Tag Archives: mom

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…


Baylen Smile


Eulogy to my mother: Louise Jean (Lapierre) Locantore (September 28, 1951 – May 11th, 2008)

Lou-Lou.  Louise is gone.  Meme’s angel died on Sunday, Mother’s day and Pentecost.  Quite a statement Mom! The birth of the church coinciding with the celebration of mothers.  She was a hot ticket as she liked to say.  As unassuming a person as she wanted to be she had some amazing reservoirs of compassionate energy and strength.  The sacrifices she made in life to benefit her family, her friends, and her church were enormous.

Throughout her sickness she continued to share the warmth of her heart, the bite of her wit, and the depth of her faith.  The manner in which her last days and hours transformed us all is something which is difficult to put into words.   Spirit is a tough experience to talk about.  What is telling is that as the story of Pentecost goes, shortly after Jesus’ ascension the apostles were all gathered together in an upstairs room in Jerusalem.  When there came a violent wind and there appeared to them tongues of fire.  This Holy Spirit which came over those apostles I’ve never really understood to be honest with you.  It always seemed so abstract.

Literally, Spirit is like a breath of air to Life.  It is the spirit that is with us in the first and last breaths we take.  It is the spirit which breathes life into this mortal body.  It is the spirit which prompts people to speak, to learn, and to care, and to communicate.  She embodied the spirit of her faith to the fullest and her life and her death testify to its strength.

Her life might not have been the easiest, but one would never know that from her.  From experiencing both her father passing away when she was 17 to her two older brothers and future husband going to Vietnam, to her mother then dying when she was 21,  I cannot imagine a place in my heart that could withstand such a burden.  But she bore it, with grace, strength and humility.  She raised two children and kept her family together through it all.  A more loving and supportive mom I cannot imagine.

I look at the countless lives she’s touched to give testimony to the qualities of her own loving.  From Her special devotion to young people to her unending compassion for the sick and dying, her boundless energy was difficult to keep up with.  I never fully understood her devotion to caring for and being with the dying until having had the honor to share in her passing with so many others who all loved her as much as I did. 

From the heights of suffering she talked with us and joked and laughed and smiled.  From the depths of fear and doubt she comforted us and cried with us.  As she stood in life for causes close to her heart such as the fight against cancer, the support of young people, and the role of women within the Catholic Church, so too those things stood for her in her time of need.

She died an amazing death.  The gathering of the spirit in that room was incredible.  Her life has changed the world through those who knew her.  It is because of her I am not afraid.  It is because of her that I am not in pain. It is because of her that I am full of wonder and admiration rather than sadness and loss.  For today her spirit lives in all of us, beyond fear, beyond pain,  

          While the world is certainly a diminished place today, I feel in my heart that through the miracle which she accomplished, her spirit is now amongst all of us.  There was a point shortly after she had passed where out of the pain I was feeling I felt this overwhelming feeling of joy and almost laughter.  I cannot explain it but in that moment I spoke with my mother as if she stood in front of me and, I know that there is no need to suffer, no need to grieve.  Be happy for her; embrace her cheerful and loving spirit.  The sadness is ended, there is no more fear, there no more pain.  Hear her laughter again and know that there is only love.