In The Eternity Of My Mother’s Prayers

Iris Marie (nee Dartnell) Gallagher
August 30, 1922 – February 25, 2020

The calls came while I was at the park with Beaumont. I hadn’t heard them. My youngest daughter. My beloved. They called several times. My phone was on silent, as is my habit when out in nature.

For some reason, though we’d been sitting vigil with my mother for over a week, I hadn’t expected it to come so soon. As I told my sisters, “I was expecting some sort of sign, some warning that mum was about to take her last breath.”

Instead, mum did it her way. No fuss. No inconveniencing of others.

At the time of mum’s last breath, I was walking along the river on my way home, the sun warm against my face, the fresh breeze caressing my skin. Later, I was planning on driving out to spend the night with mum.

Jackie, our eldest sister, was drying her hair and getting dressed to go spend the day at mum’s bedside.

Anne, our middle sister, was sitting by mum’s bedside, drinking her second cup of coffee of the morning. We’d been taking turns spending the night and Monday was her night.

And then, without ceremony or fuss, at 10:35 am yesterday morning, my mother took her last inhale.

Anne waited for the exhale.

It never came.

And in that one inhale this tiny, kind woman who travelled far from her motherland of India to the other side of the world to give life to four children. Who no matter how complicated and hard her life, was always kind. Who believed in God with all her being and prayed nightly for her daughters, the souls’ of her lost loved ones, her brothers and sisters, for those who are gone and those who are still here, is gone.

This fiercely protective and often stubborn matriarch for whom the world sometimes seemed too harsh and cruel, has left her earthly body to return to the spirit realm of her deep faith.

In her passing, I envision the endless ribbon of prayers she offered up to God in a constant entreaty for good-tidings, peace and health for all, entwining the earth and all of humankind in Love.

It was my mother’s insistence she would pray for me that used to drive me crazy. In days long past, I’d hear those words and want to tell her to keep her prayers for herself. I’d take care of myself.

Age and time, not to mention a whole lot of therapy, helped me understand and appreciate her prayers as what they truly were, and still are –  A gift of Love. Her way of saying, “I love you. Even when you make it difficult.”

Because my mother did. Love all of us. Even when we made it difficult.

And in these difficult days following her passing, it is her Love we carry. Her Love that remains. Her Love that fills each of our hearts and memories with gratitude.

My mother crossed over the Rainbow Bridge yesterday.

She took her final breath quietly. It was imbued with the grace by which she lived her life.

She is home.

This morning, I watch the sky bruised pink and violet by the rising sun and imagine my mother dancing with her brothers, sharing a smile and a cup of tea with my father and embracing the son she lost before his time.

I imagine her holding a rosary in her no longer crippled fingers, counting off the tiny round beads as she prays each decade. And as she did every night of her life, she prays for her children, her family and all those left behind on this earthly realm. Gently, she places her rosary into the folds of the ethereal gown that floats and flows around her body like angel’s wings, turns back into the circle of Love to which she has been eternally enjoined to dance like the whole world is watching. Sing like the whole world is listening. And Love like the whole world is beating as one with her heart.

That is what I believe my mother is doing now in the eternity of her life ever-after.



I had no intention of writing this morning and then, I heard my mother’s voice whispering how much my words meant to her.

There was a time, I never thought they mattered.

Now I know.

And so, I wrote.

49 thoughts on “In The Eternity Of My Mother’s Prayers

      • What a splendid photo of my beloved sister! It’s a pity I didn’t have it in my family photo album. In what marvelous way your talented art of writing is expressed. What you have written is so true and so moving that
        my eyes couldn’t stop shedding tears . Louise , you are a wonderful
        artistic and poetic creature . I am in total admiration in the way you
        express your deepest feelings and specially on the sad bereavement
        which affected our both families.
        This is what I wished to write to you . Please , do accept my hearty and
        sincere congratulations .Keep on filling us with wonder . May God bless you and grant your and your family His blessings and a peaceful and healthy life.
        Love and kisses
        Uncle Jojo

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dearest Uncle JoJo. Your words are a loving balm that eases the ache in my heart and fills the spaces where once my mother’s presence lived. Thank you dear Uncle JoJo. To you I offer up my prayers and condolences. We were talking yesterday of what an amazing legacy mom and her siblings gave us on what family truly means — despite the distances between us, we are always close, always in each other’s hearts. Much love to you and Auntie Bernadette et famille.


  1. A beautiful and peaceful passing surrounded by so much love for a mother whose life was full of such kindness and caring for all – she left this world knowing how much she was loved and that her job on earth was now done. Bless you all …. my heartfelt condolences…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Maureen. One of the books of poetry I was taking with me to read to mom on Tuesday night was your book, Neruda’s Memoirs. I never had a chance to read her any of your beautiful poems — but I have been reading them to myself. Thank you for your gift of words, friendship and Love. ❤


  2. May you find peace and solace in knowing your Mother passed in the company of loving family members. You all were “there for her” regardless of where you were physically.
    Peace my Friend ❤️
    You are in the “Circle of Life, the passing of your Mother, the impending birth of a grandchild – take a deep breath, life goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A long and good life, a soft slow painless goodbye. Your word pictures reveal sadness, but sadness eclipsed by happiness. A fine example of living and dying for us all to pay attention to. It seems like your mother left you all in really good shape for dealing with life and for a better understanding of how to live fully until it is time to go.

    Most stories that last have ups, downs, and turmoil – and meaningful endings … and this story seems to have all that.

    Well told …

    Warm thoughts to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mark. Your words paint a picture of the ebb and flow of grief and joy that is all mixed into this space of saying good-bye and welcome to this closing, opening and entwining of the story of our lives. Much love and gratitude my friend.


  4. Louise. Transitions are sacred times. They make us stop, take notice, make meaning- if life and relationships as themes are interwoven in the tapestry of eternity. Thank you for letting us share your preciousness with you. Love, love, love! Evelyn

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So beautiful Louise…..your mother was so kind and loving ….. an example for all. What a world we would live in if all would take a lesson from Iris. She will be missed so dearly. Love and hugs to you and family. Love you. Xoxoxo


  6. Louise, I want you to know how good your writing is. This is a difficult time for you, but even though I didn’t know your mother, I cried when I read your words. Be at peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Louise, I have not been keeping up with my reading of late and just spent some time unraveling your latest posts, knowing they would lead to this one. I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. What a remarkable woman she was! I imagine her tiny elegance radiating such pure love for her God and her family. Thank you for sharing these bits and pieces of her during what must have been a difficult time. Wishing you peace and light. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Wow! That is intriguing — I want to hear more! Mum was 22 when she left. Her family stayed but, after Independence, they had to give up their French citizenship to stay so many of them went to Indo China and then made their way to France.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So interesting!

        My dad was a refugee from Pakistan to India after Partition. I interviewed him through the 1947 Partition Archived a few years ago. Here is a link to his story. Don’t bother with the interviews— there are over 4 hours of them!

        He left India in 1951 and sailed to England. He met my Welsh mother and returned to India in 1962 to get married. I was born in Orissa state in 1963 and we came to Canada in 1964.


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