The house is quiet. The hospice nurse is here to check on Mary, my mother-in-law. The rattling in Mary’s chest is bad. She is talking gibberish in her sleep, too, which the nurse says is common among those who are dying.
Earlier this morning one of the aunts stopped by. But Mary was sleeping.
“Can I sneak in and look at her?” asked the aunt as tears dripped from her cheekbones.
The aunt peeked into the bedroom and was confronted with the modern machinery of medical care. An oxygen machine that sounded like a small lawnmower, with long tubes going to Mary’s nasal cannula.
The aunt covered her mouth and cried. “Oh, bless her.”
But the strange thing is, nobody wore the kinds of faces you’d associate with grief—those faces will come later. Right now everyone wears a warm face. Ours are the faces of people tangled up in nostalgia.
“Who’s she talking to?” said the aunt, dabbing her eyes.
“Don’t know,” said my wife. “She’s been talking in her sleep all day. She’s talking to someone.”
“Maybe it’s God.”
We all wept.
When the aunt left the house, everything went quiet again. And this is the oddest part of dying. The quiet. I’m not used to this house being so unearthly silent.
Long ago, this house used to be the loudest place on the block. When my father-in-law was alive, these walls vibrated with 24-hour cable news. After he died, my mother-in-law blared non-stop HGTV. She bled Chip-and-Joanna blue. But now.
Now it’s radio silence.
The caregivers sit nearby, clad in scrubs, killing time on phones. My wife is reading a hospice pamphlet. I hear a clock ticking. The refrigerator hums. It’s like a library in here.
More relatives pay a visit. They enter with smiling and tearful faces. And I’m noticing a trend here. Those faces again. Nobody wears the forlorn expressions of pity, they wear looks I can’t quite explain. I’m trying to think of how to describe what I’m talking about.
Try this. You know the nurse who sits in the hospital maternity ward nursery with all the babies? Think of the warm face she wears when she holds a newborn. Now splash some tears on her cheeks. That’s the face.
It’s a loving face. Nobody ever told me death could be so affectionate.
When the house finally empties, I decide to creep into the bedroom to sit beside my mother-in-law while she sleeps. This woman who once welcomed an awkward, lanky redheaded fool into her family many years ago. Occasionally she opens her eyes to see me sitting at the foot of her bed.
“Oh, it’s you,” she mumbles with a hoarse voice.
Her chest rattles. “What are you doing?”
“I’m just keeping an eye on you.”
“Making sure I don’t start causing trouble?”
“Something like that.”
She tries to smile, but it only leads to more hacking. She closes her eyes again and falls into a fitful sleep. She resumes muttering.
The hospice nurses tell me that people leave this world by degrees. A little bit at a time. They straddle two realms. They ride the fence between here and the hereafter. Right now, it seems as though Mary has one foot in this world, and one foot in the next.
I overhear her talking aloud to deceased relatives and ghosts. I hear tidbits of one-sided conversations. I hear her converse with her mother. With her late husband. With her father. With a woman named Jenny.
And I start to sense a kind of magic filling this bedroom. A heavy, warm, mysterious air. The hair on my neck stands up. My eyes are wet. And although I realize what I’m about to say will sound pretty far-fetched, it feels as though there is something in this room with us. You can almost hear the rustling of wings.
When Mary’s eyes open, she smiles. She says through labored breathing, “Was I… Talking in my… Sleep again?”
“It’s okay. Are you in pain?”
“Are you scared?”
Before she finishes speaking she’s sleeping once more. Eyes closed tightly. She begins talking to someone again. Part of me wishes I could see what she’s seeing because whatever it is, I know it must be magnificent.
After another hour she pops awake once more. We lock eyes. I can tell she is trying to remember me. Nothing is said at first, but then something special passes between us. And finally she speaks.
“He’s here talking to me.”
And somehow I have this feeling He’s talking to me too.
Penn Wells - July 28, 2021 7:10 am
Beyond poignant, which, when you come to think about it, is just another side of intimate. Thinking of all of you as I close this day out West.
Sharon Ollis - July 28, 2021 7:22 am
Thank you for sharing these precious moments.
Jo Ann Morley - July 28, 2021 7:28 am
I have been where you are and where Jaime is now with Mother Mary. I held my Mother’s hand for over 36 hrs. because I wanted her to know she was not alone. With your sweet letter to Jaime, maybe Mom had more company than I knew. Thank you, Sean, for this beautiful and poignant letter. May you and Jaime lay your heads on your pillows and know that you did all you could possibly do for such a sweet lady. May that give you peace.
Regina - July 28, 2021 7:49 am
I understand this all to well. Went through it with my father in February. The hospice nurse told me that the gibberish and talking about people long gone was a life review. My heart hurts for you and Jamie. I believe those angels are going to get a kick out of Mother Mary. What a light this world is losing! Heaven is going to be awfully bright when it gets the bright star Mother Mary. I’m sending you all love and prayers. It’s an awfully hard thing to go through.
