We recently had an article about last words before death, and heard from readers. Without further ado, let’s go to the mailbag:
“I could not have been more blessed in what my dad’s last words to me were: ‘David, I love you!’” wrote David Pacitti, simply and touchingly. What words are more powerful — and a better farewell?
Let us spend our lives cleansing so that gentleness and love and not meanness and inner darkness come forth when the filters of earthly cogitation begin to dissolve.
Wrote Frank Stanton of Melrose, Massachusets, “The night before my mother died, she asked my sister, “who is that little kid up there?” Yes, it was the corner of the ceiling. She had lost three babies.
Wrote Raven Wenner of Cheshire, UK, concerning a woman he knew in the old British West Indies, a lady who lived totally alone in the rain forest in a wood hut with a thatched roof. “A neighbor looked in once a day to fix her meals. The neighbor had sent word that the old lady politely said she didn’t want to eat any more, and that she wanted the Last Anointing.
“She sat in a rocking chair in her poor but neat hut and greeted us with serene courtesy,” recalls Raven. “On the wooden wall over a little table was tacked an old calendar print of the Sacred Heart. After receiving the Last Rites and holy Communion, I saw the wonderful happiness in her face.
“When at last she opened her eyes, she smiled down at me (I was sitting on a low stool by her rocking chair) and said unexpectedly, ‘What you want to ask me?’
“She was so gracious I was unafraid to ask, ‘What is it like?’
“She smiled and said, ‘[I do] feel my body shutting down, shutting down. When you come next week I will be gone. [I’ll be] ready.”
“Her quiet joy seemed to overflow into the rest of us in the room, and in my memory the air in the hut was golden and mellow, something like amber honey.
“She looked so quietly pleased, smiling to herself, her rosary in her hands as we left her gently rocking in the hut by the edge of the rain forest. And the next week? Yes, she was gone to God, and I think without a backwards glance.”