Most poignant for me was the visit with my mom on Mother’s Day.
Soon to be 89 years old, mom struggles with severe osteoporosis and arthritis. Her frail physique, however, is no match for her determined nature. If there is a task to be done, she is the first to tackle it.
Mom has an identical twin who is also her closest friend. They were the first twins born in this southernmost area of the Golden State and have never been far from each other. Sadly though, her sister (my aunt) has leukemia. We visited her after Sunday Mass.
Mom sat very close to her twin and asked how she was doing. I watched as my aunt smiled at my mom. Her gaze was almost angelic—soft and understanding. “I’m better,” she said weakly. And mom nodded in agreement.
In those few seconds, I realized that my aunt was helping my mom face the truth of her circumstance. Soon she would be leaving, and mom would be alone. With other family members also deceased, her sister's departure would be particularly heartbreaking.
When we drove away, mom asked about the difference between resignation and acceptance. And referring to her twin, she said, “Which do you think it is, Gwen?” I responded with another question, “Did you notice her smile and feel the peace?”
“Yes, yes I did.” And, then she added, “She has accepted her situation, hasn’t she. She is letting go." And with that, mom lowered her head as tears fell. She had begun her mourning.
C. S. Lewis wrote of the passing of his beloved, "Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything." I suspect when my dear aunt passes, her absence will stretch just as wide.