almost. like. Simeon

My mother’s hand fell limply on the sheets; it was barely alive.  We lifted it to place her warm palm against her granddaughter’s belly, blooming with seven months of maternity. Emily had just arrived after a long journey to be at her side.  My mother’s eyes were blinded by now, but I believe her spirit still could see this light.  With the benediction of her hand, she blessed the future of her family.

That was the last thing she did.  Later today, Mother died.

She died on the birthday of her first-born.  My brother David had kept vigil by her side for nine days.  I would wake and find him holding her hand in the quiet dark. After dinner, we would sing to her; his voice would tremble and break, then soon get back on its feet again.  But at noon on this mild summer day, our family took David out to the sunny deck, spread  a feast of barbecue on the garden tables, and sang to him with cake and candles.   I wonder if she knew.  If she had waited for the party.  If she was singing, too, for her first-born child, and his first-born’s first born yet to come.

Simeon saw Mary enter the temple, it says in the gospels, and saw, too, the infant life she held; it had been promised him that he would see the new child before his death.  He did.  And then he knelt and said a prayer that went loosely like this:

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace : according to your promise.
For my eyes have seen the light you have prepared.

My mother saw the generations flow out of her, and today return to touch their source.
She praised the new light, surely, in a silence we cannot understand.

And then she departed, I want to say, in grace and in peace.  

~ by Susan on 08/21/2012.

21 Responses to “almost. like. Simeon”

  1. Grieve well the love that was, is and will always be. My sister died on August 2nd and it is quite the journey… she died on the 25th anniversary of our mother’s death and we found a note after she had died that was written early in the morning of her death day ‘ maybe mom will come and get me today – i hope she does. I miss my sister in ways I never expected.

  2. Beautifully told, beautifully lived, beautifully timed. Thank you for this very special posting. Lots of love to you and the household.

    Catherine B. Allen

    5025 Wendover Drive

    Birmingham Alabama 35223

    Phone: 1 205 956-5977

  3. Susan,
    My thoughts are with you today. Thank you for sharing these beautiful reflections. Most of all, I love the image of your family singing to your mother.

  4. Wylodine’s kind, gentle, gracious, cultured, Christian, and loving person has blessed thousands who knew her, but of course none more than her dear husband, children, and extended family. Her gracious goodness has and will always bless our lives.

  5. What a remarkable story and what Grace runs through it. Thank you for sharing this gift.

  6. Aunt Susan, this is beautiful. Thank you for these words and the ways they enable us all to dream about the connectedness of our stories with ancient stories and with your story. I love you all, the whole Hull clan. You remain in my heart and in my prayers during this indescribably and incomprehensibly difficult time.

  7. My love to you, and to your mother. L’chaim! Poppo

  8. Amen, amen. Thanks be for the love of your family, for your mother’s good and long life, and even her long dying, so beautifully and gracefully watched over and cared for by those she brought into this world, those who she spent a good life watching over and caring for. To be with one another — we have no greater calling.

    My heart is bigger, wiser and bolder because of you, Susan, and so I give thanks for Wylodine and all she brought to this world. love to you and yours.

  9. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You live it so deeply. I’m with you as you enter this even deeper phase.

  10. Your mother was a beautiful woman in body and soul. You will miss her, but she will be with you every day in your heart and mind. I know that you will cherish your memories and hold her close in your heart.

  11. Thank you Susan. Your mother and father were so formative to Suzii and me when were in Louisville. She was the essence of graciousness.

    Sent from my iPhone

  12. I’m at a loss for words, dear Susan, and your friend, Stephanie, expressed my sentiments exactly, “Thanks be for the love of your family, for your mother’s good and long life….My heart is bigger, wiser and bolder because of you, Susan, and so I give thanks for Wylodine and all she brought to this world.” All love to your whole family, Ann

  13. Susan, you encircled your mother again and again with the blessing of grace and peace, of love and light, and you drew your circle large enough to include your whole family and all of us too. Thank you; and may a full measure of grace and peace be yours also, now and in the days to come.

  14. I’m so sorry, Susan. Our family sends love to yours.

  15. Dear Susan,
    Thank you for your beautiful words and articulate observations of such a sacred time. We hold you in our prayers and surround you with our love as you move through these days.
    Susan & Angus

  16. susan, what a beautiful tribute to your mother. we love your family so much and i treasure the time i spent team teaching with her. our hearts and prayers are with you. pat and george scofield

  17. Susan, although we’ve never met, your words have touch my heart. So, beautifully written, radiating with love for your mother and family. Thank you for your story. May the peace that passes understanding fill you and your family during this difficult time. Casey

  18. Susan, You probably will not have time to read these words of sympathy until Jesus comes. Yet we keep writing. You have blessed my heart and soul with your tender writings. I am praying for you, your brother, and your beloved father during these days of sadness. Keep on writing. With love and sympathetic understanding, Iva Jewel Tucker

  19. Susan, Your words touched me today, and also on June 9th of this year, My first cousin, an ordained minister, spoke at my mother’s funeral that day. He read from some of your writings, thinking they would be a comfort to us. He was so right. My Godly mother’s passing was after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, so it was different in that way, but your beautiful words still spoke to me and I know my sister as well.

    Now again, I can identify with your description of the vigil by your mother’s side. It was 9 days we spent beside Mother’s bed also. I can feel your pain, and remember my own, but somehow God uses this to help me.

    I join the others in praying for you as you deal with the loss of your mother. You are a gifted writer and may God continue to bless you
    and your family.

  20. I’m just now reading this and the previous two posts, Susan. Even though I knew your mother was failing, I was startled to realize that her end had come. I’m so glad you were there with her and that she was surrounded by family, both present and future, at her leave-taking. It sounds as though she parted in peace, and I hope you and yours are finding much of the same at this time of loss.

  21. It has been an honor to come here and read your beautiful writing, to have “met” your mother in some small way. Sending comfort, ease, solace and love to you and your family as you mourn her loss.

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