Today is my beloved mother's funeral. In honor of this final memorial, may I share with you the eulogy I wrote for her. When my father was dying in 2006 from a brain tumor, I wrote his eulogy before he died and read it to him. It touched him deeply to hear how he touched me. I did the same thing for my mother, and I invite you to honor her memory here with the family, if you feel called to do so.
My mother made her final transition last night. After I told her, my friend Shiloh said, "When the mother passes, the fabric of the universe is shifted and moves into a new shape." Today begins the first day of that new shape for those of us who can hardly begin to imagine the world without Trish Rankin in it. We are all weary but filled with broken-hearted love and gratitude. Last night, my sister, my mother's two sisters and I held my beloved mother precariously in our adoring arms through the harrowing end. My daughter was on the phone with us when she breathed her last agonizing breath.
I’ve been journaling daily about the journey of helping my mother through the rebirth we call death. Although these moments are intensely intimate and personal, I am sharing them publicly (with the permission of my mother, who before she stopped communicating clearly, told me “If it helps others, use anything about my story, my illness, and my death in your blog, in your books. If I’m going to leave this planet, at least let my life and my death live on through the hearts of those who might learn from it.”). Mom even said, “Maybe I’m dying so you can learn how to help others fall sick and die with trust in God.” The other day, she said, “I have a synapse to God. You have a synapse to me. We can bring others along with us.”
I am in Ohio right now, midwifing my beloved mother through the rebirth we call death. I already lost my precious father almost 12 years ago, two weeks after my daughter Siena was born. His was a beautiful, sacred death. The moment he breathed his last breath, my mother, who was married to him for 40 years, threw her body on top of him and cried, “David, I love the way you died.” Now, I am preparing to let go of the woman I never thought I could live without.