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The Annunciation, Mom, And Faith

The Annunciation - artist Maurice Denis
Friday would be my mother's 91st birthday. She's been gone almost 4 months now, and I still have to catch myself calling her on the way home from work at least once a week.

I want to tell her about my new job and how much I like it. I want to tell her about planning a trip to Ireland (which she and my dad made possible by their Depression-style savings and generosity.) I want to tell her about the kids, and the house, and Tiger baseball and Jeopardy and well, everything.

Her birthday falls on Good Friday this year, which feels quite right to me. Part of the grieving process. Usually, on March 25, we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, but the feast is moved to Easter Monday this year.

I always thought it was wonderful that Mom's birthday fell on this feast, this celebration of one woman saying "yes" to the will of God and thus changing humanity forever. While the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, I imagine all the angels in Heaven leaning forward, holding their breath (as it were) in anticipation of Mary's answer.

I have several of my mom's prayer books and missals. There are prayer cards in them from grade school retreats: a girlish hand writing "To Elizabeth, from Lorraine, in memory of our grade 7 retreat." I pray for both Mom and Lorraine now, hoping they are catching up in Heaven.

One of the prayer books is a Mother's Prayer Book. It's pre-Vatican II, so the language seems quite formal and a bit stilted, but I know my mother prayed many of those prayers fervently. Now, so do I.

My mother's greatest possession was her faith, a faith she fiercely loved. She set a very high bar for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in that regard - a legacy.

This year, my hope and prayer is that her birthday will be celebrated with her Heavenly Mother, rejoicing together in the epic story of passion, death and resurrection. Happy Birthday, Mumma.

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