Norma Den - July 28, 2021 8:25 am
May our everlasting God hold you both close.
Leigh Amiot - July 28, 2021 8:33 am
My late mother, who worked in geriatric care for decades, said many of her patients saw their mothers as they departed. My late 94-year-old grandmother had ten children, three who preceded her. Out of compassion, she had not been informed of the third son’s death. As she was dying, she told my mother and an aunt those three sons were in the room, named each one.
How wonderful Mother Mary has this window of time where she can be with all her loved ones, living and departed.
May her passing be peaceful and may all her loved ones on this side of eternity know that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18)
Suzi - July 28, 2021 6:11 pm
I wish I’d met you sooner Mother Mary, you have brought joy and laughter into my life, I will miss you🥂
Bar - July 28, 2021 8:36 am
Yes, God is talking to you both … and a thousand angels hover nearby to escort her home.
Lulu - July 28, 2021 9:11 am
You and Jaime are in my prayers as is Mother Mary as she is passing on. You have so touched my heart and my tears. Hugs and Love Wrapped in Peace and Joy!
david grant - July 28, 2021 9:16 am
Thank you for sharing. You write from your heart : you have a good heart my friend. May your writing continue to bless many.
Cheryl Andrews - August 1, 2021 11:06 pm
Sean, this is beautiful. I just lost a dear friend who was in hospice at his home. When he passed last Wednesday, his family was with him. This piece brings such joy and peace to me, as I think of my friend’s family and their last weeks with him on Earth. Thank you.
And I am praying y’all.❤
Laura Wilson - July 28, 2021 9:27 am
I sat with my mom as she passed and quickly realized the family room was filled with people I could not see. Mom was talking to lots of people and was quite animated for someone who had been mostly sleeping for the past few days. In one short but coherent moment she spoke to me and I told her they were all waiting for her and it was time to go. She passed peacefully in the early hours of the next morning. No one will ever convince me there isn’t a hereafter filled with our loved ones. Blessings to you, Jamie and Mother Mary.
Joan Moore - July 28, 2021 9:29 am
God works in our lives and I can see He gave you the insight to write this beautiful tribute of love.Psalm 116 comes to mind. Please let Jamie know how much we are praying for y’all.Something woke me up at 3am, and I prayed for her and then saw the column. Love is eternal, praying for no pain for Mother Mary.
Sandra Smith - July 28, 2021 9:38 am
My Dad talked to a lady all dressed in gold, as she stood behind us in his ICU room. We knew it was close then. A few nights later, as my sister, and step-sisters, and I all sat, keeping vigil, they all got up to step out for a few minutes, and it was just me & Daddy, and a presence I could not see, but could surely feel….I held Daddy’s hand, bent close, and kissed his cheek, and told him, “I love you, and I will miss you, SO MUCH, but, it’s ok to go home, Daddy….we’ll be fine.”
He exhaled, and was gone, but I know, as sure as I’m typing this, that God was in that room, still…comforting me, at that moment, because I felt a peace.
Also, in almost 35 years of Nursing, I’ve seen a LOT of dying….a lot of BAD dying….but, I’ve never seen a bad death, if that makes any sense.I KNOW, God is always there.
Susan Johnson - July 28, 2021 12:42 pm
STEVE MOORE WATKINS - July 28, 2021 10:23 pm
When my mother went into ICU, the nurse said “I hope she doesn’t go get ICU psychosis.” What the medical world calls ICU psychosis, I call a. blessing. My mother did not sleep those last few days, but laughed, and entertained guests we could not see, and had quite a party of it. And when she was lucid, she was beautiful and graceful. Her exit was blessed and there is always that feeling of the fullness of Presence during those final moments.
Meredith Smith - July 28, 2021 9:47 am
Sean and Jamie, I am so sorry for you that Mother Mary is transitioning to her next life. Not because her next life won’t be beautiful, because it will, but because you will miss her wonderful big Life she brings to you here. I have recently lost several friends through hospice. It all came in a flurry. One thing I found the same with all of them; the talking. They all talked to unknown beings. I was a little distressed at first but then I started seeing that each of my friends/loved ones were actually talking to people they knew. This is a peaceful time. Be well.
Debbie g - July 28, 2021 9:49 am
Even as mother Mary leaves this world she leaves so many happy memories with us Prayers with all. Love y’all
Samantha McDaniel - July 28, 2021 10:06 am
You are receiving such a gift, to be present. Present and a witness to this final dance that, to paraphrase Jackson Browne”, “…in the end there is one dance we all do alone.” So difficult to witness, such a holy honor. Grace and peace to Mrs. Mary and to you all.
Lynn - July 28, 2021 10:08 am
My heart hurts for you and Jamie and your loved ones. I’m a nurse and I have experienced this too many times. There is a peace though for the ones especially who believe in sweet Jesus. I’m honored to have been in the presence of Angel s coming to lead the dying out of this world into paradise. As one man described before he stopped breathing “Oh ain’t it pretty “. Take comfort. She’s stepping into a place that is so “pretty “.
