For Enoch - My Mom's Easter Service. The wonderful, awesome, very good day.


Category:  Religion & Ethics

By:  katrix  •  3 years ago  •  23 comments

For Enoch - My Mom's Easter Service.  The wonderful, awesome, very good day.

Today was one of the best days ever.  As we've discussed, I've had a really hard time getting Mom interested in church these days, when it used to mean the world to her (church, bluegrass, and the Broncos).  I can watch the Broncos with her, and I can take her out to live music - but forget getting her to a church service which starts way too early in the morning for her (she's a night owl).  Even when she's with me on the weekends, if I ask if she wants to go to church (and there's a church near me that she used to really like), she just doesn't want to go.  While I didn't consider her not going to a church service to be a big deal - she has tons of books to study and her aides are pretty much all religious - her not taking communion bothers me, because I know how much it means to her.  I talked to Father Mark a while back and asked if he could find someone to bring her communion as a shut-in, as she did for others when she was a deacon.  

Today, I just happened to spend the entire afternoon at her apartment, which I can't often do; I had to take some online courses and bake cookies for a friend, and I could do those things at her place as easily as at mine.  Her phone rang, and when I answered, it was someone from a local church - she had answered Mark's call all the way from Colorado, and was asking if this afternoon was a good time for her to bring communion to Mom.  I said of course.  I was expecting a deacon or a lay person, to provide a quick communion service.

Instead, the pastor of All Saints showed up!  She spent 15 or 20 minutes getting to know Mom one on one, while I baked cookies and the aide worked on her studies.  She brought a brochure which had an entire condensed Easter mass!  She asked Mom if, as a deacon, she'd like to read the gospel when we got to that point in the service  .. you should have seen's Mom joy, to be given that consideration (and she did a great job)!  I got one of Mom's albs out of the closet (I picked the purple one because I like purple, but in retrospect, I think purple is for Good Friday - no worries, nobody cared, all that mattered was that Mom was thrilled when I put it over her shoulders).  Mom's aide on duty at the time is religious and was also thrilled to participate with us (I knew she was religious; otherwise I would have asked if she wanted to participate and, if not, told her she was free to go do her own thing for an hour rather than making her sit through it with us).  The pastor gave a condensed version of the sermon she had given on Easter Sunday as well.  She gave all three of us communion, and she also had Mom read the closing prayer.

The joy on Mom's face .. and the joy on her aide's face, especially when we spent a few minutes talking about people we wanted prayers sent to, and why .. was something to behold.  The church will now send someone out once a month to give Mom communion at her apartment.  They also have Sunday and Wednesday evening services .. the Weds service is just in a small chapel, and might be easier for Mom to take.  Now that she's bonded with the pastor, and she's realized how much she enjoyed the service as well as the communion, I just might be able to make that happen for her.    

What a wonderful, awesome, very good day.  I emailed Father Mark and told him all about it, and I'll call him when I see Mom in a few days; I think this is something that will make a few new connections in her brain, and she will remember it when he reminds her about it.  Thank you for your help as a chaplain; you help me navigate this difficult time in Mom's life more than you probably realize.


jrDiscussion - desc
1  author  katrix    3 years ago

I still remember one of the saddest days - a few years ago, when Father Mark called me and said that while Mom was reading the Gospel on Good Friday, she just stopped halfway through, didn't know what she was doing and didn't even recall that she had stopped.  That was when she had to retire from the deaconite.  How cool to see her read the Gospel today, even with the wrong alb on (but it was the prettiest one), and have the same sense of joy in her calling as she used to have.

1.1  TᵢG  replied to  katrix @1    3 years ago

And how lucky she is to have you as her daughter!

1.1.1  author  katrix  replied to  TᵢG @1.1    3 years ago

Aww, thank you.  She (and Dad) get the credit for raising me to be a good person.  

For the pastor to treat her as if she were still a deacon, and not retired .. just .. wow.  She was just amazing.  Mom is still so much there in the moment, so they had a great conversation before the service.

At first, I was thinking I wouldn't take communion, but when Mom specifically asked me to take it with her, I remembered Mark's words when Mom was first ordained and was looking forward to personally giving me communion.  I explained to him that as an agnostic atheist, I was worried that it would be disrespectful of his church.  He asked, "are you doing it to make your mom happy?"  I said yes.  He said that God would understand and that I was welcome to take communion in his church, any time.

I also remembered when I took her to Ireland, and we went to a church there, and she took two wafers and asked me if I wanted one of hers - that was sad, too.  But this day helped make up for all of those days.

