Memento Mori

Memento Mori

Memento Mori.  In English it means: “Remember that you will die.”

This has been a tough couple of weeks for me.  My mom died very unexpectedly after a brief illness.  On January 29th, I met her for dinner to celebrate her 67th birthday.  We had a wonderful time.  On February 5th, she was hospitalized with what turned out to be a terrible infection.  On February 9th, she was gone.

One week, we were talking, laughing and telling stories over a nice meal.  The next week, in the small hours of the morning, I sat by her hospital bed, held her hand and told her I loved her as I watched her last heartbeat move weakly across the monitor.  I don’t have the words to convey how jarringly painful that was.

Still, I’m grateful.  Grateful to have had her as my mom.  Grateful to have always had a wonderful relationship with her.  Grateful to have made some new memories just a week before she died.  And yes, grateful for the reminder of mortality.  The Memento Mori.   One of my favorite verses is Psalm 39:4.

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.” 

I like that verse because I often need the reminder.  I know I’m going to die, but I don’t always live like I believe it.  Maybe some of you are guilty of that too.  If so, consider this your reminder.

If you died today, would you go in peace without a single regret?  Or would you, like most of us, feel bad about the things left undone or unsaid?  The relationship that needs mending?  The affairs that need to be put in order?  Sit with those thoughts this week.  Write them down.  And then act.  You know what you should do.  So do I.  The challenge is to make sure that knowing transitions into doing and believing becomes behaving.  You and I have been given an amazing gift: Today.  Use it wisely.

~ Joe

5 Responses to “Memento Mori”

  1. Wayne Cone February 19, 2018 at 12:02 pm #

    So sorry for your loss, Joe. I would love to know more about your mother if you feel to share with a broader audience. And thank you for the reminder and encouragement in your post. Shalom.

  2. Maria February 19, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

    Dear Joe,
    So sorry for your loss but so glad to hear that you had a wonderful relationship with your mother. It’s a difficult journey you’re on right now but time will lessen that pain somewhat.

    The wonderful post you wrote some time back (A Life Changing Lesson) has brought me comfort with my own losses and worthy to remember:

    “Yes, he felt incredible pain, but the pain was not compounded by feelings of lost opportunities and missed chances. If anything, the grief was softened by the many joyful memories that were a byproduct of his close relationship with his mom.”

    All the best,

  3. Kathy @ SMART Living February 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm #

    Hi Joe. So sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. Never easy and particularly hard when it is sudden. Thank you for sharing your way to cope with it and the idea by the Momento Mori. That applies to each of us every single day. ~Kathy

  4. Mark February 19, 2018 at 7:09 pm #

    Hi Joe,

    My sincerest sympathy to you and your family.
    My wife’s parents died last year, less than 24 hours apart.
    I shared with her some of your words of wisdom, that struck a note with me (and her):
    Grief is to be expected. But, regret -we can do something about, while we can & if we choose.
    She did so much for them, and especially the last few years. She grieved at their passing, but she was content in that she had no regrets.
    We thank you.

    We all wish we were immortal.
    God has made us immortal, but it is not in a selfish way.
    He made us immortal through our family and friends.
    Likewise, with the passing of a loved one, they live on -they are with and a part of us.
    When you are sad, missing them -they are hugging and encouraging you the hardest.
    It is up to us, how much of them we share in our daily lives.
    Live on.

  5. Joe Hearn February 20, 2018 at 11:06 am #

    Hi everyone. I just wanted to say thanks so much for your kind words. It really means a lot. Your comments and emails have been a real encouragement during an obviously difficult time. You’re the best!

    ~ Joe

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