Jane Sparacio - July 28, 2021 10:14 am
To sit with a patient in their final hours is a blessing beyond words. You now know the blessings that fills the room, it lingers, and when you leave the room for the final time so does that spiritual blessing. God bless to all, you are in my prayers.
Michelle (Reese’s mom) - July 28, 2021 10:26 am
I sometimes find a little white feather, well, only twice, within the last 14 months in my studio. I can imagine the presence of angels in the night with my little Reese leading them.
Steve Leachman - July 28, 2021 10:30 am
To feel the presence of God…I have no words. Sean, you’re able to explain the loss but also the knowledge that there’s hope for more after death.
Bob - July 28, 2021 10:42 am
Thank you Sean! Moving, special and always needed to hear.
Karen Lynn Mcclurg - July 28, 2021 10:48 am
Dear Ones, My husband and I just walked the same floors as you. My mother passed recently. I sure miss her and I am very thankful we were able to care for her until the end. I did things I didnt think I was capable of. Must have been Him helping me through.Deep water. Death is a glorious time . Karen
Linds - July 28, 2021 10:57 am
debbie glaser - July 28, 2021 11:00 am
Years ago I was holding my Mom’s hand when she slipped to the hereafter. I tell you that when her spirit left I felt it and it was the most beautiful moment of my life. Let Mother Mary know it’s OK to leave and that everyone will be fine. It gives her peace before her journey. God Bless you all.
Ps. Thank you for sharing this wonderful lady with all of us. She reminds me so much of my Mom.
Wendy Carr - July 28, 2021 11:00 am
Thank you for sharing during this most intimate of times. Your description of the time and space and faces- all so beautifully expressed, and exactly how I experienced the last days with my father-in-law. Holy. Sacred. May the presence of God linger with you and your sweet wife in the coming days.
Maureen - July 28, 2021 11:00 am
My thoughts and prayers are with you, Jamie and Mother Mary. It truly is a blessing that you can all be together until the end. That alone is a gift from above to be surrounded by the ones you love.. I was with my husband and my Dad until the end and the final moment was a gift as I could see the pain leave them.
Jean - July 28, 2021 11:01 am
How sweet….and I want to think too that there are Angels around her. I thought she had passed when I wrote yesterday.Sorry. I too am like you and wish you could see who she is talking with. God bless you all.
Ht - July 28, 2021 11:17 am
Know that feeling. Sang to Mom all day on my birthday & I’ve no clue how to sing but sang on. Next morning began again til her breathing stopped.
Amy - July 28, 2021 11:34 am
Thank you for sharing these beautiful moments in your life. God is truly near the broken-hearted.
Stephanie Mummert - July 28, 2021 11:37 am
When my dad was dying, he told my mom to let Jesus out of the refrigerator.
Kyle Viertel - July 28, 2021 11:44 am
Blessings on your family✝️
Leslie in NC - July 28, 2021 11:46 am
I pray Mother Mary will have a peaceful transition and that you and Jamie will be cloaked in the comfort of the Lord. I lost my mom when I was just 20, holding her hand until her last breath. It’s not easy and you will forever miss her, but all the wonderful memories of times spent with her you will keep tucked safely away in your hearts.
Charlotte Lea - July 28, 2021 11:49 am
My Mother was a missionary nurse in Africa during the latter years of her career. She remembered the Lord told her as a young teenager that she’d be a missionary. She served nearly 10 years there (Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Kenya). She wrote a book about her first year in Ethiopia, but never got it published. I also found a handwritten journal about those additional years there.
Once she retired in her 80s, dementia set in. She was physically healthy but was losing her memory. Two years ago she suffered a heart attack and a week later hospice was summoned. That night we all stood around her bed and one of my brothers prayed ‘Lord, please don’t let her suffer’. She had done sooooo very much for Jesus and had served his children in Africa and Mississippi. At that very minute, she passed away and went to those everlasting arms.
Bless you and Jamie ❤
Lisa H - July 28, 2021 11:58 am
Oh, my! You are so talented at describing what so many of us feel as we watch a loved one pass. I love your writing and I hope you continue in this profession for a very long time. Bless you and your wife, and Mother Mary. She’s been blessed to have such a loving family be with her as she leaves this world. We don’t come into this world alone and we shouldn’t have to leave it alone. Love and prayers.
Karen Snyder - July 28, 2021 12:01 pm
Love and prayers continue for you all from all of us.
Roy - July 28, 2021 12:02 pm
I believe that, in time, you will remember these days as some of your best. What an awesome privilege it is to care for and spend time with loved ones at the end of their earthly life. My wife and I plucked my MIL from assisted living last summer and brought her to our home. I could tell you story after story of things that she saw, heard and said. It was an honor to care for her during her transition. Peace.
