"I am sorry, I am sorry! Thanks!" These were the last words of my mother, Park Chun-rae Maria who passed away happily at 99 at 1:35 p.m. on July 21, 2019. On her deathbed, she expressed herself in this way to her eldest son who was faithful and attentive to her most of the time.
She sincerely said "sorry and thanks" to her son. I believe these last expressions meant to each of us in the family. As a result, my second brother and my eldest sister reconciled with mother.
Just after the morning session of interpretation, I received a message, saying "Mother is passing away!" So I hurriedly went to the hospital in tears. When I arrived, doctors and nurses were doing their best to keep her alive.
My mother opened her eyes and looked around, but she couldn't say anymore. When other family members entered the room, she opened her eyes again and looked around several times. Her pupils were still moving.
But that evening, she lost consciousness again and couldn't open her eyes again. She breathed for the next three days with the help of a life-sustaining equipment. Her hands and feet became cold and blue slowly.
My eldest brother with his wife thought of taking turns to take care of mother, but in consideration of their old age, my second sister volunteered to stay around the room for two weeks. I accompanied her vigil only four days.
While waiting outside day and night, we took turns to enter the room to pray and sing the hymns near my mother with special permission from the doctor.
Usually, she didn't talk much. She never complained nor talked in a negative way. I have never seen her arguing with others. She was deeply devoted, quiet and diligent. Some of her sayings addressed to me were: "Think ten times before speaking." "Above all, be healthy and joyful." "Read the Bible as far as the book is tattered." "Pray the Rosary hard."
Since the death of my father at the age of 60 in 1977, my mother survived as a pious widow; she prayed so hard every day that her prayer books and her Rosaries were tattered a lot as if they could reveal the waves of the times.
Especially while living at the "Queen of Peace House" run by the Little Sisters of the Poor for the last three years, she enjoyed attending daily Mass and prayed the Liturgical Hours as well as other various prayers. During Mass, she sang the hymns most aloud and followed the prayers most actively.
She was married at the age of 17 and gave birth to the first child, my eldest brother, at 19. She had five sons (three of them died young) and four daughters, 9 grand-children, and 13 great grand-children. Her best legacy to her children is health, faith and dedication.
She underwent much hardship but she endured various difficulties in a spirit of sacrifice and faith in Jesus. She was humorous and positive as well. She was willing to share what she has with others. I do believe that she, even in heaven, will always protect her children as before.
The author is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul (Figlie di San Paolo) living and giving the Good News to the world by means of social communication. Learn more about the congregation at fsp.pauline.or.kr.
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