Tag Archives: Louise Locantore

All my memories gather round her…

All my memories, gather round her
Miners lady, stranger to blue water
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eye.
Country roads, take me home
To the place, I be-long
West Virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads.
I hear her voice, in the morning hours she calls to me
The radio reminds me of my home far a-way
And driving down the road I get a feeling
That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday
Country roads, take me home
To the place, I be-long
West Virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads
The Friday night before Mother’s day last year I was able to spend with my mother.  By this point the lung cancer that she had fought for almost three years had reached its apex.  Bedridden, without the use of her swollen limbs, laboring for breath, and on a constant morphine drip which barely took the edge off the pain; Even then there were small islands of clarity and respite amongst a sea of suffering.  Final visits from children lit up her personality,  final jokes with friends brought laughter, and final conversations with loved ones brought tears.  I, her son, had not taken to the Catholic faith as she had so earnestly hoped, however that night and morning was one of transcendental significance for me.
It was in essence for me the dark night of my soul.  The unbearable weight of the unknown and the torture of a loved one in agony tore at the person I thought I knew myself to be.  Throughout the night I read the bible and prayed as I hadn’t done since I was a child.  I chanted the Hail Mary as one of the only prayers I remembered in order to keep in touch with her through my voice.  I played some of her favorite music in the background.  At last she fell asleep.
When I awoke she was awake and in pain.  Again, I tried to catch up the doses of morphine to get on top of the pain.  In a rare moment she snapped at me and I must have looked pathetic because she apologized and said “I’m sorry Jess, I’m sorry”.  Now I’m pretty sure being apologized to by your mother as she writhes in mortal distress is as bad as it gets.  I would rather have had her curse me a thousand times then to feel that she needed to say she was sorry.
I knelt and cried on her hand assuring her it was ok, that she was my everything, and that I loved her.  In the background I heard the song Country Roads play.  That song with forever bring me back to that moment.  She was the sun setting in my sky, without her my world was going dark in my heart.
Today, all my memories gather round her as the center of my life. Her light has dimmed yet new life has opened up like the morning sun.  Her grandson, the very longing of her existence appeared in perfect measure to bring light where there was darkness.
I believe it doesn’t matter which religion, or denomination, or tradition one comes from.  I’m not sure it even matters if one is religious per se at all, but I did find solace in knowing that at least in her mind she was being born into God as her body died.  The fact that she died that Sunday, on Mother’s day and Pentecost is quite significant.  Christian fellowship and the power of prayer carried her spirit beyond her and into the lives of those who knew her. Through her unfailing generosity, and through her courageous compassion in the face of the death of so many of her loved ones, and finally of herself, she transcended death and, for me at least, bore witness to the truth of the essence of religion.
I look in my son’s face and I see her stare back at me and smile.  Her final gift is in his life, and I know her spirit is in him, around him, and above him.
Happy Mother’s day meme…


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