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When You Can’t Go to Your Mother’s Memorial

November 20, 2021

Another Way for week of November 19, 2021

How Could It Be?

It was late last Wednesday (Nov. 10) afternoon. I could not believe my ears. No, no, no!

When the nurse came out to my car and told me my Covid test was positive, I was devastated. I didn’t know what on earth we could do about going to my mother’s memorial service, planned for Saturday morning. We were hoping to leave early Thursday for the 11-hour trip to Indiana.

I didn’t feel physically sick, I was not running a temperature, no cough. Well, a small temp in a hot car with a mask over my face. It could be a false positive, said the nurse. And I had already had a booster shot.

As I made phone calls, my siblings were so compassionate in saying they didn’t want to have Mom’s service without me. Could we postpone it? With Mom’s choice for cremation, we had already postponed it a month. I didn’t feel we should postpone it anymore, unless my brother’s family—which had it even worse with memorial services for two mothers in one week and 900 miles away—wanted to delay it. But their family would have had complications too, if we postponed. We’d already changed the start time once. We had worked hard arranging pictures, things for display tables; food preparation. The soloist and pianist would have to be contacted, the audio-visual guy, funeral home, the pastoral associate.

Plus winter was breathing cold around the corner. It seemed so far off to postpone burying Mom’s urn until late spring; those of us in warmer climes did not want to hit northern Indiana’s snow belt in the depths of winter.  

The associate for pastoral care at our own church advised me later that evening to get a PCR test (a lab test more accurate than a rapid test). But it was too late to get one that day, although I was able to schedule one for the following afternoon at a pharmacy. Results would be sent in 1-2 days.

The next morning I woke up troubled, in a semi-dream state. I saw a bird circling overhead; it looked down at me and that’s when I realized it was an eagle, white bald head. And then it went away. Was the eagle bearing reassurance from Mom? Immediately I thought of one of our favorite Bible passages, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

That day I bought a rapid test kit to use on myself. Terribly nerve wracking to do everything just right. It was positive too. And had the PCR test performed. My husband spoke of driving all night so we could be there Saturday morning for the service, but I didn’t really want to do that, it seemed too dangerous at our ages. Maybe if we were still in our 20’s.

Upshot was the lab test turned out positive too, we stayed home, and our dear daughters went in our stead. They hooked us up a livefeed on Facebook. They read a letter from me that I had written to Mom shortly before she died. My daughters’ presence there was a blessing and I almost felt like I was there except for fellowship with friends and family. Missing that brought on a few episodes of deep sobs.

Our three wonderful daughters, a few years ago. They represented me at my mother’s Celebration of Life service.

So, I had Covid, but was totally asymptomatic; I felt fine physically, but quarantining just in case. And I had just had a booster shot a week and a half before I tested positive.

Never in 100 years would I have imagined having to miss my mother’s celebration of life service. Yes, it hurt, I’m still sad. A hymn goes through my head, or a lump rises as I snuggle in one of her old sweaters, and have another good cry.

Honestly, we’ve been celebrating her life the last five years or so, knowing this could come at any time. She had braved some serious surgeries, falls, and pulled through so often. We’re thankful she had a good mind right to the end. I have no doubt she is truly celebrating somewhere with loved ones in her new realm, heaven, whatever that turns out to be. It is well with my soul.


Cards showing results from my two home tests.

P.S. I have now tested negative, praise be!! I’ve added this P.S. after my quarantine was done.

I debated sharing this here. How public did I want to be? The turmoil, the unease, the feeling like a pariah are all things persons go through with this incessant pandemic. I invite you to send your stories and comments to or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. Oh, Melodie, I am so sad to hear this. I am sorry you had to miss your mother’s memorial service. But you did the right thing. Yours had to be a very unusual breakthrough infection, one that the VDH might want to know about. Nevertheless, you have every right and reason to be sad. Cry all you want and need to. It will help heal your soul. When you have good parents, you will always miss them. Mourning will hit when you least expect it. Accept it, and be glad for the love that you and your mother shared. Blessings.

    • Thank you for reaching out here, I appreciate your thoughts. I do cry as I need to, but I have also felt the prayer support and love of many people, which is reassuring … although I know that fades after awhile, as it must. We were truly blessed with wonderful parents. A blessed Thanksgiving to you!

  2. I had NO idea, Melodia. Of course you should share it. You know what the Bible says about bearing one another’s burdens.

    There are bright spots here: your daughter’s care and presence at the memorial, the fact your mother had an intact mind to the very end, the ability to be present at the service virtually, something not available until just recently.

    Losing a mother has its own special pain. I remember the anguish I suffering, and this under “normal” circumstances. And, of course you should cry. I remember a song that brought me comfort during this sad time:

    ((( )))

  3. Thanks for your virtual hugs and I will stop and listen to the video/music that you sent. I am definitely missing Mom this weekend. I love the bright spots you mention–those things felt very good. Blessings, and thanks for sharing this burden with me.

  4. My heart goes out to you in your pain of missing your mother’s memorial service.
    I’m glad of the eagle bringing you a small amount of comfort. And glad your health issue has been resolved.

  5. The eagle dream was interesting. I don’t usually have dreams that I remember and so vivid at that. Thanks, dear, for your condolences. God bless! Happy thanksgiving!

  6. Melodie, this pain would be very hard to bear. I hope that others here and in your family and friend circles have helped to make this burden a little lighter. May the love you shared with your mother continue to sustain you and grow even deeper as you yourself enter into a blessed older age, following her great example.

  7. Yes, absolutely, they (circle of friends, family, church) have made the pain less intense. Thanks, Shirley, for your thoughts.

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