Barbara S Smith - July 28, 2021 12:04 pm
This process makes you a believer after you see your loved talk to her parents and others who have gone before. Angels ARE there with you. Treasure this time.
Heidi - July 28, 2021 12:05 pm
It’s Gods blessing to all of you as you get this precious time together. Thank you for inviting us in. Sending love and prayers to you, Jamie, your family and especially Mother Mary.
Josie Retan - July 28, 2021 12:15 pm
Me and my 3 sisters stood beside mom’s bed knowing any time she would leave us. She adored her mother and had to leave her in Japan to come to the states w/my military dad. She never got to see her again, got a telegram she had died suddenly. At the end she reached and stretched her arms out in the air, as hard as she could, to be welcomed into her Mother’s arms and Jesus’ arms. Then she was gone.
LauraD - July 28, 2021 12:23 pm
She can feel all the love from the past to the now.
Dianne Riedl - July 28, 2021 12:24 pm
No words 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Linda Keyes - July 28, 2021 12:24 pm
No, I do not think your comments were “far fetched” – – As Psalm 23 tells us – “Yea though I walk thru the valley of the shadow of death…. THOU aren’t with me…”. May HIS love and comfort be with you and Jamie in the days ahead.
Robyn - July 28, 2021 12:31 pm
Praying for all y’all Sean…Give Jamie a hug for me. Robyn
franfluker - July 28, 2021 12:35 pm
thinking of you and your sweet wife. Hospice workers do some hard stuff, over and over and over, getting to know patients and family members, investing in their care and lives…
Shannon Moore - July 28, 2021 4:00 pm
I think some of the sound of angel wings are coming from hospice nurses. Godsent from heaven, they are.
Lee Ann - July 28, 2021 12:39 pm
Praying for you all. Losing someone you love stinks. I hope you all can feel the love of family and friends surrounding you. Peace.
Susan Johnson - July 28, 2021 12:39 pm
You shared very precious moments.
Jo Ann - July 28, 2021 12:40 pm
I’m so sorry that Mother Mary is so ill. But, what a blessing that she is able to be at home with loved ones for her final days. You & Jamie are at her side, family & friends can visit without restrictions. She is in her bed, instead of in a hospital with all that paraphernalia involved with inpatient admissions. No masks, no visitor restrictions. A blessing indeed. Praying for comfort & strength at this time to let her go when she’s ready.
Bill in Tennessee - July 28, 2021 12:42 pm
This perfectly describes the day I sat with my own mother in her bedroom as she left this world. All night long she had been talking to someone we could not see. She had lived a most significant life… mother of four, had worked on “the bomb” in Oak Ridge, TN, during WWII, was a ball of energy her entire life, and a fixture in our small rural town in east Tennessee. But now she was simply lying on her deathbed having a conversation with unseen spirits.
And as you said, about mid-morning “something” entered the room…..we could all feel it, and it brought us all to tears. We knew that something powerful was present. And when she looked at the ceiling in awe and then took her last breath, we knew that she had been taken by the angels.
It is something I will remember for the rest of my life. Thank you, Sean.
Sandy Burnett - July 28, 2021 12:44 pm
Praying for all of you. Blessings.
Katherine Colbert - July 28, 2021 12:57 pm
My prayers are with you during this transition. You and Jamie are so loved. Thank you for sharing this sacred time with us.
Lauren D Ulrich - July 28, 2021 12:58 pm
And what you are experiencing is the strongest witness to the fact that death isn’t really scary to the person who’s dying. Mary is, in fact, spanning two worlds, and obviously there are loving people in the “other world” who are welcoming her with open and loving arms. Prayers and sympathy and love to you and Jaimie~
Harriet - July 28, 2021 12:59 pm
Oh my gosh. Your dad. Mother Mary. This is amazing to read.
Debbie Corder - July 28, 2021 1:02 pm
The goodness of our loving God welcoming home His beloved child to spend eternity with Him. And, you got to watch it…what a gift knowing she is in paradise waiting for you and all her loved ones. My mom is drawing close to her time and this reassures me how God will see her through here final earthbound hours…bless you Sean for sharing this.
elizabethroosje - July 28, 2021 1:08 pm
Oh Sean. We are praying for you in these hushed holy hours. 🙏
Maggie Priestaf - July 28, 2021 1:10 pm
Yes, he is…
Helen De Prima - July 28, 2021 1:13 pm
My grandfather talked to his long-dead business partner and best friend; I could almost hear the replies.
Bev - July 28, 2021 1:20 pm
Every time you share a story of Mother Mary, it reminds me of the Beatles song “Let it Be.”
…Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be…
Beachdreamer1 - July 28, 2021 1:26 pm
Dear Sean..you have so many friends, family and angels surrounding you and Jamie in these moments. You can’t see us all but doesn’t mean we and they aren’t there with you. We all have our experiences with death. I recently heard a preacher talk on the Lords Prayer. It says the valley of the ‘shadow’ of death…which is really saying it’s only a shadow, which passes quickly. To me that was so encouraging. But words only take you so far…the rest we get thru a step at a time. Wish I could say something to make it easier. Just know you’re surrounded by love. Prayers with you all.
God’s Peace be with you ❤️
Jan - July 28, 2021 1:26 pm
Such a beautiful description of what my ancestors, the Celtic people called “thin places”. They believed that time and space could somehow blend especially as we neared the end of our time on earth. We witnessed the same experiences with my Mother. She asked if my sister and I could see the little girl sitting on the end of her bed and she talked to people who were not visible to us. Thank you for sharing your experience. May God bless you, Jamie and Mother Mary as you travel through this Holy time and space.
Margaret Cade - July 28, 2021 1:26 pm
Beautiful. Tell her you love her. Consider it the greatest honor to be with her. Love and prayers for Mother Mary, Jamie and you. 🙏🙏❤️
Ruth Thiessen - July 28, 2021 1:34 pm
… I call it Heaven’s waiting room… 💞 so very special. 🤗
Linda Vaughan - July 28, 2021 1:55 pm
What a lovely expression!
Cindy - July 28, 2021 1:36 pm
Blessings to you all. Such a sweet time – though hard- you will miss her. But knowing that you and your wife honored her until you see her again is a gift from God. Treasure these memories.
CHARLA BIPPUS - July 28, 2021 1:37 pm
Sean, maybe you could play her favorite kind music in her room for comfort. Music is soothing to the heart and soul! xxoo
Cheryl W - July 28, 2021 1:37 pm
Angels and loved ones were in the room to welcome her home.
We were all in the room saying goodbye to daddy 20 years ago. I was the last one. He could not open his eyes, so I told him who I was and I could not believe how hard he squeezed my hand. I promised him we would take good care of mom and it was ok to go see Jesus now. He took one last breath in this world, and the next one was in heaven.
Mom is now 99, blind, deaf, non-ambulatory, and dementia has robbed her of much of the present. Just last week she was fully alert and so happy we came when all of her brothers and sisters were in her room visiting. She knew they were all in heaven, but they were also right there and she was having the best time. Being raised Baptist, she wanted to make sure there was enough of the fried chicken we brought her to go around. Her feet are still on this side, but she is close enough to see her loved ones in heaven.
Georgina Fourzan - July 28, 2021 1:39 pm
I’m undone. Sean you’re an amazing person. God uses you greatly to heal us with your stories. ❤️
Vicky - July 28, 2021 1:43 pm
Thinking of you all as you say goodbye for now to Mother Mary. Thank you for sharing so much with your readers and for your beautiful writing.
Janie F. - July 28, 2021 1:43 pm
Bless Miss. Mary, Jamie, you and the rest of the family. Being with a loved one as they are about to pass on is a heartbreakingly beautiful thing. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.🙏
Gordon - July 28, 2021 1:52 pm
You are there creating precious memories of Mother Mary. And our Heavenly Father is there. Thank you for sharing your moments with us.
Paul McCutchen - July 28, 2021 1:55 pm
I have you in my prayers..
Linda Vaughan - July 28, 2021 1:56 pm
Sean, your post today brings both tears and a degree of confirmation about death and the hereafter. Blessings for all of you!
Dr. Dennis Stalvey, aka Preacher Dennis the Storyteller - www.preacherdennisthestoryteller.com - July 28, 2021 2:03 pm
Sean and Jamie,
I would never invade your grief and only offer this narrative because it helped when
we lost our 45 year old son this past January. I wish I could have had this when we
also lost our little girl 48 years ago. There is no describing how Wintley Phipps can
touch our souls with this powerful narrative. You can listen to it on YouTube listed
below. It was originally recorded at a Gaithers Homecoming called Heaven, which I
also show below. The entire Homecoming event describes Heaven from multiple
people’s witness and sharing their thoughts and songs. My prayers are with your
family in this time and the days to come. Please do not publish this in your comments
to others, because I am sending this privately to Jamie and you.
Dr. Dennis Stalvey, Americus, Georgia
GO DOWN DEATH NARRATIVE
BY WINTLEY PHIPPS
ON GAITHERS HEAVEN CD and DVD (see below)
Toni Alphord - July 28, 2021 2:08 pm
Love you ! It is not easy letting go, my husband and I have been there. Praying for y’all!
Wanda - July 28, 2021 2:10 pm
My husband and I are caregivers for my mom who lives with us. She is disabled and has dementia so sometimes the days are hard but I am so thankful that she is with loved ones and is content to be here. I know the day is coming when we will be where you and Jamie are now and I thank you for your precious words. They will come back to me when we say goodbye ( for now) to my mama. I am praying for you all.
