Seventh Sunday After the Epiphany

WEEKLY REFLECTION | Seventh Sunday After the Epiphany, February 20, 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

By now, most of you have heard that my mother died last week. She would have been 90 in July and lived alone up until a month ago. We are all so grateful that her life was spent as she wanted to, and she died when she was ready “to see Jesus”, as she put it.

I continue to be grateful to her each day—not only for the life and faith in which she raised me—but also because some years ago, while she was still well, she spent some time giving thought to what her end-of-life wishes were. Knowing that when that time came it would be hard for all of her kids, she took several steps to make things a bit easier for us. And also to ensure that she concluded her life in the way she had lived.

The first thing she did was to fill out a booklet called “Five Wishes”, which allowed her to tell us and her medical providers exactly what she wanted and did not want in terms of care at the end of her life. It also allowed her to appoint someone (me!) as her medical power of attorney to speak for her in case she couldn’t speak for herself.  See a copy at

Next, she made a list of her belongings and which family member should receive which items. She encouraged us to take back any gifts we had given her, or, if we didn’t want them, to share with other members of the family. My mother was not going to have any arguing about who gets what, as so many families do. Then, she ensured that her will was up to date.

Finally, she provided written instructions about the disposition of her remains and encouraged a family gathering to tell stories, sing and pray together. She had the Five Wishes and will witnessed and notarized so there would be no question about her intentions and no legal complications. 

You might think that my mother was a control freak—she most definitely wanted what she wanted! But she was being kind and considerate of us. None of us would have to second guess ourselves about “Did I really do what mom would like?” None of us would feel guilty. 

Why am I telling you these details? Because I want to encourage you to consider doing something similar. At the very least, please decide on Advance Directives. If you do not make clear your health-care decisions, family and medical staff have to guess what to do and they may not do what you want them to. Even the closest families can’t necessarily read minds.

As for wills, on page 445 of the Prayerbook, you will see a reminder that it is our duty to make wills while we are healthy. I do encourage you to give this gift to your families and friends, and would be more than happy to talk with you about it.

Mo. Laura+