The death of my Mother

Posted September 2nd, 2008 in Blog 7 Comments »

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

You have always wanted more than the earth;
now you have it. You turn to the young.
They do not understand.

William Stafford

Well, friends, nothing like death to immerse us into the mysteries of Creation. I moved back to Wisconsin to be close to my Mother as she moved into the culmination of her long journey on this Earth — nearly 91 years. The past 4+ years have been a time of great struggle — broken bones from osteoporosis, surgeries, rehab — and always she struggled to get back home.

And that’s where she died, with one of my sisters and I, and one of my brothers, at her side, along with one of her longest term caregivers.

We had embraced home hospice several weeks ago. When you do that, you enter into intimacy with the dying process. And when you do that, you enter into an intimacy with your loved one like nothing before in your life.

maureen-rosay.png And when it is your Mother, the womb from which you emerged into life, well then…

mary-rose-and-steve.png I wrote some of this story in chapter 6 of my book, Living Beyond the End of the World, entitled, “The End of the American Dream”. Our culture has separated us so from death that we think it unnatural, an abomination, something that shouldn’t happen. Yet without death, there would be no life, just a stagnant mass of nothingness.

When we are close to it, it becomes transformative. To hear the last breath of someone so close to you and see the body grow still is to also experience the liberation of the next energy, the new creation, the ongoing story of who we truly are.

I cannot separate this death from the story we embrace in this project — Spirituality and Ecological Hope. There is something about how we deal with death here in the West that has to do with how we treat the planet, life, the values we embrace, the way we treat one another, what we think important, or not.

So, a break for a while here while we see this story through to the end. From that end comes a new beginning.


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7 Responses

  1. Bev LoGrasso, OSU


    What a beautiful woman and what a strong, sure smile! We have no choice but to participate in the death/resurrection cycle, but you did it so consciously. Your mother will send you many blessings, I know it.

    Love, Bev

  2. Richard Pauli

    Many condolences to you Margaret.

    So lovely how Hospice honors life and death. And now we the living survivors can honor the energy of our Grief… and eventually learn to accept and harness it maybe. For me I don’t think grief ever goes away. That is OK because it sustains memory.

    I liked the book “Facing Death and Finding Hope”

  3. Bill Swedish

    It is only in death that we can even begin to understand life. My mother’s death has heightened my awareness of all things new in the past few days; young kids, small animals, new plant life… It is with human life as it is with nature, with our planet; to everything turn, turn turn…

    I am so grateful to my sister for her compassionate contributions to my mother’s end days.

  4. D.Bheemeswar

    I admire you for the love and affection you have to mother. I just moved by the article. Lete her soul rest in peace and shower upon you her bleesings from that heaven.

  5. Anne

    Being so far awy as mom died has been so difficult. But the love I have felt from all my brothers and sisters has been most comforting.
    What I have learned from this beautiful woman who was my mother can never be truly ackowledged…..
    I will miss her smile, but she will be with me for always.


  6. Marge Melton


    I really enjoyed what you said on Tuesday night about your mother. Now your Dad and Mom are together again in God’s loving hand.
    I know my Mom and Dad are in his other loving hand.
    God Bless Always

    Marge Melton

  7. Jane Morrissey, ssj

    Dear Margie,

    Somehow right now I sit in Springfield and see your mother stretching her arms from heaven to touch people all over. She is in a hut where children are hungry, cradling the crying one and feeding them all the bread of life. She is in your back yard walking on the waters of life in Lake Michigan. She is somehow one with Mother Earth and Mother Mary and with all of you who came from her womb or moved in the warmth of her wonder. I who never knew her am touched by her too and feel her reaching toward my sister who just called. Dona is surviving cancer and troubled by an infection that may well keep her from going to her youngest grandchild’s baptism tomorrow. She too may find herself spreading her arms in an embrace that only God can endure and sustain, yet one that is so real we feel it deeper than the air surrounding our soul.

    What can I wish you in all this mystery but peace, Margie, the peace you give, the peace for which you live?

    i love you,