked near Chicago and would come home on weekends. Mark and Alice were married and living at Kincheloe AFB, Michigan. It wasn't too odd that we didn't know she was sick because our family really didn't share confidences or feelings much. We just all got along fine and worked out any problems on our own. There was a deep abiding love and respect for each other but no hugs or spoken words of endearment. When she entered the hospital, she was told that she'd have to have an operation to remove a grapefruit sized tumor in her abdomen or pelvic area. The operation was on March 19th, St. Joseph's Day - patron saint of a happy death. The finding was that cancer had spread to the liver and there was no chance of recovery. She lived at home while she died and death was never mentioned but we saw it come as she got weaker and weaker and her valiant efforts to eat and stay active failed. She never whined or whimpered as she suffered excruciating pain near the end. She was skeleton thin on her last day and the seven months of living with the murderous disease had contorted her face to one of agony acceptance. Dad and Paul and I gathered in the bedroom equipped with a hospital bed and we watched as she drew her last breath. I had read a book describing death and it mentioned there would be a death rattle and the whites of the eyes would turn black and we heard and watched that happen. But then, as we stood, her face relaxed and the most beatific smile appeared on her face and my faith told me that I was witnessing my mother reaping the benefits of her well lived and God loving life. The smile, for me, wasn't just a relaxing of muscles which had been tortured. It was the smile of a soul reuniting with its maker. It has sustained my faith whenever doubts crept in and it still lingers in my conscious mind, giving me cause to shout a loud amen inside my head whenever I hear of the promise of everlasting life. Thanks, Mother.


Bernie said...

Thank you for sharing. You are a good storyteller.

Carmen Ronyak said...

I enjoy hearing about your mom, thanks for sharing!

Frances Meehan said...

That's a beautiful story and you might like to know that we may be related. Was your mother the eldest daughter of James Meehan and Elizabeth Collet of Des Plains, IL? My grandfather was Bernard Mathias Meehan and we are searching for a Mark Scobey who is thought to have compiled a Collet family tree chart. Please contact me at Thank you.

chander said...

Life is the combination of five,

sky, earth, air,water, and fire,

God lended me these for coming to earth,

make a reach to everyone's heart.

I learned to be as vast as sky,

as fluent as air, as booming as fire,

continuous as flowing water,retaining great heart as earth,

to get hold on my worldly desire.

I lived my life ,to the death i arrived,

My lord asked me about his gratitudes and regard of life .

He questned me about his gift,

the gifts he lended me to be live.

I told him o lord,

I gave back your things safely,to your beauty,

your nature almighty,

I gave up the air as i left my body.

My loved one put me on fire,to give back your fire,

to give away the water in me,

fly away to sky,and buried my ashes to earth ,

to give back your life........