Remembering Margaret Smith – My Mother

My Mother, Margaret Smith, died the evening of May 5, 2020. She would have celebrated her 102nd birthday in September. Mom lived at Northwood Manor, Halifax, the long term home where 331 residents and staff have suffered the contagion of COVID 19. Forty persons have died of it including my Mother.

COVID 19 statistics demand our attention for many reasons, some positive, including the making of us into compassionate human beings. Otherwise, my dear Mother… my Mother becomes (only) a flat faceless statistic that is too easily dismissed and left unrecognized as a member of someone’s family, my family – who has been a Mother to me and many others as a ‘grand’ and ‘great’ Mother.

Mom died peacefully on Tuesday night but not in the company of a family member. My sister, Joan, arrived at Mom’s bedside minutes after Mom’s last breath. Such is life during this pandemic when many presumed ‘essential’ life details are lost in the shuffle of health crisis situations.

Joan did stay with Mom for a spell and so helped her four brothers say good bye. She, me and my brothers have only words of praise for persons who honoured and served Margaret Smith with dignity throughout her illness.

My grief is deep yet blessed. I’ve known moments of great intimacy with God mixed with tears. God’s simple word is spoken too deep for words, yet it is one of unconditioned love.

I know with absolute certainty that God provides a spacious eternal place in His heart for Margaret Smith, Mother… How could this be otherwise when my Mother’s way of life always made space for God?

I’ve another prayer image to share… I prayed after my brother Ken called to say Mom died. Soon my heart became still as an image appeared in my mind’s eye. There centred before me is Mom with Dad (who is deceased 39 years) hand in hand, offering their radiant, loving smile to me, my family and to the entire world.

My Dad whose first and only love ‘is’ Margaret Smith, is beyond excited to be reunited with Mom. I am God’s witness.

This unfading prayer image is very real and strongly lodged in my heart. It is God’s gift for me to share with all of you!

I am deeply saddened but more so alive with gratitude, joy, and hopeful consolation. It is a consolation of my broken heart opened to love more deeply in God’s service.

+Bless the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Earl Smith, SJ is pastor of St. Pius X parish in St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • JYC
    Posted at 03:17h, 16 May Reply

    Beautifully written!

  • John McManus
    Posted at 06:19h, 16 May Reply

    We grieve with you Earl at the loss of your mother while rejoicing in the rich life she has led and the love and grace which has clearly been poured out on you and your family through her in her life and now at this sad time

  • olga protz
    Posted at 07:23h, 16 May Reply

    Earl I just read your beautiful tribute to your mother, whom I remember meeting in Halifax years ago. You brought me to her home with such pride and love. My deep sympathy to you and the family. The image you hold is precious, a grace of peace. May she rest in peace!

  • Joe Newman SJ
    Posted at 07:33h, 16 May Reply

    God bless you, Earl. May you share that peace which your Mom and Dad radiated from heaven!

  • Sandra Roy
    Posted at 07:38h, 16 May Reply

    Hello Fr. Earl – I was saddened when I heard about your Mom. Thank you for sharing the beautiful prayer image. Sending my prayers and deepest condolences. Many Blessings – Sandra Roy

  • Ray & Linda Blackmore
    Posted at 09:08h, 16 May Reply

    My Dear Father Earl; It is with deep sadness we learned of your mom’s passing after praying for her and you and your family during this difficult time of Co-Vid 19. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. It is wonderful to hear of your gift of the image of your parents in Heaven waiting for your presence once again. We know how you loved your Mom especially. Keep safe and well. Love, Lin & Ray

  • Lorella D'Cruz
    Posted at 09:14h, 16 May Reply

    What a beautiful piece! I shed a tear to think of your mother without her family by her side in her last moments; but then I rejoice at your firm belief in the unconditioned love of God. I was particularly touched by the deep conviction in your words, “…God provides a spacious eternal place in His heart for Margaret Smith… How could this be otherwise when my Mother’s way of life always made space for God?” A lesson for us all! How priceless and consoling is the image you hold in your heart of your parents together again, for all eternity!

  • Peter Bisson SJ
    Posted at 09:53h, 16 May Reply

    Earl, thank you for sharing your experience of love and connectedness in grief!

  • Bill Clarke, sj
    Posted at 10:36h, 16 May Reply

    Thank you so much Earl for this generous and beautiful sharing about your wonderful Mom and her grace-filled heart. Peace to you Earl and all your dear ones.

  • Esther Buckley
    Posted at 11:19h, 16 May Reply

    Hello Fr. Earl
    A beautifully written tribute to your mother, Margaret Smith. The image you experienced in your mind of your mother and father reunited in Heaven will remain with you for the rest of your life . I know this is a very sad and upsetting time for you as it wasn’t possible for you to visit your mother because of the Pandemic.
    Your parents are now praying for you and all their family
    My deepest sympathy to you Fr.Earl and your brothers and sister.

  • Roger Yaworski, SJ
    Posted at 11:37h, 16 May Reply

    Thanks for sharing and writing about your relationship with your mother.
    My prayers are with you and the family as you grieve.

  • MICHAEL Coutts
    Posted at 15:36h, 16 May Reply

    Thanks You, Earl – for sharing this wonderful Mother’s memories with us. It is truly a gift

  • Paul Baker
    Posted at 19:54h, 16 May Reply

    Dear Earl, what a beautiful tribute to your mom. It must have been great growing up knowing that she was the THE love of your dad’s life. Your prayer on hearing of her passing flows so naturally from that knowledge. You have my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reta Desfosses
    Posted at 11:52h, 20 May Reply

    Thank you for this beautiful tribute to your mother. My love and prayers for you and your brothers and sister.

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