Betsy - July 28, 2021 2:14 pm
I was privileged to be present when both of my parents died. My dad told us he saw Jesus and my mom kept looking up in the corner of the room at a
“Light.” Nothing will make you believe in the wonderful afterlife more than being present in this holy moment. Continued prayers for you all.
Brenda Harvey - July 28, 2021 2:14 pm
This particular blog left me in tears as if she were my own family. Bless you and your family. I keep a folder with all of your blogs in it in case I need to find a past blog so I can draw on your wisdom when needed. My father is in hospice care and I suspect I will be wanting to reread this one at some point. Thank you for writing this.
Christina - July 28, 2021 2:20 pm
“I can almost hear the rustling of wings”. What a wonder it is to be surrounded by a host of angels welcoming you home. We love you Mother Mary!
Michael Hawke - July 28, 2021 2:21 pm
May God bless. Prayers of peace being lifted.
Mary Jane (MJ) Bruess - July 28, 2021 2:28 pm
OMG this is so special and amazing. I am sitting in tears remembering sending my first husband on his way. Hugs and prayers to your family. My husband also talked to someone before he left. Godspeed Mary!
dawn ritz - July 28, 2021 2:34 pm
The first column of yours that I read was about Mother Mary. I laughed so hard and promptly went to your archives and read every other column you had written. Feel as if I have come to know and love Mother Mary over the years. Praying for her and you and Jamie!!
Mary Leach - July 28, 2021 2:45 pm
Magnificent post. I’ve witnessed this both as an oncology nurse and a family member. It’s hard, but a beautiful kind of hard, and you captured it so well.
Regarding the expressions on the faces, to me it’s everything you ever felt about them. Everything they ever taught you, every time you laughed, everything you’ll miss, everything it’s too late to say, every word you wish you could take back. It’s everything. It’s the totality of your love for them pouring out from you toward them like a beam of invisible light.
Donna Masmar - July 28, 2021 2:46 pm
You bring much comfort to those of us who have been there–your messages are great medicine.
Waunette Puhl - July 28, 2021 2:58 pm
I’ve been in that place.
Faith keeps me going.
Tim Peace - July 28, 2021 2:59 pm
I’m so sad to learn of this sudden turn with Mother Mary.
My heart aches for you and Jamie. Every time you mention Mother Mary, I think of my own mom, also Mary, in a nursing home, and who will be 93 next month. We all face the inevitable in these circumstances. All we can do is be thankful for the time we’ve had…what little time we have left…and try make the most of it. I am praying for the peace that passes all understanding for each of you. Bless you all…
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks, for this is the will of Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thes. 5:16-18
Randy - July 28, 2021 3:18 pm
Sean, I’ve been there in your situation several times and know just have difficult it can be watching them talking to an unseen being, opening their eyes and looking at the corner of the room, and that terrible rattling noise that I will never forget. Know they are heading to a much better place even though it can be a journey that lasts too long before it is complete. I wouldn’t bring my loved ones back in the condition they were in because they are happy now and at peace.
kathy5271yahoocom - July 28, 2021 3:34 pm
This touches me deep in my soul. I went and cared for my Dad in his final month. The house was so busy leading up to his final day.. Everyone had to come by and say their goodbyes to my Dad – I was so busy that month helping him up and down keeping guard of people taking too much of his energy – keeping that “lady preacher” away. Making sure he spent each morning with his best friend discussing the many attributes of Kelly Ripa. In his final moments with rattling chest and like your MIL slipping in and out – he spoke out clearly – look look do you see them! (pointing to a corner of the ceiling) they are so beautiful, they are coming- look. (I still get chills when I remember those moments). In the coming days and months after that day he passed, I found myself at such a loss of what to do with myself – everything – even the things I loved to do seemed so insignificant after the previous months of care. Take care of yourselves – allow the days of feeling insignificant in the day to day living and the quiet. She will always be with you looking over your shoulder.
KATY - July 28, 2021 3:37 pm
Yes, my mother too saw the angels collecting around her room !
KATY - July 28, 2021 3:35 pm
Sean and Jamie,
💕Our dear mother, too, was on her final journey to the Lord and was often heard conversing with the heavenly saints, her relatives, the holy angels, and of course, Jesus, himself. “Going home” is truly an amazing journey to witness. Jesus have mercy on us ! Jesus, we trust in you! 💕
Mary Sirmon - July 28, 2021 3:47 pm
What beautiful picture of death you write about. Death is hard but you make it sound easy with Jesus in room. Knowing Jesus makes the difference. God’s Blessings and prayers for your peace and comfort.
sholmes53 - July 28, 2021 3:53 pm
I sat with my mother’s hand in mine when she entered her next life. I will always be thankful for that. Blessings to you, Jamie and Mother Mary as she makes the transition.
