04/01/2013 10:46 am ET Updated Jun 01, 2013

Dying, but Still Teaching: The Easter Vigil

I sat at the Good Friday Service last night at Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church near our home in Rochester, N.Y. Three churches -- First Baptist of Rochester, Atonement Lutheran, and our host church, Twelve Corners -- have gathered on Good Friday for some years.

As part of the service, headlines from recent newspapers were read as part of a collective prayer. North Korea, a baby shot to death in his stroller, and on and on.

It was a powerful moment, bringing the present to connect to the past. For me, it was a moment of deep, personal connection.

My mother is in her last days of life. Dialysis has ended. We wait for the inevitable. On this holiest of weekends, we wait. We sit vigil, waiting for her to die, waiting for Jesus to become Christ, waiting for the women to find an empty tomb, waiting to give my mother to her eternal rest.

It is all going to happen, and while I can truly celebrate that soon she will shed her earthly body that has, in the past year at least, held her hostage, this is my mother we are talking about.

The woman who gave birth to me.

The woman who taught me how to wallpaper and paint and sew.

The woman who held my children closely.

The woman who, in her late 70s, cared daily for a great granddaughter.

The woman who taught me that faith in God should be first and foremost in your life.

This woman is making her home-going at the same time we are making our way to the empty tomb.

Do I find solace there? I don't know. I really don't know. I am not angry about it. Mom has led a wonderful and beautiful life. She will leave behind her husband of nearly 63 years, three daughters, three sons by marriage, nine grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren -- most by blood, all by love.

Does it get much better than that? I don't think so. I can think about the love that flows through us into the world and I'd say Joyce Jones did a fine job spreading the love.

Still, my mother is dying. Never again will she walk into my home and ask what she can do. Never again will she make her red velvet cake for my birthday. Never again will she struggle with my more progressive beliefs. Never again will she watch the hummingbirds outside the family room.

Where do I find my solace this holiest of weekends? In the empty tomb, certainly, but more than that I find it in knowing that my mother loves me. And that even in death, that will not change.