When I became widowed for a second time in 2013, I decided to move back to my hometown where my mother, my son and my two grandchildren resided. The hand of providence assisted because I phoned the landlord of my 91 year old mother’s apartment building and was pleasantly surprised that there would soon be a vacancy right across the hall from Mom.
I started packing and booked the mover. My mother and I chatted on the phone each day, and though her health wasn’t great, her mind was alert and she was excited that I would soon become her neighbour. Just two weeks before the move, my mother died. She had a short hospital stay, thank God, and she was prepared spiritually to join my father, who had passed away five years earlier.
It was a tough few weeks; settling my furniture and helping my sisters to clear my mother’s two bedroom apartment of her possessions. There was comfort knowing my mother had lived with the anticipation that I would soon be so much closer. I also felt that God had chosen this home for me, and I accepted His decision to take my mother home to Him.
I miss her terribly, of course, but the building is conveniently located close to my parish church, and walking distance to a shopping centre. I remember Mom saying that I should try to find a place close to my church, because church is a priority in my life. I had not even considered her building in the beginning, but one day, during a visit with her, a voice in my head said: “Call your mother’s landlord.” I argued that I didn’t have time, with a train to catch, and would do it later. “Call the office now,” the voice repeated. Well, I finally gave in, and within a half hour, the decision had been made. With the apartment across the hall soon to be available, it really seemed to have been ordained from heaven. I had checked out a few other buildings but none of them measured up to the place where Mom had lived for twenty years.
I won’t ever forget the smile on my mother’s face as she said good bye to me that day. There would be no nursing home for her; I would be her caregiver. We were both looking forward to the future. But God had other plans for Mom.
St. Josemaria Escriva said: “It is not simply enough to accept God’s will; we must be ready to embrace it.” I trust that God saw that my mother was tired, and her time had come. Although it was not easy to become orphaned and widowed within a six month period, I am happy that I can easily attend daily Mass, and the memories of the good times spent across the hall with my parents bring a special joy to my heart.
And when my grandchildren visit, they often remark that their great- grandmother used to be just across the hall. It’s a special memory that warms all of our hearts.