In 1982, my mother was diagnosed with third-stage ovarian cancer. The cancer had spread and the surgeons were unable to remove much of it, making her prognosis extremely poor.
After two years of declining health, my mother asked me to come home to accompany her on what we both knew would be her final journey to the hospital. Before leaving the house, she stood before her family pictures, smiling and saying good-bye, picture by picture, to her children, her daughter-in-law, and the young grandsons who were the joy of her heart. Then, after a quiet good-bye to the house itself, she got into the car and drove away without looking back.
By this time her body was so congested and constricted that her breathing was dangerously shallow. Her spirit, however, was calm and centered. Breathing into the questions she had feared to ask for so long had opened space for the Spirit’s breath to enliven her in new and surprising ways. Relaxed and confident in her core, she would die a woman at peace.
This message is adapted from “Breathing in the Big Questions” written by Gwen Sayler in the October 2006 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather magazine).