“Make Your Mother Proud” read the billboard on the way to the airport yesterday. It pictured a young man pushing a vacuum cleaner, smile spread on his face.

It was 4:30 am on this dark, cold morning and tears began to swell up in my eyes. Even in my half-awake stupor (I am NOT a morning person), I immediately realized that never again would I make my mother proud. Why? I was on the way to her funeral.

The call had come from my sister the afternoon before. She said is was so difficult and that our mother was dying before her eyes. She urged me to come home. She had been struggling with cancer for almost 12 years. I knew the call would come and had tried to prepare myself for it, but how can you? As I sat silently in that cold car, my husband holding my hand, and my mind raced with thoughts, grabbing for answers.

What was the last thing she had said to me?” I love you.” Yes, that was it.

My flight left at 6:00 am, and I settled into my seat for the long journey into the inevitable. A few hours after departure, I thought I heard the Holy Spirit say to me “I have received her.” Could it be that her suffering was over? [Note: I later discovered that my mother died about 4 hours after this.]

I looked out the window and watched the sunrise push back the heavy, dark atmosphere. Beautiful colors emerged, and a blue sky was coming into view. I new gorgeous day was on display. A day I was not prepared for.

I sat, gazing at the dawn, trying to imagine the glory and splendor that had engulfed my mother. She was stepping into eternity, into the loving arms of her heavenly Father and into the company of many loved ones. She did not die after all.

I smiled, imagining her bliss and joy. And then I realized something and my heaviness lifted. I could still make her proud. She may now see my life from a totally new and eternal vantage point, if she should choose to take a break from her heavenly surroundings to gaze down on us.


When I get back to Prague, and I see that billboard that reads “Make Your Mother Proud,” I’ll remember the sunrise that followed.

And I’ll smile, and maybe wink up toward heaven.


No eye has seen,

no hear has heard,

no mind has conceived

what God has prepared for those who love him”- I Corinthians 10:9



In loving memory of Ara Beth (Sistie) Conatser


February 11, 1934- March 11, 2010

This blog post was originally posted on bohemiantapestry-mylife.com in 03/2010.