1.2  magnoliaave  replied to  katrix @1    3 years ago

That's beautiful, Katrix.

charger 383
2  charger 383    3 years ago

that is very good

2.1  author  katrix  replied to  charger 383 @2    3 years ago

Thanks, charger!  I'm not religious, but it was so amazing.

3  Kavika     3 years ago

A wonderful day Katrix. Happy for you and your mom..

3.1  author  katrix  replied to  Kavika @3    3 years ago

Thank you .. and so good to see you again.

4  Enoch    3 years ago

Dear Friend Katrix: This is a wonderful development, for your dear Mother and for you.  

I am so proud of all you do for her.

Going forward, as she feels up to it (we know there we be "good days" and "bad days" in her situation) having someone bring her communion and connection to something that is very much a cornerstone of hr existence would be super. 

On days other than Sunday, as time and circumstance permit here are two suggestions to consider.

They may help keep your dear Mother connected to her religion while giving you both bonding experiences.

In her religion, movement and denomination weekly sermons are available on-line. Try when she is up to it letting her read them, and discuss them with you. When not, but when she can hear with comprehension trying reading them to her and discussing (if and hen possible).

If she gets stuck. try giving her the next word or phrase in the stream of thought. At times, that can help her proceed.

Does her movement have an official periodical, printed or on-line? Many do. Often they are sent in bulk to affiliated Congregations. Can this Congregation re-send one extra copy to her address, or to your attention? Can they mail one directly to either or both you and/or her? Often to serve those who are unable to attend on-site services and other programming at a local Congregation a movement will do this. If there are any charges, let me know. I am be more than happy to cover them.

This is a spectacularly uplifting article, dear friend.

Good on you. Very good indeed.


4.1  author  katrix  replied to  Enoch @4    3 years ago

Dear Enoch,

 I don't know if any small, simple Episcopal churches do this; if they do, it's probably not going to feel personal enough to her, but I will look into it.  You never know until you try.  She likes watching banjo lessons on TV, and they make her play her banjo in response, so why not this?  And if she wants to wear one of her albs while she's watching (and she can choose the color), or hold the chalice she used to give communion to shut-ins  .. all the better, to make her feel more connected.  Today, I brought pictures of her ordination with the Episcopal Bishop of Colorado and pictures of Father Mark to the pastor, to help in their discussion.  

We're fortunate - her comprehension is still amazing.  I had a discussion the other day with her about Pascal's wager (she said she thought it was an insult to people of faith to imply they have faith only to hedge their bets, and an insult to God, to imply that he's too stupid to see through such shallow faith).  The pastor today talked with her for quite a while during their one on one about how Easter was on April Fools day this year, and how the women who found the grave empty were considered fools - and how non believers often consider people of faith to be fools, and they laughed about what fools they were, and celebrated their foolishness.  I listened while I baked cookies and left them to their discussion, and she had a real, thoughtful, conversation with the pastor.  That's one of the reasons this was the best day ever, to see how much she can still think and discuss her faith at age 86 with dementia!  There's so much of her still there, when someone is discussing science or religion or music with her.

She can't get that from me, no matter how much I love her, and I need to keep her connected to people like this pastor.  I can have a theological conversation with her, which she loves due to her studies, but she needs someone who shares her faith to bond with as well.  

She is still so much in the moment, pretty much all of the time .. it's just that she can't remember 5 minutes ago.  She doesn't get stuck or have a problem finding the next word.  We are so fortunate in that regard.

To Mom, if there's no communion, it isn't church.  This church offers Wednesday evening and Sunday evening services, which are much more in tune with her personal clock.  If at 5 pm, when most 86 year olds want to have their dinner and start thinking about bingo, bedtime or a game show, she can start thinking about how she's now bored and can get out and go to church .. that might work for her.  

I think the Wednesday evening service at the chapel, with a much more personal touch, would be better for her rather than a Sunday evening service at the main church (plus, to be honest - summer is coming, and I want to kayak on Sunday afternoons, and have a free evening for cookouts afterward before getting ready for the work week ahead).  If she gets to the point where she does think she's still a deacon, and tries to read the Gospel, I'm pretty sure - based on the pastor's response to her - that she won't be embarrassed.  

When I mentioned the "holy hoedowns" she enjoyed so much, which merged her love of bluegrass music with her love for church, the pastor said she knew someone who might want to come over and play guitar while Mom plays the banjo, and sing hymns.  If that works, I imagine we could have them play gospel music in the community center at Mom's apartment, and have other people join in.  