Shannon Moore - July 28, 2021 3:58 pm
I totally understand what you are saying. I sat with my grandmother as she died, and as she took her last breath I felt like shouting. It’s like a little bit of heaven jumped out on me for just a little bit. My flesh was sad, but ,wow, my Spirit was shouting and thanking God that those “chains were gone” and she’d been set free. I’m so thankful for the promise of heaven. Please know I’m praying for you all. Mother Mary stories are always some of my favorites.
johnallenberry - July 28, 2021 4:02 pm
We’re praying for you all up here in Huntsville, Al. God bless you, and God bless Mother Mary.
chesterthedumpdog - July 28, 2021 4:12 pm
How beautiful are the everlasting arms.
Carol Watson - July 28, 2021 4:31 pm
Praying for you all! This is the hard part, saying goodbye, but God is there & the angels are gathered around her bed. I was by my Dad’s side when he passed & I can say say it was the most traumatic thing I have ever gone through & yet the most Glorious thing also, if that even makes sense. My prayers for comfort are sent your way🙏❤️☺️
Karen - July 28, 2021 4:44 pm
My heart and prayers are with you all. What a blessing to have such a wonderful mother and mother-in-law.
Chasity Davis Ritter - July 28, 2021 4:52 pm
Sitting in the VA parking lot as I read this. My husband is inside in emergency. Having some complications due to covid. They’ll help him out he’ll be ok. But I’m reading this and crying so hard. Sending love and prayers to you and Jamie. Especially Jamie. Yes if you listen so closely in all that quiet you will hear the rustling of those wings. I’m so truly sorry. I know mother Mary is ready. I know they’re welcoming her home. She’s getting to talk to those loved ones and they’re saying come on over her Mary. We’re ready for you. But it’s not gonna matter how ready you are on this side it’s gonna rip your heart out to let her go and no platitudes no words are truly ever going to bring any comfort. Not all the I’m sorrys or even the I’m praying for you’s but that’s all we have to offer Sean. So I am sorry and I am praying for each of you but mostly I’m here in Oklahoma in a running car crying with you and sending love and sharing in a tiny part of your loss and grief and wishing so much that there was more I could do. God bless Mother Mary she will be home soon.
Linda Moon - July 28, 2021 5:07 pm
When I saw the title of this post in my inbox I had to move away to process and anticipate it before opening. And then, as I began to read I found comfort in the house where Mother Mary is dying…at home surrounded by people she loves and talking to Someone. Thank you for sharing Mother Mary with us as she nears death. It was a loving gift for her today and for us, too. I sincerely love you two, Jamie and Mother Mary.
FranAllen - July 28, 2021 5:28 pm
Yes…. Exactly as it should be glorious and peaceful after a life well lived
Stacey Wallace - July 28, 2021 6:01 pm
He was, Sean.
Wadena - July 28, 2021 7:06 pm
The Dear Lord give you all comfort in this difficult time. Prayers!!
Sue Pires - July 28, 2021 7:32 pm
I’m sorry to hear about your mom-in-law. But it’s nice to know her loved ones are coming by to usher her into her next great adventure. When my dad was a few hours away from his journey, his sister Louise (always the nosey one!) was the first to come by. She had daisies with her. I guess it was only fitting; she was a year older than Dad, and she always looked out for him from their days on the school playground when she always brought an extra apple so he wouldn’t be hungry, to checking up on him, well into their eighties. They come by, one by one. Usually the ones who’ve been gone the longest are the first to show up. They know the ropes, and they’ve got the welcoming committee down to a science. Wishing you and your wife peace, and Mary a joyous welcome home.
Deanna - July 28, 2021 8:49 pm
This struck a bittersweet memory. We bought our father home to my sister’s house in October of last year. He passed away in November. We had hospice for him and they were wonderful. However, I am retired nurse, so helping take care of my daddy was the last nursing job that I did. I will never forget the sadness, but also the joy, of helping our daddy go and see our mother again
Anne Arthur - July 28, 2021 9:14 pm
Such a lovely account of love. Sincere love in so many ways.
Accompanying a dying person is a holy moment in time. I will always cherish the last moments I had with my mother.
May the memories of your mom-in-law’s passing be helpful to deal with the pain of losing her.
Thank you, Jesus, for being there with them.
Patricia Gibson - July 28, 2021 9:18 pm
Janie Gentry - July 28, 2021 9:50 pm
How absolutely beautiful. I spent 27 years as a nurse and I held many hands while my patient slipped away. I never wanted anyone to die alone.
There is something quite beautiful in the passing of a soul who is looking forward to the journey.
Kathy - July 28, 2021 11:26 pm
He’s right there with you. Just what we want for y’all.
MAM - July 29, 2021 12:09 am
Your writing brought me to heavy tears today. I lost my mother Mary (that was her name, too) 16 years ago when she was 94, but I still dream about her often. I remember in her last days her saying she wanted to see her brother, who had died in a car accident when she was 14. It wasn’t long before they were reunited. Thank you for sharing these intimate moments with us. Prayers for you, Sean, Jamie and Mother Mary.
