(February 9, 2008)

My husband and I spent most of the past three weeks close by his mother’s side. I found out what it’s like to live in a care facility, spending many nights sleeping in a cot in her room and eating there. Tabor Home was a good place to die. Mom was loved and respected by all the staff and they truly showed her their love as they cared for her. It was like dying at home. We’re very thankful for the care she received.

The funeral arrangements have all been made, everyone has been notified, and now my husband is preparing the eulogy. During the open mike session at the reception I also plan to say some things. I want to say how thoughtful Mother was of other people, even as she lay dying. Several times she reminded me to call her sister-in-law to see how she was doing in her fight with cancer. She had me buy a 90th birthday card for her sister and dictated a note for me to write, explaining how things were for her and saying goodbye. When another resident who had not been well came into the room, she asked her if she was feeling better. Although she had a hard time speaking, she said several times, “I just want to thank everybody.” This was a lady who was completely other-centered – a grateful lady. She was an inspiration for all whose lives she touched. And now, at the age of 96, only a few weeks after her last quilting session, she is at peace. She will be missed by the many people who loved her.

Soon my life will be back on track. I have much to do. Many emails have come in response to my TV interview and I need to get to answering them. There is interest in starting other Living Room groups and interest in finding churches that are supportive to people with mental illness. Much work to do. I look forward to the challenge and very much want to promote church support in whatever way I can. I will need to do more writing; I will need to have an info session for church leaders and a workshop for new facilitators.

I thank God that I am well. I thank God for allowing me to have spent Mother’s last weeks by her side, knowing that I did all I could for her. And I pray that he will be with me as I go on to the next chapter of my life.