My mother died from ALS ten years ago on June 11, 2008 (which also happens to be my wedding anniversary). Lots has happened in life since then and I sometimes wonder how my mom would respond if she knew all that happened in my life. I can see the shock on her face when she learns I have five kids and got a PhD — a couple of the many things that she probably never expected to occur in my life. I’m guessing she would be surprised in a good way.
ALS is a nasty neurological disease which slowly causes a person to become paralyzed. Death occurs when an individual loses the ability to breath. I wanted to be intentional with the limited amount of time remaining with my mom. I spent two weeks of concentrated time with her, asked her dozens of questions about her faith and life, and then recorded them in a book for the Mulvihill family. The book has been a blessing for my children as a way to learn about their grandmother.
I also wanted to make sure our relationship ended with no regrets and in a great place. My mom and I had a strong relationship, but I had heard stories from numerous friends who had relational regrets with a parent who died and I didn’t want to be one of those individuals. I spent some time developing a list of five things that must be said before my mom died:
- I love you
- Please forgive me
- I forgive you
- Thank you
Just reading the list brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I had some sweet moments with my mom that strengthened an already strong relationship. Good gave me the opportunity to whisper goodbye in her ear the morning she died. I am grateful that God gave me the time to have these conversations with my mom and write this to encourage you to consider if there is anyone in your life, sick or healthy, that needs to hear one or more of these things from you?