Does her movement have an official periodical, printed

Oh, you ... you ... you!  I recycled stacks and stacks, years, of her church bulletins, among tons of old magazines, clipped articles from newspapers, ancient computer books, etc. even before I quit my job to get rid of her crap .. she said she wanted them where she could look things up.  This was before the dementia; she had some hoarding tendencies!  I asked, where is December 2012 in the 5 foot stack?  And btw, the church secretary has them all on the computer.  It didn't go well .. I had to wait until she was asleep and then pile them in the car for the recycle place, and then wake up 4 hours later to get them out of the house before she saw all the stuff in the car and asked what it was :)  No more weekly papers, ever.  Never, ever, ever.  

Thanks again, Friend Enoch.

4.1.1  Enoch  replied to  katrix @4.1    3 years ago

Dear Friend Katrix: I am a fan of your Wednesday night plan.

The musical expression of her Divine Connection is another great idea. 

"Make a joyful noise unto the L-rd, all you lands. Serve the L-rd with gladness. Come before the Divine Presence with singing".

Bluegrass Banjo and Hymns. And uniquely nice touch.

Being part of getting her to those who share her religion with whom she can bond is as important and impressive as doing so yourself.

The main thing is that she remains connected.

That in all areas of life, including Mother-Daughter things you can share equally, her needs are met while time allows.

Peace and Abundant Blessings to You.

You more than earn them for giving such to your dear Mother. 


4.1.2  author  katrix  replied to  Enoch @4.1.1    3 years ago

Thank you, Enoch.  I spent a long weekend in Colorado with the rest of our family, and just got back. I think the Weds thing is the way to go .. if she's willing, it will be great. If not .. at least she'll have communion brought to her once a month.  

5  sandy-2021492    3 years ago

That's great, katrix.  I hope she starts attending services, so she can feel connected to what used to be so important to her.

5.1  author  katrix  replied to  sandy-2021492 @5    3 years ago

Thanks, Sandy.  I hope so too.  

kayaking soon ... 

Trout Giggles
6  Trout Giggles    3 years ago

I'm happy for you and your mom, katrix. I'm glad she's able to reconnect with the Church and that the pastor treated her with respect and dignity.

6.1  author  katrix  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    3 years ago

Thank you, TG.  Mom never attended this church, yet the pastor took the time to personally give her an Easter service .. Father Mark was so overjoyed when I told him how it worked out.

7  magnoliaave    3 years ago

It is unbelievable that anyone would think that a church pastor would treat a parishioner with anything other than respect and dignity.

7.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  magnoliaave @7    3 years ago

Is it really, considering the number of pastors who molest children, or who are in it for the money, or were chomping at the it to condemn Stephen Hawkings?  Perhaps you have been lucky in your pastors, but unfortunately, some pastors can't seem to resist showing the worst sides of themselves.

But as far as Katrix's mom's pastor goes - well, some pastors might have good intentions, but might not be prepared to deal with someone who has memory issues keeping her from attending services.

7.2  author  katrix  replied to  magnoliaave @7    3 years ago

The thing is, this was a pastor in Maryland.  Mom isn't a parishioner, and probably never will be at this point in her life.  So it was kind of amazing that this pastor would take an hour out of her day to provide a personal Easter service to someone who had never attended her church, and may not ever attend.  All because a priest in Colorado reached out for help, at my request.  This is what makes it so special, in my mind.  She's just like Mom!

Priest/rector/pastor - I get the terms confused.  But anyway, Father Mark is amazing, and he found the most amazing person to provide what Mom needs.

8  magnoliaave    3 years ago

Never in my life have I run across what you have described.  I don't believe that after spending time with her their intentions were not honorable.

8.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  magnoliaave @8    3 years ago

Um, I never said they weren't.  I just said that some pastors might not be equipped to handle her mom's situation as well as this pastor did.  Some people just don't have the gift of relating so well to elderly folks who have cognitive issues.

Perrie Halpern R.A.
9  Perrie Halpern R.A.    3 years ago

What a wonderful experience for you mom and for you. She gets to feel connected to the church that meant so much to her for most of her life, and you get to make mom happy. 

What a lovely minister. I have to say, that most of the Vickers that I had interaction with when going to school in England, were lovely people. I have only respect for the Anglican/Episcopal churches ( the C of E here in America).  

9.1  author  katrix  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @9    3 years ago

When Mom and I went to Ireland, Mom spent a couple of hours talking to the Dean of the church in .. Limerick?  She laughed when I told her about my "oops" - we took communion in the Catholic St Mary's, rather than the St Mary's we meant to go to.  


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