Essay by Luke Foster
“We cannot hope to die peacefully if our lives have been full of violence, or if our minds have mostly been agitated by emotions like anger, attachment, or fear. So, if we wish to die well, we must learn how to live well: Hoping for a peaceful death, we must cultivate peace in our mind, and in our way of life.”
My dear mother Maria Foster died several days ago, and I am in deep trauma. My mother wasn’t just kind and loving she was amazing and funny and compassionate. She lived to the ripe old age of 89.
My brother called me about one month ago urging me to come to Sydney from my beachside town to see mum as the head nurse had called him to say mum had only days to live as her heart had given out.
I had five wonderful days visiting her and reminiscing about all the great times in our life and I kept telling her how much I loved her and how grateful I was for all she had done for me.
“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
Saint Francis of Assisi
When I was a child mum took me every Sunday to a catholic church in Avalon on Sydney’s northern beaches. I think she had a return to Catholicism by praying with one of the nurses in her nursing home and asked me to send her rosary beads from the Vatican in Rome during my trip to Europe that I am still on now.
However, the pope died so the tour I had booked of Vatican City was cancelled so I ordered the rosary beads online, but mum passed before she could receive them.
My condolences go out to Catholics everywhere for the passing of their spiritual leader.
I feel sad on a soul level and for the past year while mum was in a nursing home, I called her without fail everyday after my daily two-hour beach walk. It was my favourite part of the day.
When mum passed, I felt like her spirit left her body and I absorbed it into myself and became my own mum.
“A beautiful death is for people who have lived like animals to die like angels.” . Mother Teresa
Most of all mum was loved as a kind grandmother and her umbrella of love was strong and compassionate.