Catherine Lafferty D’Agostino was not afraid to die. When she was twelve years old, she sat at the bedside of a woman who was dying. The woman lived alone, so her neighbors took turns sitting by her bed and waiting with her until she was ready to release her final breath. Catherine’s mother had another commitment that afternoon, so she sent her daughter to keep the vigil in her place.
Catherine sat alone and watched over the dying woman, and I can imagine that she wondered if she would be there when the woman crossed over. After a few hours of silence, the woman asked Catherine a question. “Do you see that angel over the piano?” The girl looked up. “No, I don’t.” Staring at the space above the old piano, the woman smiled and said, “She’s come to take me home.” Catherine left the house when another neighbor came to keep watch through the night, and when Catherine woke up the next morning she learned that “the angel had done her job.”
All of these years later, Catherine spoke of the many, many angels she saw surrounding her as she prepared to leave us and join her beloved husband, John. Since Dad crossed over last April, she saw him frequently. In her final days with us, she said Dad had prepared a beautiful garden for her and was waiting for her there. Catherine joined him a few days before their 67thwedding anniversary and, in so doing, they continued their unbroken string of spending their anniversaries together.
Our family and friends gathered this past Wednesday to celebrate Catherine’s long life as a true believer in the power of love. Even as children we noticed that our Mom seemed to love everyone, and somehow she brought out the love in people who rarely expressed kindness or compassion to anyone else. I think of her now as a warm and gentle waterfall of love, helping others love themselves because she reminded them that they were lovable. Of her many, many talents, surely this was the greatest.
So, it was not surprising that the phrase I heard over and over again at her funeral was, “I loved your Mom.” People across generations, of her age and much younger, told stories of how they had met her, or how she had helped them, or made them laugh, or comforted them with her heartfelt smile.
Catherine was a truly remarkable women, and a loving wife, Mom, Granny, sister, aunt and friend. She always found joy in observing nature’s gifts – the sky, trees, flowers, birds, ladybugs, fireflies, and especially the moon. She noticed and was grateful for all the beauty that surrounded her. Mom’s connection with the moon was deep and strong, and every time she saw the moon it seemed to transport her into a state of awe and wonder. Every time. She instilled that sense of awe in each member of our family. None of us has ever seen the moon without thinking of her, and now we see her love and joy reflected back to us and to all those who miss her. She is our moon now.
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Photo Credit: John Windwalker