“We all die alone.”

Someone said this to me this morning: “we all die alone” in a “boy have I an important truth to share with you, Bob” way. I smiled my “thanks for that” smile and proceeded to my destination (the coffee urn and not the urn from which no one returneth).

And then I thought, after filling my cup with coffee, OK, but just what does that mean? Is it something like: my death like my birth involves only me? But that cannot be right. Mom was there too.

When Grandma died Grandpa was there with her, holding her hand.

When Mom was in her final care home I went down from Canada to Colorado to visit. My daughter went with me. Mom looked terrible but her caring spirit was evident. A young Lutheran Pastor was there to comfort her. But he was visibly nervous and upset with his task. Mom noticed his discomfort and calmed him down by saying : “Do not worry; all is well. Thank you for coming.” She dismissed him. “You may go now. I want to talk to my family members.” She asked me to say the doxology with her. I did (surprised that I remembered it.)

Then we talked and laughed a bit – she asked about my teaching and about Margaret’s nursing work. Mom spoke about missing her own cooking. After asking how my wife was she took my hand, said “I love you and I am proud of you.” And looking at me with a twinkle in her eye, “I don’t really care about your tattoo.”

She then dismissed me and told me to get back home to my wife. I did.

Shortly after Mom died. She was 92. She was at peace. But not alone. She had a lifetime of memories – a family, a smile – a unique STORY.