Jennifer Covella - July 29, 2021 12:50 am
I’m in tears. Tears of hope, awe and pure fascination. Of love. She is preparing to go to the most beautiful place anyone can imagine. Praying for a peaceful transition and for you all as you are with her while she makes that transition.
KAY JENKINS - July 29, 2021 1:22 am
As my friend sat with her husband last year, he opened his eyes and asked her “Am I dying?” She replied”yes,I think you are.” He smiled and said “it’s not so bad” and passed peacefully. I pray the same for Mother Mary and comfort for you and Jamie.
Linda Outlaw Hornsby - July 29, 2021 1:46 am
I was at my brothers bedside when he took his final breath. My brother Thomas was diagnosed with a rare cancer on Dec14 and passed one month to the day afterward. I know that during that time my mother who had passed sent me a message that she would be there to welcome him home! My brother had the finest Hospice staff and he was visited by so many people during this time. He was so loved and so brave. He told me on Dec 22nd that he had made his peace with God and was not afraid to die! I loved my brother so much! I still miss him. This brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for this! It is special!
Donna B Hart - July 29, 2021 1:55 am
Please know how very sorry all of your readers are that you and Jamie and the rest of your family are having to go through this. Our prayers and thoughts are with you all. That Jesus is something, isn’t he?
Mike Stamps - July 29, 2021 4:09 am
Sean I got to go through this with both of my parents. Truly a special time. God bless you and Miss Jamie.
CHARALEEN WRIGHT - July 29, 2021 4:29 am
LBJ - July 29, 2021 5:18 am
My mama died last November. We were granted a “compassionate visit” as the rehab wasn’t allowing visitors in to keep Covid out. Dad was on one side & I was on the other. She was so still. Eyes closed, lips silent. Dad told her what a wonderful wife & mother she was. I told her there were so many waiting to greet her & to go with them. I reminded her I have two baby boys up there that I never got to hold, so she needed to find them & hold them close for me. She stopped breathing, but a couple of minutes later she took a deep breath & tho silent, she was talking to her angels. She stopped and was silent for a couple minutes more. Then she took her last breath and silently talked to them again.
Dad’s bride of 66 years is with her parents, siblings, so many relatives and friends. I picture her with my babies.
I was told in school that God takes you at your moment of perfection. Mama made it❤️
Mother Mary is approaching her moment. How blessed you and Jamie are to share it with her!
Sending you love & prayers.
Mary Phillips - July 29, 2021 11:28 am
I remember listening to my mother-in-laws conversations to someone on the other side. I knew that death will be soon because she was being led by angels. I was happy for her and sad at the same time. I will always miss her.
Judy Broussard - July 29, 2021 2:14 pm
Sean and Jamie my prayers are with you and Miss Mary at this sad time in your life. God is near taking care of Miss Mary. 🙏🙏🙏🙏
Laurence w church - July 29, 2021 6:40 pm
We love you all three!
Kate - July 30, 2021 2:52 am
I have been with three people when they were passing over, and all three were talking to people that we could not see, but it was obvious that the person passing could see them. It happens to often for there not to be something “on the other side”
Bill Harris - July 30, 2021 3:45 pm
Thank you Sean. Praying for the peace of God to envelop all of you.
Robert L Chiles - July 30, 2021 7:29 pm
It’s called the fellowship of the Saints. A room thick with the spirits of those who have gone before and are welcoming a new one. Peace to you.
Robert Taylor - July 31, 2021 7:28 pm
This is excellent. I loved he way you told the story.
Melissa - August 1, 2021 2:58 am
Hugs and prayers for Jamie and you.
Sharon J Mondragon - August 1, 2021 10:50 am
I love to read about how much you care about your mother-in-law. The only way I know how my police officer son-in-law feels about me is that he tells me never to sit with my back to the door in a public place and gave us one of those video doorbells for Christmas. It’s a start.
Anne M Robinson - August 3, 2021 6:49 pm
Sometime leaving this world is not easy but if God Almighty is talking to you, well, I would have to listen to every single thing he said to me.I remember watching and waiting when my grandmother, my BFF, best human being in life that I Knew was dying. I was in the 6th grade. Somehow I recall, God gave me the push to be at her side. When I dozed off in the middle of the night, my mom gentled touched my arm saying she was gone. I leaned over to kiss her, and I know she opened her eyes and saw me. My grandmother went blind when I was 7. I Know she saw me as she walked her self into heaven accompanied I am sure, on the arm of Jesus. My prayers are with you and Jamie and knowing God is going to take good care of Mary when her time does come. God Bless you all so very much.
Lee Desmond - August 12, 2021 8:02 pm
Eve - August 15, 2022 3:37 pm
I missed this column last year. Because this is the day my beloved sister died from Covid. In a hospital. Alone. Isolated. On a ventilator . Still haunts me. I pray there were angels there hovering, helping her as she slipped from this world where a deadly and unnecessary virus has taken so many of our loved ones.